Sunday, May 7

The Name Game

So, back when we were so set on having a boy, we picked out a fabulous boy name, and I was only awaiting confirmation of our fetus' XY status to start addressing my belly as "Zane." Now that little Zane Dean Caballero no longer exists, we've been dealing with the conundrum of what to call little Baby Girl Sangster Caballero. After a week of discussion, research, brainstorming, and vetoes, we have come up with the following short list:


Possible Names for Our Baby (in alphabetical order):


Apollonia (ap-oh-LOH-nee-ah)
Female version of "Apollo," Greek god of the sun, music, and poetry.

Years ago, while watching The Godfather, I commented that Apollonia is really a cool name. Ian agreed, and this choice has been in the back of our minds ever since. (For those of you wondering, Apollonia is Michael Corleone's first wife whom he meets and marries in Sicily. She eventually gets blown up by a car bomb--very sad.)

Pros: A classic (indeed, ancient!) name that is rarely used now. Lends itself to lots of possible nicknames: "Polly," "Lola," and "Nia" being my favorites.
Cons: A lot of name for a little baby.

Famous Apollonias: Apollonia Kotero, former Prince girl. St. Apollonia, martyred by having all of her teeth shattered, patron saint of dentistry.

Clementine (KLEM-en-tine)
"Merciful," from the same root as "clemency"

While trying to help my friend Crystal come up with names for her baby girl, I offered up Clementine as a suggestion (having recently seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I liked it so much that we're now considering it for our baby.

Pros: A very pretty name, ranked by Steven D. Levitt in Freakonomics as one of the top twenty names that highly intelligent people are currently naming their daughters.
Cons: Levitt also argues that the baby names of the current intellectual elite become the common name fodder ten years later (think Brittany, Madison, Zoe). Lends itself to two very unfortunate nicknames--Clem and Clemmie--which sound too much like Clam and Clammy for my liking.

Famous Clementines: The darling and unfortunate daughter of a 49er. The wife of Winston Churchill. An orange.

Ione (eye-OH-nee)
Celtic, "from the island of the kings"

I thought up this one when trying to think of "I" names that went well with "Ian." Not surprisingly, Ian likes it.

Pros: A beautiful and unusual name. Sounds kind of like she would be named for her father.
Cons: People would never know how to pronounce it.

Famous Iones: Actress Ione Skye.

Matilda (mah-TIL-dah)
"mighty battle maiden"

I found this one when looking up a list of Arthurian names on the internet. It immediately struck me as a wonderful name.

Pros: No wussy sounding names for our daughter! She shall be a mighty battle maiden! Historically a name held by many strong women.
Cons: People might be tempted to call her Mattie, which I hate.

Famous Matildas: The waltzing Australian one. Mathilda of Flanders, wife of Willliam the Conqueror. Holy Roman Empress Matilda, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V and Geoffrey of Anjou. Matilda Joslyn Gage, 19th century feminist and abolitionist.

Rowan (ROH-win)
"red-headed"

Before finalizing our short list of possible baby names, I decided to read through a baby name book to make sure I wasn't missing anything obvious. While I didn't miss anything obvious, I did discover this name, which I love.

Pros: Not only is it a cool-sounding name, but I feel certain that the meaning will be appropriate as well. Put together with Matilda as a middle name, our baby's full name meaning would be "mighty red-headed battle maiden," and that is just AWESOME!
Cons: Also a boy's name; people might get confused.

Famous Rowans: Comedian Rowan Atkinson, a tree common in the British isles, Brooke Shields' first daughter who gave her all that postpartum depression.


So those are the final five. We hope to make a decision soon. We're not on board with that whole, "We'll know what the baby's name should be as soon as we see her." It's a baby. She'll look like a mewling little alien covered in slime and gore. I'd rather pick her name in a slightly more thoughtful setting than the chaos of the delivery room. Plus, I'd like to start calling her by her name now, lest Twitch stick for good.

Any thoughts on this matter are welcomed!

13 comments:

ErinBW said...

My vote is Rowan Matilda. It goes great with either Sangster, Caballero, Cabangster, or Sangstallero. It's a very strong, powerful name in the midst of Chloe, Emma, etc. Don't worry about the whole "big name for little baby" thing. She'll only be a baby for a couple of years.

Doug said...

I'm already attached to TWITCH. All caps, like that. Of course, I think Zane is perfectly acceptable for a girl (Leslie was a man's name originally, for instance, but someone started naming girls that). Just a thought.

ZParents said...

I agree, Zane would be a lovely girl name. I ran across a Xan once... not common, not bad, like Zane....

Apollonia is so powerful though. Nearly irresistable.

ZParents said...

Had Zach been a girl, he would have been Clementine...

B n B said...

I like Matilda Ione with Sangster and/or Caballero. She could be the "mighty battle maiden" "from the island of the kings". It is strong and unique. As for the Mattie issue, just make it known – only those who enjoy painful torture should try to utter that word in reference to your daughter. ;).

MamaT said...
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MamaT said...
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MamaT said...
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MamaT said...

I love Clementine, but the nickname problem is an issue. Second to that, I like Matilda. Unfortunately though, I like the nickname "Mattie." Could be "Tillie." Is that worse or better? In the end I know that my opinion will count not at all so decide on your own and I will learn to adjust. Above all I just want that baby in my arms.

MamaT said...
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Hannah said...

i'm not sure i'd be comfortable by the historical/literary precedents set for the name apollonia. she has a choice of being blown up, beat up, or dancing for a sex-obsessed little person.

LOVE the others. clementine has a special place in my mind because of the oranges.

Doug said...

Are we still doing this? I've already chimed in once... I'd happily comment on something else...

k said...

asked around the office and there is a big big push for apollonia (please note: this comes in second to zane).