Monday, January 3, 2011

O is for Otto

About a year into being married Chris and I, over breakfast at IHOP, laughingly made a list of potential baby names.

Arthur West
Titus Rex  (nn T-Rex)
Ernest Smith
Oliver Jack

Apparently, we only plan on having boys. :)

We were set. Four names, all of which we loved. If we came across a baby who needed a home and a name, we were prepared.  Then we got pregnant. Talk about second guessing yourself; you're giving someone a name that they will have for-ev-er. Our name list was re-evaluated and Oliver and Ernest got the boot. Oliver for being a little too popular and Ernest just didn't seem to fit a first born.

After we found out we were having a boy (phew!) we waffled between Arthur and Titus. I loved Arthur (still do) and Chris was pretty sure we were going to name our little guy Titus. I couldn't commit to Titus completely because of my oldest sisters' and other people's reaction to it. "You're going to name your baby Tight-ass?!" *Head/desk*. If people who were going to love this kid could pick apart his name, what would the middle school bullies do to it? Chris wasn't as concerned about it being mispronounced, but after seeing a man with arms that were proportionally too short for his body while at work one day, decided that T-Rex probably wasn't the best thing to name someone.

At about seven and a half months Otto entered the mix. (I was starting to sweat bullets at this point. Ha! If only I knew we still had three months to go!) I believe we first started talking about it while driving back from a visit to College Station and passed a sign for the town named Otto. We both really liked it. It starts with a vowel, has two syllables, has a historic feel, and is different but not unheard of. It means 'wealthy' in most translations and 'eight' in Italian. Pairing it with the middle name, Christopher, toned down the uniqueness a bit, and would always give him the opportunity to go by a 'normal' name if he wanted. (Read a little more about the name Otto here.)

Most of the Ottos in history are authors or military leaders, the only current mentions of the name are James Otto, a country singer, and the dog in the Beatle Bailey cartoon. Neither of those references damages the name for us. We like country music and we're dog people. :)

We went into the hospital with two names, Arthur West and Otto Christopher. And when he was born he was an Otto. After naming him we realized that my mother named her first child, Hannah (a palindrome), and Lisa (Chris' mom) named her first, Christopher. Kinda fun that we did a combination of the two!

Five months into the name, we still love it. It fits him, he is an Otto. A unique name for a one of a kind little boy.

(And for the record, it's pronounced 'Auto' not Ah-toe or Oh-do.)