Joining ranks of forum members done naming kids

I am pleased to announce the end of my own naming career, at least on my children, with the arrival of Wilfr3d Ge0rge! His delivery was a bit stupidly dramatic and ended up with a surgical exit at the very last minute, but it all went extremely well in the end and we are headed home tonight. Reception of baby's name by the hospital nursing/medical staff suggests that porch sitter names are very much appreciated anew once they are on a little (or not so little, ahem) baby, and also that we went with the clear default spelling. (And one OB also was confused about Wilford Brimley being a Wilfr3d, just as happened here when we first discussed the name aeons ago.)

During breaks in contractions I heard from one of the labor and delivery nurses that there were some name enthusiasts down the hall, and that she wished she could have hooked us up... Or remember any of the long list of "really interesting, super unusual names" that couple had been discussing!

On that note, I have so enjoyed being a part of this community for the naming kids phase of my life. I am looking forward to equally enjoying name nerding here from this point onwards, too, even though everyone in my family is here now!



July 16, 2016 2:30 PM

As a veteran myself of a painfully dysfunctional labor and an abrupt surgical conclusion, I am happy to hear that both parties intimately concerned with a similar event are doing well and on the way home.  Yay for little Wilfr3d Ge0rge! Bet the three sibs will be thrilled, especially T who has suddenly morphed from little sister to big sister.

As someone who named her one and only kid almost 37 years ago, I can testify that name nerding is a worthwhile lifelong pursuit.  After all, with four offspring you are almost certain to have numerous opportunities to give unsolicited advice in the naming of your grandchildren :-).  (Disclaimer: my advice was solicited and taken, at least in part.  I did plump for a middle name, but that part of my advice was ignored.)

July 16, 2016 3:23 PM

Thanks so much Miriam! Your posts are such a huge part of why I stay on here after all these years. I am quite sure the unsolicited advice giving phase of my name enthusiasm can even start sooner than grandkids  because I am in delighted anticipation of becoming an aunt for the first time at the end of the year! (And in non-personal outlets, I joined the Onomastics Society this year, too.)

And in name advice of yours that has been joyfully taken, your mention of Wolf as a name gave this little guy the perfect nickname, which we are all enjoying very much!

Eta: I am sorry to hear that you had a difficult, dysfunctional labor. I always tell students that birth is a  beautiful and amazing process, until it isn't... And then it is really lovely to have medical backup to save the day.


July 16, 2016 9:57 PM

I'll bet your little hwelp will love having such a noble beast for his personal totem.  There are really great wolf-themed t-shirts out there for when he is bigger, and I hear that plush direwolves are now available.  I think Wolf, which has been in use as given name for a thousand years and more, is way cool, and I wonder why it isn't in more common use in the current naming landscape that includes nature choices like Osprey, Aspen, and Canyon.

When I think of Wolf as a name (in the case of tiny Wilfr3d a nickname), I think of one of my favorite poems, the Old English lyric usually known as Wulf and Eadwacer.  It has a female persona who seems to have had a fraught relationship with two men, Wulf and Eadwacer (or maybe they are the same man).  The poem is a complete enigma, and there have been any number of widely varying interpretations (including one scholar who thought it was about literal canids).  Nonetheless it is hauntingly evocative.  Here are the last of its few lines:

Wulf, min Wulf, wena me þine
seoce gedydon, þine seldcymas,
murnende mod, nales meteliste.
Gehyrest þu, Eadwacer? Uncerne earne hwelp
bireð Wulf to wuda.
þæt mon eaþe tosliteð þætte næfre gesomnad wæs,
uncer giedd geador.
Wulf, my Wulf, my hopes for you have caused
My sickness, your infrequent visits,
A mourning spirit, not at all a lack of meat [or more generally, food as in sweetmeats and funeral meats].
Do you hear, Eadwacer? A wolf [or Wolf] is carrying
our wretched whelp to the forest.
that one easily severs that which was never joined,
our [dual number] song together.
That last bit "þæt mon eaþe tosliteð þætte næfre gesomnad wæs,
uncer giedd geador" is one of my favorite lines of English poetry, although I have no more idea than anyone else what the poem is really about.  But this is the sort of association I have with the name Wolf.
And as for birth being a beautiful and amazing process until it isn't, I had a full labor that was all contraction and no rest in between until the "pushing" part when the (incompetent and obnoxious) OB figured out that it wan't gonna happen--absolute cephalopelvic mismatch--and off to the operating room. But Edward was born beautiful and with a perfect Apgar score, the last birth on the shift when every other baby born that period had serious problems requiring the NICU and there was one maternal mortality.  So we were blessed.  Expectant moms, do not be scared by that statistic.  Edward was born in West Texas almost 37 years ago in an area with high rates of obstetrical problems, because women went into labor on isolated ranches and in those days often did not get proper medical care in a timely fashion (or indeed during their entire pregnancies).
ETA:  Don't forget to keep us posted on the niece/nephew naming process.  Collectively we are always ready to provide unsolicited advice whether needed or not.



