Thursday, June 30, 2005

What's In a Name?

Here's the short list of names we had for Clara while she was still in utero: Alice, Helen, Ysidora, Clara and Ruby.

My husband and everyone else I know called her Ruby before she was born. Consequently, I ruled Ruby out of the running. I don't believe in naming babies before they're born. In another life, I lived with some nomadic tribe or another, and we firmly believed that if a baby were named before it's birth, the evil spirits could find it and harm it while it was still in the womb.

Nonetheless, people kept calling her Ruby, despite my protests.

I wanted her to have the chance to announce her name when we met her that first day, provided that she chose one from our short list.

After the nurses cleaned her and wrapped her, they set her swaddled body on my breast. I asked David, who was right there with us, her name. He said, "I think it's Clara." I looked at her. "Clara," said her soul. Without a doubt.

The middle name was harder to assign. I wanted it to be "Forster," my last name. Not a bad name in general and kind of cool for a non-surname name, too. David argued against it because, he said, he didn't want the baby to have two last names.

"But it wouldn't be her last name, it would be her MIDDLE name," I insisted.

"Doesn't matter," said David. "It's still a last name."

"But not if we make it a middle name."

"I don't want my baby to have two last names," he said. Obviously we weren't understanding each other's logic on this one.

I decided to go a different route.

"How about Ysidora?" David hadn't liked this name previously, but it was a Forster family name, and I loved it.


"Why not?" I knew I could get him to cave on this because of his secret guilt about not giving me Forster.

"Too exotic."

"Come on, sweetie. Please?" I had the upper hand here anyway, as I was lying on the gurney in the recovery room after being cut open (My husband, previously a chef, used the verb "filleted") during Clara's delivery. Also, I was being super sweet, due to the excellent anesthetic cruising my veins.

Clara Ysidora Brown was born Februray 21, 2005 -- a little fish girl with a lion rising and a lion moon.

Clara is a form of the Latinate CLARE, meaning "clear, bright, famous." Ruby is the name of a gemstone, or it's a derivative of the Hebrew REUBEN, which means "behold a son."

As it turns out, Ruby was a good foil. Even if the spirits had come looking, they would have been looking for a boy.

Way to go Clara!

1 comment:

Robin said...

People often forget Pearl's name and call her Ruby. Or Rose.