Thursday, August 21, 2008

okay, I lied

Just one final name post and then I'll come up with some marginally more interesting topics. Parenthetically, though, the fact that I'm even able to discuss the issue of names means that I'm actually feeling somewhat hopeful. It's a strange sensation.

Anyway, as I said in a previous post, the tradition among Ashkenazim is not to name a child after a living relative. The way I've heard it "explained" (and explained is very much in quotation marks) is that, if a baby is given the same name as an older relative, when the older person's time comes, the Angel of Death might get confused and accidentally take the baby instead. Of course, Sephardic* Jews (a group of which I am not a member) have no such custom and regularly name their children after living relatives.

L is half-Jewish, but was brought up with Christian traditions and essentially no religious training. He really likes a name that, coincidentally, belongs to two of our living relatives. Now, neither of these relatives is even vaguely Jewish by background, culture or practice. One is the atheist son of a Presbyterian minister and the other is a lapsed Catholic who had his children baptized in the Episcopalian church.

I admit that, even though I realize that it's completely irrational, I have this ingrained, superstitious bad feeling about the idea of using the name of a living relative. But it's one of the very few names that we agree on. By which I mean that one of us loves it and the other doesn't absolutely detest it.

So, O internets, please, please give me your brilliant insights. Given this minor dilemma, what should I do? You certainly don't have to be Jewish to weigh in.


*Generally, Jews whose ancestors came from medieval Spain and Portugal.


edited to add: Oh, and did I forget to mention -- because I'm feeling in an atypically generous frame of mine, I'm offering FREE CHOCOLATE (or your preferred substitute) to anyone who leaves a qualifying comment on this post. And by qualifying I mean: one that's posted by midnight tonight and that has least some vague relationship to the post's content. No appeals. All decisions of the judges are final.

69 comments:

Patti said...

That's a tough one. I can understanding the Ashkenazim superstition (my best friend is Ashkenazi and I grew up hearing all the superstitions from her wonderful Mom). I can also understand your fear (given the history).

Having said that, if we have a boy, his middle name will be my father-in-law's name...which is also my husband's middle name. Both of whom are very much alive.

I think you have to go with what's comfortable for you and L.

Catherine said...

I'm not much on supersitions...but I can tell you that my experience has been naming (middle names) after a living relative was good luck while naming after a deceased relative was bad. Always like to be contrary, I guess. :o)

debbie said...

My first thought was there's no way I could do it. It's never been done in my family, it comes w/ such bad feelings, my mother and relatives would freak out. But then it occurred to me that it is only a superstition. In the end, we cannot always do things to make other people happy. If what you're feeling bothers YOU don't do it. If your reservations are for your jewish relatives then do it. They will adapt.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I know it's only a superstition BUT I am never for doing anything that is semi-permanent and on-going that makes you uncomfortable just for the sake of doing it. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone for a day, fine. Considering something that is not sitting right with you (and feeling a lack of peace with the idea of trying it) isn't worth it. Even for a great name :-)

I think you need to be at peace with a name that you're going to use every day all day.

Maggie said...

I think that if it makes you uncomfortable enough to ask us about, then you already have your answer. It makes you nervous, and after such a long and rough road then I think you should be completely at peace with the name that you pick.

Keep searching - the name that you both love is out there...you just have to find it!

bleu said...

Is there a possible way to use a longer name than "the" name which is not the same as any of the relatives and then use the short version? Or a different spelling?


Just a thought.

Beth said...

And then of course, there's the quandary created when you have a name you agree on. Finally, at long last, let the angels sing, you have a name you agree on.

And then the baby is born.

And you take him in your arms for the very first time. And you stare into his eyes, and you say:

Who the heck are you?? Your name is not Jonah!

So then it starts all over again.

I suppose I have a point? Hmm. Have back up names.

***

It doesn't matter if you feel it's irrational: if it's that important to you, honor it.

Mrs. Spit said...

Well, I am named after 2 women, both alive. And I like it. . .

Two Hands said...

I can understand superstition being a knock-on-wood kinda gal so although I personally wouldn't mind naming a child after a living person (having done it already) I get why it might freak you out a little.
My husband and I went through hundreds of names before we hit one that we both liked, I thought it would never happen. Have you looked at some of the more old-fashioned names? Many of them are coming back now and I love them because they often have very lovely meanings. Or names from your family from a few generations past?
It isn't easy and some people do wait until the baby comes along to see what fits, but you will find a name you can live with (I'm partial to James myself for a boy). Maybe ask your commenters to post their top 5 fave boys names? or 5 most unusual boys names?

