Tweet The 2 scariest things about babywearing in my opinion are, getting a baby on and off your back. The dismount off the back is probably the thing that took me the longest to perfect when I first started babywearing. I didn’t have anyone teaching me, and all the videos I watched only showed getting [...]
Ever since I was a little girl, I fantasized about my future grown-up life. I wasn’t much for dolls, but I did love to daydream about my future husband, my future children, our house, my career, what pets we would have. I loved to doodle “Mrs. So-and-so” on the inside covers of my notebooks in a boring class at school, but most of all, I loved to doodle baby names.
The first names I can remember falling in love with were Tomie and Owen. I was a very big reader from a very young age. I would invite friends over and then I’d want to read the whole time; my elementary school-aged friends never understood my perception of fun. Needless to say, I was heavily influenced by books. Tomie DePaola was the author of a book I liked called Pancakes for Breakfast. (I don’t even really like pancakes that much.) Owen was the main character in another book I loved, written by Kevin Henkes. Owen still remains one of my high-ranking favorites, in fact, if Zoelie had been a boy, she would have been Owen. Another literary inspired favorite was Chrysanthemum.
When I was 13 and 15, I became a big sister to my littlest brother, Daniel Tucker, and littlest sister, Hannah Joy. When my step-mom was pregnant, I spent hours scouring her baby name books and making mile-long lists to present to her. I remember loving Paxton and Peyton for Tucker, and Sydney and Zoey for Hannah. They were all declined, except that I helped with Hannah’s middle name choice. Zoey remained my favorite girl name for a long time afterwards.
Then, five years later I got my chance. I was pregnant with my oldest. I bought several newer name books and once again I made a thousand lists. I doodled baby names on scrap paper while watching a movie or while having a long-distance phone date with Colin. I talked his ear off about names too many times to count. After I found out I was having a girl, Zooey was my favorite. I love the letter Z because my maiden name began with one and it felt sort of special. I had always liked Zoey, but discovered the spelling Zooey in a short story called Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger – once again, another literary inspiration. Colin despised the spelling. We dabbled with Charlotte, Evelyn, Elsie, Scarlett, Violet, Bettie and others. None felt right. Using Zoe or Zoey just felt too plain. Then, in a name book I ran across the name Zoelie. It said in the book that Zoelie was Greek for Eternal Life- which sealed the deal as it resonated deeply with my faith. It also combined Zoey and Lee, Lee being the middle name of my grandfather, my mother, and one of my 5 sisters. Zoelie Joy we named her, Joy for her middle because she brought me so much of it despite the pain of our circumstance. Joy is also after my grandmother, step grandmother, littlest sister, Colin’s sister, and Colin’s aunt.
Allister was a lot less complicated. Before we knew her gender via ultrasound, we chose Allister; Allister Jude for a boy, Allister June for a girl. My sweetest and closest grandfather’s name is Alvin, so I liked the Al- beginning to remind me of him. Allister is also a pop punk band that Colin and I both loved as teens, when music was our entire world and nothing else mattered. It’s a tribute to the most carefree and passion filled time of our lives. After we discovered we were having our second girl, we knew Allister was still perfect. June, however, didn’t sit right with us. I told Colin he could have exclusive decision on her middle name, almost like a present from daddy to her. After she was born, he asked me if I liked Mae or Colby better. Mae was a name we both loved, and Colby was after Uncle Pino (one of the 7 uncles!). I told him to choose. As he was holding her for the first time, he whispered Allister Colby to her. Allister means Defender of Mankind. I adore that she has such a strong and virtuous name. Her nickname is Alli. Although I prefer Allie, we spelled it with four letters solely because it fits on Colin’s knuckles, opposite Zozo on his other hand. Oh, to be married to a tattoo artist.
Now we are having another baby approximately six weeks from now. We have a boy name chosen, but lo and behold we are having our third daughter. We had a girl name, Aria, but it doesn’t feel right anymore. I love that our older girls have names that start with A and Z. I would love to have a name that starts with a different letter. I also love the idea of having a literary name (Z), a musical name (A) and then also an art inspired name. We just haven’t found it yet. Nothing fits right, nothing feels right. I am worried that we will hold her and then feel pressured to decide on something. I don’t want to make a last minute rash decision and be unhappy with it later.
Some people disagree that the meaning of a name is important, but it’s important to me and important to my faith system. I don’t want to choose a name that shapes her future self if it isn’t perfect for her. I also want a name that is somehow attached to a name of someone in one of our families- but as we have gone back and forth through our genealogies, nothing settles with both of us. I’m surprised Zoelie and Allister were named as smoothly as they were- this time we are not seeing eye to eye on name taste at all. And the clock is ticking!
How did you choose your children’s names? What characteristics in a name were important to you?
Was the decision between you and your significant other easy or challenging? I’d love to hear your stories!