Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's in a Name?

I have to admit that my youngest son has a funky name. Obviously, Wendell and I love it. And except for a few of you bloggers (and I think some of you may be lying) no one else does. This is part of the reason that we kept it a secret until he was born. Who wants to deal with people saying, "That's a terrible name. Way too weird. You absolutely can't name your baby THAT."

Unfortunately, people's reactions after he was born were only slightly better. This is what the conversation sounded like on my end just hearing Wendell make phone calls.

W: Hey, we called to tell you we had our baby this morning. Yeah. 8 lbs 8 oz. That's small for us. We named him Cohen Beck. Yeah, Cohen. C-O-H-E-N. 'Cause we liked it. Just two names we liked. No, he's not named after anyone. He and Jenna are doing great. She's a little tired right now, but you can visit later today or she'll be in the hospital until Sunday.

Wendell had to say this over and over.

"Wow," I said later, "I never knew 'Cohen' would be so hard. If we want him to go by that we'll have to teach him to spell it very young. Like Anson. You remember, honey? He could spell his name starting at 2."

My dad's mom, Grandma Harris, hates unusual names. But she's pretty gracious about it to the new parents, then she tells everyone else in the family how weird the name is. On Thanksgiving, we tried to prep her.

G: What are you naming your baby?
J: It's a secret. We'll call you next week when we have him. But Grandma?
G: Yeah.
J: You're gonna hate this name.
(Laughter by all within earshot.)
G:Oh. Can't you name him something classic like James or Jonathon?
J: No. We like this name, but you won't.

In the car Wendell and I talked about the names Grandma threw out. James. Our Nathan is already Nathan James, both classic family names. My sister named her youngest son Benjamin James, to which Grandma said, "Didn't Jenna name her son Nathan James?" Implied here was, why would you use James again?

Yet, when Wendell called Grandma, she was gracious. She kept saying, "Cohen Beck, I like it," over and over. Poor Grandma was probably prepared for something much weirder. She may have been prepping for us to call and say, "We're naming our son 'Waltzing Matilda' and we're calling him 'Walt.'"

My mom's mom was a different story. We didn't get a hold of Grandma Kirkwood that day, so my mom called her. This is her version of the story.

Mom: So Jenna and Wendell named the baby Cohen Beck.
G: What?!
M: Cohen. C-O-H-E-N. Cohen Beck.
G: Cohen's not a name. It's a bunch of letters stuck together.
M: No, no. Cohen's a name--a last name.
G: Who's last name?
M: Well, it's a fairly common Jewish last name...
G: Alright then, who in the family is Jewish?

When my mom told me this story I was laughing so hard my incision hurt... a bunch of letters stuck together... By the end of the conversation, though, Grandma was coming around and said the name was "all right."


Laurie said...

Hi Jenna, This is Laurie. I changed my posting name.

When we named Henry, we got the same types of reactions, like we had just sentenced him to a lifetime of rejection or something. I thinks it fits him perfectly and because of an experience we had before he was born, I think he picked his own name out. You're smart to have kept it a secret. I think that no matter what you would have picked, you would have gotten people's opinion, good or bad. I have never heard the name Cohen and I have a friend who's last name is Beck and honestly I love the two names together. Good job on a great name! P.S. I really like
Anson's name also!!!

Hey, I have been posting all December! Are you not able to read any of my posts? Not that they're great or anything, but I've missed your comments also!

Laurie said...

Jenna, I can't remember what I just said to you in that last comment but now that I'm going over it in my mind, I think that it came out totally rude. I am so sorry!!!! I meant to say, not that my blogging is great or anything, but I have missed your comments. Interpretation: I am not a good blogger but I really like hearing from my friends and I have noticed that you haven't commented in a while and I figured you were just really busy with your new little one. I didn't even think that maybe it was because you couldn't see my December posts. I am so sorry if that last comment sounded as rude as I am thinking that it did!!

Julie said...

This made me laugh so hard! When people ask the girl names we're thinking of, and I tell them the one I love the most, I get this: "huh? Where did you get that? How do you spell it?" Seriously, I didn't think it was that hard or unusual. Anyway - I hear ya loud and clear!

Jenna Wood said...

Laurie: I totally can't see anything after "Brain Fog." I keep checking, but nothing changing and I don't know why. Email me! I've been dying to hear what you're doing.

dh said...

I SERIOUSLY loved the name! I know of one other little man (Kohen) at and I Love ANSON, too!

We got grief for our names also, but we went with hawaiian. We get poked fun of regularly and I'm thinking that #4 in two weeks will bring us grief also.

Jenna Wood said...

hayngrl101, Do you have a blog? I've got to have a way to get the updates when your #4 gets here.

angie said...

Jenna- I love the name Cohen. Pete's bro best friend named thier boy that a few years ago, and I have loved it ever since. It's cool. Plus, not so common names are my favorite... then you don't have to worry about your child being a "mike W" ect. I love it!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

"who in the family is Jewish?" I'm still giggling over that! What a funny post.