Names

Everett has been asking for siblings since he had the ability to communicate the idea. When none arrived within an acceptable timeframe he started asking questions like “Are you sure you are doing everything you can to get me a brother or sister?” We assured him that we were. Several months ago, after he learned that siblings were on their way, he named them Kitty and Piggy.
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Several weeks ago he announced that we were having a boy and girl – he said that he put his hand on Momma’s belly and the babies told him so. He was unequivocal about this as he told friends, neighbors and family members. As a result, people naturally assume that we found out their genders. In reality we didn’t know until the moment they were born.

Melissa and Chris had been working on a list of baby names for months. Two important criteria are: 1) Their full names should sound pleasing at graduation when spoken slowly over a loudspeaker; 2) At the advice of our friend Aaron, full names should roll off the tongue when spoken sternly before an admonishment such as “Everett Maxwell Barber Butson, get in the house this instant!”.┬áBecause we didn’t know the genders, we had to have names ready for two boys and two girls. Coming up with girl’s names was relatively easy, and we had many top contenders. Boys names did not come as easily. We still had a list of contenders, but there were no clear winners and quite honestly Chris agreed to some names based on the logic that he had to say yes to something in order to avoid appearing uncooperative. Ultimately we couldn’t decide on boy’s names and instead agreed that we had to meet them before deciding.

In the finals days of pregnancy and continuing after the birth we started writing our name choices on index cards and exchanging them at the same time. During this process we discovered that we agreed on our girl’s name. And anyone who is married will tell you that once you agree on something, it’s probably a good time to stop talking about it. The boy’s name was much easier to figure out once he was born. Despite a fair amount of anxiety that we wouldn’t be able to think of a good one, he was clearly a Theodore. Some negotiations ensued about the spelling of Gwendolen and about Theodore’s middle name, and we were done.

After we announced the names to our family Everett said “I don’t even like those names!” Shortly afterward he became upset and stormed out of the room. Chris followed from a distance while Everett tried to stay ahead and out of sight. Finally he said “I’m mad at you and Momma and Gabby and Grandaddy and the babies.” Everett seemed to be upset because he thought we were laughing at him. Chris assured him that if we were it was because he said something funny, as he often does, and we were not laughing at him. He seems fascinated and joyful about the arrival of Gwen and Teddy. Nonetheless, it’s been a tumultuous transition for him.
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