The Tragedy Of Naming Your Second Child

by Anna Lane
Originally Published: 
A pregnancy belly with an empty name sticker for the baby.

I kind of feel bad for my daughter. Not because there’s anything wrong with her, but just because she’s the second child and she’s been getting the short end of the stick since before she was born.

Take, for instance, the story of how we chose her name.

When you’re pregnant with your first kid, you have all the time in the world to lie around with your spouse discussing the merits of every name in the New Jewish Baby Names book.

Chris: How about Xander?

Me: There was a Xander in my kindergarten class who picked his nose and ate it. What about Zeke?

Chris: All the kids in his class will just call him “Zeke the geek.” Asher?

Me: Nope. Ex-boyfriend. Small penis.

Chris: Bodhi?

Me: Ex. Not-so-small penis.

Chris: Ethan?

Me: Nah —

Chris: Not another ex?

Me: I would never sleep with someone named Ethan. Which is the problem.

… and so it went, until we finally agreed on Noah. By the time our fetus had a gestational age of 25 weeks, he had a name. No exes, no bad associations, and, as it turns out, not a small penis.

With the Little Lady, on the other hand, we didn’t have time to read the baby name book. There were no leisurely discussions about names; no exciting evenings spent imagining the amazing life our unborn child would undoubtedly lead. Once in awhile one of us would send a random text message to the other tossing out a name idea.

While picking up Italian take out:

This went on for nine months. When I went into labor we were no closer to choosing a name than we had been before our daughter matured out of the zygote stage. When people asked us if we had a name picked out, we would say we had some ideas, but nothing concrete. We were going to wait and see, positive that the minute she came out we would just look at her and know right away which name would be most fitting.

That was a great plan. Except for the fact that it didn’t work.

You know what newborn babies look like? Small, withered old people with squinty eyes. A baby doesn’t look like a Zachary or a Claire or a Naomi, and this one didn’t have a penis – small or large – to warrant Bodhi or Asher.

We probably would’ve continued to hem and haw about what to name our second born if it hadn’t been for the hospital staff reminding us every 20 minutes that we had to choose a name for her birth certificate before we could go home. Oh, sure, legally you can take your unnamed child home with you, but then you have to go through all this ridiculous red tape when you finally do have a name picked out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially second time parents.

Which is how I ended up spending the time that I should’ve been resting and recuperating instead Googling “Jewish girl names.” Finally, after an entire day wasted debating the merits of Sadie versus Sara, my exhaustion got the best of me. At that point I really didn’t care what we named the kid as long as I could go home the following day, sleep in my own bed, and take advantage of the free childcare being provided by my mother-in-Law.

As I recall, the final decision was made like this:

Me: JUST PICK A FUCKING NAME ALREADY! (crying) I’m too tired to care!

Chris: Rose is nice.

Me: Great, fine, whatever. At least it’s easy to spell. Now give me the damn paperwork so I can go to sleep.

I’m not completely sure if she really looks like a Rose. But it is easy to spell, and I’m still too tired to come up with something more creative.

Related post: How (Not) To Name Your Baby

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