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Our Baby Naming Day Tradition

Octavius 1 The Prudent Homemaker

This little boy is growing so fast! At his two-week appointment, he had gained over a pound. He now weighs 9 pounds 14 ounces!

I've been asked by many readers over the years about how we name our children. We started a tradition with our first of having a baby naming day about a week after each child was born.

With our first, we didn't have an ultrasound, so we never knew for certain what we were having. My midwife told me that some people believe that slower heartbeats are more common in boys, and faster ones in girls. She told us our heartbeat was a slower one, and I remember thinking it would either be a boy, or a really calm girl (it turned out to be the calm girl!) Not knowing for certain what we were having was a great help, frugally, for our first; our shower gifts were more practical ones, rather than just clothing, at a time when we didn't have the money to spare for all of the basic baby supplies.

My husband and I decided to have a date at a bookstore one night, looking through baby names together. We read through hundreds of names, suggesting different ones back and forth to one another, and also suggesting those we would never use, just for fun.

There was a man sitting near us, reading a book and hearing our exchange. He looked up after a while and said, "You guys take this pretty seriously, don't you?"

As it turned out, our first was a girl, and the names we had been considering for a boy were no good at all. 

My recovery from her birth was long, and our main concerns were helping me and learning to take care of the baby. Naming her was far from my mind.

She was born before Christmas, and my parents were coming for Christmas. My husband said to me on Christmas Eve, "It's Baby Naming Day!" We spent that day choosing a name. We started with our first rule then: No family names. My husband didn't want any hard feelings between family members if we chose names from one side of the family or the other.

I grabbed my Longman's Anthology of English Literature, hoping for some baby name inspiration. By chance, I came across this poem from William Blake:

Infant Joy
I have no name,
I am but two days old--
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name--
Sweet joy befall me!


Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old.
Sweet joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee


After going all the way through the book, skimming for name ideas, I still had nothing. I went back looking for words that I could use as a name instead, and this time around, I noticed a poem entitled,  "Winter."

Seeing it was December when she was born, we decided that this was an appropriate name.

Octavius Baby Feet The Prudent Homemaker

With our second, we didn't even discuss a name ahead of time. About a week after he was born, my husband again chose a day and declared it was baby naming day. We brought me a stack of papers he had printed online of baby names in alphabetical order and a pen. He said, "Circle any you like." I didn't circle anything until I got to the C's, and then the name jumped out at me from the page: "Cyrus." I called my husband in, and he liked it too. Baby naming day was quick and easy that time.

With our third, it wasn't quite so easy. By this time, we had decided that any names that were on the Social Security top 100 list were out of the running. My husband was one of 5 Steves in class as a child, and he didn't want our child to have that same experience. We went looking for scriptural names on baby naming day, (but they couldn't be on the top 100!) which is how we decided  my husband decided on Ezrom. There are a couple of variations of his name: "Esrom" and "Hebron", depending on where you look and what translation you are reading.  

Liberty, our fourth, was a different story. I had heard the name Liberty and liked it a lot, but my husband thought with our third that any names we mentioned ahead of time should be tossed (another odd "rule" we stuck in there), so I kept the name quiet until after she was born before I suggested it. I also liked the name Wren (I used to visit teach a young woman named Eliza Wren in college), and suggested it as well. Once we decided on Liberty, I suggested we use Wren as a middle name My husband suggested that we keep the name Wren in case we had another girl.

Our fifth was a girl, and so we actually had a name to start with when we had baby naming day (only 4 days after her birth). We talked about other names, including Lark, but in the end, Wren was her name.

For our sixth, we were down to 4 names, all variations of the same name! I don't remember all 4 now, but I do remember that it was odd how similar they were and that Elsa and Liesl were two of the 4. In the end, my husband told me to just pick one! That was hard, but I chose Elsa, never dreaming that a few years later everyone would be talking about Elsa in the context of a Disney princess.

