|(The banner from my baby shower!)|
We finally picked a name!
We’re naming our baby girl Paisley June.
About a month ago we decided that would probably be her name, and Jeff and I tested it out for a week without telling anyone. It was a winner, so we started telling people, just as it came up. I think most people know now.
We started with wanting to use “June” as her middle name. June is Jeff’s mom’s name, and we both really like her a lot. I don’t remember whose idea it was to use her name, but we agreed on it right at the beginning. Since our baby is due in the very middle of the month, she will almost for sure be born in June, so that made it seem extra appropriate.
We were about, oh, 85% sure we would use June as her middle name, so we didn’t tell Jeff’s mom because we didn’t want to disappoint her if we ended up going with something else.
For her first name, Jeff and I really liked the name Olivia. (And Olivia even sounds great with June.) But Olivia has been number one in Utah for 5 years now. I’m not totally opposed to popular names, but number one? Mmmm…maybe not. It was kind of our back-up choice, though, in case we could never agree on anything else.
I liked the name Isla. I think “Isla June” sounds nice, and it sounds good with our last name, too. And, it’s kind of popular (especially in the UK), but not nearly as popular as Olivia. Jeff worried that nobody would know how to spell it or pronounce it. He kept singing a Madonna song “La Isla Bonita” and sometimes he accidentally (maybe accidentally?) referred to the baby name as EE-sla (like in The Emperor’s New Groove), which bothered me. So then I would start calling him “Heffery” because he was pronouncing that baby’s potential name en espanol. But he said no, really, he was still open to using the name Isla—he just wanted to conduct a survey to see if people knew how to spell it.
So one fine Saturday morning, Jeff conducted an informal survey. He called several of his relatives and asked them how they would spell Isla. “I-S-L-A.” (Yay!) “I-L-L-A” “I-L-L-A” “I-L-L-I-A” (Sigh.) The survey was a failure. I said people will learn. I said people don’t know how to spell names anyway—Jeff’s name is spelled in an uncommon way, for instance, and people spell my name wrong, and how can anyone spell Emily wrong (but sometimes they do). It didn’t matter. The survey was a failure, and that was that.
We kept going over the other names on our list. Several of them didn’t work with June as a middle name, so we talked about choosing a different middle name. Eh.
And then, Jeff suggested Paisley. I wasn’t sure if he thought it was his idea, or if he knew he had already turned it down a couple times before. (That’s how baby names work; sometimes names grow on you.)
The way it had actually come up before is that my sister Jessica and I have had several conversations lamenting the fact that I named my cat Paley. Jessica and I both really like the name Paley. It sounds like a modern girl’s name more than it sounds like a cat’s name. So Jessica would say, “I still really think you should name her Paley anyway.” And I would say, “Or Paisley.” Because they sound similar, and Paisley is actually used as a girl’s name, and Paley isn’t. And then it wouldn’t be the same name as the cat.
We had also read the name in one of the name books that we went through.
So when Jeff suggested it, I told him what a great idea he had. We decided we would try it out for a week. Partway through the week, I had to be honest with him: “Jeff, I’m worried you’re going to decide you don’t like the name when you realize it is similar to our cat’s name.” He looked at me and said, “Em. The cat’s gonna die.” Whew. He knew the names were similar. So, that was that.
After so many months of not telling Jeff’s mom, Jeff finally told her we were planning to name the baby Paisley June. Get this: he told her over the phone. When I wasn’t home. (“Seriously??”) (“Ohhhh. You wanted to see her reaction.”) But supposedly she had already kind of guessed anyway. Previously when she was trying to help us think of names, I had admitted that we were thinking of using a certain name as the middle name. I wouldn’t tell her what it was, but I told her it was a one-syllable name, so the first name needed to be more than one syllable. I think I may have also said we were considering family names. That narrows it down more than I meant to. Oh well. So, she knows. But she’s already had granddaughters named after her, so maybe it’s less exciting after the first couple times.
So, in case you’re wondering, Paisley is a relatively uncommon name. My midwife has delivered one other baby girl named Paisley, in 2010. ("She's a really good eater." "Hm. Okay.") In the United States, Paisley ranked #831 as a girl’s name in 2006. It has been steadily rising since then: 2007 - #613; 2008 - #450; 2009 - #319; 2010 - #237. The statistics just came out for 2011, and last year Paisley ranked #195. Last Friday at my appointment with my midwife, she had new name lists posted (she has monthly Utah statistics for the top 10 boy and girl names and other birthing statistics, and quarterly Utah statistics for the top 50 boy and girl names). It looks like for the last quarter, in Utah, Paisley ranked #36 among girl names. Jeff and I were really surprised to see that.
I keep joking that if she is born in May, we’ll name her Paisley May instead, but we wouldn’t really do that. So, there you have it.
It feels GREAT to know what we’re naming her, and to talk about her (and to her) using her name.