Monday, September 8, 2008

The Name Game

kitten kitten bo bitten, fee fi fo fitten, mee my mo mitten, kitten...

By now, my own bundle, so far known as The Bun, should have arrived. And hopefully, been named. I say hopefully because, well, around our house, the naming of babies is a long, arduous process. And other bloggers I know say it was tough for them, too. So how do you explain this to the sibling-to-be who may, as Pumpkinpie did, have her own ideas about being involved in the naming? How do you explain why a name is so important? Well, if you're me... you rely on someone else. Someone more articulate. Someone published.

Here are a few good stories about how we get and adapt to the names our parents choose for use.

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum's parents chose what they were certain was the perfect name, and until she started school, she loved it, too. When she becomes the target of mean girls and it turns into a source of teasing, though, she dreams of other, less flowery names (like Jane). Her parents try to reassure her, being as loving as they can, but what really turns things around is the introduction of the music teacher, Miss Delphinium Twinkle, whose name is everything Chrysanthemum's is and who is considering that very name for her soon-to-be-born babe. Turns out, the mean girls would love the name Chrysanthemum after all. Need I even elaborate about Henkes' usual genius with handling social situations for young children and showing loving, supportive environments for the exploration of such things? I thought not.

The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi

Unhei has just moved from Korea, and is unsure about her name. She gets teased on the school bus, and resolves to choose an American name. Yet her Korean family and the community see her name as beautiful. She tries a few new names in the mirror, but none feel right. At school, she finds a jar full of name ideas on her desk from her classmates - names of family members and story characters and more. As she becomes more comfortable, and with the help of one classmate's interest, she chooses to keep her name and teach the others to say it properly. This is a lovely tale of fitting in and coming to appreciate your own name, something that any child with an unusual name (like Chrysanthemum, above) might appreciate.

A Perfect Name, by Charlene Costanzo, ill. LeUyen Pham

Mama and Papa Hippo are struggling to name their baby daughter - and her naming ceremony is tomorrow. The problem is, there are so many beautiful names, and they all mean lovely, appropriate things. How to pick just two? They try them out on her, with no result. They try considering her personality, with too many results. In the end, it is her splashing in the water at the ceremony itself that inspires her perfect name. A cute take on the trials and tribulations of choosing a name, this easy tale is illustrated with wonderful illustrations full of joy.

How I Named The Baby, by Linda Shute

For my money, this is the one that best explains all the ins and outs of baby naming. In this family, they are working together to find a perfect name for either a boy or a girl (they don't know which it will be), and the older boy (future sibling) is part of the process. All the same things that most parents take into consideration are here - they are looking for a name that is not too old, but not too new, has a meaning they can live with, is not too fancy, but not too short. They find inspiration in many places along the way - the name might have a family connection, could be biblical, could come from a naming book or the name of a hero, could be a floral name... They find that they like different names, as we tend to do in my house (ahem, Misterpie!), but in the end, they find names that they feel are just right. It's a great explanation of how complicated it can be, yet very endearing and child-friendly.

You may also want to check out the baby naming books in your library's adult non-fiction section at 929.4!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

No comments:

Post a Comment