Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's in a Name?

Let me introduce Vivien "Ivie" Cecilia. She is a sweet, silly, fun and happy 19-month old with bright blue eyes and unexpected blonde hair. She is the youngest of our three children and loves her older siblings.

Scott and I took naming our children very seriously. With the exception of Jackson, who Scott early on said "if it is a boy his name will be Jack", we went back and forth, between several names, consulting websites, books, friends, and family before permanently marking the birth certificates. Aida was known as "Baby Girl W" until day three in the hospital and probably only received a name on day three because the birth certificate lady gave me that look after she had come to my room four different times.

A person carries their first name with them for...the rest...of We finally choose Aida Jane after contemplating the meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and popularity. Aida (actually aaah-e-da in Italian) means happiness. Jane is my grandmother's middle name. Her name honors my grandmother and my dad's Italian heritage. Aida has been nothing but a happy child since the day she was born; living up to her well-thought out name.

Ivie was also known as "Baby Girl W" until day three. We waffled back and forth between two different names, both with significant meaning and with family honorees. After we had Aida, we found the name "Ivy" and both agreed that if we had another little girl, we would use this name. We liked the earthy tone. An ivy plant climbs and is strong. And the name was an old name. Our only reservation: Was Ivy professional? Was it too hippyish? Was it too unique? But we loved the name and its meaning.

Finally, on day three in the hospital, we decided on Vivien. What?!?!? What happened to Ivy? Well. We decided that she needed a professional name; something that would look great on a resume. We both liked the name Vivienne and the meaning: Full of life. Creatively, we changed the spelling to a less popular form "Vivien", abstracted "ivie" and that is how we arrived at the name Ivie. Cecilia was my great-aunt's first name. It was official: Vivien "Ivie" Cecilia.

Whenever we introduce Ivie to others, we are greeted with smiles and compliments on what a wonderful and pretty name.

Today, the headline is the birth of Beyonce's baby girl: Ivy Blue or Blue Ivy. I cannot even express the disappointment in the celebrity couple using the name Ivy, whether as a first or middle name for "Baby Girl Carter". I'm sure Beyonce and Mr. Carter also painstakingly waffled between several names. However, what I can guarantee is that hundreds of soon-to-be mothers will not. Americans are obsessed with celebrities in every way, including the naming of their children. I do not know if Americans are too lazy to research their own names or in such awe at the wealth and popularity of celebrities that we attach ourselves to them in any way possible.

When we chose Ivie, the name hovered somewhere between 700-800 on the Social Security Administrations list of baby names for 2007-2009. The name had not seen the top 100 since the early 1900s. I will bet that in the next two years, the name Ivie, Ivy, Ivi (however you spell it) will leap to the top 100, all because of a celebrity couple named Beyonce and Jay-Z. This is very unfortunate for someone like my Ivie Cecilia who went three days known as "Baby Girl W" as her parents searched for the perfect name. She will now be amongst other little girls whose mothers found the name on TMZ. Scott and I will probably spend our lives explaining, "No, we are not obsessed with pop culture or Beyonce." Ivie will probably also be in class with seven kids named Blue, Red, and Yellow.

So what's in a name: For us, months of research, thought, love, and family. For the rest of celebrity-obsessed Americans: The hopes of their little girl becoming the next Beyonce - or something like that.


  1. no matter how hard you try, something always comes up. My mom talks about the hours spent on mine and my sister's names only to get to the year I was in 4th grade and Trish was in 1st; didn't kids long until they were referring us by initials: PP and TP. Bathroom humor is always so much fun :) Ivie is your Ivie no matter what! xoxo PP

  2. This is such a great story! I loved reading how you came up with their names. The kids are absolutely gorgeous and are truly sweet kids, Megan!


  3. Finally swoopin through to see what´s up with the W´s! I loved hearing about the research and meaning behind the nemes. Since I live under rock called Sua, I did NOT know about the Beyonce/Jay'Z news! I agree with PP :) Ivie is your Ivie no matter what. Moreover, on behalf of all the Jennifer´s in the world, unique names rock!!! One Love! xoxo

  4. Both our girls were know as Baby Girl D for many days and we also went thru the wrath of the birth certificate lady. Fear not. If your little girl is anything like you and your husband she will quickly separate herself from those other kids with the TMZ names. She will be unique in her very own way!!!

  5. I can completely understand your feelings on this one. My first daughter was the same kind of thing for me. I wanted a name which wasn't all over. Everyone was naming their daughter Jessica, or so it seemed. I thought I had chosen a name and then my sister in law, who had her baby right before me, used the name I had chosen. Both first and middle. Nice.

    I had never actually met a Crystal. We used the name. My punishment for not watching television for years? There was a big night time soap with a main character named, you guessed it (!) Crystal. So my 'unique' little girl went to school with a bunch of other Crystals. Pop culture, indeed.