Several people have written me to comment on my kids' names. Yes, they're all named after cities. Yes, Clayton is actually a city even though it doesn't sound like one. The thing about Clay is that we were running out of good city names by the time we got to him and we had a hard time deciding on a name. We didn't have a name picked out until the day after he was born despite plenty of "helpful" suggestions from family and friends. Let's see if I can recall some of their wonderful name ideas. There was
Paul & Minnie (St. Paul and Minneapolis) if I had boy/girl twins
and of course, Rancho Cucamonga
As awesome as all these suggestions were, I figured I'd probably mess my child up enough on my own without giving him a name he'd never be able to spell. Can you imagine the therapy bill for a kid named Punxsutawney?
By the time I was in labor, I'd narrowed down my choices to Dallas, Houston, Branson, and Clayton. (Yes, I used a copy of Rand McNally to get ideas.) My husband and I couldn't decide so we let our other kids pick the baby's name from those four choices. Austin and Savannah both voted for Clayton. Jackson, on the other hand, opted to call him Slicker. In fact, he called him Slicker for about a year at which point Clayton became known as "Baby Day-on" which is how Lexi pronounced Clayton at the time. It could have been worse. Jackson wanted to call him Nemo at first.
My point is - you pour over baby name books for nine months agonizing over the all important question - what will I name my baby so no one will give him a goofy nickname? It seems that for every choice you can think of, there is an unappealing nickname just waiting to attach itself to your baby. (Not to mention trying to find a name that doesn't remind you of someone you hated in highschool.)
You can insist and demand that your little Joseph never be called anything but Joseph, but by the time he's in kindergarten, he'll be known as Joe or Joey to someone. And if that doesn't happen, he'll acquire a nickname like Skipper, Spaz, Rhino, or some other equally ridiculous moniker that will stick with him for life. It just happens. You might as well accept that.
And really, I'm not sure why I bothered to give my kids names at all. I can never remember them. I spit and sputter, going through a list of disjointed syllables. "AusSavaJacksClaytonReid get over here right now!" It's very hard to sound authoritative when you can't remember your child's name. For some reason, the kids just don't take you seriously when you say, "JacksSav, er ClayLex, grrr whatever your name is! You know who you are!"
My dad used to call my poor sister "Corky". Corky was the dog. We thought he was crazy. Now I know the truth. We made him crazy.