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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bursting With Naming Issues!

Katie writes:
My husband and I are expecting Baby #2 in a few weeks. We do not know the sex, which is driving me CRAZY! We have no girl name at all because we totally disagree on girl names. Well, actually we both like Anna. But have heard that "Anna Banana" is all she'll ever hear, which isn't so great. Care to comment on that one? (otherwise my favorite girl names are Caroline and Madeline. My husband's are Brianna and Savannah--and we both HATE the other person's choices and will not budge! Suggestions?)

But, this really isn't my main question. I have two other questions about our boy names:

1. Our boy name, Andrew, was chosen a long time ago (when pregnant with our daughter). It was always, always my favorite boy name without question. But, now we live up the street from an Andrew, who is my daughter's 2-year old friend and will be in her preschool and who we see ALL THE TIME. And, well......he isn't MY Andrew. And he screams and bites and his mom is always screeching his name. SCREECHING! And it is kind of ruining the name for me. I like the nickname Andy, but not Drew and neither nickname sounds particularly great with our last name, which starts with a D (and it gets to D sounding with the nicknames). Also, it would be very confusing to have two Andrews running around, since we hang out every day. Is this name permanently ruined for me? What are the chances that we'll always live right near these other people? And if so, will it just be too confusing? And will the name ever regain its favored status in my mind? Or will I always hear the screech and see the biting and screaming Andrew?

2. Also, the middle name we have selected for a boy is "Wesley." This is based on the place name where my husband and I met. Is this weird? Would you find it weird to be named after a place your parents met? Because I kind of think it is kind of.....strange... now, but my husband really loves the idea. What do you think?

I'm going to take the last question first, because it has captured my imagination. I say no, it's not weird to name a baby for the place the baby's parents met, and I say it's sweet. I tested it out to see how I'd feel if my parents had done that with my name---but then I couldn't remember where they met. Er. But I imagined it with a few cities and states I knew they'd lived in and colleges they'd attended, just to get the idea, and each time I thought of one, it seemed cool to me. I even started wishing they HAD named me after where they met. (A related issue is babies named for where they were conceived, and THAT would totally skeeve me out. Even "where my parents honeymooned" is icky to me: I don't want my name reminding them of...those memories.)

Up-to-the-minute update: I'd emailed my parents to ask where DID they meet, and my dad just emailed back. He pointed out that if one child is named after the place where the child's parents met, it may set a precedent: will the next child have to be given a special place name as well? He further points out that associations and feelings may change over time. He may be tactfully referring here to the idea that the parents may, for example, split up and no longer consider the place they met to be a place of sweet romance and new beginnings but instead a place of ill fate and inevitable disaster. Or whatevs. But that's a danger with any name honoring someone or something: perhaps there is a falling out with the dear friend or relative, or perhaps the beloved college changes educational philosophies, or perhaps the favorite author ceases to be a favorite.

Okay, now on to the other naming issues!

I think Anna is one of the most perfect girl names there is, and if you agree on it and you don't agree on any other names, I think you should use it. I do think the nickname Anna Banana is inevitable, and I'm sure a lot of Annas get pretty sick of it---but did you see that custom-printed M&Ms ad where they show "Happy Birthday" and "Anna Banana" printed on the M&Ms and a cute girl having a birthday? That made me think that although it may be a little tiresome, it's still pretty CUTE. (I can just picture all the Annas clenching their teeth as they read this.)

I notice that your husband's other choices both end in -anna. Are there any ending-in-anna names you like? Adrianna, Arianna, Elianna, Gianna, Joanna, Julianna, Lianna, Lilyanna, Marianna, Susanna?

And both your choices have the -line ending. Are there any ending-in-line names your husband might like? I used Think Baby Names (annoying site alert: tons of flashing, intruding ads, and they split the result list into many pieces so you have to keep clicking to new pages and seeing more ads) to find Adeline, Emmeline, and Evangeline (there were a lot of others, but it was names like Darryline and Gayline, which, what?)

