I used to sing in front of hundreds of people for fun. I've climbed trees twice the height of a house. But those are much easier on the nerves than naming my little girl.
I've already written about how difficult it is to choose a name. But it gets harder still. After the child is born, you still need to make it official. You have to look at the baby, decide if the name still fits, and then WRITE IT DOWN. This means that you have to fill up that blank space on the paper, and then give this paper to government people who will take it away and NEVER GIVE IT BACK.
This is no small thing. This poor creature has no say in the matter. It is stuck with whatever you choose to call it. You could pull a Jermaine Jackson and name your child "Jermajesty", and the deed would be done forever (after the government data entry people pick their laughing heads up from the floor). Every time someone refers to your child, they will use those syllables you picked. Every sixth grade insult will fly your child's way with some derogatory version of the name you so carefully rhyme-tested to make sure their nasty classmates couldn't do the same. He or she will keep that name as a teenager, as a parent, and as a senior citizen. More than once, I've wished the Missing Child people could do an age-progression photo at the hospital to check that the name will fit the baby when it's all grown up. This little person could end up being a hairdresser or a surgeon (would you want a consultation with Dr. Bambi?) with the name you gave them. This name will be on their report cards and diplomas, on their book jackets or recital programs. And this name is created in a moment, as soon as you put ink on that blank line on the yellow paper. It all seems so final.
Well, little Meredith Rose, I hope we got it right.