Father@Forty #4 – “What’s in a Name?”

The evening over dinner that we told our youngest daughter Abby that she was going to be a big sister, the great debate over the name of the precious bundle of joy baking in my wife’s oven began.  We had two cell phones tearing up the internet looking over names while waiting for our meal to make it to the table.  (By-the-way, Coltons was a great place to break the news!)

Depending on the sex of the child, this could be super easy or incredibly difficult.  If it’s a boy, it’s easy… just like everything else in life where boys are the final solution to the equation.  The boy-child will be named Kenneth Ray Hoff III, most likely dubbed “Ray” by his father.  He will be a husky, strapping lad bound for the offensive line of the St. Clair high school Bulldogs and the hearts of young ladies across Franklin county.  He will eat like a horse, work hard, love Jesus, and fish with his old man.  Oh yeah… and the kid will totally be into Star Wars!  :)

Now if God decides to “bless us” with a female child, war will most likely break out.  I’m not just talking about a small, family squabble between Dawn and I… no, that would be too small of scale.  I’m talking about grandparents, siblings, church family, co-workers and friends all laying claim to a name they feel is perfect.  Things will get ugly my friends.  I’m seriously thinking about calling the police chief to see if he will step up patrols in my neighborhood until the dust settles and the child is in her early twenties.

Both of this child’s sister’s names were easy.  It was almost as if they were handed to us without any effort on our part.  Dawn got to name our oldest, Anna-Maria Nicole Hoff, (although I got to throw in the “Nicole” part of that to feel like I had a little say in it) and I had one-hundred percent say into what our second child was named… Abby Gail Hoff.  They both fit their names.  Isn’t that strange?  Have you ever wondered how a parent usually chooses a name for their child that fits them like a glove, even though most of them come out looking nearly the same (plus or minus some parts)?  How does a parent know that the beautiful baby girl they hold in their arms and name Bertha will undoubtedly end up being a 400 pound woman?  Or that a son named Earl will most likely pump gas at a dusty, old filling station in the middle of nowhere in his bib overalls?  Or that a baby named Heather will be the head cheerleader?  Or that a boy-child named Damien will end up being the anti-christ?  (Watch The Omen and get a clue people!  Don’t name your child that!)  How do you know that your son Mitch will be cool and drive a red Ferrari, or your kid named Earnie will get a brick thrown at him on the kindergarten playground?  And then there are the odd names, like a poor, little girl named Apple.  Seriously? Apple?

My wife and I have really painted ourselves into a name corner if it’s a girl.  The two older daughter’s first names start with the letter “A”.  We should try to name this child something that starts with an “A” also, right?  Sounds simple enough, but we can’t agree on a new “A” name.  I have a feeling that couples usually fall into the same disagreements over a name because their brains kick in to test the waters with a name suggestion.  Here are the test criteria for a suggested name that runs through my mind EVERY time:

  • How will the name sound when some stupid, mean little kid on the playground pokes fun at their name?  Example: “Lance with the wet spot on his pants!”  Kids on the playground will always find a way to make someone’s given name degrading, so it has to be jerk-proof.
  • Without a doubt, you have to sing the name game song (Banana-fanna-fo…) with the child’s first name.  The resulting lyrics cannot have a curse word otherwise the child and all of their friends will get sent to the principal’s office eventually.  They of course will blame it on you.
  • When your child gets into trouble and you yell their full name at the top of your lungs in your best angry tone, will you run out of breath because it’s too long?
  • Along the same line… will they end up using their entire box of crayons the first day of school just writing their name?
  • Does the suggested name remind you of an old girlfriend that dumped you?  Surely my wife just didn’t suggest the name of a girl on the school bus that regularly got sprayed with “cootie spray” as she walked down the aisle because no one wanted to sit next to her!  No way Honey!
  • If your child, on the off chance, ends up being a serial killer… does their full name sound cool on TV?

We’ll find out on June 23rd what the sex of the baby will be using one of the new, fancy, 3D ultra-sounds.  All of us are eagerly waiting for the appointment so the great name war of 2011 can begin.  The war could be won with a single stroke of grace… little Ray could end it quickly by showing us what little boys are made of.  Should the ultra-sound show something else… well, let’s not think about it for now.

Hey, wait a minute… Apple starts with “A”, doesn’t it?

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