Monday, April 13, 2015

What's in a name?

Jeff encountered his first "I don't know about your kid's name" experience. Jeff, my ever-animated husband, jubilantly almost-runs into the OBGYN's office for every one of my appointments. He pops his face in front of the secretary's (always the same one), and amuses her with his antics. This time around, he told the secretary that we're expecting a little girl.

As is common, she asked about the name. We will call her Vincenza Leigh. Vincenza (pronounced Vin-chen-zuh) is Jeff's beloved Nonna's name; she passed away when Jeff was younger, and we decided to pay her homage by naming our sweet little lady after such a prominent woman in Jeff's life. We would have named her after my Mom Mom, but Mom Mom would come out from the grave and pull me down with her if I EVER considered naming one of my children Geraldine, which sort of sounds like the name of a female gopher. Sorry, Mom Mom.

As for Leigh, it's my brother's middle name. It just so happens to be unisex, and I just so happen to love my brother a lot. He also prayed to baby Jesus for a little sister, and here I am. He also prayed for me to have a little girl so that his little girl has a best friend, and here we are having a girl. Additionally, my mom named me Danielle because Dad's name is Danny. Giving our girls names after the important men in their lives sounds like a pretty good tradition to continue.

Obviously, we love the name because it is profoundly personal and sentimental to us. The secretary argued that our little girl will hate us when she tries to spell her name, and her teachers will hate us when they try to pronounce it. Jeff, a little flustered, sputtered out some responses. Very calmly, I responded, "Her momma's an English teacher; she's got this in the bag." The name is extremely easy to pronounce once you learn that the c sounds like a ch. Any adult who cannot master that pronunciation probably should not be instructing the youth of our nation. At least we didn't put an r you have to roll in there. (If we had, I would not be able to pronounce my own child's name.)

Finally, she suggested we call her "Vina," and Jeff argued that the name sounds "like the name of a lotion." HAHA. He does not want to call her anything other than Vincenza because "why give her a pretty name if you don't call her by it." People are natural nickname givers, so I am sure she'll go by Vinnie or Enza or something other than Vina. 

He better get used to hearing people's unsolicited opinions because everyone else wants to tell you how to carry your child in the womb (gain more weight! gain less weight! eat more fish! eat NO fish!), how to name your child (too long! too hard to spell! too common! too unique!), and how to raise your child. Want to know the theme that exists in all of those phrases? YOUR CHILD. Listen to sage advice, forget all the rest, and simply do your best. (I have learned this same strategy as a teacher, and it has served me well.)

Here is one of my favorite, most recent outfits. The last picture shows the truest color of my pants, which are olive. I found olive-colored maternity pants on the sale rack. I call that superb luck, my friends.

The Look:
Cardigan: Gift from Target
Necklace: Francesca's
Striped Shirt (my top ten item): Gap Maternity
Pants: Motherhood Maternity
Flats: Audrey Brooke via DSW
 Headband: Target (I want more of them, so I might have to make them since I cannot find anymore as soft and stretchy. Headbands always choke my cranium and fly off the back of it, but this one has proven to be quite perfect for my noggin.)
(Forgive the mess here, but I wanted a clearer shot of the pant color.)


  1. I love the name you picked for your little one! And I agree with you, I don't think it's hard to pronounce at all. I think it's fantastic that you chose names so important to you.

  2. I love that her name has such a special meaning! And how funny- we have the same name AND so do our grandma's! Mine's name is Geraldine too!! Hahah. And yeahhhh, my mawmaw would not approve of naming a baby after her either.

  3. What a beautiful name and I love the personal significance! It sounds like you have the perfect attitude towards unsolicited advice heading into this experience!

  4. I was surprised that you included a pronunciation guide. "Obviously everyone knows how to read and pronounce Vincenza." As a person who has endured a lifetime of mispronunciation, (because clearly kah-tree-na is the correct pronunciation for Katarina), it's not that big of a deal. She'll find a nickname, go by it, and then learn to love her name in her adult age.... just in case you wanted more unsolicited advice ;)

  5. Her name is BEAUTIFUL!!! You are so right, everyone and their uncle has suggestions, advice, and critiques for new moms. They will tell you how to do everything (and I include myself in this!). I'm so glad you've realized early on that you can't listen to them all and take it all to heart. I love that you are naming her after Jeff's grandmother. I lost my grandmother this month, and I am so glad I carry her maiden name as my middle name, which I also passed on to my older daughter. I know I will always carry with me a remembrance of her. One day, when your daughter is older, she will be so proud to have Jeff's grandmother's name, and her uncle's name as well. If I had had a boy, I would have named him after my brother, because we also share a close bond, as you do with yours. (And as an aside, my husband's mother's name was also Geraldine and I share your opinion of the name. She went by Gerry. Our younger daughter's middle name is Caroline, which is for Gerry's middle name, Carol, my mother, Carolyn, and my husband's grandmother, Caroline.) I think family names become very special as children grow up. Oh, and everyone thought Karina would have some kind of nickname, but she doesn't. She's always Karina, except to my little one, who still calls her "Ina" all the time. Which I kind of hate.

  6. I love her name!!! And I love the meaning behind it even more. And I'm only slightly jealous that you have a name picked out so early. We are still mulling over the list of options. We are hoping one of the top contenders becomes an obvious choice when the little guy arrives. Or we will just call him "the baby" forever. That would be great.

  7. Congratulations on HER! Little girls are the best and I love names that start with V, obviously. Vincenza is Italian, right? I knew how to pronounce it, but then again I am fluent in Italian. Is your husband part Italian?

  8. Please disregard my earlier question about how Vincenza got her name. I think it's so sweet that you're naming her after some of your most beloved family members. I'm quite surprised by the secretary's comments about her name. Who is she to say anything negative about it? Her name isn't even that difficult. I'm sure with one pronunciation teachers or whoever will know exactly, unless they are familiar with Italian--then no guessing will be involved. What a beautiful name for your little girl.

  9. Love the name! How exciting to have a little girl! You will get to buy her way too many cute clothes and her so much fun doing it :)

  10. I'm. Obsessed. With. Her. Name. I think it's absolutely stunning, and I love how filled with meaning it is. Also, I imagine it's probably fun to write in cursive...[goes to get piece of paper and pen to try it out]...YEP. It is fun to write in cursive (does it make me weird that I like to try out how different names feel/look in cursive?? Yes, I think it does. Whatevs.). I'm not a parent, but I do know that people like to give out all kinds of unsolicited advice when it comes to parenting, so I'm really happy to hear that you're going to stick to the Jeff + Danielle way and do what feels right for you and your family :)


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