Thinking of baby names is super fun. Until you are pregnant. Isabelle, Megan, Jonathan, Benjamin – it’s all fun and games until it actually means something. I got all sorts of (unsolicited) baby-naming advice when I was pregnant with baby #1. I tried to disregard most of it (“You don’t want to name the baby ______, it’s so common/unusual.”). But one piece of advice from a mom of three has stuck with me all these years later.
Once you find a couple of names you like, scream them each as loud as you can 20-30 times in a row. If there’s one you like after the exercise is completed- you have your name! After all, you will spend a lot of time screaming the name in the coming years.
At the time I thought the advice was a little crass. I would NEVER scream at my precious bundle of joy. 7+ years later, I think my friend’s advice was very wise. None of us like to raise our voices at our children, but it happens. Even in my house.
I was reminded of my friend’s sage advice the other day while sitting poolside. The mom next to me had 2 girls and spent a lot of time yelling at them. Not unusual for the pool: “No running!,” “Don’t push your sister!,” “Don’t dive in the shallow end!” What was unusual, however, was the names she was using to call her girls. Instead of using 2 names for her 2 daughters (i.e., Emily and Ashley) she had at least 5 names (i.e., Emily, Ashley, Jennifer, Cleo, and Paige). I was fascinated by this family. What was going on? Were there children around the corner I hadn’t seen? After about 30 minutes, the mom must have noticed my interest. She turned and explained,
I have to yell at Emily and Ashley so much that I have gotten sick of their names. Now I call them by a bunch of different names to give my throat and ears a rest.
That cracked me up. I am in the business of parenting strategies – and that was a new one to me. I still haven’t decided if this mom’s technique was a sign of trouble, or a brilliant parenting strategy. Either way, it brought a smile to my face as I realized – yet again – what a tough job parenting is for all of us.