Baby Girl Lin Gets Angry
When I was about 14, I found out that my parents didn’t have a name for my sister for almost a month. Sometimes if she and I were arguing, I would take the opportunity to take jabs at her about it. As a little sister and I knew how to be a pest. If she told me to get lost, I would say.
“Sure! Whatever you say Baby Girl Lin!” or “Sure thing No Name Baby“.
Mostly Barbara would shrug it off, but sometimes if she was aggravated enough, she’d take the bait. Once I got her to the point that when we were in the car she yelled, “SHUT UPPPPP! SHUT UPPPP!”. We both got in trouble.
At the time, I didn’t quite know why it bothered her. I just knew that it was something that I could use to push a button. As I got older, I stopped doing it. Possibly because we argued less, but also because I no longer felt like I needed to bring up things that didn’t have to do with whatever we were arguing about. When I spoke to her recently and asked her about her reaction to being called Baby Lin, she said “I remember that. I don’t even know why that bothered me so much.”
My theory on why she was upset is that we have an innate need to name things, and when you don’t have a name, you don’t feel that you have an identity. When something is named, it has meaning.
Regardless of your religion, here’s a really old text that shows an innate desire to name things. If you go to the Bible and open up Genesis 2:19. It says:
God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
Even now, when they find a new species on earth, they give it a name like the Murina Beelzebub bat. It’s a good name. Admit it, you totally want to see what that bat looks like to be called Beelzebub.
As an aside, did you know that you can’t actually name a star? It’s just a symbolic gift. Astronomers don’t care what you name your star. Doesn’t that make you a bit sad?
Manon, Mais non! Pas de prénom!
I hadn’t thought about babies not having names until I went to visit my friend Manon in Montreal, who had a baby boy in July. She didn’t have a name picked out for her baby yet. Quebec law gives 30 days to figure out a name. When her first son came out, she looked at him and thought “Noah”. When the second one came, she looked at him and had no idea what to call him.
This is the baby sleeping on his father’s chest. The father’s name is Issa. The baby? Who knows.
5 Baby Naming Strategies
Manon and Issa had a Baby Name book that we took turns passing around. Any names were brought onto a shortlist so that Manon and Issa could duke it out. Here were some strategies that the parents took.
1. Avoid names that can be made fun of
Sticks and stones are rarely thrown in order to break bones, but the names that we are called can leave invisible scars that can last a lifetime. This has a lot of sub-points to it because we, as humans can be cruel.
- Boy’s names that are actually girl’s names and vice versa
Think of Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy Named Sue”
- Names that can be referred to body parts
I remember a boy named Dick who’s family didn’t know the connotation that his name had prior to him arriving to Canada. I never made fun of him, but admittedly I had a hard time addressing him without smirking about his name.
- Names that easily rhyme with other words
You have to put your mean kid hat on when thinking about these, but this is why names like Arty (Farty), Luke (Puke), Gracie (Spacey) don’t make the top 10 list.
- Bonus Tip: No Porn Star Names
The Amber part of the name comes from the fact that my Dad bought my Mom an antique belt buckle from the Ching dynasty, made out of Amber. Yup…named after a belt buckle made of fossilized tree sap. I can live with that. Here’s a list of names that you will want to avoid. This happened to me in high school. There was an adult movie star named Amber Lynn, and during class attendance, boys started snickering every time they heard my name. My last name is Lin, and not Lynn, although the names sound synonymous.
2. Unique names are good for character, but not always good for parties or Starbucks
You know how it is, you go to a party, there is music playing and someone introduces themselves to you. Their name is strange and you say “What? Say that again?”. You don’t ever remember their name the next time. Sometimes I go with friends to Starbucks; instead of telling the barista their real names – Jory, Soren, Darius. Instead, they opt to use easy names like Jay, Bob, Dan etc.
3. Naming by Committee
Here’s a strategy. My friend Frau Lashier (not her real name) was also up in Montreal visiting Manon, and decided to take the task to her Facebook friends. Here’s the thread.
4. Pick a short name if you have a long last name
I’m partial to longer names for the plethora of nicknames that can come of them. Every time I brought up a name that had more than two syllables in it, Manon said, “Too long!”.
“But then we can call him <insert nickname here>!” I told her — about a dozen times with different names. Long names are so many more numbers to add up when you’re playing with numerology. If you’re interested in playing with Name Numerology then here’s a fun resource.
Manon’s strategy was to keep it short, because her kids have a 7 syllable hyphenated last name. Forms and offices have guider lines in their forms and Manon didn’t have enough space for her first son’s name already.
5.Let your other kid name the Baby
A lot of people don’t have this luxury, but Manon and Issa do. They brought their possible name list down to two strong candidates: Sasha and Aidan, then they left it to their son Noah. Here’s big brother Noah proudly holding his brother. Practice your french. Towards the end of the video Manon says “Stop eating your brother’s hand.”
And the Baby’s name is…
Aidan. Welcome Aidan. You were named by your cool big brother.
Meet Baby Boy Butters born today at 2:45am. He doesn’t have a name yet
Last night, I got some girls together who used to work at the Jericho Beach Youth Hostel in Vancouver. One of my friends, Gail, texted me to cancel. She couldn’t make it because she was at the hospital having a baby. He doesn’t have a name yet, but he’s a real cutie. I’ll give you an update when she gives him a name.