Magpie said...

It seems to me that you're uncomfortable and therefore you should keep looking.

Elizabeth said...

i love having the same name as my beloved grandmother. when her time came in 1999, the grim reaper was not confused at all. probably because she was 84 and had bone cancer.

painted maypole said...

i think if you're uncomfortable with it, you're uncomfortable with it. Unless you can find a way to BE comfortable with it, don't do it. The last thing you need to do is be nervous about your child's name. For me, i wouldn't be an issue, but I'm not the one who has to say the name over and over. if there will always be a nagging feeling in the back of your head IT'S NOT WORTH IT. You say that it's irrational, and that's fine, but it's still there. You shouldn't have to talk yourself out of your feelings every time you say or think the name.

(and, you know, maybe the angel of death is only confused if ALL the names are identical? first middle and last? just curious...)

Joy said...

maybe the name can be altered, or shortened or lengthened? I am not, for the record, suggesting any of the ridiculous spellings of overused names proliferating nowadays like "Kaa'lenn" or "Zakkaraee" for crying out loud. Humph. But maybe something innocuous like Stephen with a "ph" might help? perhaps the Angel of Death would be thwarted by homophones or cognates.

Joy said...

maybe the name can be altered, or shortened or lengthened? I am not, for the record, suggesting any of the ridiculous spellings of overused names proliferating nowadays like "Kaa'lenn" or "Zakkaraee" for crying out loud. Humph. But maybe something innocuous like Stephen with a "ph" might help? perhaps the Angel of Death would be thwarted by homophones or cognates.

Joy said...

maybe the name can be altered, or shortened or lengthened? I am not, for the record, suggesting any of the ridiculous spellings of overused names proliferating nowadays like "Kaa'lenn" or "Zakkaraee" for crying out loud. Humph. But maybe something innocuous like Stephen with a "ph" might help? perhaps the Angel of Death would be thwarted by homophones or cognates.

Joy said...

maybe the name can be altered, or shortened or lengthened? I am not, for the record, suggesting any of the ridiculous spellings of overused names proliferating nowadays like "Kaa'lenn" or "Zakkaraee" for crying out loud. Humph. But maybe something innocuous like Stephen with a "ph" might help? perhaps the Angel of Death would be thwarted by homophones or cognates.

Joy said...

Whoa! I watched the little hand spastically click on the "publish" button four times and was powerless to stop it. Sorry, I swear I'm not as dumb as that multi-comment makes me look.

niobe said...

Painted Maypole: I think it's just the first name, but I'm not really sure. My understanding is that, traditionally, most Jews didn't have real last or middle names. You were just something like Isaac bar (son of) Simon.

Anyway, a related superstition (which I would never follow) is that if your child gets very ill, you should change its name, to confuse the Angel of Death just in case it comes looking for the child.

I really don't believe any of these things and it sounds silly even to talk about them. It's just that I've almost never (though there are exceptions) heard of an instance where someone broke the "rule."

Sara said...

You've been through so much Niobe. Whether or not using the name of a living relative would bother your husband, it seems to strike fear in you. So don't do it. Another name will come along, I promise. And even if it doesn't, if you have to name your kid something you both don't LOVE, believe me, in a few weeks/months it will seem impossible you ever didn't like that name. My mom HATED my youngest name Dylan. Mom insisted it was spelt wrong and should be Dillon, my grandmother called him Die-lynn for MONTHS (she couldn't hear well and was sounding it out to the best of her ability) It kinda irritated me, the miss spellings etc. Mom even signed his birthday card when he was 2 Dillon. But now that he's 3 1/2 mom said the other day - Dylan sure is his name. It fits him.

It will work out, don't use a name that your going to worry about his safty with.

Sara said...

