What my next child will not be named…

Sharon August 8th, 2005

Besides MacKenzie or Makenna or Jaden (which seem to be the trendy names at my kids’s schools - I’ve no objection, just not my thing), my children will also not be named Bathsheva, Hezekiah, Mehitabelle or Menasshe. And you can blame my husband for that.

Ok, I’m pretty sure everyone reading this is thinking, “Good job, Eric, preventing that kind of child abuse.” But hear me out. I think there’s an excellent case to be made for using some of those names.

1. They are not popular and are not likely to become so. We already know two Elis and two Isaiahs, just in our little rural community. At the time I named them, we’d never heard of any other. But name your child Boaz, and you’ve got at least a momentary hope that he’ll never have to spend his school years as Boaz W. because of the three others in his class.

2. Basha, Zeke, Bella and Nash are cute nicknames. Admit it.

3. Once you’ve given your three children names like Elias, Simon and Isaiah, you have selected a category of name, and no longer have the option of naming your fourth child “Steve.” Your category of name is OT Biblical/Amish/19th Century Prophet, and that’s where you have to look, come hell or whatever.

4. Hepzibah Woods and Zebedee Woods are suitable names for actual grownups, and would look nice on the cover of a book jacket. I’m just saying.

5. And most importantly of all, despite my general distaste for patristic nomenclature, I spared my children the hideous final name, “Astyk,” with all its potential schoolyard permutations. They get the bland and perfectly nice, assimilationist “Woods” - and since I spared them “Astyk” I feel I can give them any name that I like, and they still have to be grateful.

6. Besides, unusual names are pretty normal, anyhow. I have friends who have named their children Imogene, Inanna, Leopold, Manion, Charys, Dorrit, Hadrian, Byron, Locke and Thelonious. Add in the range of ethnic variation, and your child is bound not to be the strangest named kid in their class.

I’ve nearly managed to convince Eric on “Yael” and “Hepzibah” for girls, but I haven’t made any headway on Jedidiah or Theophilus. I’m sure, however if the thousands of readers of this blog (can you tell I have an active fantasy life) were to write in about how cute they think some of the names listed above were, Eric would be persuaded.



6 Responses to “What my next child will not be named…”

  1. Matton 11 Aug 2005 at 5:26 am

    I’ll reserve most judgment on the names you’ve listed, but I will say that I definitely like them a lot better than Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.

    If you know what I mean.

  2. Kimberlyon 17 Aug 2005 at 5:39 pm

    I absolutely love the nickname Basha, and secretly Nash. At first I was going to agree with the husband figure but then I really took a look at the names. I think I really like Bathsheva and Menasshe. They are very unique and lovely.

  3. jewishfarmeron 29 Aug 2005 at 8:34 pm

    But what about Leopold and Molly, Matt?

    (For them not in the joke, Matt is my ex-husband and still-buddy. I tried to sell him on Clytie and Nemo once or twice. Since we never produced any offspring but the fuzzy, catlike kind, it was pretty moot.)


  4. Amyon 06 Sep 2005 at 10:01 pm

    Theophilus is great! “Theo” is a fine nickname, and doesn’t the etymology mean something like “love of God”–which sort of fits with your existing Biblical theme?

    On another note, my maiden name is Woods and I never knew it was “assimilationist”. Tiger Woods (the golfer) is kind of assimilationist, I guess….

  5. jewishfarmeron 07 Sep 2005 at 11:27 pm

    Amy, sorry, I should say that I meant only that it was assimilationist in my husband’s case. His family name was Nadelholtz (Pine woods), and was shortened to “Holtz” and then to “Woods” when they came to England. Other Woods’s, probably of different derivations, are not inherently assimilationist.

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