Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Did you name your son after an otter? Information about our baby's name

I don't remember exactly when Adam and I finally settled on the final version of Emmett Zaphod Constabaris' name. For months now, people have been asking us about the name and we have been keeping it secret. While we happen to love the name, we sort of felt like others might try to ruin it for us by going "you're naming your baby THAT?" I definitely got kind of choked up when I saw the names on his birth certificate.

The first name, Emmett, is primarily inspired by a muppetational river animal named Emmet Otter. Last year at Christmastime, I knew I was pregnant and when we were watching Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, I decided that the name Emmett should go on the list. As it turns out, baby Emmett has really long fingers, so we joke that he may one day become a bass player like Emmet Otter. (My dad might even be able to find a washtub somewhere around their house!) The name Emmett also passed the big test we were using for naming a boy--we wanted to avoid the first name of anyone I'd dated. (This cut down on a lot of normal name possibilities.) I don't think I've met anyone in person named Emmett, so there weren't other negative associations, either. We were also somewhat inspired by my favorite character from the series Queer As Folk, Emmett Honeycutt.

The middle name, Zaphod, comes from Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As someone who still thinks that digital watches are a pretty neat idea, I love the idea of having a name that honors our child's heritage as the child of a couple of geeks. We'd been throwing out various Z-names (or "zed names" as Adam calls them) and Adam was the one who thought of the name. The name grew on us the more we used it in conversations with one another. Luckily (or not), we live in times when a person can name a child pretty much anything. We still felt it was more appropriate to use Zaphod as a middle vs. first name since it's a bit out there. I sort of picture Emmett going through a phase in college where he goes by Zaphod instead of Emmett--we would love that. One of our nicknames for him is "Em-Zed."

I especially like how the names of my husband and boy go together: Adam and Emmett. At one point I did want to throw my own last name in there, but part of the reason we didn't use it goes back to a rule/joke that Adam and I have about muppet genetics. When you see Kermit and Piggy's kids, the boys are frogs and the girls are pigs; likewise, we thought that if we had a girl, she could have my last name and if we had a boy, he could have Adam's last name. Additionally, there are a lot fewer people out there with the name Constabaris than with the last name Abell.

I love saying Emmett's name and that's the way that I know we really chose the best name possible for him.

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