Saturday, October 11, 2008

How we named Adam

Baby Boy Adam
Baby boy Adam at 2 days old.

We are definitely the type of parents that have to know the sex of the child well before they are born. Since we had about 20 weeks notice, you'd think that would be enough time to name our son. Doug and I both had a few requirements. Since Doug's last name is three syllables, he wanted a first name that was two syllables so the full name wouldn't be too long. And he didn't want a name that was gender ambiguous or had nicknames. He also wanted to honor his late father by incorporating his name Irving or a derivative into the first or middle name. So he suggested Isaac. I immediately thought of Isaac Washington of the Love Boat, and then Isaac Hayes. Of course Isaac Newton would have been a good thought, but those pearly whites of Isaac Washington kept haunting me. I didn't want any biblical names like David, Joseph, etc. And it had to be a name that my Chinese parents could pronounce easily, so no R's and L's like Aaron or Allen (these would be identical!). So we were kicking around names like Evan and possibly Adam (except for the biblical part). We weren't really thrilled by either choice so we left it up in the air. We were still tossing up names on the way to the hospital at 3am and there still wasn't a name after 20 hours of labor. When he was born, they tagged him Baby Boy (Dad's last name).

After our baby boy arrived, I called my mother on the phone to tell her the news. She immediately asked what his name was. I said, "I don't know, we were thinking about Adam." My mom exclaimed, "Adam!! I love it!!" And suddenly, this name which was so elusive for us became solidified. For his middle name, I just couldn't go with Isaac, so I suggested that we simply use Irving. And together, Adam Irving, became the perfect name, extremely dignified, masculine, and fitting all our criteria. He could be an author, like Washington Irving (or Isaac Washington Irving, as I often kid). The big joke of course, was that despite my wishes not to have a biblical name, we picked the most biblical name of all!

And here's another far-fetched reason. I have a friend named David who has two younger brothers Adam and Seth. I've always felt that his parents named them in the wrong order. Adam should have been the first son because he was the first man. But they correctly named Seth, because that means third son. So this way, in naming my first son Adam, I could fix their incorrect naming order.

Another colleague at work has four sons, Matthew, Adam, David and Aidan. Again, they named their sons in the wrong order!! When I heard these names, I said, "Cool, the first letters of their names spell ADAM." He looked at me puzzledly and said, "You know, we never noticed that. I'll have to tell my wife." And then I had to tell him that he named his kids in the wrong order, that Adam should be first. His response was, "Do you have OCD?" I laughed and replied, "I try not to." OK OK, maybe I'm a bit compulsive, things must be in the correct order!

After settling on Adam and mulling over the letters of the name, I also noticed that it had an A and a D in it for Angela and Doug. How perfect that he is a product of both of us and the first letters of our names are in his name. Who would've thought that naming a child would be such an arduous process?

Next week, Dova.

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