When I first announced I was pregnant, one of my friends noted how much fun it was going to be to discuss baby names among friends.
Yeah . . . no.
I don’t know about other moms and moms-to-be, but I’d rather chew off my right arm (and I’m a righty!) than discuss baby names with my friends. Don’t get me wrong–when I was younger and baby names were in the abstract or even for pets, I had a lot of fun with it. A Jacob Daniel (JD!) here and an Emily Rose there . . . but when you’re talking about your real, live (to-be) offspring, it’s entirely different.
One snide comment about the name you intend to attach to said offspring could take *someone* out of the running for godmother. Or worse. Much, much worse.
As it was, P and I had a rough time agreeing on names from the get-go. We agreed on so little in the first few months of pregnancy that I proposed we stop discussing names until we knew the sex of the baby. At least that way, the thought process went, we would only have to argue about one set of names.
Then Miss M decided to not to show her girl parts at any ultrasound up until 32 weeks.
So at 32 weeks, we started discussing girl names, and actually it was less painful than I had imagined it would be. We quickly decided to name her after both of our moms. My mom is Mary, but I didn’t want Maria (a wee bit common in Italy, being the name of the Madonna and all), so I dug up Marisa as a diminutive (really it’s short for Maria Luisa, but moving on…) and we added a Caterina for P’s mom and there we were.
There were other options along the way, including English names like Mary Kathryn (Mary Kate) or putting the Caterina part first such as Katja Maria, but the compromise ended with Marisa Caterina, with calling her Marisa, and we all lived happily ever after.
Until people started asking us what we planned to name her.
If I had been in America, I would have easily said we weren’t telling anyone until after she was born, but the first time someone asked me here, I froze. Even after ten years, these Eye-talians can catch me off-guard. Keeps the romance alive, I guess.
So that first conversation went something like this (translated, as it was in Italian):
Friend: Have you decided on a name?
Me: Yes, we’re pretty sure she’ll be Marisa Caterina.
Friend: *scrunches up face* I don’t like it. It doesn’t sound nice together.
Me: *stunned silence*
No godmother for YOU!
After M’s birth, things didn’t get much better with the main criticism being that the name is “too long.” In case you don’t know, middle names are not common in Italy, so several locals have expressed concern that “Marisa Caterina” is simply going to be way too long for her to have to sign “ogni volta” (“every time”) she has to sign her name.
Which they apparently believe will be a gazillion times a day, judging from their disgust that we have saddled her with this onus.
“Hey, everyone has their cross to bear,” I respond with a laugh, but the humor (or what I think is humor) ends up entirely lost. I am, inevitably, met with a blank stare. Don’t feel bad for me; I’m used to it here.
I’m also well aware that a lot of people back in the US probably aren’t fond of her name either seeing as though there were only 169 other babies named Marisa across the pond in 2013. There were more with two esses, but we are more Marisa Tomei than Marissa, the girl who got offed on The OC, or Marissa Mayer (Yahoo! CEO, queen of leaning in, banning telecommuters, and taking two weeks’ maternity leave).
Whatevs. I never set out to please everyone with my daughter’s name. We love it. And I especially love that it was never remotely on any name list I had ever dreamed up before I was pregnant–somehow that makes it seem absolutely perfect for my bambolina (little doll), who I never, ever could have dreamed up, my roly, poly ball of sparkles and glitter and smiles and giggles….
DOG HELP ME, I now understand why people say they want to eat babies.
I do, however, apologize in advance if you’re the person in line behind M when she has to sign her loooooooong name on something official twenty years from now.