Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's in a Name?

First off:  no, no. I'm not pregnant. (Start talking about babies and names and people start to wonder...)  Rather, several unusual names have come across my path this past week and it's led me to remember what it was like to name a baby:  such an exciting hunt but such a big responsibility. 

If you read my old iWeb blog you probably recall my post in which I shared the process through which I considered names for my unborn child. My baby was born a girl, so the decision to drop Emerson as one of our boy names ended up a moot point. But our ultimate choice of Uli has since been a conversation starter ever since her 3rd day of life (had to get to know her a little bit before the decision was final). 

Of course, so far the conversations about her name have primarily been with medical staff (the staff often mispronounce Uli as yōō' lē rather than  ōō' lē. I tell them: Think of Uma Thurman. Same sound, Uma/Uli.). But someday there'll be teachers, classmates, and employers. I expect she may need to correct the prounounciation all her life (sorry, baby!) and possibly also correct for her sex (Uli is most commonly a nickname of the male name Ulrich. It's also a nickname for the female Ulrika but seems like people familiar with Germanic/Swedish names aren't as familiar with that). I personally have had many a person think I was a boy because of my name, and post-grammar school I haven't minded, so I'm not overly concerned about that on her behalf. I do, however, worry about the pronunciation. It might get really annoying for her. 

But here's the name that got my fingers typing up this post:  Marijuana Pepsi (Jackson) Sawyer. No mispronouncing that one. Yup, that's the name her mother gave her. She's a Wisconsin woman who has succeeded in life despite a rather difficult childhood (exacerbated at times by her unusual first and middle names). Her naming situation reminds me of that Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue except Marijuana has made such peace with her name that she refuses to answer to Mary or Mary-Jane. Good for her! (I think.)

I was out to find an unusual but simple name for my child. And I think I did so. I hope it serves her well, whether she develops into an artist, a professor, a scientist, or a film star. She's a girl named Uli. It's no Sue. It's definitely not Marijuana Pepsi. She could have been any number of names, but my husband and I chose the one name that felt perfect for her. And, seventeen months later, I still love it and believe it suites her perfectly. I hope she feels the same as she grows.

Anyone else want to share their children's names and/or why they chose them? 


Boy Crazy March 31, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

hi! I'm so glad you left on comment on my blog, which ended up leading me over here. :) Always nice to find more Madison mamas out here in the blogosphere.

I love the name Uli -- I hadn't heard it before, but I really like it. My friend's daughter's name is Oona, which I think is really cute, too. I have all boys. Our first is named after a mountain in the Teton range, where we were living when he was conceived. Ironically, his name has skyrocketed in popularity since then, but honestly we were not clued in at all to baby name trends at the time. Whatever. We like it anyway. (Owen.) Our second is Eli, named after me - Elizabeth. And our third is Axel, which we just really liked the sound of, the meaning ('father of peace'), and it fit him. Although people either think he's named for a little Swedish grandpa or a rockstar. ;)

Ok, sorry for being so long winded! I just wanted to say hello and thought I'd join in the conversation. :)


Anonymous April 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

My niece is named Lennin. Yes, after the Beatle...John Lennon. I love it and it suits her very very well. Many a family member had a struggle with the concept but now it's become feminine to me and if she winds up hating it she can go by her middle name "Elizabeth".

Thomasin April 6, 2010 at 9:45 PM  

@Elizabeth, I love your boys' names! They're connected to your family in a special way. And I like to hear when mothers name their children after them. :-)

@Anonymous, I think Lennin is adorable! But I really enjoy the unusual names (my daughter's and my own name as examples).

Thank you for commenting! I love to hear about what others have chosen for names.

the grumbles July 23, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

i love the name Uli! people are so strange about names sometimes. they will love it/hate it for no reason at all and they aren't afraid to tell you, right to your face.

we chose to name jude, jude. no particular reason it just felt... right. and we both agreed, so jude it was. his middle name is wroughton, which our families hate, and i love. whatever, it's a middle name, right?

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