July 17, 2016 2:48 PM

I mean the beautiful and natural process part with full acknowledgement of the fact that human physiology represents a really major evolutionary compromise between big brains and bipedal pelvises. The resulting tradeoff requires such a difficult, finely coordinated birthing process that it's remarkable that it goes so well so often, frankly, from the molecular to the anatomical levels... but there are so many steps in that exquisitely complicated process that can each get mucked up. I'm so sorry you had such a difficult experience with caregivers, but very pleased with your happy ending, especially when that is very much not to be taken for granted.

That poem is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it! We may end up making some kind of decor to hang over little Wolf's crib, and I think this is a great candidate. Kids are never too young to be exposed to confusing literature.

I agree that Wolf is a fantastic name, and it really works wonderfully to provide a Wilfr3d with a nickname much less fusty than the whole name, while avoiding Will and Fred, which we are fine with should our little guy decide to use them, but which we don't really love and didn't want to start out with.

The niece or maybe nephew is now at the halfway point of gestation, but I think my brother and his new wife already have lots of naming ideas all on their own -- so I doubt they'll really need much advice from me or anyone. I think they'll end up with a short-and-sweet European sort of name that will travel well internationally in a broader way, since they're a very globally mobile new family.

July 17, 2016 4:01 PM

In the midst of my whole labor and delivery mess, I had an epiphany.  This is why women don't write epic poetry.  No need to write about a descent to the underworld and (one hopes) a return, when women descend and return with a boon with regularity in real life.

BTW I threw obnoxious incompetent OB out of my room.  I told him that I would rather die in the street than see his face again.  He stalked out, yelling as he went, "If you throw an embolism don't call me."  I didn't and I didn't.  I learned later that as he was about to commence the C-section he asked "Dad" who was present in the operating room if he objected to a vertical incision rather than the usual transverse "bikini" incision, because Edward was so "undescended" that the OB didn't think he could get the little fellow out in time with the lower incision.  Although I was present and conscious and in full possession of my faculties, the obnoxious incompetent didn't ask me.  Obviously for the obnoxious incompetent, the male gaze took precedence over the well-being of both mom and babe and over the right of women to make their own decisions about their bodies.  (Of course, I would have agreed to anything which would have protected my child--if he had bothered to ask.)

July 17, 2016 9:39 PM

Miriam, that is outrageous! 

July 18, 2016 3:06 AM

Reasons I like this forum so much:

Anglo-saxon poetry crops up, in the original.

Comments like "children are never too young to be exposed to confusing literature."

Also, Miriam, I love your theory, but think maybe this is why women should write epic poetry. I could certainly see can allegory of your experience being one for the ages.

July 18, 2016 4:41 PM

Oooh, Miriam, I know that story is 37 years old but I am hopping mad on your behalf RIGHT NOW. I think that far more important than the mechanics of *how* a baby arrives is that the family welcoming them feels respected and supported throughout the process. That sounds like the very opposite, and I am really indignant that this happened to you.

On the male gaze perspective you might greatly enjoy hearing that our laboring party was a source of great confusion for all medical professionals we interacted with, because in our configuration the Spouse was female (statistically unusual) and the Doula was male (far more rare -- there are about a dozen male doulas in the whole country). The best approach was one resident who just said "Why don't you tell me who is here with you today?" upon entering the room. Way to go, next generation of doctors!


July 18, 2016 6:24 PM

I didn't find out until years later about the incision business, and when I did I was INCANDESCENT with rage, the passage of time not withstanding.

While I was still in the hospital, the chief of OB-GYN (not the obnoxious incompetent) came bouncing into my room to announce cheerily that second (i.e., planned) C-sections were not nearly as bad.  And I said, "Let us not talk about second C-sections, but rather let us talk about birth control.  We ain't doin' this again."  And thus Edward is an only child, although since I was an elderly primagravida to begin with, I was unlikely to have a dozen kids in any case.  Actually Edward was a bit of miracle, since I was told repeatedly by assorted physicians that I was incapable of conceiving.  Finally I decided to try to track my ovulation.  This was a bit of a project back then, because none of those home testing gizmos were on the market.  So I tried it once to see if the tracking procedure worked.  It did, and the second tracking, boom, baby on the way.  Hahaha, assorted physicians!

