Mom and Dad collected names, and plugged 14 choices into brackets that both agreed were good names. The night of the party, attendees chose their top choices among several additional "pre-vetted" names - the top two were entered into the brackets, making a total of eight pair-ups of two names each. Think of it as the "Sweet 16" of baby names.
From there, friends and family compared and contrasted sets of names - there were debates galore about famous people, personal experiences with certain names, nicknames good and bad, positive and negative associations, rhymes, considerations of the last name. Aspects of pairs like Dexter vs. Pierce and Grant vs. George were picked over with a fine-toothed comb.
"Presidential!" "Mass-murderer!" "Screams cowboy!" "Rough elocution!"
Lots of fun, but could be rough for sensitive parents-to-be with a true preference or affinity for a particular name.
Once the discussion for each pair wound down, they went to vote, with the majority vote moving on to the next round. The names were whittled down from "Sweet 16" to "Elite 8" - then the semi-finals and finalist.
Before anything went to vote, attendees filled out brackets and threw in five bucks to add intensity to the challenge. Winner took all - one point per winner in the first round, two points per winner in the second round, three points per winner in the third round, and four points for the overall winner - 26 points total up for grabs.
Throw in balloons, pink or blue chocolates, champagne, pizza and cupcakes, and you have a co-ed baby shower (or in this case, just plain old party) to remember.
I have to admit, when it came down to finals, I was torn between voting for a name that I liked a bit more than I was expecting and the name that I had put down as the winning ticket. Certainly added a bit of a twist. Vote for a potential payout with my original pick or vote for a name I was digging in the moment? The intensity! The drama! The FUN!
The hosts did include a clause claiming full legal authority to disregard the choice upon completion of the birth certificate. However, since they were 16 choices both liked, that would be highly unlikely. They also held onto the full right to pick a middle name all on their own.
When it came to naming my own girls, my husband and I immediately agreed on the names, and didn't share them with another soul until after they were born. Our families kept perking up their ears, hoping for us to slip and use real names rather than Baby A or Baby B, but we never did. And which name belonged to who was not chosen until after they were born, and the NICU staff wanted something to put on their beds. My husband randomly assigned the two names we'd selected while I recovered in Labor and Delivery immediately post-birth.
This was night and day from our selection process, and I loved being a part of it.
I also felt like it was time to do a flashback to an old writercize from several months ago, about playing with names. Read on! The sample is my original sample, but I have eliminated the lead-up. To see the entire post, click on "Inspired by a Phone Book."
Have fun with it! Look for #FlashbackFriday posts this fall, as well as a return to the #WeekendWritercize coming soon. Guest posts will also make a comeback and original writercizes are on the way! The girls are back in school, and this Mama is ready to WRITE!
writercize: Grab a phone book (or name generator ... or name shake app). Close your eyes and open to any random page. Point to anywhere on the page. Create a completely fictional character based on that name.
(I would recommend against disclosing the location of your phone book for this exercise - make up a fake location, or leave it out. It is legal to create a fictional story about a real name, provided you state it is fiction, but the less you reveal about a person's true identity, the better for everyone.)
Click "read more" for writercizer sample response about a Cecilia Guerra.writercizer sample response:
Anyone who knew Cici with her trustworthy eyes and her genuine smile knew she was a good person, someone they could lean on. She helped old ladies cross the street. She volunteered Monday nights to bring English and Spanish speakers from her neighborhood together for mutual bilingual learning. She trained guide dogs. She would listen to her friends stories about life and love and loss for hours on end.