You've been through so much Niobe. Whether or not using the name of a living relative would bother your husband, it seems to strike fear in you. So don't do it. Another name will come along, I promise. And even if it doesn't, if you have to name your kid something you both don't LOVE, believe me, in a few weeks/months it will seem impossible you ever didn't like that name. My mom HATED my youngest name Dylan. Mom insisted it was spelt wrong and should be Dillon, my grandmother called him Die-lynn for MONTHS (she couldn't hear well and was sounding it out to the best of her ability) It kinda irritated me, the miss spellings etc. Mom even signed his birthday card when he was 2 Dillon. But now that he's 3 1/2 mom said the other day - Dylan sure is his name. It fits him.

It will work out, don't use a name that your going to worry about his safty with.

Brandy said...

This is definitely a tough subject. I don't have a problem at all naming children after people who are living. My son's middle name is my husband's first name and our daughter's middle name will be the same as my MIL, SIL, and aunt's middle name. We don't have any name superstitions in our family though, otherwise I may have reconsidered. Good luck deciding!

scribblette said...

i don't think you can give him a name you're not comfortable with. *and* i'm a proponent of naming the child after delivery, when you have a chance to see if the name actually fits the baby. so my advice is to have a list of names you and l can more or less agree on without coming to blows, and keep that list handy. pull it out when it's time. try them on the baby. the right name will make itself known to you. (how's that for superstition?)

niobe said...

Joy: We all know you were just tryin to get your hot little hands on four (or maybe five) times as much FREE CHOCOLATE!!

gretchen said...

I think if he/she is qualified enough to be given the job as The Angel of Death, then he/she can probably keep the names straight. It's not like their previous job was working the Burger King drive-thru.

We've named some of our children after living relatives---middle names, though. I think it's a nice way to tell someone you love them so much, you are honored to give your child their name. It's truly a high compliment, in my view.

I realize there are deep cultural and familial pressures and beliefs that exist regarding the act of naming. Names are important. It should be a joyful process, but for so many naming a child is emotionally loaded.

Heather said...

Don't rest until you're comfortable with the name. Like someone said, if you're going to be saying this name a lot, you don't want to cringe every time. It's not like the kid is born and home yet -- you still have time. People like my uncle (who was originally slated to be Melvin Gus, until he was born and went home without a name and was named several weeks later something much less hideous) appreciate you waiting until you are happy with the selection.

The Nanny said...

If you're not comfortable with it, then I think that's your answer. But remember (and this pertains to the ex-boyfriend's name post, too) that even though you decide to name your son the same name as a living relative/ex-boyfriend, once he's here that name becomes HIS, and when you hear that name you'll be thinking of him and not your ex-boyfriend/living relative. Does that make sense? It may be weird until he's actually here, but as soon as you start calling your son by that name you'll only think of him.

slouching mom said...

as someone who named her younger child what some consider just a nickname, and her older one a name that traditionally is meant for a younger sib., i say use the name, living relatives or not.

Debbie said...

I don't think you should use any name that is even remotely uncomfortable for you -- no matter how logical or illogical you think the reasons behind that feeling is. With picking a name, we had luck with brainstorming a lot and then letting all of that kind of mull around a bit and coming back to it later. Good luck.

Aunt Becky said...

I say that if it's the only name that you can agree on, I'd do it. I have a terrible time with naming people, and I don't do it well, so I understand the position entirely.

Mad said...

My assvice? Put the name on a short list and do not name the baby until after he is born. That way you will know if the name fits the real person and you will also stave off any superstitious jinx about the babe making his safe way into your arms.

thrice said...

There's a lot of leg room here if you want it.

First off the tradition is with Hebrew names, not English names. You can bypass the custom, by adding a name. Adding to the Hebrew name gives a different gematria, so the child's soul doesn't have the same denstiny. Chaim, is a commonly added name.

Ashkenazi jews also have the custom of the bride aquiring all of groom's customs. For instance if an Ashkenazi woman marries a sephardic man, she can all of a sudden eat rice, peas and corn on Passover.

But all of this doesn't matter if you aren't comfortable with it.

Eva said...

I think naming a child after a living relate makes more sense than naming one after a dead one, as the dead one won't appreciate the honor.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

I tend to agree with Mel on this one -- you are not entirely comfortable with it on a gut level, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in such a permanent way doesn't seem worth it.

P has a similar feeling re naming after living people, but with him it's more a fear of that person thinking (or others thinking) that the child was named *after* them rather than just due to a love of the name. As a result, we eliminated the names of living relatives (and some deceased ones). That said, one name on our list is Ps middle name, which just seems different.