July 19, 2016 11:34 AM

Back in the day, my mother-in-law had a scan which uncovered a mysterious mass, so she went to a specialist. He cut her open and discovered a whole array of interesting things, including an ectopic kidney (the mysterious mass) and the fact that she had a divided uterus. He sat her down and very matter-of-factly told her that she was incapable of having children. His bedside manner was one of an arrogant know-it-all who was going to tell this woman what was wrong with her. Being a nurse, she was very familiar with condescending doctors of his ilk, and my wonderful, unflappable mother-in-law looked him in the eye and said, no doubt with a heavy serving of icy attitude, "Yeah? You tell that to my three sons."

She loves to describe his confused, deflated expression, which was tinged with defiance that she shut down with a glare. She has lots of stories about interactions with such individuals. Technically, she shouldn't have been able to birth her three sons, but I'm so very glad that she did :)

August 9, 2016 10:22 AM

I wanted to follow up on how great I think the one resident's ""Why don't you tell me who is here with you today?" is. When I went in for my C-section with my husband and doula (who was nearly useless since I had to have a scheduled C-section due to my daughter being breach), one of the doctors said, "So this is your mom, yes?" The doula is max 8 years older than me, probably more like 5. It was so awkward. The last thing you want is your doula, who is supposed to be a well of deep strength in a difficult time, feeling insecure and ticked off!

August 9, 2016 12:08 AM

Oh! This angers me so much! I'm so very sorry! ((hugs))

July 17, 2016 2:05 AM

Oh, yay! I love it!

I have actually been wondering about you because it seems you've been expecting a long time - maybe you thought so too, huh?

As someone who has never had the pleasure of naming an actual human, this is a great place, as you well know, to do so vicariously.

It's especially rewarding when people end up using the name you're routing for.

I love your intelligent perspectives and especially the occasional tangent/hijacking - those are my favorites :).

Please keep coming back in between raising four children and everything else.


July 18, 2016 4:43 PM

I actually really enjoyed every last minute of the pregnancy - knowing it was the last probably helped make the whole thing much more sentimental, but I also was really comfortable and mobile right up to the end, which I know is unusual, especially for enormobabies in enormous pools of amniotic fluid.

I will definitely keep on hijacking those threads -- those conversations are also my favorites, too, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. :)

July 16, 2016 11:03 PM

Fantastic news! Well, not about the scary bits, but the overall package--you and Wilfr3d are safe and sound. Three cheers for a well-named baby! And do keep us posted on your niece/nephew to be.

July 16, 2016 11:15 PM

Congratulations!!! Take it easy, and enjoy your little Wolf cub :).

July 17, 2016 10:30 AM

Congratulations, and welcome to the ranks of "retired" name nerds!  I also experienced a rather traumatic birth/c-section with George.  I'm glad everything worked out well for you.  Remember to take it easy for a while (more excuse to simply enjoy your not-so-wee one).  

And I still swoon over Wilfr3d George.  :-)

July 17, 2016 4:19 PM

Congratulations! I'm so glad to hear that everything turned out well in the end and that there's a new little Wilfred in the world. Wilfred is one of my favorite names, and I love that Wolf gives him the option of his gentlemanly full name or a fun and fierce nickname! Just fyi, Wilf is another nickname for Wilfred, in case he decides to use a nickname besides Wolf later. Congrats again!

ETA: I love his middle name, too, btw!

July 18, 2016 4:47 PM

We really like Wilf, too, and we have a children's book called "Watch out, Wilf!" that we really enjoy... and that had been our initial plan when the name was first proposed by the Spouse. However, then people here pointed out very reasonably that Wilf has American Pie problems, namely, that MILF is used as an acronym in that movie and that its use has really spread far beyond the constraints of the movie to be a cultural concept to include any other _ILF as well. As such, it seemed like an ill-advised nickname for a child growing up in the US. Wolf is the absolutely perfect solution, and we'd never have come across it if not for this board.

That said, if our son is a very confident sort in high school who WANTS to claim Wilf with all its associations as a badge of pride (after all, it's not a BAD thing!), we'll be delighted.