About the name Andrew, that situation sucks. Well, what do you think? IS the name ruined for you? I asked Paul, "Hey, Paul, if we decided for sure on Genevieve [current top girl name on our list], and then we got to know another couple..." and I laid out the whole thing, and ended with "Would the name be ruined?" We both thought about it. First we both said, "Welllll, I dunno. Depends." Then we both said, "Yeah, probably. Yeah, ruined."

Would the rest of you like to give opinions on these issues?

1. Is it weird to name a child for where the child's parents met?

2. What do you think of the name Anna? Is "Anna Banana" a dealbreaker? (Everyone named Anna, I'm particularly interested to hear from you on this: is it just kind of an eye-roller, or is it a constant torment and you literally wish you had a different name?)

3. Would that situation with the other Andrew ruin the name for you?

[Name update! 10-04-2008 Katie writes:
We named him Andrew afterall. Andrew Wesley. Thanks to all your readers who assured me it wouldn't be weird to be named after the place your parents met. And sure enough, my perception of the name has changed favorably to my sweet newborn and not the snotty kid down the street! Thanks Swistle fans!]


Jess said...

1. No, it isn't weird, it's sweet. And speaking as a younger child whose older sibling has a "special" middle name (my mother's favorite painter) whereas my middle name is just something my parents thought sounded good with my first name, I don't think that's an issue. I always loved that concept for my sister but I was never jealous of the fact that my own middle name wasn't equally special.

2. I think Anna is a common enough name that Anna Banana isn't an issue, and if the family and kid don't embrace it, it will probably die down. I've usually heard that used as a cutesy nickname, and only when the person liked it. But I would definitely defer to people actually named Anna on this one.

3. Yes, it would ruin the name for me. But that doesn't mean I think it SHOULD be ruined. If other people can get past it, so much the better for them.

Paige said...

1. I think it is very sweet. I thought about how I would feel if I were hypothetically named after where my parents met (even though they met in high school and are now divorced) and I think it would make me feel very special. Also, my husband and I met at a bar called Cody's and I think if I loved that name I would totally do it.

2. I wouldn't be too concerned about the possible nickname. I think it could be avoided if you never called her that. And if she expressed annoyance with it later in life.

3. Probably yes. Unfortunately. Sorry.

brooke said...

1. Nope, not weird at all. I love this concept! I would do it in a second.

2. I am sorry to all of the Anna's, but I love Anna Banana. One of my dear friends is called Anna Banana and she is 26. Granted, my friend is a total nickname person.

3. Yes, for ME, the name would be ruined. For YOU, I don't know.

Good luck!

Rachel said...

1. If its an actual name, like Wesley, then its not weird at all. My parents met in high school in Oxnard, CA so I'm really glad they didn't name me Rachel Oxnard.

2. I love the name Anna. Its classic and feminine without being frilly. I don't think you should worry about Anna Banana. If she doesn't like the nickname she can ask friends and family to stop. If its bullying you're worried about...there are worse things to be called than Anna Banana. Just my opinion, I'm not named Anna!

3. Um, yes. But what about Wesley Andrew? Oh wait...wouldn't that make his initials WAD? Sorry!

Karen said...

1. nice, not weird.

2. I wouldn't let Anna Banana stop me. It's a lovely name.

3. I don't think Andrew would be ruined for me. I also think that Andrew Wesley is a nice combination.

Sara said...

1. No - I think it's a cool idea, especially since it works well as a name. Our kid would have a middle name of Seattle, I guess. :)

2 - A friend of mine has a daughter, Anna, and she is ALWAYS called Anna Banana. That nickname does seem to come up a lot, it seems.

3 - Yes. I taught middle school for 8 years and it doesn't take much to ruin a name for me...

Barb @ getupandplay said...

1- Love it.

2- Anna is darling, classic, and sweet. You could anticipate the "banana" nickname by giving her another nickname instead. Ann? Bug? Sugar? Whatever- something to replace it if it annoys you.

3- Not necessarily. But why not save it for another (possible) future son when you may be in a different situation.

Sherry said...

1) I think naming a kid after a place can be pretty awesome, depending on the place name. Wesley totally works.

