The Story of Penelope Bloom

There's not a lot about pregnancy that I enjoy. I know women who love being pregnant (they're not mythical unicorns!) but I am not one of them. The only pregnancy glow I rocked was a sheen of sweat from barfing so much. (Hashtag: glam life.)

The part of pregnancy I did enjoy? Baby names. I can talk baby names all day every day. Swistle: Baby Names is one of my favourite blogs. Talking about our lady baby's name was the one bright spot of the pregnancy.

Shawn and I don't have very similar naming styles. I think my style is best described as a little old fashioned and a little sassy. Shawn's style can't be pegged down. He would suggest names I thought of as 80s and 90s names and then throw in some Swedish names and my personal favourite, names of characters from Game of Thrones. Our baby name discussions were all over the place is what I'm saying.

From very early on, I felt like Mabel was our baby girl's name. I loved how it sounded with our two-syllable, starts-with-an-M surname. It felt sweet and old timey while still familiar. I loved how it sounded with Grady. Shawn wasn't opposed to it the way he was to my other suggestions (which, to give you an idea of the style of names I love were: Ruby, Clover, Birdie, Violet, Georgia, Beatrice, Marigold, Margaret, Edith, Belle, and Olive.)

Shawn's list of suggestions included the Game of Thrones names (I wasn't kidding,) Luna, Annika, Astrid, Holly, Evelyn, Eleanor, Scarlet, and Penelope.

We'd almost-just-about-agreed on Mabel when something happened to ruin the name for Shawn around the same time that he started feeling like Evelyn was our baby girl's name. We were stuck. I felt very strongly that her name was Mabel and he felt very strongly that her name was Evelyn. Our baby names discussions were no longer fun; they consisted of both of us only suggesting our top name pick.

So in a fit of "What would Swistle do?" desperation, we both forfeited our top names. Mabel and Evelyn were both off the table. Neither one of us wanted to tackle The Baby Name Wizard (the best baby name book, by far) again so we decided to start with each other's lists.

I kept coming back to Penelope. It was the name on Shawn's list that fit my style most closely. My arguments against it were pronouncing it Peen-uh-lope as a child when I read the name before ever hearing it, and feeling like the nickname Penny was inevitable (and Penny is a fine name, it just didn't feel like my baby's name). The Baby Name Wizard is what sold me on the name. It gave me the origin (in Greek mythology, Odysseus' wife, Penelope, patiently awaited his return for twenty years and it felt like we'd been waiting for Penelope forever) and the nickname Poppy.

I hadn't considered Poppy as a nickname for Penelope before. It's definitely raised a few eyebrows when we explain that Poppy is short for Penelope (and we've had a few people ask outright why we don't call her Penny,) and I know in the future she may choose something other than Poppy as her nickname, but I don't mind. The name Penelope / Poppy fits her perfectly.

As for Bloom, I knew I wanted a short and sassy middle name. Grady's middle name is Shawn after a longstanding tradition in his family of giving the firstborn son his father's first name as a middle name (a tradition I didn't love but cared less about breaking than Shawn cared about keeping). We briefly considered using different parts of my name as Poppy's middle but I didn't love any of the combos we came up with. Bloom is a word that holds a lot of meaning to me so even though it felt a bit weird at first, we decided to use it and we have no regrets. Penelope Bloom is a name that suits Poppy perfectly, holds a lot of meaning for us, and gives us some excellent nicknames (Poppers and Ms. Bloom are my favourites).

How did you name your baby? If you're pregnant and having a tough time coming up with names, will you submit your request to Swistle and then tell me about it so I can play along?

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