July 19, 2016 9:28 PM

I've never heard the acronym before or seen American Pie. To me, Wilf is associated with Wilfred Mott, the grandfather of Donna Noble on Doctor Who. He's played by Bernard Cribbins. I already loved the name Wilfred before the character on Doctor Who, of course, but that association has only improved my opinion of Wilfred and Wilf as a nickname!

In any case, I love the nickname Wolf, too!

July 20, 2016 7:35 PM

Yes, I get the sense that MILF is much less of a standard part of the venacular in other parts of the world -- but this particular slang became very engrained here, even for people who never saw the movies. I'm delighted for you that you don't have it as an issue around you, as I think Wilf is darling.

July 18, 2016 3:03 AM

Super-congratulations on the new arrival. I love Wilfred, think Wolf is a great edgy nickname and also think that poem that Miriam quotes NEEDS to be incorporated into his room decor!

Again, congratulations on rounding out a particularly well-named family. See you around here for everyone else's naming conundrums!

July 23, 2016 10:46 PM

Update: a friend has offered to do calligraphy of the old English original, and it's going to be the best, most confusing nursery decor of all time.

July 24, 2016 12:35 AM

She'll want to get hold of a facsimile of the Exeter Book to copy.  I would guess the relevant public library could get a copy by interlibrary loan if there is no academic library nearby.  I took a course in paleography in grad school--which I didn't find very congenial, at least in part because of my poor eyesight, not good at seeing little squiggles.  Anyway Anglo-Saxon hands are easier to read than the hands of the late Middle Ages which look like barbed wire fencing to me.

It pleases me no end that the dear little hwelp will have such an artifact in his nursery decor.  Never too young to appreciate Old English poetry, and if he doesn't understand it, no matter because no one else does either.  Rather reminds me of my son who took his laminated copy of the periodic table of the elements to bed with him in his crib along with his menagerie of stuffed animals. He also had a placemat of the periodic table for his dining pleasure, but he ended up majoring in physics, not chemistry.  He was however co-author of an article in a peer-reviewd chemistry journal when he was in high school.

July 24, 2016 4:46 PM

I turned up some reasonable resolution scans of the relevant page online, but my friend and I also have access to an academic library, so I think we should be able to work something out! The writing really is beautiful.

Wolf is a baby who looks quite confused by most things in his life, from the incessant sibling hugs to his digestive processes, so this way he'll have something to contemplate that is equally confusing to the rest of the world as well.

I so enjoy the anectdotes about your family, Miriam. I took extra elective chemistry as an undergrad, and we have a Mendeleev ornament on our Christmas tree, so I share your son's feelings about the periodic table. One doesn't have to be a chem major to think it's beautiful.

July 24, 2016 5:57 PM

Better incessant sibling hugs than incessant sibling bops!

I actually have new family members to announce.  To his great delight Elliott got to escort his new kitties home.  They are named...Chris and Martin after the Kratt brothers who make kids' tv shows about animals and adventures in nature.  I gather Elliott is a fan.  Elliott is certainly a fan of the kitties--huge grin showing the very immediate loss of a tooth.  He told my son that since fairies aren't real, the tooth fairy must be a rich girl who likes teeth.  Occam's razor?

July 18, 2016 9:20 AM

Wonderful addition to your set of impeccably named kids! Congratulations!

July 19, 2016 11:37 AM

I'm so very happy for you and your whole family! What a perfectly-named crew you have. Not everyone's style, which makes it all the more fun to encounter, and the kids are all so well coordinated yet individual. Mazel tov!

July 19, 2016 12:39 PM

What a wonderful name! Congratulations.

July 20, 2016 2:55 PM

Congrats on another well-named baby!  

July 22, 2016 6:16 AM

Congratulations on your little Wolf! 

July 23, 2016 9:58 PM

The heartiest of congratulations on the newest addition to your well-named brood! I'm pleased to hear you have no intention of leaving this site, and hope the little cub is relaxed enough to give you plenty of time on here. Enjoy getting to know him.

By kbot
July 25, 2016 1:28 PM

Congratulations, I'm so happy for you and your family! 

I can't decide what my favorite part of this thread is: that you're all home safe and sound, the wonderful name Wilfred, the excellent nickname Wolf, or your quote "Kids are never too young to be exposed to confusing literature".

This whole thread made me so happy!

August 3, 2016 4:18 PM

Congratulations! Great name with a perfecy nickname!

August 9, 2016 12:19 AM

Oh Congratulations! We may be finished ourselves which makes me very sad. 

We need to meet up again when you are feeling recovered! 

