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“Oh, it’s a boy? Congratulations! I guess now you can start narrowing down names, eh?”

I’ve heard this several times, and I laugh. Because we had our first son and first daughter named before Perfect Husband was even a Perfect Fiance. We worked it out in our first year of dating.

I forget how it started – some idle remark in conversation – but once it did, we couldn’t stop. We’d come out with it at the oddest times. Driving home from dinner with his folks, walking down the street with grocery bags in our hands, or from the bed in the silence and the dark of night, one of us would say “Brian?” or “Alice?” and the other would respond. Watching the credits after a movie, we’d ask each other,

“Gigi?”

“Julio?”

“Seriously – Owen?”

I vetoed a couple of his top favourites, and he vetoed some of mine. I thought his suggestion was too popular – I knew way too many people with that name – and he thought mine was too old-fashioned, and sounded like an old lady’s name. I didn’t like any of the nicknames that came with another suggestion, because if a name CAN be shortened, people WILL shorten it (ask my father’s family, who actually thought they could name their son Lawrence and have him go through life not being called “Larry”). He didn’t have good associations with my next suggestion. There were a couple of names we were both lukewarm on, but not enthusiastic about.

But there was one boy’s name on my list that PH liked and approved of, and one of my top girl’s names sounded right to him, so we settled on their names and they became real to us, as named people. We would talk about our future son and daughter by name frequently.

It was so much fun, though, that we never really stopped. We still sit through the end of the credits of the movies, saying stuff like

Geefwee. Let’s totally name our son Geefwee.”

and “Burt! Can we name our kid Burt?”

“Okay, but only if it’s  a girl.

“Sold.”

When I hear about couples who can’t decide on a name until days or even weeks after the birth, I’m baffled. It’s so much fun to talk about, and I think we both felt that it was important to decide such things before we took a step as big as marriage. After all, what if we had gotten married, only to discover that one of us wanted to name our son “Shaggy” and our daughter “Velma” or our son “Chivalry” and our daughter “Chastity”*

I mean, that could be a deal-breaker right there.

*Apologies out there who have kids named after Scooby Doo characters or obsolete virtues. It’s just not our personal style.

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