Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Names

My friend Amy already knows that she's having a boy. Today she blogged about the name they have picked out: Thomas Adam. And now all I can think about are baby names. We don't know what we're having yet and this time we're actually prepared with both a boy's name and a girl's name. I'm not sure we're exactly set in stone, but we've been thinking about names for a while and keep coming back to one boy's name and one girl's name.

Our next doctor's appointment is May 30th and we haven't scheduled an ultrasound so I really don't know when we'll find out the gender and I was totally fine with waiting for a while. Not knowing wasn't bothering me at all...until Amy found out. And now I really want to know, too. Our due dates are so close together; it almost doesn't seem fair that she already knows she's having a boy and I still have to wait for who knows how long.

I was going to hold off on blogging about baby names until we knew the gender. I don't think we ever revealed that if Rachel had been a boy she probably would have been named Steven Conrad (which is still on our list of names; it's just been booted down the line a little).

Somehow I find sharing baby names a little risky. What if someone steals the name I put out there? Wasn't I the naive 13 year old who suggested Matthew for my nameless nephew, while holding him tenderly in the hospital, never realizing that I was surrendering one of my favorite boy names?

My friend Sara revealed her soon-to-be-born baby's name and a close relation, who was contemporarily expecting, had her baby first and used the exact combination (first and middle name) that Sara had picked out, which I think was a bold move (and a little intrusive). Sara named her baby as planned, anyway, which I think was brave and just.

We're almost baby name stealers, ourselves.

Our girl name is Miriam al-Noor.

We met and fell in love with Miriam while in Jordan. She was the sweetest little baby and had such a pretty name. It's not a family name, but neither is Rachel (who was almost named Miriam). We would want her to have someone to identify with, though, so, like Rachel, Miriam is a scriptural name.

We decided to try to name our girls with middle names dealing with "light." Kind of a weird whim, I suppose. Rachel's middle name is Anneliese, which means graceful light. al-Noor means light in Arabic, so the name would translate to be Miriam of Light.

I realize that giving her an Arabic middle name is perhaps a little brazen, but we like it and don't think it will cause her any problems down the road. It's not like we're planning on using Hussein as her middle name or anything. I have full confidence that she could still be elected president with a middle name like al-Noor if she wished; she just might be flagged in airports more often than your average Joe, but airports are a bear, anyway. Plus she'd be named after a queen, which is always fun.

Our boy name is Thomas Spencer.

We were discussing boys names a while ago, rethinking the whole Steven Conrad thing. Conrad is a family name on my side and it has been used several times. I actually can think of a lot of family names on my side that I like. Andrew's side is a tad trickier for me. I just don't know his geneology like I know mine.

Andrew's dad's name is Reid and he's always suggesting Reida (for a girl) or Reid (for a boy). My only problem with that is that I really don't like the name Reid. It's nothing personal. I don't really like the name Bruce, either, and that's my dad's name. And my uncle's name. Sorry. It's not you, it's me.

Reid's middle name is Spencer and while he doesn't like it (at least, Andrew said he doesn't), I do. At least, I like it better than Reid, so I figured that that was a family name that we could easily use without me having to spend hours researching Andrew's family history, which I should probably do sometime down the road but haven't done yet.

Andrew's middle name is Thomas, which, serendipitiously enough, happens to be another one of my favorite boy names. It always has been. My sister Kelli made a doll for me--life size--and gave it to me for Christmas or my birthday in 1994 (I think), so that's almost 15 years ago. The doll was dressed in turquoise footed jammies. All my other dolls were obviously girls and I thought it fair that this doll should be a boy since it was clearly gender-neutral. I named the doll Thomas because I liked that name.

I'm not quite sure why I liked the name then, but it might have something to do with Thomasina. (That's probably not a detail we should share with this child if it ends up beind a boy).

Thomas Spencer. I was almost giddy when I came up with that combination. It has a nice ring to it, I think. It sounds familiar somehow, doesn't it? Just rolls off the tongue?

Thomas Spencer.

Thomas Spencer.

Thomas Spencer.

Try this on for size: Thomas Spencer...Monson.

Yes, we've accidentally named our future son (if it is a boy) after the prophet, which I don't think is a bad thing (although we did laugh long and hard when we finally realized exactly why it sounded so familiar). I actually think it is a good thing.

I wouldn't think it would be a good thing if we named him McKay or Bitner or Davido. Sometimes names--family or religious--are overdone and/or need not be and/or should not be reused. There are far too many McKays and Kimballs and other weird "last names as first names" in Utah, I think. And as much as I love President Hinckly, Bitner is kind of a strange name that falls under the "last name as first names" category and in the "kind of awkward sounding" category as well. Davido's name (I seriously have a friend named Davido) really suits him and he's a really nice person, but it doesn't change the fact that his name is kind of...strange. Not strange in the same way that Bitner is strange, but strange nonetheless.

We also, accidentally, chose the same boy name that Amy picked out! What are the odds of that?!

So there you have it.

Girl: Miriam al-Noor.

Boy: Thomas Spencer.

Both stolen names. We stole from friends. We stole from family. We stole from royalty. We stole from the Bible. We stole from the prophet.

Hopefully no one minds. I like our stolen names. Besides, it's probably best that I didn't come up with a completely unique, 100% unstolen name. To quote from Darren Barefoot, "People have been naming children for thousands of years. All of human history has done a better job inventing names than [I] will."


  1. Ah this post made me smile. I'm deep in baby nameland myself. Such a delicate thing, finding what sounds and feels right, without offending anyone or anything of that sort.

    I try to think of my baby as an eighty year old man or woman and ask, will it suit them then? It helps. I like the names you've chosen. Not enough to steal them, but they're lovely.

