See, everyone went to school with someone with the same name you are pondering for your soon-to-be progeny. Usually it was the nasty kid or the evil girl or that guy they thought was up to no good behind the black fingernails and dark hooded sweatshirt. And they will jump to share this information. Because.... because.
Or maybe the name sounds to your friend/relative/person behind the Starbucks counter like it has, as one helpful barista informed me, a bad aura.
Or perhaps the inquirer will share the important factoid that every other child in her daughter’s class has that same name, and how she is quite glad that her child won’t need to have a last initial attached to her first name to distinguish her from all the other Sofias/Isabellas/Emmas out there. (No judgement call there, folks – just picked as examples the top names of 2011, as called by the Social Security Administration.)
Or they can respond like my mother.
“Hm,” she says weakly after we shared our most recent idea. “Have you thought about ‘Abigail?’ ”
Even when the reaction is positive it can still create nervousness.
“Oh, that’s a pretty name!” a few friends declared the other day.
But are they just being nice? I wondered. What if we decide to switch to a different name – will they think that we’ve done my baby daughter a lifelong disservice? And what would they think if I gave them my honest answer, that really we have no solid idea about what to name Two, and that we still don’t have a place set up for her to sleep?
And wait, why am I caring about what other people think, anyhow? Clearly I will be a bad mother if I can’t even model minimal resistance to peer pressure.