Playing the name game
I’ve been thinking about names more than the average person lately.
Chock that one up to the little person growing inside me.
Choosing a name for this baby that he’ll presumably go by his entire life is a big responsibility. Of course if he hated the name, he could always change it. Or go by a nickname. Just as long as it’s not Stinky or Dirty.
My apologies to anyone with such a nickname from childhood that stuck.
My hope is the name we choose for the little guy is one that matches his personality and soul. We also have to consider what type of other words rhyme with his name. I know kids can be creative — and mean — when it comes to teasing. I predict I’ll need to meet him in person first to make any major name decisions. That’s how I came to be an April, after all.
My mom said once she saw me, she just knew.
I was originally scheduled to be born in May and named Hayley, after the British child actor of “Pollyanna” and “The Parent Trap” fame. As a teenager, my mom was a big Hayley Mills fan. She had plenty of spunk, that cute pixie haircut, and was born on April 18, close to my April 20 birthday, so I would’ve been fine with that.
I decided to come into this world sooner than planned.
I was a few weeks early, and my mom said I just looked like an April instead of a Hayley. Maybe it was all that brown hair. My grandmother wanted to name me April May but April Elizabeth won out, hence the middle initial I’ve used in my writing career. April E. eventually became a nickname I acquired in Glenwood, and it stuck. My soon-to-be married friend Jono has always called me that. The moniker even trickled down to his mom, Sara, who refers to me as April E. whenever she sees me.
I love it.
I’ve had many nicknames over the years, including April E., Ape, Apes, Apie, Clark, Clarkie, Clark W., Pokey (I can be a slow-poke in many aspects of my life), Chief and Famous. The latter was a newsroom pet name by a former PI copy editor who always made me laugh. The variations of Ape are mostly courtesy of my closest girlfriends.
Although my soon-to-be stepson thinks it’s pretty funny to call me Apie, too.
Our names make us who we are, well into adulthood, so I’m exerting quite a bit of energy into this first-time baby-naming process. We’ve consulted the baby name books. I closely watch the credits of movies and TV shows for inspiration. So far, there’s consensus on the middle name, Andrew, which was my maternal great-grandfather’s name. It means manly and strong. I even had a second cousin in my family, a girl Andie Kay, named for him.
We’ve thrown around Mason, Blake, Riley, Griffin, Finn and a name we feel is pretty manly and strong, Hank. Hank Williams was a pretty cool guy. Hank Aaron, too. Hank has typically been a nickname for the name Henry, but we are thinking a straight-forward Hank Andrew has a solid ring to it. Plus his initials would be HAA.
As a comic, that’s something I can get behind.
Many old-fashioned baby names, including Henry, are making a comeback these days. BabyCenter.com lists golden names for boys such as George, Murray, Percy and Reuben as popular of late. Vintage names including Cora, Frances, Olive and Ruby are popping back up for girls, too.
I know a little Olive in Carbondale, and she is most certainly a doll.
Gender-neutral names are also all the rage in 2015. Just this week, the Boston Globe published a story based on a midyear report by BabyCenter.com about the cultural shift of choosing unisex names. The trend is especially popular among Millenials, a generation being credited for its open-mindedness regarding gender neutrality. Rightly so. The story listed names such as Amari, Karter, Phoenix, Quinn and Reese as the most popular recently.
Johnny Cash was before his time with his song about a boy named Sue.
April E. Clark has a feeling her baby has a lot of hair, based on the old wives’ tale about heartburn. She welcomes baby name ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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