Apple, as in, sauce, of my eye, turnover. Seriously, who names their kid Apple…besides maybe Steve Jobs. I’d like to know why Gweneth Paltrow, in an attempt to give her child not only the most unique of names but also the most ridiculous name on planet earth, named her daughter Apple. I’m hardly one to judge with a surname like Hayter and an entirely made up middle name, but obviously, I will.
What’s really in a name? Out of curiosity I decided to do a little research on the topic and naming, as you no doubt already presumed, has a very long and often confusing history. Back in the day, circa 1700, there were patterns of naming in England. The first son was named after the father’s father, the second son was named after the mother’s father, the first daughter was named after the mother’s mother and the second daughter was named after the father’s mother…and on and on and on. I’m all for honoring family members, but that’s just an offensive number of people with the same name in one family.
In early New England, the trend was to name your child after a virtue you hoped they would possess, Charity, Patience, Hope. I would have seriously considered names like Gumption, Hard Work and Integrity. Apple doesn’t seem so bad now does it? But, of course, that was a different time and a different place.
In India, a person’s birth name is different from their official name and names are often influenced by both caste and religion. Eeeeeesh… Screwed. For. Life. That’s all I have to say about this one.
In Scandinavia, the father’s first name becomes the child’s last name. So John Larsen’s son would be given the last name Johnson because he is John’s son. This, by far, is the most confusing to me and probably the most difficult for anyone who wants to trace their ancestry. Still kind of cool though.
I think names should have meaning. Not meanings like:
because we all know this is bullcaca. It should have meaning to you. And sure, it should be relatively distinctive, but not so unique that your child is teased well into adulthood and their sense of individuality translates into an exaggerated sense of entitlement.
This weekend I told my boyfriend’s 10 year-old nephew that if he was able to come up with a name that I liked (and my boyfriend too), when we have a child, we’ll use the name he picked. To my surprise he got into it and was throwing out names for the greater part of an hour, diligently keeping track of all the potentials on a napkin. “Why are you discussing baby names with my 10 year-old nephew,” my boyfriend asked, his complexion dewier than normal (Note to Mike: it’s going to happen brah, it’s only a matter of time!), which is a reasonable question. Here’s why: Because that is what makes a name meaningful to me. What better way to make a child feel special and included than giving them the task of naming their cousin? How cool would it be if you could say, “I named my cousin/brother/sister,” not many people have the honour of being able to say that.
I now have that napkin tucked away in my wallet and when the time comes, what will I put into my child’s name? A little bit o’ tradition, some family and a whole lotta love.