Tomorrow is the first ultrasound for this pregnancy and Melanie and I were discussing baby names. We’re not old-fashioned in the sense that we like to find out the sex of the baby if possible. It makes both of us feel better to be able to put a name on the baby and stop called it “it”. I know that’s not everyone’s choice and that’s okay.
Anyway, we’ve been pretty much set on Benedict Joseph as a boy’s name since Isabella was in the womb. In addition to the obvious connection to our present pope, it’s also the middle name of Melanie’s dad. (Melanie says he wouldn’t want a child to have his first name; he’s not that fond of it I guess.)
It’s the girls’ names that are the sticking point. Sophia Marie has the lead, but there’s a snag. Sophia is a popular name. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, Sophia was the ninth most popular name for girls in 2006. Of course, Isabella was fourth. I suppose the issue is that we’d like to avoid the children ending up as one among a sea of other kids the same age, all with the same name.
The next 30 years of saying that line would have been hilarious.
So we’re trying to think of alternatives, mostly by thinking of favored saints. Theresa is a logical choice—St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Theresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) all make a connection to us in varied ways, plus Melanie’s sister is named Theresa. Unfortunately, so is Isabella’s 2-year-old cousin who would be another Theresa Bettinelli. Two girls named Theresa Bettinelli born within a few years of each other is a recipe for confusion down the line. No, Theresa/Therese will have to be a middle name.
Then we went down the list of female saints, chuckling at the most unusual—Perpetua, Scholastica, Antigone—which are fine names, of course. (I just know that someone reading this right now named their child Scholastica and is preparing to write a withering comment; Look, naming your child Scholastica or one of the others takes a kind of confidence we don’t share. It’s okay.)
“How about ‘Lucy’?” I asked.
“Hmm, Lucia, Santa Lucia,” Melanie says thoughtfully. “I like it.”
Then I say, in my best Ricky Ricardo accent, “Lucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”
“Absolutely not!” says Melanie, with the set of her jaw that says this debate is over before it began. “I knew there was a reason I wouldn’t want that name.”
Dang! Me and my poor impulse control. The next 30 years of saying that line would have been hilarious. Well, to me at least.
I think we’ll get over the “Sophia is popular” thing and stick with it. After all, Sophia was the wife of Jack Aubrey in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, as well as Jack’s first command, HMS Sophie in “Master and Commander”. Works for me.