Are Those That Aren't Planned

SheKnows is proud to offer The Parent Trap column, by mother and writer Lain Chroust Ehmann.
Lain Chroust Ehmann

I've decided that God hates planners.

I thought we were all set. Halfway through my pregnancy, we were convinced I was having Ehmann Boy #2. I knew it. My husband knew it. All our friends and relatives agreed. Even my two-year-old son, Benjamin, answered with a definite "Brother!" every time I asked him if he was going to have a boy or a girl sibling.

My symptoms were identical to my first pregnancy. My cravings were a little different, but not enough to sway my certainty. I "felt" those male vibes. We were having a boy - no doubt about it. It turns out there was one very important person - namely, the baby - who didn't agree with our conclusions.

It didn't matter that I'd already sorted all Benjamin's old baby clothes to determine which were suitable for a newborn baby boy. It didn't matter that we'd gone through all the baby books and decided on a not only a first, but also a middle, name for our son-to-be. It didn't matter that I'd already picked out a nice boy-oriented color scheme and pattern for the new nursery. It didn't matter that I was mentally and emotionally prepared to share my house with three males for the next twenty years or so. All that really mattered was the declaration of the ultrasound technician last week; "It's a little girl." You could have knocked me off the examining table with a diaper wipe.

"Little" turned out to be a bit of an understatement. This child is following in the footsteps of her older brother, already measuring a week large for her due date. And that's not the only similarity. They both seem to believe that Mom's ribs are their personal xylophone and/or punching bag, and that nighttime is the best possible time to come out to play. And both have left us baffled when it comes to names.

Before Benjamin's sex was confirmed via ultrasound, my husband and I had no trouble agreeing on girls' names, but we were stymied by male names.We came up with "Benjamin" by a truly practical process. We each listed ten names, weighted them according to individual preference, and chose the name with the most points. Maybe not too romantic, but it was logical.

Now we're having the opposite problem. While we were under the mistaken impression we were having a son, we had a boy's name ready and waiting. Now we know we're having a she rather than a he, it's the girls' names that have us stymied.

After hours of negotiations, we're at the point where it might be easier to start lists of what we don't want to name our daughter, rather than trying to come up with a name we both like. Due to popular culture and the current political climate, there are a good number of names we just wouldn't wish upon our child (Darva, Monica and Hillary all come readily to mind).



Naming a child is, after all, a big responsibility. The name we choose can have an impact on the light in which others see our child, thereby affecting her social interactions and possibly her future career as well. Not only do names like "Bertha," "Bambi" and "Heidi" have definite preconceived stereotypes attached to them, we also have to worry about abbreviations and nicknames. Do we really want to pick lyrical "Gabriella," only to have her called "Gabby?" Or hear sophisticated "Louisa" shortened to "Lou" or "Wheezy?"

Recent research also suggests that people with initials spelling out positive words (like "JOY" and "SUN") live longer than those who have negative acronyms (like "HEX" and "DUH"). Just one more thing to worry about.

Whatever we choose, we can be sure of one thing. When she hits her teens, she'll decide she hates her name - and, by association, us as well. Or we'll consciously select a name with initials spelling an inoffensive word like "PIE," and she'll turn around and marry a Mr. Golding, thereby generating the initials "PIG." It won't matter how carefully we work it out, something is bound to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

After all, God hates planners.PregnancyAndBaby.com


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