Tales From A Hungry Life

May 2, 2014

The Name Game

by Maria Schulz

As Mother’s Day approaches, I think about the anticipation I felt as a pregnant “mom-to-be.” I was so excited and eager. Those 9 months made me feel just like I did when I was a little kid, counting down the days to Christmas. Of course, the most exciting part of all was that I was going to be in charge of naming my baby. What power! What fun! What a rush, man.

Like waiting for my Christmas gifts

Like waiting for my Christmas gifts

And it was, for a little while. But then my husband and I couldn’t agree on anything. He’d suggest a name; I’d say no. I’d suggest a name; he’d say no. I was kind of terrified that both of my kids would be named This and That or Constant and Incessant.

Bringing a new life into the world is the kind of thing that brings out every lunatic. Everyone wants to touch your belly (especially strangers) and people who never even looked twice at you before will openly stare at you. These same people also smile a lot at you the whole time you are pregnant, and say things like: “Wow! You’re huge!” Or “I bet you never thought you’d get this fat.” By the way, those people stop smiling when your child is six months old and, in their words, you “haven’t lost the baby fat yet, huh?”

My favorite intrusive behavior of all was when people would say, “What are you going to name your baby?”

I was young and innocent the first time, so I would answer truthfully. But I quickly learned that people didn’t care if they offended me and belittled my choices, since I was now apparently public domain. Later, after they suggested a name I wouldn’t give my dog, they would browbeat me for not liking it, and then rub my belly and tell me to make the baby kick, like it was a parlor trick.

Or Dorito.

Or Dorito.

The second time around, I would give them fake names. I would say my chosen names were: Ezekiel. Fawcett. Gulliver. El Senor. Dorito. Pharaoh. Miles Standish. Esmeralda. Then I’d run away before they had the chance to touch me or feel my baby, who kicked twenty-four hours a day, but under no circumstances would I let them feel it.

One night after dinner, my mother-in-law said, “Can I play the Name Game?” and before I could say yes or no, she started blurting out names.

“How about George? Raymond? Shelly? Charlotte? Joe? Ursula? Gertrude? Agnes?”

Shelly or Charlotte Schulz just didn’t work for me; our family already had a George, Raymond and Joe; and Ursula was a no go. But it was “Agnes” that broke the last straw of my aching, camel look-alike’s back. I got up, shook my mother-in-law’s hand, and said:

“Thanks for playing the Name Game. We’re sorry, but you’ve given the wrong answer. However, we do have some lovely parting gifts for you! Thanks and goodbyeeeeeee!”

A lovely parting gift

Makes a lovely parting gift

Eventually, my husband and I agreed on names for our kids, which was (for us at least) right up there with parting the red sea or changing water into wine. I figured I could trot that fact out one day when I was under consideration for sainthood. Hopefully, they’ll accept both of those instances as two separate miracles.

My parents made a baby-naming bargain before they even had kids. Dad would name the boys, and Mom would name the girls. Poor Mom… Five boys later and no girl in sight, she was only given nominal veto power over the names Dad chose.

When the doctor told her she was expecting twins, she thought maybe she would hit the jackpot and get to name TWO, count ‘em, TWO girls. That’s when my two grandmothers started to lobby for their favorite names.

“How about Isabella, for my mother?” Puerto Rican grandma said

“How about Angelena, for me?” Italian grandma said.

“Oh you’ll never have a girl,” helpful relatives said.

My mother was ready with her two girl names when I came along, but my brother was born five minutes later and my father asserted his naming rights. I’m kind of glad, though, because he really does look like Christopher, and not so much like Lucy.

Not my sister

Not my sister

Now you may be wondering, what made me think of this? I may be years removed from my baby-naming phase of life, but that doesn’t keep me from searching baby naming sites since I’m always looking for character names. That’s when I came across this article:

Couple Asks the Internet to Name Their Baby



The Dad, who is Internet savvy, was hoping to get some inspiration from those wacky folks who hang out on the old inter-web. I hope he’s a glutton for punishment, because here are some of the suggestions:








Charlotte (maybe my mother-in-law voted)



And that’s just for the first name! So what was the most popular first name on the site? It was Cthulhu.

Ct-hoolu-WHAT? I had to look this one up. Cthulhu is a fictional cosmic bad boy that first appeared in H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, “The Call of Cthulu,” published in 1928 in Weird Tales magazine. Lovecraft described Cthulhu as a “monstrous alien god who will devour us all,” and one who “lies dead and dreaming of his return.”

If that’s not a great name for a brand new baby, I don’t know what is.

So warm and cuddly

So warm and cuddly

An entire cult of Cthulhu devotees has sprung up, and apparently they hoped to get baby naming rights from someone silly enough to ask their opinion.

So what, you may ask, were the favorite middle names?


Of-the-Sea (First name? Chicken)



Pond (First name: Jump The)

Perfect for the nursery

Perfect for the nursery

Some other popular Internet-inspired choices that seem to be gaining traction include:

Hashtag (“Hashtag, meet your new friend, Cthulhu!”)

Facebook (You have some nerve invading my privacy. Who do you think you are, Facebook?)

Like (Thumbs up, Like! I really, really, really like you, Like.)

@ (Where you at, @?)

By the way, the parents who asked for the world’s baby naming opinions just welcomed a healthy, beautiful little girl into the world.

And her name is...

And her name is…

Best of luck to you, Cthulhu All-Spark!

Just kidding…her parents named her Amelia Savannah Joy.

I wonder why?


Here’s a great recipe for your next baby shower, or any warm weather party.

Good with or without the duckies

Good with or without the duckies

Sherbet Shower Surprise


10 Baby Shower Treats


So sweet!

So sweet!

These cute recipes include a watermelon “baby carriage,” more punch recipes, baby rattle cupcakes, candy baby pacifiers and more.

So Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite “Name Game” story? Aren’t intrusive strangers fun? Got any great recipes for showers or parties? Please leave a comment and tell us all about it. Thanks!


1 Comment »

  1. Jude was not a popular name back in 1958 but I made a promise and despite much blowback especially from my mother but not my wife. The fact is my wife never gave me any problems regarding names. My mom said what would he do if they started calling him Judy. I always had the Christian response ready to questions like that which was something like he’d beat the s**t out of them. He never had any trouble with the name but then the group who I was not very fond of called “The Beatles” had a hit called “Hey Jude” and he was always extremely popular because of that. In fact there was no one with that name around but then it became very popular. Of course I was The Beatles fan from that time on because they proved to all who thought I made a mistake that of course I didn’t. It is not that I don’t make mistakes, I’ve done so a few times. The last one I remember was around 1948 0r so

    Comment by Bglou — May 2, 2014 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

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