August 11, 2016 11:07 AM

Thanks everyone for the kind wishes! 

Sharalyn, I'm very sorry to hear that you are finding yourself with what may be a nonexpanding family without having an "everyone's here" feeling of being done. You are in my thoughts and I so hope this state passes, ideally by the happy surprise that you can add another well-named child to your home after all, or alternately at least reaching more of a state of peace.

I am feeling recovered enough to venture out of the house and would love to get together!

August 13, 2016 11:03 PM

I have the week of the 22nd off, and would love to get together! I'll send you off an email!

And thank you. We're talking adoption at this point, and amusingly while perusing all the different sites, I was drawn to photos of one little girl (although she is in the pending adoption category currently). Upon reading her profile, I learned that her name is Evangeline. LOL! 

August 30, 2016 11:04 AM

I'm joining in late to offer my congratulations on your well named arrival, and to welcome you to the club of name enthusiasts who are just in it for the great discussions and digressions. Man, there's got to be a shorter name for it than that, but right now I can't think of one.

I know my husband is appreciative that I have this forum, becuase it cuts down on the amount of imaginary children he has to name with me. I would guess that he thinks naming our own two was difficult enough and now he's glad to not have that responsibility anymore.

It strikes me that, for many of us regulars or semi-regulars, dwelling in the theoretical is what we like best. Whether we are young people daydreaming about possible futures, adults who have already named our children, or people still hoping and longing for an additon to our family, we take joy in exploring all the myriad  possiblities out there and where they come from and what they might mean. And, of course, for those who are expecting, this is such a helpful and nurturing place to sort out all the ideas of names and how the relate to the person you're waiting to meet.

Names are all wrapped up in history and linguistics and the layers of culture through time and region and some of us just love the magestic tapestry of it all.

I'm thankful that we have this place to share all of that. And I'm grateful for those of us who've found a home here.

August 30, 2016 11:58 AM


August 30, 2016 1:55 PM

Well said, PJ! My sentiments exactly.  (count me among those done naming, but never done thinking about naming!)

By EVie
September 1, 2016 12:08 PM

I'm so sorry I'm late to the party, but a huge congratuations and welcome to little Wilfr3d/Wolf! So glad that you both came through your labor safely (you have some real birth war stories! Didn't your previous gestation involve a helicopter transport to the NICU?) I hope I didn't miss too much name discussion over the past 10 months--I definitely remember his name being in the queue and the Wilf discussion from a long way back, so I guess the early plans held! I love that you chose Wolf as a nickname, and also am thrilled with the idea of Old English poetry as nursery decor. Really, there's too much good stuff in this thread to remember everything I wanted to respond to :) I hope you stick around and contribute to discussion and especially tangents for a long time, as your comments are right up there with Miriam's as some of the most thoughful and well-written on this site. :) I will definitely value your contributions to my own future naming discussions, which will probably be coming up soon-ish, after which I will also be joining the ranks of retired namers. 

September 6, 2016 12:33 AM

Good memory! With my prior delivery we got an ambulance transport to the children's hospital that had a higher level NICU, but as we were already in a hospital (i.e. mainland) to begin with, we got to stay on roads to do so. (We do, however, have separate helicopter insurance of the sort usually carried by mountaineers, because the possibility of an airlift is there if we were to have a medical emergency at home.)

This was definitely a case of the early naming plans holding -- by the time we were expecting there wasn't really anything to discuss, since we were quite sure that it was his name and had thoroughly considered all of the pros/cons in advance. We were just thrilled to get to use this name!

Thanks for the very kind compliment, EVie -- that is the most flattering company I've been placed in... pretty much ever.

I really look forward to your soonish naming discussions in the future! Exciting times!!

November 6, 2016 1:56 AM

I'm keeping you updated on the niece/nephew naming process, as requested, Miriam. It turned out to be a niece, and her arrival was so smooth that it unintentionally ended up happening at home! I don't want to post her name here because it's unusual enough for that to be problematic... but her first name is the same as Thomas Edison's middle name, and her middle name is the title of a Roald Dahl book about a little girl with telekinetic powers (though ending in -e rather than -a). Those are fantastic names that perfectly meet all their criteria, and I think they did a super job entirely without any input from the outside world. I'm so very pleased, both with the niece AND the name!

November 6, 2016 11:44 AM

Congratulations to your family on healthy niece arrival.  Parents did a great job of finding a name which is absolutely on trend, but not trendy, not made up but not likely to be duplicated on any given playground.  Sweet!