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First, and unrelated to the rest of this post, I’d like to report that after our stay in Vermont wherein The Whuff and I shared a futon, he has graduated to sleeping on his back in his co-sleeper rather than sleeping in his carseat placed inside said co-sleeper. Now the new challenge is keeping him warm enough without blankets as we enter air conditioning season for the grown-ups who will boil if the apartment is left in its natural state. His sleepers work well, but then if I put him in the sling he overheats. And of course, the last thing I want to do is get him to sleep in the sling and have to put an extra layer on him thereby waking him up and having to start over again. So, it’s either don’t use the sling at night or potentially have a cold baby. Neither situation is particularly awesome. Anyhow, one obstacle down. Now if we can figure out how to keep him at a comfortable temperature… And also if we could maybe stop feeding FOUR TIMES per night… *sigh*

What I actually want to write about is names. Partially inspired by this post from Cup of Jo, but also, I totally love nerding out about baby names.

Before I even got pregnant, Nuno and I had talked about baby names. We had a tentative agreement that I would name the boys and he would name the girls. Too bad neither of us was totally in love with the other’s first choice, but in general, we were in agreement. Our first boy would be Noah Henry. Our first girl… well, we haven’t had one yet, so that name is still undisclosed. (Because you know, the second you reveal it, someone’s gonna use it!) Henry as a middle name was non-negotiable as it’s my first step-dad’s middle name and I like it a lot better than his first name (William). Now that I’ve done that, I fear that boy #2 would have to honor my *other* step-dad which is tougher as I’m not wild about his first name either (Walter), one of his middle names doesn’t go with our last name (Francis… our last name is Alves. Way to many “es” sounds), and the other middle name… is Xavier. I’m already compiling a mental list of “Names that sound nice that go with Xavier.” That’s how much of a dork I am. My first baby is seven weeks old and I’m thinking of names for #2.

You may note that Paulo’s name is not Noah. You are very observant.

What happened there is – even without my announcing my preference for it to the known world – all of a sudden, I was surrounded by young children named Noah. By week 16 of pregnancy, I realized I knew (or knew of in the case of bloggers’ kiddos) four boys under five named Noah. The only other names I’ve seen quite that popular right now are Eli and Henry. Which is partly why I hadn’t wanted Henry as a first name – the other part being I just liked it better as a middle name. So, we were back to the drawing board. Or rather, we were approaching the drawing board for the first time seeing as I had decided on Noah a whole decade ago – long before I even met Nuno, let alone conceived a baby.

This is where I declare that Paulo named himself. We agreed that we wanted a European name. Over burgers at our local brew-pub we started going through possibilities. First we started with German names. Then Swedish. Then French. Then Swiss names, which were like German names only worse. Finally, I suggested to Nuno that maybe given the fact that he’s Portuguese we should maybe oughta go with a Portuguese name. So, he started listing some. Many are simply unpronounceable in English (Simão, Quim). Many we just didn’t like (Christiano, Gabriel). And then there was Paulo.

I love the name. Absolutely adore it. Love, love, love. And for the record, it’s pronounced “Pow-loo” in Portuguese or “Pow-lo” in the English approximation. Distinctly not “Pawl-o.” Nuno agreed that it’s a cromulent name and we were set. Two weeks later when we had the ultrasound revealing that this was indeed a young man, I felt like that translucent head was definitely a Paulo. And lo. I do feel like his name fits him perfectly. Which it should since he picked it himself. Honestly, came up with it out of East Nowhere.

I really, REALLY love that it’s not so exotic that people can’t wrap their heads around it, but is in no way a common name here in the US. When he travels in Portugal (and if he ever decides to live there), he’ll probably be surrounded by Paulos, but here he’s likely to be the only one.  It also fits my standards for naming boys: you have to be able to use the name in both of the following situations – “Now introducing the next Supreme Court Justice of the United States…” and “Now introducing the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots…” Nothing too pretentious, but nothing too cutesy. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of parents when naming their babies forget that these babies will be 30 years old and applying for jobs someday. Sorry, Jamie Oliver, but “Buddy Bear Maurice” was a really bad choice on this front.

Girls’ names are harder as they may change their last names, so it’s difficult to tell if their names will flow once they become Supreme Court Justice or point guard in the WBNA. For girls’ names, my top choices are really just nice names that may be popular, but aren’t particularly trendy. They’re totally “real” names that aren’t likely to be dated to the time period in twenty years like all of the Jennifers from the early 80s or the Emmas of today.

What about you? If you have kids, how did you come up with their names? If you just like baby names, which ones do you prefer?

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