I’ve heard there are several things that can make or break a marriage; the only things that come to mind at the moment are building a house and having a baby. We’ve successfully managed both without killing each other and I can come to at least one conclusion: It’s not the having of a baby, but the NAMING of the baby that can truly test the love between a husband and a wife.
We take our quest for the perfect name with the utmost seriousness. It can’t be too popular. It can’t be too off-the-wall. It can’t sound remotely feminine. In fact, it can’t be anything that’s already been used on a girl. Not even once.
Naming a human being is tough stuff. Caleb and I have specifically designed a ritual just for this task: I’ll throw out a name, and he’ll make fun of it in every possible way. Then I’ll pick one of his names and come up with a long list of insults. Then he’ll say something derogatory about me; and then I’ll take the opportunity to totally trash him and dump on all his shortcomings (i.e. complete lack of taste). When we play the name game, we’re not two loving parents trying to find the perfect name for our son; we are vicious, vicious enemies, hell-bent on crushing each other’s every last hope, dream, and deepest desire.
ME: “What do you think of the name Seaver?”
CALEB: “Like, Seaver-Beaver? Rhymes with Cleaver? That Seaver?”
ME: “Well, I thought it was cute. At least it was original.”
CALEB: “It was so original I thought I was going to throw up.”
ME: “Hey, it’s better than having absolutely no imagination whatsoever.”
CALEB: “I come up with original names all the time!”
ME: “Really? Like what? Jackson?”
CALEB: “No. Like Maverick. Or Riddick.”
ME: “Sounds like a Nazi to me.”
CALEB: “Oh, and Otto doesn’t?”
ME: “Riddick? Please. Kids will call him Dick, and that’s just awful.”
CALEB: “No they won’t. Riddick will kick the kids’ asses.”
ME: “Dick. Rid-ICK! Icky-Dick. Get Rid of Dick. Or, if the kids were really mean, Riddy-Biddy Dicky.”
CALEB: You’re RID-DIC-ULOUS!”
ME: “I rest my case.”
CALEB: “Ah, screw you.”
ME: “So…Did you like the name Seaver or not?”
And so it goes on. Although I don’t neccessarily think that a name is completely off-limits if you can make fun of it–look at my name, Toni, for example. Toni-baloney, Toni-the-phony, Toni-pony…but Riddick is pretty bad, at least in my book–Caleb’s problem lies with the fact that he was never properly humbled as a child. What the hell even rhymes with Caleb?
I distract myself from naming the baby by trying to get ready for the baby. I’ve pulled out all of Mia’s old clothes and blankets and come up with 2 or 3 things that can actually be used for a boy. We even semi-agree on crib bedding, and I congratulate Caleb for picking Mia’s old stroller, bouncer, carseat, playpen, etc. in all neutral colors, because then we’d really have problems. At least we don’t have to drag each other from baby-super-store to baby-super-store, trading insults about our very different choices in nursery neccessities. I don’t want to have to bust out with the true meaning behind Caleb’s name: “dog-like”.