For our seventh, I was again down to four names. I really liked the name Ruby, but my husband didn't. I called her Ruby for several days before our official baby naming day. In the end, I was also considering Poppy and Peony, plus another I no longer recall. I couldn't narrow it down and there was no way my husband wanted Ruby. I decided to look again, and I found a list of baby "nature" names online. "Ivory" was on that list, and like Cyrus' name, it jumped out at me. I suggested it to my husband, and he liked it--and baby naming day was done.

This last baby was the hardest to name. I joked about calling him Henry, since he was the eighth, but it was only a joke. ("Henry" is currently 29 on the U.S. list and 19 on the U.K. list). We went through several names, and I tried on each one for a few days before our baby naming day. The day we were planning for baby naming day this time was a Sunday, as we didn't have time to do a naming day on a weekday as we have in the past. Sunday I ended up with a terrible sinus headache, so we put it off a week. 

In the end, come the next Sunday (which we made our "official" baby naming day), I pretty much knew what I wanted and wasn't able to be swayed. I decided this name, and as he is the eighth, it's quite appropriate.

Everyone, welcome Octavius.

Baby 8 2 weeks The Prudent Homemaker

 Octavius Awake The Prudent Homemaker

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Tagged in: Baby Motherhood


  • Danielle B May 26, 2016

    This is probably one of my favorite posts you've ever done! Thank you for giving us such a personal look into your life. Octavius is precious!

  • KellyK May 26, 2016

    Welcome to the world Octavius!!

  • Lisa May 26, 2016

    Octavius is a lovely name for the eighth child! He's beautiful!

  • Lorna May 26, 2016

    Hi Brandi and yes Octavious is a wonderful name for your eighth child. You are right he is getting so big ! .

  • Nydia May 26, 2016

    I love all of your children's names and Congratulations on Octavius. I am in the process of baby naming, we are adopting two from foster care and we are keeping the four year olds name but choosing a name for the baby. They make 6 for us. All of our children's middle names honor someone special to us. I hope to add two more to our group, a total of 8...I am not sure what the future holds yet. Congratulations Brandy.

  • Debbie from VA May 26, 2016

    Welcome Octavius! What a blessing he is Brandy...My daughter in love ..Rosie is from Bulgaria. They have a lot cutural celebrations...NAME DAY is one of them. :) I read your blog weekly, some weeks daily. I am inspired by you being such a virtuous women. I love to work with children, garden, sew, cook, make crafts and handmade gifts and live as frugally as possible. Thank you for all the guidance that you have given me and others. Blessings...

  • Seems like the perfect name to me! Octavius is a beautiful little guy. What a sweet story! Our family has self imposed rules about baby names, too. All of our kids are named after baseball players, even our daughter! Of course, it's been a little tougher as we have more babies to find the perfect name, but I guess we all have that struggle to a certain degree.

    Congrats again!

  • Lynn D May 26, 2016

    He's beautiful!!! What a wonderful tradition of naming the baby! Our first born was declared to be a girl by church and family. No ultrasound reveal. He was a boy and I knew it too. ;) I was given girl things to galore. Anyway, We had settled on the name Caleb Allen right after he was born and the dh whisked him off to the nursery and called his mom in PA. In the meanwhile, I changed my mind. LOL. When the dh got back, I told him that I didn't like it. So we changed it to Nathaniel Allen. The dh didn't tell his mother for two weeks. So he was Caleb in PA and Nathaniel in KY. The name suits him. If we had left it Caleb, we would have had a Caleb and Joshua. LOL. All our children have Biblical first names with family middle names.

    Welcome to this big wonderful world, Octavius! May your life be filled with wonderful blessings from our Heavenly Father.

  • Mandy May 26, 2016

    Welcome to the world Octavius! My husband and I agreed on our daughter's first name right away, but took MONTHS to agree on her middle name. Her name, roughly translated, means "my girl" in Italian. We both have Sicilian ancestry.