Bottom line: You've got time -- I'd keep trying to come up with a different name.

Libby said...

Ok, you just said you were hopeful, for the first time (I believe) since I've been reading your blog. That's almost two years, I think? So I would rule out names that make you nervous. Why do anything to make yourself less hopeful, you know?

missing_one said...

I always say, "when in doubt, throw it out"

is this going to be one more thing you're going to fear once the baby comes? Because, you know, the fear doesn't stop when they come out...or maybe you forget ;)

There's got to be many more names out there.

for some reason I'm thinking you should name him "Levi"
hehe. really, when I think about a name for Niobe's baby, I think Levi. How weird is that?

Furrow said...

I haven't read all the comments, but I agree with the one directly above me, you don't need no mo bad mojo to worry about.

However, I'm all about gaming the system, and I can see that I could make some kind of alteration to spelling (nothing goofy; a legit alteration, like Josef for Joseph or Iain for Ian), and justify it to myself.

I can't tell you how happy I am that you are hopeful. it makes me ridiculously smiley.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I think the offer of chocolate is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Lori said...

Are we to assume that both the living relatives are in good health?

Mel is right about not throwing away your tradition if it is truly, irrevocably part of you.

But we continually shed clothes, styles and people that no longer "fit." Is there a chance of re-examining this belief you have and choosing to let it go?

I also like the idea of modifying the name a little.

And coming up with back up names.

And of getting chocolate.

Thank you.

Kathy McC said...

I can understand why you'd be concerned about the names/superstition especially considering your history.

Having said that, I think superstitions are sort of like interpreting the bible...it's all in how you choose to look at it.

If it bothers you, don't name him after a living relative. But keep in mind, many Jews are so superstitious that they don't even talk about the baby at all or bring any supplies into the house until the baby is born. To me, that just seems like a panic attack in the making once baby is home and you have no dipaers, etc.!

I guess what I am saying is, do what makes you happy and comfortable. And remember superstitions are sort of silly when it all comes down to it. You can make yourself nuts if you follow them all...

Dr. Grumbles said...

IMO, if you have even the faintest hint of superstition about naming after a living relative, don't do it. You want to pick a name that is untainted in any way (I know, much easier said than done).

Dayna said...

I'm not much one for superstitions, myself, but I appreciate, participate in and follow my own religion's traditions and customs.

If you're feeling uncomfortable or nervous using the name, I vote for finding another.

Although it was explained to me by my Orthodox Jewish best friend that children from the same generation (usually cousins) are often named after the same deceased relative, so often there will be three kids within fifteen or twenty years of each other with the same name, named after the same person.

k@lakly said...

I think given everything you have been through, you have to choose a name that will not in any way cause you to cringe or shudder when you say it. I can imagine it being ok for a while and then when the living relative dies or becomes ill, BANG, here comes your fears. Perhaps going with the alternate spelling or a variation of the name will work, but ultimately, and here's where I am going to prove myself utterly useless, you have to pick a name that you can live with, without hesitation, forever.

Wabi said...

Baby naming has no place for logic, IMO. It's where preferred phonetics, superstition, symbolism, and recollection all meet. Excluding names for any of the reasons you've mentioned seems totally valid to me. Scratch these iffy names off the list and move on. I'm sure you can find another name!

What I am totally curious about is this: Is the naming process different this time due to the surrogacy? I think that the physical state of being pregnant often gives women an edge in the name bargaining game with their spouse. To be honest, I felt like I had 1.5 votes to my DH's 1 vote when it came to name choices during my pregnancies, and my DH seemed to feel that way as well (especially in the wake of witnessing my deliveries).

But with surrogacy or adoption, I think it would be a more equal give-and-take process for naming kids between my DH and I. That would make agreeing on a name even tougher.

Is something similar to that going on with you and your spouse?

catherine Illian said...

i would say name him the name of the relatives--- unless you feel that naming him that will encourage undue dread/superstition/hand wrangling and general worry-- if you can get past the superstition-- I would do it-- if not, even if its a great name, its not worth it.

Rory said...

