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what’s in a baby name?

Baby Center recently sent out the “Popular Baby Names in 2013.” Liam and Sophia sit at #1. I actually have mom friends with children named Liam and Sophia and they are both lovely names. It got me thinking about my child’s name and how it came to be.

Anderson Douglas St.Hilaire

It is a long name for a little man, but I love it. I wasn’t always confidant about it, however.

Growing up, I didn’t meet another Cara until I was in high school. Cara was always a “weird” name among the many Jennifers and Christines and Amys. Actually, the #1 baby name of 1979 was indeed Jennifer according tothis. Michael was the #1 for boys. I kindof always liked that Cara was different. Nobody confused me. Nobody had to add the initial in my last name to be sure I was the right Cara. I didn’t have to rename myself Jen or Chris or Mike to distinguish myself from the others that share my name.

There was no grand plan behind my name. My father found it in a baby book, liked it, and liked what it meant (“beloved; dear one; friend”). The year Cara was most popular was 1960 and it was far more common in Ireland and Scotland than the US. I’m not Irish or Scottish.

I’ve always liked names that were different, but different in a good way. Not different in a “What the hell?” kind of way like J’AdoreCalifornia, or Yoga. Yes, these are real names from 2012. I hate criticizing, but wow. Yoga? I love yoga and all, but not enough to name my kid Yoga.

In 2008, I was expecting. The pregnancy was lost at 14 weeks, but I was convinced I was carrying a girl and wanted to name her Skye. I’m sure people would think that was weird and hippy dippy too. For the record, I have another girl name in my back pocket (a little less hippy dippy) should we ever have a little girl, but it is doubtful that there will ever be a second child. Hmm. Who knows? I don’t think that is something I can answer now. I’m content with what I have and the dynamic we three have together.

Because of the loss in 2008 and the devastation that followed, we refused to think about names for Anderson until well into the 2nd trimester. When we learned we were having a boy at 19 weeks, we started to think about it. Chris actually suggested Anderson. We both liked it for a few reasons that have nothing to do with Anderson Cooper(though I’ve since developed a little crush on him). First, Anderson is my maiden name and that name clearly means something special to me. Second, Chris had a student a few years ago that was a super star. His name was Anderson. Chris never forgot him. Third, the name is simply unique as a first name and I love that. Furthermore, if we felt Anderson was too long for a little boy, we could call him Andy. I’ve known many people named Andy. It’s a fun, cute name that makes me think of wool scarves and artists.

I was happy with our choice. It was different but not crazy. It had meaning. It had a nickname. However, when people would ask me about his name, I’d tell them rather clumsily. Then I’d over explain because I was clearly not comfortable with the name yet. He was still “the baby.” Even after he was born, he was “the baby” and I even still refer to him this way out of habit.

I realize now that my discomfort was likely coming from two things. 1. The pressure of naming another actual person is crazy if you overthink it. 2. I do think it is odd to name someone that you haven’t really met yet, face to face. Maybe I never let myself believe he’d ever really be here until he was actually here.

His middle name, Douglas, is in honor of Chris’s uncle who passed away in 2009.

It took a few months after he was born before Anderson rolled off my tongue. Then, I fell in love with his name. I had a bit of an epiphany when we took him to daycare. “Should we call him Andy or Anderson?” Without hesitation, I said, “Anderson.” Andy isn’t his name. Anderson is his name. I didn’t want them to call him Andy. Chris calls him Andy sometimes, but I don’t think I ever will. OK maybe I’ll use “A” over text for brevity. I love his name and it suits him perfectly. Anderson, Anderson, Anderson.


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