What's in a Name?

Kaiana Jade Donnelly was born November 15th at 11:03 PM without intervention. My natural childbirth is the topic of another blog post however. This is a post all about my daughter's name.

I had some stipulations on what I wanted to name my kids for some time, mostly following a set of rules. If I ever had a daughter, one name I really liked was Tobi, but Gus nixed that idea. He's not fond of unisex names that err on the side of the opposite gender, and to him, Tobi is too masculine for a girl. So that name was out.

We didn't know what we were having until the ultrasound, for some reason we both were thinking a little boy with my first pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, and that name carried over to this one. However, we didn't have a girl's name. I love the name Jade, but not for a first name, so we agreed early that it would be her middle name (though they don't recommend choosing a middle name before a first name, oh well, me and Gus break a lot of rules like that). So it was a case of figuring out what her first name would be.

There were a few rules for our kid's names, and I think we'll follow them for all of our kids.

1) Their first name is uniquely theirs. Nobody named after a family member, though we might make an exception for a family name a few generations back from a deceased member.

- that means no duplicate names used by existing family members, including extended family. This is quite the challenge, as Gus and I both come from very large families.

2) Name does not show up in the top 100 names for that year.

3) No asexual names. This was Gus's rule, I love little girls with somewhat sexual ambiguous names, especially if they are total girly girls, but Gus is a traditionalist in that sense. For him, he wanted the gender to be known with the sound of the name.

Hence my choice of Tobi was vetoed. And obviously, we both had veto powers over any name.

Anyway, those were our basic stipulations when we decided on a name for our little boy (I'm not a fan of asexual names for boys so we were both good there) but we were a bit stumped on the girl.

Then we went to Hawaii, kind of a summer babymoon, Gus has family in Hawaii, I had never been, and this was the last opportunity to do anything like this for a while. When we were in Hawaii, they had one of those booths where they can translate your name into Hawaiian, basically using the rules of the Hawaiian language to find out what your name is. Gus smiled at me and told me to do it, that they couldn't translate my name. And sure enough, my name fits the perameters of the Hawaiian language (though true, it isn't a true Hawaiian name). I then took note my mother has a Hawaiian name, Lana. I also have some cousins and a couple of nieces with Hawaiian spelled names too, but Gus came up with the idea of starting a tradition with the girls of our family, in case we had a girl. We would follow the tradition through the female line from our daughters maternal grandmother, to me, to her. Of course, she can choose to continue it or not, but it got a theme to go by, and since we found out what the gender of our baby was the day after we got back from Hawaii, we thought it would have some meaning.

And sure enough, we were pregnant with a girl. So there came a new set of rules for naming our baby girl. The Hawaiian rules are:

Only using the letters A, E, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, U, W

consenents must be seperated from one another, however we could have as many vowels as we wanted.

Gus came up with the idea, but he just let me decide on the name and he would tell me if he liked it or not. Her middle name doesn't follow the Hawaiian rules, obviously, but then again, neither does mine or my mom's so we looked for something to go with Jade. My first choice was actually Kiana, pronounced KEY-ah-nuh, which I think Gus would have been fine with except for the nickname being Kia. He didn't like her being named after a car. I really liked that name, but thought of other names similar to it and found Kai'ana, pronounced KY-ah-nuh. I liked the sound of it, I liked the nickname Kaia, and took it by Gus. He liked it too, and it went really well with Jade.

Of course, the spelling is a bit different, poor girl will likely be spelling it for people her entire life (but I have the same issue), though we both think that she will ultimately go by Kaia. That's fine too, considered just naming her Kaia but I liked giving her a more formal name to go by as well, that and it's handy for discovering telemarketers.

I thought we would mull over names for a bit, but we had our name in about a day after we found out we were having a girl. We actually didn't tell people right away, my sister, mother and mother in law were the first to find out what the name was and they immediately loved it, though they still admit to calling her Kiana and figuring out how to say it and spell it. And having the Hawaiian theme was kind of fun, we'll stick to it if we have another little girl, but for some reason, I suspect that our next little bundle of joy will be a boy, and we're not doing the Hawaiian theme for that one. He will undoubtedly have a unique name still, perhaps just a completely different route.

Now the final question, what does Kaiana mean? Well, it is a very unique name (though a genuine name, I swear I didn't make it up!) and we can't find it in any baby name sites. However, they do talk about a legend of a Hawaiian prince named Kai'ana, so irony of irony, it is actually a Hawaiian boy's name. Hah, we broke one rule :) However, most people wouldn't see it as a boy's name (besides, we took out the comma, no use torturing our poor girl!). Well, after a while, Gus finally decided to come up with his own definition of our little girl's name. Green Princess of the Sea. Well, her middle name is Jade, which is a green rock, the name is royalty, and Kaia means water.

I like it. Most people seem to approve, I've had a couple nay sayers (people in my unit gave me the most grief, but I am in a Drill Sergeant unit and that's just part of the whole shin dig) but it's been a winner for most.

Now I think we have another theme started. Kaia's middle name is Jade, Gus is a rock lover (mostly in regards to extreme sports) so will we use names of minerals for middle names in the same line as Jade? Hmm, we'll see :)

But that's how we decided on a name.


Marisa said...

I love hearing these kinds of stories. I can't wait to meet her!

Patrick said...

Congratulations. She looks very cranky in that picture, which means she'll grow up to be a very happy and carefree little girl.

Pogue said...

Congratulations! She's a cutey!

Marnie said...

Tobi is a cute name for a girl. I like Bobbi and Charlie too.
But I love the name you picked and the middle names being rocks/gems. Love it. You guys did good.

Andrew C said...

Congratulations! My parents had similar rules but also added no names with regular nicknames (except for mine). Kaiana Jade is a beautiful name.