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How’d You Pick a Baby Name?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

Oh, the baby’s name. Our biggest disagreement since finding out we were pregnant. My husband and I are both pretty stubborn, but if it’s possible he’s even more stubborn than I am—and he’s not going to budge on this one. We like some of the same names but not many. And—get this—he thinks since I “named” Preston (Preston’s my maiden name), he gets to name this baby.

I don’t think it works that way…do you?

Yes, I suggested the name Preston, after my late grandfather—Paul P. Preston—but his middle name is Wolf, after Jay’s late grandfather, Wolf. I didn’t exactly have to twist his arm—from what I remember, we were both on board with this, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. And we both love his name—he's such a Preston. (Admittedly, it took all of us a little while to get used to it, since my family's last name is Preston—most common question I get is: "His name is Preston Preston?" Um, no.)

Every time we discuss baby names, we end up getting in an argument, so we pretty much avoid the topic altogether. I like what I like, and he doesn’t like what he doesn’t like… But there are a few names I’ve suggested that I’ve come to love, and he won’t even consider them.

You know how you associate certain names with people? Many names we would’ve considered are either taken by friends or family members, or just simply remind us of people we once knew, sometimes not in a good way.

I love the name Skylar, for example (Sky for short)—but it reminds him of someone he knew a hundred years ago so it’s out. I suggested another name the other day, but apparently he hooked up with a girl of the same name, so that got nixed.

I can’t share any of the real contenders—my husband’s very adamant about that—but I will share one of the names on my list that got vetoed immediately: Rainbow (Rain for short). Before you balk, consider it for a second: How many Rainbow Gorensteins do you know? We'd call her Rain, and when people would find out her full name was Rainbow, they’d think it was cool, no? How can you not be cool with a name like that? I love the juxtaposition of Rainbow and Gorenstein—it's totally unexpected.

Okay, so I tend to like hippie/earthy names and the non-traditional, but I also like some fairly normal names too. We’ve come together on a couple—literally two—but I’m not sure I like them enough to settle on them. Before you think I’ve totally lost my mind, Rainbow isn’t my top choice, and I didn't really think he'd go for it, but the more I say it the more I like it… I have about 20-30 others I like too, and they’re not all as out there as that. But again, he’s vetoed almost every name I’ve suggested—it's the kiss of death if I suggest something!

How far in advance of having the baby did you pick a name? Did you guys agree, or did one of you like the name better than the other? How’d you get your husband (or wife) to come around on a name you liked? Talk to me in the comments!