How Do You Plan on Scarring Your Children?

Disclamer: I'm just going to preface this by saying that I'm not pregnant, and I'm not planning on being that way for a long time.

Good. Now that we've got that cleared up, let me tell you about a difficulty that I recently learned international couples face.

Naming your baby

Think about how hard choosing a name is for a regular couple. It's best if the child's initials don't spell out a swear word, and you want to make sure it doesn't rhyme with too many mean things. You also want a name that's unique, but not freaky. Something spunky, and you don't want your child to have the same name as 5 other children in their class.

Or maybe you want all of these things, and your partner doesn't. He wants something solid and classic.

See how complicated it can get? Now imagine that times two. You have to find a name that is respectable and has no negative connotations in either culture. It should also follow all the rules of sensible naming in both languages so that your child won't hate you when they're older. - Thanks for giving me a name that no one can spell or pronounce just to satisfy your own ego.

My maiden name initials "PQ" in English? Perfectly fine. In French? It's a vulgar abbreviation for "butt wipe." I thought things would get better when I got married and they switched to "PB."  Peanut Butter! That's cute, non?  Except in French "PB" is a well known abbreviation for problem. Apparently, I'm just not going to win in the initial department.

We're a super cheesy couple, and started discussing potential names way too early. Let me share a few of the gem's that we've discovered so far.

We both LOVE this name. It's sweet, adorable, and easy to pronounce. The problem? With a French accent, Ashley is pronounced Ah-shel-ay, which sounds an awful lot like Ah-she-ay - the pronunciation of the French verb that means "to sh*t." Not so pretty.

My husband actually came up with this one. All by himself. Such a pretty choice. Unfortunately, it's not a name you'll hear very often in France - even though it's freaking adorable - and now I know why. French people in general have a really hard time pronouncing the "H" sound and the "TH" sound. So this pretty name comes out "Ezzer," if the person is trying really hard. When they aren't trying really hard, it doesn't even sound like a real word, just a painful connection of syllables. I've also heard it pronounced "Effer." I could never ever let people call my baby girl Effer.

Jill is a boy's name in French. Our wedding photographer was a super sweet lady from England name Gill, and people here always thought she was a boy before meeting her.

Isn't that a cute name? I saw the Les Miserables* movie and decided that that would be an excellent name for a little French girl. But my husband vetoed it instantly. Apparently, it has some negative connotations in France. Whatever.

*I saw Les Mis in a movie theater here in English with French subtitles. People kept cracking up at inappropriate moments, because of how terrible the actors accents were when they tried to speak French. Every time I bring up that movie now, my husband goes, "I'm Jean Valjean" with a super thick accent and starts busting up laughing.

In French, Vivien is a man's name. No really. Vivienne is the girl's version. There is no way I'd ever hear the end of it from my American relatives, if I named my baby boy Vivien. A large percentage of French boy's names sound like English girl's names. It's unfortunate.

The Yelling Test

I had someone tell me when I was a younger to test out a potential first name by yelling it a few times, because you're going to be yelling it a lot the first 18 years. The rule is, if  you would feel like an idiot yelling that name in public (as your child starts ripping boxes of his favorite cookies off the shelf at the grocery store and throwing them onto the floor), then it's probably a name you will regret later.

A lot of these potential name problems we didn't even realize until we did the yelling test. - Sorry you have such a weird name and no celebrity parents to blame it on

Upon seeing her report card, "How could you possibly have gotten an F on your geography test, North?!"
While attending her first soccer game, "Go North! Go North!"
And when she get's her driver's license, "No! I told you to take the south exit North. Can't you follow directions?"

See how silly you would feel? Or maybe that doesn't make you feel silly at all and reassures you that North is a fantastic first name. To each his own- whatever floats your boat...

Granted, in the states if you name your child something mean and stupid that will make him loath you for the rest of his life, people tend to excuse it in the name of creativity or freedom of speech.

(For the most part, they just judge you silently.)

In France, naming your child something really, really stupid is actually illegal. Sometimes, I think this isn't something the government should have a say in. Sometimes, I think it's an act of mercy for that poor child. Not quite sure if I'm for or against it yet. Thoughts?


Alright ladies. Take out your lists. (Oh wait... Am I the only one that has one of those?!)
What are some baby names that you love? How do you feel about the creative baby naming trend? A do or a don't?


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