2)We had three nieces born in 2007. Two were: Savanna and Diana. Both have nicknames that end in Banana. Everyone thinks it's adorable. If they grow out of it, then we will stop calling them that.

My sister was Tess until she was about 14, and then she was Teresa, and Teresa only. It takes some getting used to, but nobody has to accept a nickname they don't like. If you don't like Anna-Banana, then you can say so to whoever uses it, and so can she, as soon as she can talk.

3) Unfortunately, I do think that some names are ruined by certain people just as other names are made perfect by other people. However, I wouldn't worry about naming a child the same name as a kid down the street if you think chances of either family moving are even remotely high.

Hannah said...

1. I think it's a great idea - plus Andrew Wesley sounds great. I would go for it!

2. My name is Hannah, and although a few people have occasionally called me Hannah Banana when meeting me for the first time (mostly distant relatives and teachers) they've never done it more than once - I just simply say, "I'd prefer not to be called that" or "Just Hannah is fine." And then they drop it. Really, it's not a big issue. Don't worry about it! Anna is a lovely name and very usable.

3. Do you still like Andrew? If so, then use it. I think it has a really sweet sound. If you really can't get past the bad associations, pick another name. You might like: Thomas, Oliver, Gideon, Joshua, Michael, James, William... I think those are all similar to Andrew in style.

krisfun said...

1. Not fact, I think you're kinda lucky that where you met is a name that could be used.

2. I love the name Anna. It is simple and classic and my niece's name to boot.
I think if you are letting possible nicknames affect what you name your child, you'll never come up with anything! Even names you think could possibly have an annoying nickname...somebody at school always manages to find one. You could do a LOT worse than Anna Banana.

3. I would definitely consider the name ruined for me.

The Schwant Family said...

After reading this I tried really hard to figure out a way to name a child after where my husband and I met but The Cherokee Bar doesn't sound so sweet! I LOVE the idea of using Wesley, I'd do it in a heartbeat if we had a good name with that kind of sentiment behind it!

Anna is a precious name and since you will be the primary people naming and nicknaming her I think you'll be fine. I'd use it and just not reinforce the nickname if you don't like it.

I think I'd still use Andrew because when you lay eyes on YOUR Andrew and the name becomes his name it will be associated with all things sweet and wonderful and yours.

Anne said...

As an Anne, I can relate since I always heard "Annie Bananie"..and sometimes followed up with "..has a big fat fannie." That was LOADS of fun growing up (thankfully I was a pretty skinny kid otherwise I might have a complex over it).

BUT...I love, love the name Anna. Love it. I think any kid is going to have a nickname to deal with no matter how hard you try, and Anna Banana isn't so bad.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I love the name Wesley, so go for it! Not weird at all, great idea!

If my boyfriend and I didn't meet in Guelph, Ontario (proun. "Gwelf") maybe I'd do the same thing. LOL. ;-)

Love the name Anna. I don't think you should let nicknames deter you. They're inevitable, but easily dealt with. I'm an offender of calling Anna's "Anna Banana"...but c'mon! It's so CUTE when they're little! You'll call her "Anna Banana" yourself, mark my words! ;-)

I'm sorry, but I would feel that the name Andrew would be ruined for me in that situation; especially if I see the family and the other Andrew all the time. But for me, I just get weirded out naming my kid the same as another kid I know, because I always feel it has to be explained then (because I hate the idea of people saying, "Oh... isn't that so-and-so's son's name?"). Personal issue perhaps. LOL. As a soon-to-be teacher I'm so worried that all my favourite baby names will be ruined for me!

hope said...

1. I did the same as Swistle and considered how I'd feel if I were named after the place where my parents met. My parents actually met in Savannah, GA, and quite honestly, I think I will go call my mother now and demand to know why she gave me the boooooooring middle name Ann, when it could have been Savannah! Unfortunately my husband and I met at a house I was living in at the time on a street named Sweet Vernal, and frequented a bar when we first started dating named Oxfords.

2. I love Anna. Kids will always find some nickname, flaw, etc. to make fun of. you can't shield them from everything. And Anna Banana isn't so bad as far as nicknames go.

