Saturday, February 22, 2014

{what's in a name?}

something you should know about me is that I'm a little bit obsessed with names. I love knowing the story of a name, its provenance. who loved it and why. what it means, how it sounds when so-and-so says it, but how so-and-so sometimes uses a totally different nickname. yup. I'm name obsessed. (I actually had a Nameberry account before I was even planning a family! weirdo.)

anyway. there just so happens to be an excellent name discussion going on over at Team Whitaker. now I have the perfect opportunity to wax on and on about names here at Casa D.

so... my dear, sweetly ornery daughter is named Margot Jane. for the record, we pronounce her first name MAR-goh. silent t, like the end of Merlot, the French way. the alternate German pronunciation is actually perfectly valid but I dislike the sound of it: MAR-guht. kinda like maggot. since we now live in an area with a high Amish (Pennsylvania Dutch) population, poor Margot's name gets pronounced the German way more often than not. oh well. we still love it.

let's start with how she got her first name. in the verrrrry early stages of my pregnancy we jokingly said "this baby's probably a girl since we have so many names we love for a girl and are finding it impossible to narrow our list down..." sure enough, when we had our 20-ish week ultrasound, we just had to know the baby's sex so we could prepare for the inevitable... and sure enough, she was a she!

we had a zillion names we liked. Eleanor, Julia, Lucy, Josephine, Louisa, Clare, Penelope. I had mentioned at one point, sort of off hand, the name Margot to Brendan. I'd explained how it's a diminutive of the French version of Margaret, Marguerite. how it was the name of a feisty and beautiful Huguenot Queen. we also happen to have a great-aunt, Maggie, who we adore and my paternal grandmother's formal name is Margaret (she goes by Peggie or Peg), so Margot has a bit of personal meaning, being tied into Margaret. it's also traditional but a bit quirky, as well as being a saint's name (St. Marguerite, a French Canadian saint).

Brendan was absolutely and instantly sold on it. I, however, waffled back and forth between my favorites. was this babe a Violet? could she be a Rose? maybe an Evangeline? no, a Mary? the struggle to name this child was real. I just liked too many names and none of them felt "right". in the end, as I labored at the hospital, I told Brendan "you know what? you've held true to liking Margot for this whole pregnancy while I've gone through dozens of names. I'll let you, the consistent one, have this name." and so she was Margot.

BUT. for her middle name? I got to choose Jane. because I had always wanted a girl named Jane but Brendan immediately nixed it for a first name, claiming that it's "plain" (ridiculous!) So when he got to claim the first name, I made my move and inserted my own choice as the middle. :) For the next baby, we've agreed that I get to choose the first name and Brendan will choose the middle.

Margot means "pearl" and Jane means "God's gracious gift" and I just love a name that has a pretty meaning. there you have it. Margot Jane.

I have a super long list going for future children, should we have them, and am always coming up with new combinations and bothering Brendan about it. (Heaven help him!) Whatever. It just means all our kids' names will be awesome and well-thought out.

Hey, wasn't this fun?! What names do you love? I happen to love my own name (thanks mom!), Sarah Marie... and I'm thinking a babe called Sadie (a nickname for Sarah) would be so sweet. Do you like your own name?


  1. What beautiful names you love! I'm a sucker for name stories, too. So happy you joined in the discussion and gave me such good names to ponder.

    1. Thanks for inspiring discussion!

  2. I am also name-obsessed and think of new name combos to help me fall asleep! Jane is a family name (from a grandma I never got to meet), so I want to use it as a middle name one of these days. I also love Margaret, but the husband it not sold on it. I think Margot is a really interesting form of it--and yes, I got the pronunciation correct before I read that part!

    1. Hoorah for name obsessions! I think mine started as a young child enamored by the characters in my favorite stories. To this day, I'd love to use Peregrine (a Hobbit name!) as a middle name for my first boy. :)

  3. I adore Jane and just mentioned to my husband how much I love it. He likes it too...problem is we already have a Mary and a John so Jane next to those does sound bland. But a Jane alone is wonderful.

    1. I think Jane still sounds really sweet next to John and Mary, which are themselves lovely names :)

  4. I'm so hopelessly behind on reading blogs that I'm just now seeing this post, but I love the name discussion! It's funny that you mentioned both Louisa and Sadie as Sadie was high on my list during my pregnancy with Nell but my husband nixed it, and now with #2 on the way Louisa is one of our top choices. Okay, here's where I need your opinion: it seems like some people would pronounce the s as an s, and others more as a z, like "Louizah," and I can't decide if the different pronunciation options makes it sort of a deal breaker for me. What do you think? And how do you find yourself saying it? (Also, my Dad told me he doesn't like it... bummer! We don't tell many people our names we're considering, and I guess there's good reason to just keep them to yourself until baby is born and named, lol.)

    I love Clare too, and another name high on my list (which unfortunately my husband has also vetoed) is Sylvie... I just think that name is so sweet, and it means "of the forest" which totally sparks my imagination for a little girl with a childhood spent out of doors in imaginative ways. :)

    1. My husband nixed Sylvie last pregnancy too! Darn. It is such a good name- pleasant to say, with the right touch of whimsy. I once met the most precocious curly headed little girl named Sylvie, too, which sealed the deal for me. She reminded me of a faerie :)

      I think I tend to say it Loo-EES-a, but the more proper pronunciation is more of a z sound, which I don't like as much. I adore the nickname Lou.

      I'm pretty sure, if I HAD to name my future girl child right this second, I would choose Sadie Frances. Or Alice Clare . . . Maybe. ha ha. The problem is that I love *so* many names! Hats off to you for being up to the naming challenge.


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