Baby Names

As I made my way to school one day, I found myself thinking about baby names. It’s funny how parents choose names for their children, I thought to myself, because sometimes the names they choose go beyond reason or logic.Now, it’s not because my wife’s pregnant or anything, but I find that I’ve come to an age where most of the elder siblings of my friends either have or are having their own babies. Some of my more lucky girl friends have babies of their own (through some miracle of dating and the spectacular failure of birth control), and their birthdays are up soon. It’s not at the point where all our parties have become kiddie parties, but I surmise that day will come sooner than I think.

Some of the names that they’ve given are outright horrible. One girl friend of mine named her daughter Moyzca Coelyn. I’m not even sure if I got the name right. It’s supposed to be in Gaelic, I think, and it’s supposed to have a limaçon (as in Moyça), but Moyzca’s mother wanted to spare her the pain. However, the thought of how just that’s going to happen escapes me.

Other names may be excused as a result of the eccentricities of their parents. One friend’s elder sister named her daughter Amihan. I guess if she has a brother, he’ll be named Habagat. If Habagat is born, and there’s a third child, will my friend’s sister name her child (this is my wife’s idea), “Manaka-nakang Pag-Ulan”? I hope to Christ not.

Perhaps they have these names because Amihan’s mom is a Fine Arts graduate, because the only children of Fine Arts graduates that I know of have these really eccentric Filipino names (as in the siblings Diwata, Lilledeshan, and Mutya), but I can’t say for certain.

As for me, I’m Francis Euston. Francis is fine, being pronouncable in French and English. Euston, however, is another thing. According to my mother, she named me Euston for Eustaquio’s son. This places me in the category of people with contracted names, like Jejomar (Jesus, Joseph, Mary), Mabeth (Maria Elizabeth), and so on. I’m sure you know someone with a contracted name. However, there just happens to be a train station in London named Euston, because it’s in Euston Square. The only analogy I can offer is naming someone John Tutuban, for Tumutubong Uban, but that’s beyond lame. At any rate, I think I’ve ruled out a junior to carry my name beyond my death.

My wife, on the other hand, is André. It’s not Andrea, and it’s not Andrée. It’s the masculine form of André. Even the Ateneo Law School registrar got it wrong. I don’t understand why people have a hard time understanding why her father couldn’t understand why God didn’t give him a son for his first child. Lucky for me, I guess. If I name my son André, will that make him a junior, too? I don’t know at the moment, and I think we’ll skip the issue by not even considering André at the moment.

At home, I have this little book with around a thousand baby names, together with what they mean in Greek, Celtic, and old German terms. I bought it several years ago to pacify my wife, who was having fits over baby names. My best friend gave us a dog at the time, and we wanted to give it a name that befit its temperament. We ended up calling it Sprite.

Now, in no way am I suggesting that a good naming scheme for children is naming them after popular soda brands, but stranger things can and have happened. You can name your children after spices, for instance. My wife once had a batchmate, Pepper, whose younger sister was named Garlic. My only guess is that her parents are reserving Onion for their yet unconceived brother.

You can name your child after the child of your childhood crush. I know a friend of my mom who did, but of course this is according to my mother, and there’s no accounting for narcissistic thoughts or tendencies in people fighting middle age.

You can always go for the Pinoy staple Maria (insert name here) name, or the redundant Dingding, Dingdong, or what have you. Feel free to substitute D with M or L, as the case may be (for Lingling or Mingming, the choice is yours!). You might also want to consider really old Spanish-type names like Restituto or Procopio. Of course, if your name really stinks you can ask the court give you relief so you can be called Joker instead. Just ask the Senator.

An alternative is to give your child twenty names and let him decide later on in life (with a court order) what his name’s supposed to be. I once had a classmate named Brian Jeremy Francis James. As far as I know, he only uses Brian because the rest of his names are a bitch to enumerate every time he uses his passport.

I guess we can never find out why we name our children or our potential children a certain way. We can only guess at the intent of our parents, however twisted they may be.

It is at this point where my wife breaks my reverie and asks, “Will you get mad at me if I name our daughter Maria Antonina Wilhelmina Victoria?”

Kee-rist.

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