3. yes, it would be ruined for me. Sorry.

Jan said...

1. I think it's nice, but then again, I'm named after the month my parents met! I do think the conception thing is too ick; I knew a guy whose middle name was Reno for that very reason. Imagine having to explain your name in class when it's a school assignment.

2. I think Anna and its variations is really overdone for this cohort. My cousin's name is Hannah and she gets the Banana thing all the time. I guess she doesn't mind since it's part of her e-mail address and blog name.

3. You could do it if you still love the name Andrew, but I think you would have to accept that while you know this other Andrew your kid will probably end up with some kind of nickname or extended name. Maybe going by both first and middle name? Initials? Not sure about calling a kid AW though.

Jan said...

How about Wesley Andrew instead of Andrew Wesley?

Shelly Overlook said...

1. Not weird to include the place where you met in the kid's name.

2. Love Anna. Anna Banana is sweet and could be much worse. Take this from someone who was called Smelly Shelly all through elementary.

3. I'd give up on Andrew if I were in that situation.

Jana said...

I just have to say that as someone named Jana, being called "Jana Banana" didn't bother me all that much. It probably lasted a couple of years in elementary school and then everyone got over it. No big deal, really.

Bethtastic said...

1. Love Wesley and would use it. Andrew Wesley rocks.

2. Love Anna. Nicknames come and go. Use the name you love. (And frankly, being a middle school teacher, Banana is about as tame as could be!)

3. Use Andrew. You love it. Always have. And you also love the nn Andy, so call him that right away to eliminate the confusion. (We have a Timothy, and called him Tim before birth, because we also love the nn for his given name.) I say use Andrew!

kel said...

1. You would never have to tell anyone that Wesley was named for the place you met, as it's a known boy name anyway. I'm glad my parents didn't name me Nacogdoches though. And about the conception thing, Amanda was on my girl list until we moved to a house on that street. Being conceived on Amanda Lane made the name skeevy.

2. I would think that nowadays she'll get Anna Montana as well as Banana. Either one though, not a deal breaker.

3. Possible ruination. Depends on how much you really love the name and if you can get over it. I think if it was me I might have to see him when he was born before I made the final decision.

Mayberry said...

Wow -- everyone's pretty much in agreement, and so am I. Wesley and Anna good, Andrew (in this case) not so very much.

Leslie said...

1. I think the sentiment behind Wesley is sweet, and Wesley is a nice name besides. I'd say go for it!

2. Anna Banana doesn't bother me. Every name is nickname-prone, and as nicknames go, Anna Banana is at least relatively cute. I also think it's an easy one to nip in the bud if it ends up bothering either parent or child.

3. Unlike most people here, the situation with the other Andrew would not bother me at all. It's just random happenstance that the other child is named Andrew, and it's a name you've both loved for a long time. I'd say stick with it; once your Andrew shows up on the scene, those are the only associations you'll have. Plus, growing up with a relatively common name, I shared names with my sister's friends, and it was never an issue.

Carmen said...

1. I think it would be sweet.

2. Unless you really despise the idea, YOU could call her Anna Banana, thereby completely ruining any horrible connotations of the nickname when kids start calling her that in school. She'll just think it's neat that everyone knows the special name that her mom calls her.

I have a friend with a daughter named Hannah who was warned the same thing - and she's *never* had anyone mention Hannah Banana. So maybe it's not even as prevalent as you think...

3. It would probably ruin it for me. Only because you're still spending time with that family. If they were in my past, or people that I very rarely see, then that would be different.

Banana said...

I'm a 29 year old Anna Banana... and I still love it. It's never been a sour or uncomfortable nickname. My good friends call me banana (hence the blog name) and I never get tired of it. It's a cherished nickname.

Clarabella said...

Oh my, I feel like I have so much to say about this! (translation: please read AND excuse the length of this comment!)

