what’s in a name?

I’m finally dipping back into my fabulous reader questions, and today, I’ll be focusing on Elsha Quinn’s question: 

 How did you choose C’s name?

Our son’s name* was something one of us saw a couple of years ago on some baby name site. We saw it once and then never could find it again, so for some time, I thought maybe we had made it up. Nevertheless, we loved it because it was unique without sounding unfamiliar or strange, and it was the one name we could agree upon. I have no idea what we would have done with twin boys. Perhaps the second would still be called Baby Boy ____-____.

Initially, we thought the name had Irish origins, and once we were able to find versions of it online again, we did learn that it is a relatively rare Irish surname; however, we also learned that it is a somewhat common boy’s name in Japan, but spelled K-a-e-m-o-n. Of course, there is also the link to the Cayman Islands and to caimans, caiman being the genus name for crocodiles.

Early on in my pregnancy, J was convinced we were having a girl, and my only regret about that was that we might not get to use this great boy’s name. Of course, things turned out quite differently, and we’re so happy to have this boy with this name. It suits him.

Needless to say, once people made the crocodile connection, our son started acquiring a large variety of crocodile paraphernalia. Who am I kidding? We went crazy with the crocodile stuff too. We have even made up crocodile songs about our boy, and one of his many nicknames is “King of the Swamp.” I fear I may be oversharing here about our family life, but there you have it; this is what happens to a couple of academics when a baby boy steals their hearts.

As for our son’s middle name, it was a favorite name of J’s for years. It is also my step-father’s name, and J’s dad was called by this name’s nickname (Pat). She always wanted it as a first name, but because it is the name of someone in my immediate family, I just didn’t want to go there. I think kids deserve some autonomy with their first names. Middle names, on the other hand, are so often throwaway names, so I think they’re a nice place to honor people, and this is what we have done.

Our son’s last name is not something I’ll share here, but  it is a hyphenation of our last names, both of which have two syllables. We played with a few options here. We entertained the thought of developing a single family name, but both of us are kind of attached to our last names. We thought about giving him just one of our last names, but that didn’t seem right either, so eventually, we defaulted to hyphenation.

Baby Genius has a lot of name, but he’s a substantial boy, so it somehow seems appropriate. We know that he can pull it off.

*We aren’t writing our son’s name here because its spelling is unique, and we don’t want people to be able to search for him here. You are welcome to view this photo here to see his name’s spelling, but please do not use his name in comments.



Filed under Baby Genius

6 responses to “what’s in a name?

  1. So when he’s playing center for LSU’s basketball team we can’t call him Big Baby Genius? Ever star athelete has to have a catchy name ya know. Look at Shaq.

  2. I always like to read about how people come up with beautiful unique names. I really love the one you have chosen.
    I was completely wrong about where it came from though! I had thought that given you’re both writers and teachers (english too, no?) that it was a simpler variation of ‘the earliest English poet whose name is known’ (according to wikipedia). Trust me to make things more complicated than they are! Must be just my own penchant for historical names.

    • reproducinggenius

      The spelling of the name does harken back to Cædmon. Originally, we spelled his name ending with -en, but changing the ending to -on created some synchronicity with the endings of our last names, and as a result, was just a letter away from the oldest of English poets. I love that it contains the old English dipthong “æ,” and I really like the tiny connection to the poet. So you weren’t entirely off base; it’s just that it didn’t originally come from a liking for Cædmon.

  3. Elsha Quinn

    Thanks for answering my question! And it really is an awesome name. I love the crocodile tie in!

  4. Jodi

    Clark: a friend of ours from graduate school also assumed the poet connection. That’s okay! We like all of its meanings and incarnations. Afterall, we didn’t choose it for its crocodile connection, but we sure think that’s cute 😉

  5. I really like that name. I especially like the crocodile association.

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