Baby names – we just can’t win

When we chose Isla’s name, we thought that it was close enough to several common Arabic names – Aya, Alia – that it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the Lebanese.  We were wrong.  :)

So when we were deciding on a name for our second little girl, we tried to be a little more aware of how it would be received.  I actually met an Arab girl in the elevator this fall named Ruby, so we thought it would be smooth sailing.

With Isla’s name, we picked it because we liked it.  Ruby’s has a bit more of a story to it.  This past summer when we were at a conference with our organization, there was a family there with a little girl about a year older than Isla.  Her name was Ruby and Isla just fell in love with her.  Every morning, she asked if she could play with “Wooby” and talked about her the rest of the summer.  So the name came to represent friendship to us… and our hope is that our girls would grow up to be the best of friends.  (And for the record, I got the okay from our friends before “stealing” the name, haha! :))

So, we are all set.  A name that is familiar both in America and in Lebanon.  A name with a story to satisfy anyone who needs to know what it means.  Plus it’s an adorable name.

So our little Ruby Elizabeth is born in early April.  Caleb flips on the TV in the hospital to see one of the first episodes of a new TV series….. titled “Ruby.”  And apparently the title character is…. well, let’s just say she’s not very nice.  One of my friends actually had as his facebook status update last night: “I hate Ruby.”  The whole city is currently talking about Ruby, and it’s not good things!  It would be like naming a baby boy Ben Linus or Charles Logan (which Caleb is telling me is a bad example because Ruby is both the protagonist and the antagonist, but those guys were both just the bad guys.)

So now when people ask the baby’s name, their first response is a laugh and incredulous, “from the TV show?!?”

Thankfully, it’s a 90 episode series that plays five days a week, so hopefully people will forget what a bad-girl Ruby is before our Ruby is old enough to know the difference!  :)

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2 thoughts on “Baby names – we just can’t win

  1. We thought that choosing Heidi was pretty safe too. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to her, “Heidi, my grandma’s dog is named Heidi.” Who knew grandmas named their dogs Heidi? I heard Dr Dobson speak about names once. He said that they thought Denae was safe and no one would be able to pick on their daughter with that name. Then he came home from work one day and heard a neighbor child say, “hey, Decay, come over here.” That’s when he realized no name is safe. Ruby and Isla are beautiful names and neither will be scarred for your choice!

  2. Ha now I have to check out this Ruby character! Don’t worry it’ll pass in no time. It’s true that people here are always surprised when you pick a name they don’t already know ten people by. Some even asked us – why didn’t you choose a name we use here? I think you’re right, it’s all about reinforcing community identity as opposed to the quest for individualism we see in the west.

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