I can understand not being able to or having to force yourself past superstitions. I was raised in a house where my father and to some degree, my mother, believed in them. No walking under ladders, don't sweep after dark, those kind of things. His mother raised him that way, it carried over to his home.
I married a man who scoffs at superstitions, unless they are sports related. It took a while and a bit of ribbing from him, but I don't put much stock in them any longer. I will admit to having a hard time walking under a ladder, but I think that is more a fear of something falling on my head! The first time I swept my kitchen floor after dark, I felt a little liberated, as weird as that makes me sound.
By no means do I want to equate any of my hang ups to your resistance to naming your child. If it makes you uneasy to do it, I wouldn't. I also agree with others who said keep it on the list, the name might not fit after all.

Monica H said...

I'm only here for the chocolate :-)

My name was chosen for me after I was born. My mother thought I looked like a doll- all 5 pounds of me- and so named me after a "muneca". In English- Monica. Sweet, huh?

Your name will come and it will be something you both love. If you feel at all superstitous about naming him after a relative, then don't. You'll wonder "what if".

And I have to say how proud of you I am for even considering names. When you first blogged a couple posts ago about names, the first thing I thought was "wow! that's a huge step". Commit.

c. said...

I've learned Fate's a b*tch. I'd hate to tempt her...

I think even if it is just a superstition, if it's meaningful to you, heed it.

Antigone said...

I'm biologically half Jewish, raised Catholic and now agnostic.

There are so many names, there's got to one you both don't detest.

sufferingsummer said...

well I wouldn't presume to give advice where I certainly have no understanding...I'm far from jewish and don't have any jewish ties that I know of. However if you want an entirely unscientific statistic both my kids were named after living relatives one of whom has since died...the spirit obviously wasn't confused as she's gone and my child is still here.

Now I'm holding my breath with the other;|

Kymberli said...

I don't like any type of doubt hanging over anything. I don't think I'm "superstitious," per se, but I like for things to have good energy. If that of superstition casts even a hint of shadow on the name, I'd personally skip it.

This is coming from the woman who isn't superstitious about most things, but is VERY superstitious when it comes to "the devil's number." I dare not type it. It wasn't until 4 days after K & J were born that someone casually observed that Jaiden's first, middle, and last names each have six letters. I seriously debated officially changing the spelling of his middle name and having a new SS card and birth certificate issued. It still kinda freaks me out a bit.

Bea said...

If I were me I would do it, but if I were you I wouldn't. I'm an optimist by nature, so I feel assured of my ability to overcome any frisson of superstitious dread. You are not an optimist by nature. Pick a name that doesn't make you worry about the Angel of Death.

Rachel said...

Such a delightful conundrum. :)

I, being an Ashkenazi Jew, could never, ever, ever name a child after a living relative. Couldn't do it.

My husband is not Jewish either. We hardly agree on names. He wants to give his middle name as a middle name to our child (knock wood we get one) and I might allow it. Middle name. Maybe.

Can you use that one as a middle name?

Jill said...

I'm not Jewish (or superstitious), but I'll offer my opinion anyway. Personally, I would use another name, any other name that you and L both could live with. I think you should always listen to your bad feelings, regardless of whether their driven by irrational, ingrained superstitions or rational thoughts. Either way, if something bad happens (I hope it won't, but as you well know, it might), you won't be left wondering if the name played any part. There's got to be at least one other name that you and L can agree upon as a compromise.

Sam said...

I wouldn't do it for a first name but a middle name doesn't bother me for some reason. I think I was Jewish in another life. Or maybe I read the Jewish Book of Why volumes one and two too many times. Or spent too much time keeping a Kosher kitchen. I dunno. I can't eat chocolate at this point. The thing in my uterus does not permit such frivolity and it gives me a tummy ache.

Lori said...

I'm quite nutso when it comes to choosing baby names, so if I had something like this in my spiritual heritage I know it would affect me as well.

Surely another name will come along... surely it will.

Personally, I quite adore my second son's name. It is quite boyish, classic, and yet very underused right now. Email me if you want me to tell you. :)

wheelsonthebus said...

There is no FREAKING way I could name a baby after a living relative. When other Jews do it, I want to spit over my shoulder three times to ward off the angel of death.

You asked.

Sarah said...

You and L could have a list of names, and each of you has veto power. Then when he is born you can decide both if you are comfortable with the name, and if he can really BE that name.