  2. I think of Diane Mora telling me that you should name babies what you intend to call them. (So they named Josie Josie and not Josephine-- a name which we would later steal.) And Diane had a brother who ended up always being called Bum. Seriously. But I don't think her parents would have EVER even THOUGHT about naming him that!

  3. We're not sure about nicknames at this point, unfortunately. :)

  4. Miriam is the perfect baby name for Americans who hang out in Arabia, so I'm glad to spread the joy! Steal away! And I LOVE al-Noor! I've always said, middle names are the best because nobody needs to know what it is unless you want them to.

    Jeremy and I considered Saladin or Salah for a middle name for a boy but then Magdalena ended up being a girl so it kind of died out. You can do risky stuff like that for middle names.

  5. Just so you know, you stole my name that I had picked out years ago. But it's noor and not al-noor. If it's a girl that you are having, you have to clarify to the family that I didn't steal they name (when I do have a girl), it just happened like that :)

  6. I like it. Miriam is so Robin Hoody. And Thomas Spencer you can nickname Tommy. :) And raise him up as a good story teller. Also, I was not named after David Bruce Haight. He just happened to be an apostle when I was born.

  7. You're not going to believe this, but just last week I had the thought that Thomas Spencer would be a perfect name if you have a boy! I've already told Dad that no one wants to name their children Reid, so Spencer is much more logical. And I love the name Thomas (hence Andrew's middle name). Great minds think alike!

  8. As soon as I saw "Thomas Spencer", I thought to myself "Thomas Spencer Monson? Is that right? I'll look it up in a minute."

    Guess I was right. :)

    Also, I love those names. Miriam is on my list of girl's names, but it's at least #3. You can certainly expect posts like this from me when I'm expecting.

    Whenever that is . . .

  9. Just FYI, because I had to field this question a lot, the name of the girl in Robin Hood is Marian, not Miriam. Not that it would matter if it WERE Miriam, but I thought you should know since you'll likely have to answer that question, too.

    And why al-Noor instead of just Noor? Another girls' name we considered (not to show all our cards at once or anything) was Nora and call her Noor in Arabia.

  10. Well, I like the name Reid. But, I don't think Larry would ever talk to the boy if we called his grandson that.
    Sorry Reid. :)

    I like the name Thomas Spencer. I secretly hope you have a boy.

    We have all our names picked out too. If Michael was a girl, (which I'm glad he isn't), we were thinking Rebecca. But now that name is no longer on our list of Favorites. Funny how that goes, huh?

    Michelle stole my baby girl name, even after I specifically told her on the phone not to name her child Emily because I had planned that name for over 10 years. I don't blame her for making my mom tell me that she chose the name Emily.

    But, nevertheless, Emily is still on my list. Emily-Cate to be exact. And yes, I want the "-" as part of her name. Cate is not a middle name.

    The end.

  11. @ Bridget -- I have this thing about names being too short. I thought about Nora, but I wouldn't use it as a first name, I decided. Noor was Andrew's suggestion for the middle name after I nixed Jamila (because in Egypt it's Gamila which is not pretty, in my opinion). But, see, Noor is too short. I don't know what I have against one syllable names. So I counter-suggested having her middle name be al-Noor. Of course, it would be pronounced Annoor (so good thing it's not her first name--everyone would be confused), which is kind of like Nora, only backwards. I had to do some research to show him that adding the al part was acceptable to do. He was quite adamant that it broke every Arab naming scheme and it would have to be simply Noor.

    We tried to come up with an Arab middle name for a boy, but that was harder. And I think it's fair that Reid has someone named after him. :)

    @ Layla -- Go ahead and use Noor. :) I don't mind one bit. I won't call you a name stealer. And if you end up having a girl before I have another one, we might still use it, too...

    @ Karen -- I thought you might like the name Thomas ;)

    @ Diana -- That stinks. But you don't know how long Michelle was thinking of Emily, either. I'm still debating using the name Matthew at some point. My sister's Matthew is turning 10 this year, so it isn't like they'd be so close in age that it would be confusing. I had more than one cousin named Heather and it was fine. :) Emily-Cate is cute, and different from simply Emily.

  12. I like that you shared you names. With Sunshine I was SOOO over protective of baby names that we kept her name a secret until she was born. This was mostly because we didn't find out what she was until she was born, AND we had about three names in each gender that we were still deciding on, but we refused to share our ideas until it was on her birth certificate.

    Next time around I don't think I'll be as territorial. (Although we've already decided not to find out the gender again.)

  13. @ Lauren -- We discussed not finding out the gender of our 2nd child. However, since we live here, our baby stuff isn't quite as accessible as it once was. If it is a girl, we'd like to bring some of Rachel's clothes out...if it's a boy we won't bother. Maybe the next one will be a surprise. I think it sounds fun to have a surprise. We were completely undecided with Rachel when we went in for the ultrasound and the technician just blurted out, "It's a girl! Oh, did you want to find out or not? Oops!"

    So we found out...

  14. I don't think you stole it, I think you thought of it by yourselves before I said it outloud. :) Plus, I think it would be hysterical if we both have Thomases (is that the proper way to pluralize it?) and they had to sit by each other in English class.

    Also, you should know that our Dr. told us "this one is just for fun, the real ultrasound isn't for 3 weeks" so he wrote down that he thinks it's a boy and "we'll see how good the ultrasound technician really is". I bet you'll find out when you go on the 30th. Unless you don't wanna.

    Also I LOVE the name Miriam, and given that your child is going to belong to you and Andrew I SERIOUSLY don't think there will be a problem with the middle name al-Noor. I wanna hear you say it though, cuz I'm not sure how it's supposed to sound. I think it's pretty though. And Miriam is BEAUTIFUL.

    Either way, you're set.