  • Kristi May 26, 2016

    I LOVE your naming process and all of your children have such thoughtful, unique names. Octavius is such a strong name. Welcome to your family, sweet spirit!

  • As one of a bajillion Jennifers born in the 70s, I love non-boring names. I think Octavius is a great name!

    Two of our three have names far out of the top 100. Our eldest daughter is an Elizabeth, because I loved Jane Austen and have read Pride and Prejudice every year for the past 25 years. I always wanted to name a daughter Elizabeth, ever since I read the book at 13. With our oldest, our son Jonah, we had gone through infertility treatments. We didn't know if we would ever have a pregnancy, and had started looking at adoption agencies and even filled out preliminary paperwork. We had a shocking surprise pregnancy test at a point when we truly believed it would never happen for us. We named him Jonah because the Hebrew word for "dove" is Jonah, and the dove is the symbol of hope.

    Our youngest is Cordelia, which has finally breached the top 1000. She was also a huge shock, and we knew she would be the last. We named her after King Lear's youngest daughter, his good daughter, and the name suits her.

  • Melissa V May 26, 2016

    OH! I LOVE the name Octavius - it is such a wonderful unique name :)
    We knew what each of our children were at the ultrasounds. With our first I could NOT get my husband to even begin to think of a name. So, as I was getting desperate and overdue, I removed all of his "reading material" in the bathroom and left the baby name book. It worked and he picked Tristan James and I agreed. Our daughter was to be Mara Rose (We thought about naming her Mara Jade - from the Star Wars books - she doesn't think that's funny :D ) a few days before her due date we were watching the remake of Sabrina with Harrison Ford and we turned to each other and decided that was a much better name! I had more names picked for more babies but that never came to be.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher May 26, 2016

    What a beautiful baby boy! Congratulations! I love your nontraditional names. :) Welcome to the world, Octavius!

  • jacki May 26, 2016

    i aboslutely love your names!! my hubs is pretty set on things so we didnt go out of the box too much. i really liked willow, wren, carolina, everly, iris, viola, and maybelle.
    we ended up with katharine sophia grace. (vintage actress names)

  • kaye May 26, 2016

    My husband has always had a William in the family , so when Bill the Joiner died when i was 8 months pregnant it was going to be a little Bill and sure enough we got a Will . The nicest bit was when Bills widow a distant cousin we had never met turned up at the door to bless the baby with silver , she just held him and smiled and said hes very Bill . Ive traced the Bills back to the 1600s and i would imagine it goes much further .

  • Meghan May 26, 2016

    Welcome Octavius. It was so interesting getting to hear some of your baby name traditions. We also look outside of the top 100 for names, though our official "rule" is just not in the top 50 names.

  • Mary Beth May 26, 2016

    Early on my husband and I decided to not name our children with family names; we simply gave them each a sturdy, not too common, old-fashioned name that we liked. When our youngest was a few years old, a cousin sent to me our family tree from my father's side of the family. I was amazed to see all three of my kids' names right there, 3 and 4 and 5 generations back.
    Congratulations on your beautiful new child.

  • Marianne May 26, 2016

    This post was definitely worth the wait! When I read his name I gasped. Octavius is the name I was so hoping you would name him!!! It's such a perfect name for your precious baby boy! I can't wait to tell my husband! I talk to him every day about this. :) Congratulations on your naming day and enjoy Octavius and all of your other sweet children. Hugs to all of you.

  • Becky May 26, 2016

    I also looked outside the top 100. We settled on Brenna for our only child.

    Isn't Octavius the first name Cinderella gives to the new mouse in the house? "For short, we'll call you Gus."

  • Alissa DeLucio May 26, 2016

    I love this post! Welcome, Octavius!

    We are trying to find names we like for our third. I never thought to look up "nature" in search engine with names. I'm going to have to try doing word combos like that. I'm tired of seeing the same ones over & over that are overused in our families or just plain don't sound nice with our last name. Thanks for the peek into your naming thought process! Congrats again, Simper family!!

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