What’s in a Name?

Coke CanMost expectant parents will agree with me when I say one of the toughest decisions they make is naming their child or let me put that another way—agreeing on a name.  This is because men and women have different ideas of what a good name is.

About four-years ago Esther and I started thinking of baby names and we quickly agreed on a girl’s name—Sierra.  The boy’s name wasn’t so easy.  My preferences ran towards traditional names or what friends called Biblical Names like Michael, David or Thomas.  Esther preferred names like Adrien, Colby or Noah (Okay Noah is a biblical name).

Agreeing on a name was like Congress trying to agree on immigration reform or debt reduction. Neither liked what the other was offering and neither was giving in. We agreed on one thing if genetics holds, our child was going to be stubborn.

I’d suggest Cornelius whenever a friend or family member suggested a name that didn’t work for me (see yesterday’s post).  The name came to me when Esther and I rode a bike tour of the Hudson Valley.  Leaving Cornelius Vanderbilt’s estate I said did you know Native American Tribes believed if you name your child after someone prosperous, the child will be prosperous? So if we have a boy we should name him Cornelius.

Coke Names 2

It wasn’t true but I trotted it out for years.  Esther would suggest names like Rene, Joaquin, or something similar guaranteeing my unborn son a wedgie-filled future, I’d counter with Cornelius (I have your back son). Cornelius took a beating on a trip to Puerto Rico when family members couldn’t pronounce it, but watching them try was worth the price of the plane ticket.

After much discussion we agreed on naming rules;

First – No Roman Numerals.  I didn’t want Frank Jr much less Frank II.  I always thought Roman Numerals sounded pompous, the only way I’d use one was if we strung them together, like the Super Bowl, (ex Frank XLVII).

Second – We wanted to introduce a new name to the family tree.  Meaning Jose (my dad), Hector, (her dad), Bob (my brother), Bobby (her brother), Jonathon (nephew), Robert (nephew), Lucas (nephew), Justin (nephew) and Chico (dog) were all off the table.

Sorry Chico
Sorry Chico

Third – We preferred a name that worked in English and Spanish.  Esther is Puerto Rican and I’m Spanish and Puerto Rican.  My last name Priegue pronounced PREEG in English and PRIE-EH-GEH in Spanish sounds ambiguous. A name emphasizing our ethnicity might help—if we could agree on one.

Fourth – No names of cities, states or countries meaning Asia, Austin, Montgomery, or Tyler were not being considered.  This came after someone suggested Brooklyn.  “How about Staten Island, it covers his first and middle name (technically Brooklyn is a borough but you get my point).


Waiting for a doctor’s appointment Esther suggested a compromise.  We each pick 12 names and see how many matched.  It was the best idea we had.  Here are our lists, as you can see Esther didn’t stop at 12.

Esther’s List                          My List

1-Andre                                 1-Daniel

2-Adrien                               2-Michael

3-Colby                                 3-David

4-Cole                                   4-Joseph

5-Daniel                                5-Matthew

6-Evan                                  6-Maxwell

7-Julian                                7-Christian

8-Matteo                              8-Gabriel

9–Matthew                         9-Thomas

10-Noah                               10-Alexander

11-Rene                                 11-Christopher

12-Tobey                               12-Benjamin







We matched four Christian, Daniel, Gabriel and Matthew but it didn’t stop there.  With new names constantly being thrown into the mix. I took to social media.  With tongue firmly in cheek, I posted on Facebook (twice) asking for friends and families for suggestions.

A college classmate suggested as runners we should name the baby “Miles.”  Miles became the first alternate.  My favorite was Otto, easy to spell, and a middle name for Cornelius.  My cousin Cecilia advised picking a name we’d feel comfortable shouting 50,000 times by the time he’s 18.

By Labor Day Weekend, only Christian and Daniel remained. They would be the baby’s first and middle names—we just didn’t know in what order.  We agreed on waiting until the baby is born. Picking the final name and spelling is another story for another blog post.

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