When I was picking out a cat (I'm going somewhere with this, I swear) from the SPCA I had already picked out a name that I thought was very clever and cat-like. But my good friend chided me for having a name picked out before I even met the kitty and get a feel for it's personality. Ultimately she was right, and my clever little name changed to Jimmy. But here's the kicker - she picked her baby's name out when she was 5 months pregnant (and, ironically, named her son James). I'm not saying kittens and babies are anywhere near the same level, but I thought it was interesting that even in the kitten world, sometimes the name you love doesn't fit.
And for what it's worth, I tend to live by a "don't poke the bear" philosophy when it comes to bad feelings, fate, and the like.

Jennie said...

I am de-lurking because this is one area of superstition my husband and I both follow, well, religiously. I don't know if I believe in an angel of death (probably not), but having already lost one child, I'm taking control in the few areas in which I feel I have any left.

There are an infinite number of names out there and you have time still to find the ones that work for you and L. I hope you settle upon something you both love with all your hearts.

Waiting Amy said...

Maybe this will help you -- my MIL (my husband is the Jewish one, thus she is also, and more traditional than we) said that the tradition is only relevant to the Hebrew name you chose for the child. The English name could be whatever we wanted.

Admitedly however, we refrained from naming for the living. Although our second son's name is by no means a traditional Jewish name, rather it is Gaelic for my side of the family. Our daughter's name has roots in both Irish and Hebrew traditions, and our oldest has a more traditional Hebrew name.

Oh, as for the dilemma -- I'd say get some books or good internet sites and keep looking. Good luck!

ps - I'm so glad to see you are allowing yourself some excitement!

cinnamon gurl said...

I'd keeping searching for names to agree on. You still have a fair amount of time. Like I said in the first post where you mentioned this superstition, I too have a strict aversion to naming a child after a living relative.

Tash said...

Based on this:

"By which I mean that one of us loves it and the other doesn't absolutely detest it."

With superstition on top? I say find another name.

CLC said...

There's still time to come up with a new name. I wouldn't go with anything that makes you the slightest bit uncomfortable, superstition or not!

Anonymous said...

Naming a child is a big decision. I read this article which was interesting.

http://www.aish.com/literacy/lifecycle/Whats_In_A_Name$.asp

Ultimately it's what makes you feel most comfortable based on what you believe to be tradition.

My husbands family practices waiting until each baby's bris to announce the name. The reason is to give the parents 8 days to let a name come to them after they've met their child.

Kris/Iselyahna said...

I echo almost every other poster: if you're even the SLIGHTEST bit uncomfortable, why risk a nervousness that might follow you for a really long time? If I thought there was the slightest chance that every time I said that name I'd have a bit of anxiety, I'd throw the name out the window.

For the record, I totally support the "wait and see what name comes to you" type of thing.

missedconceptions said...

I was told -- and this could just have been my Jewish friends messing with me -- that you had to name your baby with the first letter of a deceased relatives name. So, for example, my friend Scott was named "after" his grandfather, Saul (I know, a Jew named Saul, can you believe it?).

I think the fact that you are blogging about it is an indication that it bothers you.

Now I really want to know the name, of course. If you don't use it, will you tell us what it is?

Also, are you going to have a bris?

diana said...

Follow your heart, always do that! A name that you both agree on will finally appear, do not go against your gut!
Congratulations! The next try will bring you the daughter, believe me!

Ruby said...

I don't think I made the deadline:o)

I'm not one for superstition, but if it makes you feel bad don't do it.

If you have real religious convictions that's one thing, on the other hand if it isn't something you truly believe then...

The explanation of a confused Angel is quite interesting, thanks for sharing that.

niobe said...

Gretchen: I'm cracking up at your comment.

"Hi, I'm the Angel of Death, come to take you to the great beyond. Oh, and by the way, do you want fries with that?"

niobe said...

Wabi asked if, because this is a surro-pregnancy, L and I have a more equal say on names, since I don't have the argument: well, I'm the one who's carrying the baby, so my preferences should be considered more seriously.

I'd have to say no. We both have very clear (though dissimilar) ideas about naming and, even with our first son, we both had more or less equal say.

In fact, in the end, I think made a list of four or five names that were acceptable to me and he made the final decision.

Though I have to say that I'm more interested in names and naming trends and so know more about them. For example, I had a very hard time persuading L that most people would think that "Madison" was a rather unusual name for a boy.

Missed Conceptions: nope, no bris. No particular reason for it, it's just never been done in our family.