Choosing a Name for the Baby

Posted by Papa Sez | Thursday, November 26, 2009

One of the perks of fatherhood that I enjoyed four times is coming up with a name for each of our babies.  I find naming things (or babies for that matter) pleasurable and meaningful.  I say this because it was also the case for the 19 new species of predatory mites described by my wife for her Masteral thesis.  I loved giving names to her newly described mites and she was very generous in allowing me to recommend names for her to take into consideration in the final phase of her work in Taxonomy.  It sure looked like she did all the difficult parts (in both thesis and babies) and I get to join in the fun part of giving names.  Lucky me!

It was not all fun though because there is also the pressure of coming up with a beautiful name each time so the kids won’t be ridiculed (or ashamed of it) when they grow up.  You know how cruel kids can be when teasing classmates or friends (or enemies).  But again, the challenge only brings more excitement to the process.

To make it even more challenging, we did not settle for a baby name that only sounds good or a favorite.  It also has to satisfy these rules: two names for each baby, letters sum up to 13, second name ends with ”ele”, and of course meaningful for us or the family.  Many parents settle for names or variation derived from their own or a relative (usually the grandparents), a popular person or those they admire, same first letters with one or both parents, etc.  Our rules came to be during the naming of our first baby and we just applied them consistently to the next three.

Rica EmmanueleRica was the name of a girl in an International School whose photo I happened to get before we got married.  You know, when printing companies recycle materials, yearbook images can end up at the back of pads of paper or in wrappers of printed materials.  Being in the academe at that time, I see much of these.  Rica became meaningful when I saw in her the face of my own child…with my girlfriend then as the mother.  I took that as one of the “signs” that she is the one for me.  So I married her.

Emmanuel means “God is with us.”  The feminine derivative Emmanuelle and Rica would sum up to 14 letters but we recognized that our last names totaled 13 letters together so we decided to remove one “l” and then adopted the rule about 13 letters.  We just figured 13 is a lucky number for our family.

Joseph LeoneleJoseph was taken from my wife’s name.  We were both in the academe then and my wife was also pursuing her graduate degree.  Her mentor (and I consider her mine, too) is Leonila.  Our admiration and gratitude for her was so much that we named our second child Leonele after her.  The derivative was intentional to make it masculine and the two names to sum up to 13 letters.  When the “ele” pattern emerged for our two kids, we adopted it as another rule.  This rule also made our children’s second names unique as their spelling does not follow the commonly adopted derivative of their respective names.

Andre EzekieleEzekiel, we found out from my mom’s prayer materials after she passed away, is the patron saint of cancer patients.  It means “God strengthens”.  It was meaningful to us because my mom died before our third child was born.  Andre sounds at first to be a derivative of my name but turned out to mean “manly” or “brave”.  It was a perfect complement to Ezekiele in terms of meaning and together conforms to our rules of naming.  It also matches the personality of our child.  Even at his present stage as toddler, we already see a headstrong and physically tough yet adorable adult in him.  We have associated this to certain factors during pregnancy, which will be elaborated in a separate blog by my wife.

Nadine Ysabele.  Our fourth child came about at a critical juncture in our family life.  It was when we need to hope for something more than what we have then.  And Nadine, which means “hope,” together with Ysabele, derived from Isabel that means “God is bountiful”, was a manifestation of that desire. 

With the rules we followed in naming them, it will be obvious for the sharper observers that these four names belong to siblings.

While writing this blog, I went through the history of our family, recognizing certain milestones in our parenting journey…all manifested in the names of our children.  Apparently, we were quite successful in the choices for the names of our babies for they are not only reflective of our family’s history but also of our children’s individuality.

Although the primary intent of this blog is to provide a firsthand account of our journey to our kids, I hope readers can also benefit from knowing how we did it…in our own unique way.

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  1. Anonymous November 27, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

    they have beautiful names and beautiful meaning as well, it gave me an idea. thanks.

  2. Bogs Nartatez November 27, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

    Great piece! Your kids are truly blest to have such beautiful names wisely chosen by wise parents. In biblical history people's names stood for the character of the person. It was sort of prophetic. Today we just chose names for aesthetic reasons, neglecting substance. By the way Joseph/Josephine, Hebrew Yosef, means "He shall add" or "Increaser". I need to double check this info though. However, it certainly is true of your family for you have increased indeed. And i pray that God's favor will indeed increase in all you do.

    Ps 127:3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
    4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.
    5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame...

  3. Papa Sez November 27, 2009 at 8:55 PM  

    @Anonymous- thanks for reading and I am glad that it was helpful to you.

    @Bogs- Yosef indeed means "He shall add". Appreciate your comments and the prayer. Cheers!

  4. Anonymous December 1, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

    the names you came up for your kids are inspiring. =)

  5. Papa Sez February 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM  

    @Anonymous- I am glad you like our choices. Drop by again soon. Thanks

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