1. Is it weird to name a child for where the child's parents met?
No, I think not at all. One, we've recently discussed Zuma Nesta Rock, and the opinions are varied. Next, I was almost named Charlotte, because that's where my parents met, and the only reason they didn't name me that was because they planned to stay there (and STILL live there) and they didn't want that to be the only reason they named me that. I still love and adore the name Charlotte, although it's not mine, and it's at the top of my girl list. I have to agree that the decision would be made more difficult if the place were not acceptable as a name so much, like "Cowpens" or "Forks Crossing" (both names of places near where I grew up). (P.S. If we had named our son this way, which I *tried*, he would've been William Price--the street where we met--a lovely name. Alas, we chose a family middle name.)

2. What do you think of the name Anna? Is "Anna Banana" a dealbreaker? (Everyone named Anna, I'm particularly interested to hear from you on this: is it just kind of an eye-roller, or is it a constant torment and you literally wish you had a different name?)
Two things: One, I grew up with a dear friend named Anna. We all called her "Anna Banana," and she loved it as long as it was meant affectionately instead of negatively. Two, my name is Claire. I still hear "Claire-Bear" constantly, even though I'm past 30! If it's meant with affection and care, I don't mind it. If a stranger tries it on, I correct her/him ("It's just Claire"). I think any "Anna Banana" could hold her own the same way.

3. Would that situation with the other Andrew ruin the name for you?
As I always advocate in these situations, if the name Andrew is the name you want for your son, then don't let any impediment (screeching or otherwise) sway you. If YOU think it will be an issue, then go with Wesley (a beautiful, classic name!) (To note: When I wanted to name our son William and call him Liam, my partner claimed that was a name he had poor associations with. Our son, LIAM, is now 16 months old and he's the ONLY Liam in our world. I fought for the name and won. It will be YOURS--or HIS--if you want it to be.)
Sorry, I knew this was going to be a long ridiculous comment, but I wanted to add my two (hundred) cents!
Good Luck!

Jodi said...

1. Not weird at all - I love Wesley anyway, and the meaning makes it even better!

I think Anna is great and I wouldn't give Anna Banana a moment's thought. *Every* name has it's annoyances (I got Grody Jodi for a while in elementary school, Jedi for another short period - life goes on). My bigger concern with Anna is its matchiness with Andrew if you were to have a girl now and a boy in a few years 9when hopefully the "other Andrew" situation will have blown over. They'd be too close for me: "Anna and Andy", but maybe it's not an issue for you.

3. It would bug me, I'm sure, but what about naming him Andrew Wesley but calling him Wesley (to avoid initials WAD and also keep your favorite name in the place of honor so you can easily default back to it later on if you want to)?

Anonymous said...

1. I think it might be wierd if the parents met in some place that doesn't sound like a name. Wesley is a great name and has great meaning to you. How about Wesley Andrew for a boy?

2. Anna is a great name. I don't think Anna Banana is a bad nickname anyway. Anna fits the test I have for girls names in that it sounds cute for a little kid, but still sophisticated for an adult.

3. I don't know that Andrew would be ruined for me. If you have a boy and it is named Andrew.....that will be who you think about when you hear the name. I still say go with Wesley Andrew though. And I wouldn't worry about the WAD initials. I am pretty sure boys would think that is pretty funny

Rachel said...

I had a good friend named Anna growing up who escaped the Anna Banana name calling entirely so it is possible.

Susanna would be a good compromise name I think.

Saly said...

1. I think it's a bit weird, but I seem to be the only one.

2. I have an Eddie Spaghetti, a Cait-o Potato & a Hannie Bannanie. I think it's cute and so far none of them mind.

3. It would be ruined for me. I loved 'Jacob' until we ran in to a real pisser with that name.

Anonymous said...

So, definitely go with Wesley. I would use it myself if DH would only agree, and I have no sweet connection to the name like you do. It's perfect.
About Anna Banana, no big deal. I have a sister Hannah, and I think only one or two people have ever called her Hannah Banana, and she's a teenager now. It just never stuck. However, she gets Hannah-Shoshannah and Hannah-Louisiana (and from that Hannah-Lou) because don't we all love to rhyme names? She's never complained. I think most family nicknames, no matter how silly, are so affectionate that the actual nickname doesn't really matter. My mom called me Marmaduke for years (totally unrelated to my name!) and while I would never want that from anyone else, I liked it from her. So if you don't like Anna Banana, pick something else.
Finally, Andrew... I don't know. Maybe better safe than sorry?

