Meet our Baby boy – Spatula!!

“Some gal would giggle and I’d get red,
And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named “Sue!”

In the classic Johnny Cash song, “A Boy named Sue”, a father that wasn’t going to be around to raise his son, names him Sue so the boy will have to grow up to be tough… clever or cruel?

Our baby boy is scheduled to arrive in two weeks (*yes, we found out the gender) and the search for the perfect name is killing me. This may be the single most important life decision we will ever make for another human being!

The rest of his life will always involve that name…

“Next for Show and Share is…”
“The Most Valuable Player of the Year is …”
“The Oscar goes to…”
“Up on related charges…”

The choice may be ours, but we are making it for someone else. We are just trustees in this matter, assigned to handle the affairs of another person who is unable to act yet because he will still be passing green poop.

Frequent readers of my articles may remember that my son and stepson share the same first name, “William”. So when we discovered that we were pregnant with our first child together, we told the boys that if we have a boy, then “naturally he would have to be William!” to which my son responded “That’s the stupidest thing ever Dad!”

Where I live in Canada, we have 30 days to name this boy before we start incurring fines, so the pressure is on with a deadline looming. Only the province of Quebec has specific laws to ‘protect children from names that invite ridicule or discredit the child’; a law that was challenged in 1996 when two chefs wanted to name their child “Spatula”.

We can name this child ANYTHING!!!  The options are overwhelming!

Neither one of us want to use a super popular name. I don’t need to delight in the search for the tiny license plate souvenir in a foul smelling gas station. We do want a name that has only ONE spelling. We don’t want a weird or trendy name as I agree with the experts that believe “eccentric names breed eccentric children…”

I asked my own parents how they decided my name. I wanted to hear the elaborate, beautiful story. “We were sure you were gonna be a girl, gonna call you ‘Jennifer’. When you came out a boy, we were screwed. We had no boy names. The male nurse working that night was Jeffrey. Bingo!”   That’s it. Heartwarming.

So I turned to Google. I researched hundreds of very interesting studies written on the power of names, articles with magically confusing categories like strong, wimpy, upwardly mobile, attractive, emasculated names etc…

Consider this study; identical resumes with different names were given to HR directors. Not surprisingly, the Mortimers, Ednas and Barnabys did not do well against the Ethans, Noahs, and Olivias. In another study, teachers were given identical essays with different names and gave similar results; a lower grade for ‘weaker’ names!

Add 20 points to the “perceived IQ” of your child if they have certain “intellectually powerful” names like Catherine or Elliot.

And finally, a cool study at Tulane University supported the notion that names have an energy and an aura. In the famous “bogus beauty contest”, researchers used six head shots of women all judged to be equally attractive; three of the pictures were given the “desirable” names – Julia, Madison, and Danielle. The other pictures were given so-called “undesirable” names such as Ethel, Harriet, and Gertrude. Students, both male and female, judged the women with desirable names almost four times as attractive!! Four times!!

I believe a name does send out energy about the person. From just a name, in the blink of an eye, strangers make assumptions and judgments about your child, and this continues into their adult life.

Would you go on a blind date with an “Elmer” or “Candy”?
How many “Barbies” feel compelled to carry along their MBAs and staple them to their purses so that they will be taken seriously?

My partner has been a teacher for 17 years, and I used to run a childcare centre, so between the two of us, almost every name has many memory files attached. The same name can trigger very different reactions based on experience and exposure…

The argument can be made that YOU make your name what it is. Your personality, self-esteem, and energy will surely define YOU in the world – much more than just your name. But can certain names start you behind the eight ball??

After you weed out all the names that don’t work, you then take your short list and try to discover all bastardizing nicknames that cruel school punks could develop, (How many school yard fights do Richard and Percival need to endure?), you are left with a list of possible names for your baby.

Friends say, “Take those names to the hospital and get a look at him and decide which one fits!” How the hell can you do that? He will have a misshapen head, full of ooze, snot, and slime, and be crying and screaming! “Oh, yes, he is definitely a Charles!” (or Chucky!)

I want to give this boy the best birthday present ever, one that will last a lifetime. So in our search for the perfect name, we must tiptoe through the landmines of powerful, wimpy, and attractive names.

I am driving a very pregnant partner closer and closer to the edge. She is very frustrated with me repeatedly changing my mind and says soon I will lose my naming privileges, but no one said it would be easy — life ain’t easy for a boy named “Sue.”

If you were starting life today, knowing everything you know about the world, is your name the best one to represent you?

Would you change it?

Please share your thoughts on your own name and possible names for my boy… time is ticking!!

Until next time!

Cute baby face

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