The name game

When you announce that you’re pregnant, people first ask: “When are you due?” Then, it’s “Do you know the baby’s gender?” Finally, they ask “Do you have a name picked out?” I believe names are important and, more often than not, imbued with meaning. There are reasons why there are so many baby name books and websites—we want our children’s names to somehow set them on a certain course before they’re even born. Sometimes, as girls, there are names we love and keep in our hearts for when we eventually have children. We cross our fingers and hope that no one close to us names their child that name before we can.

When we were pregnant the first time around, I was sure we were having a boy. Mr. D thought we were having a girl. Many agreed with him because apparently I was carrying the belly lower and rounder. When we went to get our second trimester ultrasound, we asked the technician to write the baby’s sex on a piece of paper and put it in a sealed envelope. We planned to go out to dinner that night and open the envelope together. We had also agreed that whoever was right about the baby’s gender would get to name it.

Holding the envelope before the big reveal.

Thankfully, the name Mr. D picked was also one I had considered. We also agreed on the spelling of the name. We wanted a name that was easy to recognize, spell, and pronounce here and in the Philippines.  Spelling her name with an “f” rather than a “ph” was another decision we made, we thought it made the name read sophisticated and classic without being old-fashioned. Sofia means “wisdom,” which is something I hope she possesses as she grows. Quite different from being intelligent, it’s “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement.” In a world where we’re inundated with so much information and influence, good judgement is a necessity. Already we can see that she is a person who likes to make up her own mind, and is quite adamant about making decisions, whether it be what she’ll wear today or what books she’ll read at bedtime.

With our second child, we decided to make the same deal: whoever was right about the gender got to name the baby. Mr. D was convinced we were having another girl, while I knew it would be a boy (the bad morning sickness and fatigue were a clue). This time, however, we took Big Sister with us to the ultrasound rather than wait for dinnertime. Caleb’s name was one I had in mind since I was a teenager. It happened one Sunday. The pastor’s sermon was about the twelve spies Moses sent to scout the Promise Land, including Joshua and Caleb. Ten of the spies came back and reported that the land was indeed “full of milk and honey” but there was no way they could take it, since it heavily fortified and full of giants. But, Joshua and Caleb didn’t agree. Caleb “silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it (Numbers 13:30).” For some reason, that stuck with me because I always thought that was a great quality to have: the confidence to stand up and go for something even though everyone else thinks it’s impossible.

We can only wait and see whether our kids’ personalities will match the names they were given. But isn’t that what carefully choosing a name is all about—an expression of hope and of the good wishes you have for your children?

How/why did you choose your kids’ names? 


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