Thursday, July 9, 2009

"What's Your Name?" "Berit." Cue Blank Stare.

I remember driving near Detroit about 10 years ago, thinking about one of those topics that creep into the female mind every now and then: What I would name my children, someday. I saw a sign that said "Madison Heights" and I thought, "Hey, Madison would make a cool name! No one names their daughter Madison!"

Oh, hah. I'm glad I changed my mind, as now a number of little girls I know are named Madison. (And it is very, very adorable.) :)

When it came to naming our children, Trevor and I had a different plan than that of driving expressways looking for inspiration. And every so often, when we meet new people or when the idea that we named our kids something completely out-of-the-ordinary gets to someone, we are asked why we chose the names we did.

Lately there have been a lot of inquiries regarding this. I'm not sure if it's that I've caught up with people on a certain social networking site who knew me a zillion years ago or if there's just a new crop of people who wish, for ease of use, we had named our kids Emma and Jake. (Which are both very, very adorable.)

So here are the stories.

When I was pregnant for Berit, we knew we wanted something that was a very classic German or Scandinavian name. Our last name being so obviously German and such a mouthful, I wanted to pair it with a first name that made sense. Plus, having been raised in a Danish community and Trevor in a German/Czech family, we liked the names from those regions.

Trevor was stuck on "Berit" from the moment he found it. I wanted something a little more feminine and known. But soon we discovered that our baby had a heart condition; one that she might not survive, and I didn't care anymore. We needed to name our baby, to know her, to bond with her now, and I told Trevor he could pick anything at all, as long as her middle name was Hayes, which is my maiden name. He told me that Berit meant "happy girl," and even though the meanings behind names are really just a novelty at best to me, I liked it, because she was supposed to be struggling yet she was... happy. Active. When Trevor read books to my belly she kicked and squirmed and moved close to his face. In fact, that's how we got her to change out of a breech position. So Berit she was, and is, and she loves it.

I will admit that The Sound of Music is my very favorite movie of all time, but it's not the reason for our choosing the name "Marta" for our second daughter. When we found out we were pregnant, I printed out a list of German names, and I just loved it. Trevor was on the fence, but since he chose Berit I got to choose Marta, and it just seems so lovely to me. And if, upon meeting her, anyone ever says to Marta, "My, you're practically a lady," I will secretly love them for all time.

A funny thing about the names... Right when we were very, very first pregnant with Berit, we ran through the list of baby names that we liked in general. This was before the decision to do the German names. Anyway, our top two names for girls were Evan and Drew. If we went with Evan, we thought we'd call her Evie (eh-vee, not eee-veee). We didn't tell anyone about this, because we were so newly pregnant and at that point, we were certain we wouldn't reveal our name choices.

While I was pregnant for B, one of my dearest friends was preggers for her twin boys. When I asked her what she would name them, it was "Evan and Drew." ! That sent us back to the books, and led to our decision to do German names.

A year or so after that, Trevor's cousin and his wife had their first baby. A girl, who they named "Evie." And yes, they pronounce it eh-vee.

So what would we name our next? Well, if it's a boy, his name will be Peter, which has been our boy name since the start (though Trevor did really, really press for AXEL. Honest). But since we're not even close to being pregnant yet, we haven't discussed girl names.

So that's the story. I hope my girls like their names, and their reasons why.

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