Sunday, January 20, 2008

Food poisoning

I fear that baby boy bowling will never have a name. We have batted about numerous names and have discarded almost every name discussed for a multitude of reasons: like it but too popular, friend's kid has that name, not a positive association, it's already in the family, Ew! past bad boyfriend name -- otherwise not a bad name, and so forth.

Our criteria isn't lengthy -- just a solid boys name that works as a child and as an adult and is not owned by anyone else in our circle of family and friends. It also must work with Michael as the middle name and Bowling as the last. It also must flow with Ella whether casually joining their names or for me as a parent to yell in a fit of frustration.

Part of me is wants a name to pick us, similar to what happened with knowing Ella was the right name for our first daughter. It was a shared and special moment between Mike and I three years prior to us getting pregnant. I don't want to settle on a name, and I want there to a more meaningful reason to selecting a name other than I like it.

Recently though, one name seemed to be emerging from the limited list of names even under consideration. While there had not been a light bulb moment, the name kept coming to us as a central character in some of Ella's favorite books, a favorite author had dedicated one of his books to Ella and this name, etc. I was beginning to feel more confident that this was the right name for us, but not 100% committed to the name.

Mike and I decided when pregnant with Ella that we would not share a name until the baby was born. We didn't want to be influenced by others. I was taking the same approach with baby boy. At my department's holiday lunch, the topic of baby names was discussed and a co-worker suggested the name Sam. I slyly smiled and said it was a name on our list and quickly approaching the top of the list. Most at the table agreed that it was a good name for us. I wasn't prepared for one co-workers concern, "Aren't you worried they would call him 'sambo.' " I was dumbfounded and had no idea of that phrase. Before the conversation could continue, we were interrupted by the waiter.

On the drive back to work, I confided into co-workers that I didn't get the joke. A co-worker in her 50s explained to me the origin of sambo, but didn't think a potential nickname should automatically strike Sam from our list, especially ones not many in our generation were exposed to. Mike agreed, but I was less inclined. Mike and I had consulted with multiple friends and co-workers. I wanted to know who and how many were familiar with the story of sambo, and hardly anyone was, so the name was climbing the ranks once again.

That was until last night when Tricia and Scott were hanging out at our house after a trip to the Royals Fan Fast and an introductory dinner for them to Sweet Tomatoes. The topic of names came up and we decided to ask them about sambo. Tricia knew, but I should have figured with her mom's background and Tricia's love of reading. The agreement was Sam is a good solid name and Sam Michael Bowling definitely has a nice ring to it. I also explained how Sam was the initials of my siblings in birth order (Scott, Amanda, Matt -- yet I didn't work in Justin, so it was more a convenient reasoning for Sam.)

Tricia said Ella and Sam out loud and commented how sweet that sounded and then she reversed the names. The minute she did, I knew the name had been kicked off the list permanently. Sam and Ella. (Tip: say it aloud and you'll get a good laugh. Hence the title of this post.) Separately both are great names, together, it's just not meant to be. I couldn't believe it hadn't hit Mike and I before, but we only ever said Ella and Sam, never Sam and Ella.

Sigh, I'm disappointed because none of the other names under consideration are jumping off the page. We still have 2 1/2 months for this boy to marinate, so hopefully another name will emerge a winner. If you happen to ask for an update, don't be surprised if my response speaks to the merits of Cletus over Mortimer.

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