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Dating: Too Soon to Name Children?

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My sister got me addicted. Before I knew it I had been it at for hours, shaking in a cold sweat, and the only thing I knew was the name of my future children. I could barely bring myself to say, "I-I was Nameberrying!" I craved newer, more unique names. Each syllable was like a hit of ecstasy.

Nameberry.com is a baby name website complete with oodles of lists, from hipster baby names to celebrity baby names. Users can even comment on each others' personal lists to aid in the momentous choice. I can still remember the excitement in my sister's voice when she said, "I helped named someone's child! They never thought about Antonia."

Even more disturbing, when I proudly showed my list to my sister, she told me, "Emily, those names don't go together. Your children's names have to flow." I had no idea naming was such a science.

Elizabeth, my sister, began sending me texts with names in them when she was newly pregnant. They ranged from Archie to Opal. I would try to hold back my true feelings. She would always scold me, "Emily, you have to think of the child's face, not what you associate with the name!" She gave birth to Emery Jane (it already causes confusion) in April but still continues to send me names.

My boyfriend, in all his lovable neediness, insisted on tagging along very soon into our dating. He begged me to include his names. As a true pessimist, I was thinking, Why share names with someone I am eventually going to break up with? I mean, baby names are forever. Boyfriends are temporary. He would say things like, "I want to buy that for 'x baby name' when he's that age." I would gasp, slap his wrist and say, "You stop that! That's my name!"

I remember my parents telling me how they wrote a list while they were dating. I thought it was cute, but they eventually got married. Isn't this something I want to share with my future husband? Is it wrong to name your children while dating?

When more of my names began to be influenced by my boyfriend's Spanish background, and we had added a couple of years to our relationship, I conceded to include him. (I have had to draw the line at middle names, though.) My sister is great evidence of how one's list is ever-changing, so in the end it really doesn't matter. I will admit that perhaps I was being too serious by hoarding my names.

It is kind of fun to share names, but we all know who will have ultimate veto power. In my boyfriend’s words, "It isn't just a name, but an imaginary future person I already love." Even if we do not spend forever together, I would most certainly not ever credit him with having the power to ruin one of my future children's perfect names.

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About Emily Deck

  • Think too of name acronyms when the whole name is put together. It could save a lot of grief later.