Name Your Own Adventure

We thought long and hard before we named Piper Piper. I’ve written about the pitfalls of “Baby Naming 101” for Mothering. I’ve professed our scientific baby naming process in “What in a Name? Guts.” I’m no baby naming rookie. So I thought we’d gotten it right. She’s a Piper, yes? Of course she is.

From the backseat today, Piper told us she’d made a big decision.

“I don’t want to be Piper anymore,” she said.

“What? Like you don’t want to be you?” Sissy asked.

“No, I’ll still be me. I just don’t want to be Piper. I’m changing my name.”

“Why?” Daddy asked. We’d just swung through the train station and picked him up 13 seconds earlier. Parenting makes you hit the ground running.

“I want a normal name.” My heart sank. This was my biggest fear in naming the Piper Piper. What if she hated it? What if she blames us later for giving her the coolest name on the planet because she doesn’t appreciate its coolness?

“I want to be Rebecca,” Piper said.

“That is a nice name,” I agreed.

“Nope. You’re a Piper,” Sissy insisted.

“Or Rosie.”

“Okay,” Daddy said, “but you’ll probably need to decide.”

“Yeah,” Piper said, “but it’s kind of a big decision.”

I know, Piper. Believe me, I know.

What’s in a Name? Guts.

It was the night before my baby shower and all through the house every baby was named except the one in my belly.  My sister-in-law arrived with an agenda, having heard a rumor that we were undecided in our task. She’d had twins a few years before, so she has street credibility in the baby naming department. She’s also a media specialist at an elementary school, so if anybody knows how other kids will tease and torture you because of your name, it’s her.

There was a scientific approach to baby naming, she said.  It goes like this. We make lists. Everyone gets a veto. No one can go to bed until we decide. Here was our first round:

The name Piper miraculously appeared on each list!  Perhaps it was the subversive suggestions from my father. There were other contenders, though, so we made pro/con lists for each finalist.

That “people could freak out” seemed a persuasive enough reason. I floated the name the next day at the baby shower. “We like the name Piper, but I’m not sure I have the guts to actually name her that. People could freak out.”

“True,” my friend Elizabeth said, “but if anybody has the guts, it’s you all.”

It felt like a double dog dare. I couldn’t possibly back down.

Before our final decision, we asked our friend Dash, who was named after the mystery writer Dashiel Hammett and knew all about growing up with an unusual name.

“It’s fine,” Dash said, “as long as she’s not a loser.”

“Did anyone ever give you a hard time?”I asked.

“No. Probably because I’m not a dork.”

So Piper became a Piper and it fits just fine.

What’s in a Name? Guest Blogger: Grandpa

I get the “Oh, that’s an interesting name!” response often. Fortunately, most people have enough manners to withhold the “Oh, that’s an interesting child!” response once they’ve experienced a few minutes with the Piper. They’re usually too busy laughing or staring with open mouths. We’ll continue today sorting out the business of how Piper became a Piper. Here we go.

In Grandpa’s second guest blog, he’ll share his Piper naming story:

Grandma and I have always known the secret to Piper. We know why she is the way she is. It’s simply her destiny.

The naming as I see it:  I am responsible, at least partially.  My great friend Dean and I were on one of our weekly fishing trips.  I can’t remember if this was one where we talked and fished or just talked.  Many times we have to remind each other to put our lines in the water.

He was telling me the great joy his new great-granddaughter was.  Her name is Piper.  He told me her name fit perfectly.  I asked permission to use Piper in a future, yet to be determined naming opportunity.  Since he freely granted permission, I tucked the information away not knowing when that opportunity might present itself.

Now here, I have to be careful.  My daughter, Piper’s keeper, is a strong-willed, opinionated woman who does not take direction well.  And she wonders where Piper gets her stubbornness. They’re both probably better of for it.

It took some time to slyly suggest the name.  I think I said “Piper” in every conversation we had until the great naming ceremony.  I said “Piper” when I coughed.  I reminded her that her alma mater, Monmouth College, had a Pipe Band and bagpipe players. Apparently it worked.

Piper is the perfect name for this child.  The name is English in origin and means “flute player.” And that seems exactly what she is.

Piper lives for joy in the moment. She should be a lesson to us all.

I actually think she is trying to raise us.  I hope she succeeds.

Grandpa also offers sage advice about the quest for lalaloopsys. Check it out. 

What’s in a Name?

Baby naming is a dangerous business. Everyone wants in on it.  Everyone is an expert. When people meet Piper, they either love or hate the name.  The first time I took her to meet our pediatrician he said, “What? You named her Pepper?”  He declared her a healthy baby with insane parents.

There are many versions to the story of how Piper became a Piper. I’ll share a few in the next coming blogs, but here is an article I wrote for Mothering Magazine when I was pregnant with Piper about the perils of baby naming.

For Sissy’s version of the naming of Piper, read this. Stay tuned for more.