Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's in a name?

The birthday of our new arrival is quickly approaching and friends and relatives are beginning to ask if we've picked out a name.  A simple "no" is not acceptable--the minimum response is a short-list of possibilities.

Our dilemma is the following:  we want a name that is easily pronounceable in both English and Spanish (this may sound silly, but my in laws still spell "Jennifer" with a Y!), not too common (I don't wish being identified in school as "Jennifer #3" on anyone), and does not end in an "o" (pet peeve as our last name ends with an o).

You'd think we were trying for the impossible!

And even when we figure this out (as with our little Victor), we have the problem of the middle and last names.  

In Spain, there are no middle names.  You will find nombres compuestos such as "Maria Teresa" or "Jose Luis", but then this is their name, and seldom do they go by Maria or Jose.  

However, in most of the world, there are traditional reasons for giving a child a middle name, and they are not just used to emphasize that you are in trouble or to fill out paperwork.  You can find a good, detailed explanation here.

The other issue is the last name.  I took Oscar's last name when we were married, but that is not traditional practice in Spain.  In Spain, you have 2 last names:  your first last name is your father's, and your second last name is your mother's.  The interesting thing is that you typically go by your first name and your father's last name, effectively "dropping" your second last name (except when filling out documentation).  This was fun for me when I lived there as people were constantly thinking my middle name was my last name, and dropping my real last name.

With Victor, our decision has been to give him his father's last name as we do here in the States, and hope we can fill out his Spanish documentation with my maiden name.  

So where are we now?

I'm happy to report that after going back to the drawing board several times over the past few months, I think we have a good candidate for the little guy....  

But, sorry folks, I'm not going to jynx myself by posting it until we're sure!

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