Sarah said...

1. Use Wesley. I adore that idea. If my husband and I hadn't met in Columbia, I might use the name of the place for my child.

2. One of my daughters is named Hannah. No one calls her Hannah Banana. She is only 3, but I think since we don't use the nic-name others don't either. I suppose I might have a different answer in a few years.

3. I actually had a name ruined for me - a bit of a different situation though. My uncle and godfather's name was Michael and he passed away in an accident when I was in my early 20s. I thought a lot about using that as a middle name for one of my sons. But - in high school I had the most awful boyfriend named Michael and every time I thought about using the name I would think about him and the awful relationship we had. I think it is possible that you would be deterred from the name for the reason you listed. It might not bother you at all. I say, if you love it, use it.

Okay, now that I told my life story... Sorry about that!

Frazzled Mom said...

1. Is it weird to name a child for where the child's parents met?
Not at all.

2. What do you think of the name Anna? Is "Anna Banana" a dealbreaker? (Everyone named Anna, I'm particularly interested to hear from you on this: is it just kind of an eye-roller, or is it a constant torment and you literally wish you had a different name?)
I have heard of "Anna Banana" but didn't think it was an inevitable nickname. It wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me. I find "Anna Banana" endearing on a small child, but annoying on anyone over 10. I say call her "Anna Banana" as a term of endearment when she is very small, and then if the kids at school start using it, she won't be phased. As she gets older, I imagine the nickname will die out.

3. Would that situation with the other Andrew ruin the name for you?
Personally, yes, but that should affect your decision.

Frazzled Mom said...

Correction - I meant to say, that should NOT affect your decision...

Anonymous said...

I was just curious what your 2 year old's name is.

I LOVE the name Wesley. I prefer Wesley Andrew over Andrew Wesley.

How do you feel about the name Anderson? I think it's a sweet name and you could still have the use the nickname Andy.

I have a sister-in-law names Anna. The only person that calls her Anna banana is her older brother (my husband) I have always found it endearing.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Wow! Thank you all for the comments. I am fascinated reading everyone's opinions! We have kind of stalled out on talking names at our house. I guess we're kind of waiting for the kid to be born and then we'll figure it out. I'll let Swistle know as soon as we do!

Pocket said...

1. It's not weird to name a kid after the place you met. My huband and I met at the University of Kentucky and my family has lived in KY for generations, so I'm fighting really hard to get him on board with naming a little boy Kentucky and calling him Kent. He hates the idea. We'll probably name our first dog Kentucky.

2. I've had lots of students named Anna and Hannah and I can't tell you how many times I've tried to lovingly add the "Banana" to their name, only to have a nine year old say, "Mrs. F, that's not my name. Please don't call me that." So, basically, if it bothers them, they'll learn to deal, and it will probably make them a stronger person for it!

3. My husband and I are totally dead set on a first name for our first boy, and we don't even plan to start trying for another year. If we had your Andrew situation, we totally wouldn't care because we love our name SO SO much. He mentioned it way back when we first started dating and as soon as the name left his mouth I fell head over heels in love with it...and that worked out. As for your Andrew, it all depends on how much you love it.

Frema said...

1. I agree with those who said it only works if the place is a name that could stand on its own.

2. I love Anna. If "Anna Banana" is the worst nickname a child gets, that child is in pretty good shape!

3. Yes, it would ruin it for me. I like using names that aren't in my circle of family and friends. I love the name Maia, and my daughter (Kara) almost got that name, but it's also the name of one of my very good friends, and we don't want to name our children after anyone.

Good luck!

Lonna said...

1. Love Wesley, not weird at all

2. I know a little girl named Anna, and I said "Hi Anna Banana!" She quickly told me she didn't like Anna Banana, and I've had no problem respecting that! If you don't use it for her people will get get the clue quite quickly.

3. How about a variation of Andrew? I'm suggesting this because my sons name is Anders...the scan. version of Andrew.