Remember my husband? He’s the guy who lovingly supports our fiction aspirations, encourages trips to writing conferences, preaches delightfully quaint parenting advice, and gets constant praise on this blog. Well, forget all that good stuff. Now we’re mad at him.

Get this: Bryan has lost faith in my baby naming abilities. MY abilities! Aren’t I the person whose meanderings about baby names got reprinted on BlogHer and Nameberry? No decent person in his right mind would take away what will likely be my last chance to name a new soul.

Bryan (standing here) says I should at least tell you why he’s lost patience with my baby name “issues.” I’ll try to set the scene for you, which took place in June:

ME: I think we should change Elissa’s name.

HIM: Fine. Let’s do it.

ME: Seriously? She’s two.

HIM: You talked me into her name anyway, and you’re always complaining about people spelling and saying it wrong. We can just call her Rachel. [Rachel is her middle name.]

ME: Too matchy-matchy with Rebecca! [We already had the “you can’t have a Rebecca and a Rachel in the same family” argument at the hospital two years earlier.]

HIM: You’re crazy. What else would you change it to?

ME: If we change her name it should at least sound familiar to her. [Much to my dismay, everyone calls her Lissy.]

HIM: Fine. What sounds like Elissa?

ME: Other than Melissa, nothing. But Libby sounds like Lissy and is so much cuter.

HIM: Do whatever you want, but I’m naming the next baby.

ME: You don’t mean that. (He did.)

I went on a baby name bender and stayed up all night Googling how to legally change the name of a minor. I researched any name that sounds like Elissa or Lissy, but had the simplicity of spelling and pronunciation that worked well for Sam and Rebecca. For a good portion of the night I’d settled on Eliza, thinking Eliza & Elissa at least look similar. But then we’d have the “is it E-LEE-za OR E-LIE-za issue.” I decided I loved the name Libby and stayed up all night with excitement.

The next day my friend Jorie and I called Elissa “Libby” throughout a morning play date to see how it felt. It felt weird. And I realized most people would assume her name is Elizabeth. I was done with Libby and the idea of legal name change. Elissa needed a new nickname, that was all. No more Lissy. My friend Nancy S. suggested we call her Ellie. Perfect, I thought. I forced Sam and Rebecca to call her “Ellie” all afternoon. Sam cried. Rebecca requested we change her name to Hula.

And that’s when my baby name bender came to an end. For about a week I tried to get people to say Elissa instead of Lissy. Everyone ignored me. Soon after, not only did I have too much heartburn and back pain to care, but I’d realized our precious little nugget of love is our Elissa and our Lissy (and our Lulu and Lu). I couldn’t imagine calling her anything else.

Now Bryan’s punishing me for terrorizing him and the children on the subject of baby names; he says he won’t listen to my suggestions.

Oddly enough he’ll listen to yours.

People, you have to help me! I want all the names you’ve loved, used, or wished you’d used. Do you like your name? Let’s hear it. Caveat: it must go with Sam, Rebecca, Elissa, and Badzin. And Bryan will never agree to a name without some kind of Jewish/Hebrew undertone. Elissa was a stretch.  And yes, I realize neither Bryan nor Nina are Jewish names. Don’t even try to reason with him. It’s a lost cause.

Oh, and for anyone who’s curious, Rebecca thinks Hula would make the perfect name for a new sister. She’s chosen Wally or Poomba for a boy. Sam doesn’t care what we name the baby as long as he gets a brother. And Elissa, that sweet angel girl, is at the stage when she refers to herself in the third person as “Lissy.” There’s no going back now.


(Photo via Kaylamazing from Photobucket)

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at and Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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