When we got our first greyhound, he came with the name Joe and we really thought that was an odd name for a dog. We spent the next three months trying to decide on a different name and never came close to agreeing on anything. At that point, we realized that even if we could agree on a new name, it would probably be pretty confusing since we’d been calling him Joe for months by then and he responded to it. So he stayed Joe.
Unfortunately, babies don’t come from the womb named. We spent months and months researching and debating. Name books, social security lists, polling other people, the internet, old family names, and on and on. We wanted something unusual enough that there wouldn’t be 54 of them in his class, but common enough that people wouldn’t struggle with spelling or pronouncing it. And then we had to deal with the “Oh, that’s our friend’s daughter’s name…” and the “Oh, I really dislike someone with that name…”, which really seemed to narrow our options. It got to the point where I was sure we weren’t going to be allowed to leave the hospital because they were going to declare us incompetent for being unable to name a baby. It seems like most people have Boy and Girl #1’s names picked out practically on conception… not us!
So when we reached the 7 or 8 month mark, we had finally both picked a name that we really liked. Only, it wasn’t the same name. Neither of us hated the other person’s choice, we just liked our own better. Given that neither name was a family name, both went equally well with his middle name, and we’re big on “equal parenting,” how in the world could we pick whose name to use?
Enter Joe the Greyhound. Who better to pick the name for our first child than “our first child?”
We rigged up some elaborate scheme based around dog biscuits. I bought a bag of those generic nasty ones that come in multiple colors but are all one flavor (supposedly, I can’t say I tried them) and we would put two treats across the room and tell Joe “Red is for name X, Brown is for Name Y” and let him choose. Over and over, even though we mixed up the treat colors, the location in the room, the “dog releaser,” and every other detail possible, and Joe picked the same name over and over.
We let Daisy Doodles have vote too and she picked the name Mason every time but once.
So that settled it. Our little unnamed baby became Mason James. No guilt, no resentment, a perfect name picked by the whole family.
Although he would have made a pretty good Owen too, right?
Prompt: “I almost named my child _______, but chose _______ instead because…”