Parks and Procreation

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I live in Utah, the land of a ton of children. Public parks are a great place to witness this.

Actually, anywhere that advertises “free” and “children” (though, not “free children”) is guaranteed to be crawling.

What can I say? Having children is expensive and drains any creative energy one may have exhibited during babysitting years. Who wouldn’t tie them all into a car for a little public park diversion? At this point, I’d take my boys to a puppet show about phlegm if it advertised free popsicles.

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This morning, I walked with my youngest to Puke Park.

No, that’s not its real name. It was christened thus shortly after opening, by my second and fourth children. They had looked peaky all morning before losing their breakfasts on the lovely, windy path. The city also chose to paint all the play equipment purple and orange, colors my mind automatically blends into a vomit-like hue when they’re near each other like that.

I’m happy to report that we enjoyed a puke-free visit today. We were not, however, spared from masses of miniature persons. We’re used to it; we contribute to it. What always gets me is not so much the number of children, but what names those poor kids were slammed with.

“Come down from there, Cole,” a mother (?) called. She looked about old enough to vote, but not purchase cigarettes.

“Ella, Greer,” a grandfather called to two girls. “It’s time to go. Abby needs to use the potty.”

“Now, now, Crue, we don’t push. Wait your turn.”

“Emyrson, Emyrson!” (a girl) “Don’t lick the pole!”

My husband and I picked traditional, English names for our boys. They’re names like Reginald Rutherford III and Edward Theodore. (Okay, not that traditional.) We’re somewhat aberrant in this. Preferred name choices of our procreating peer group appear to go one of three ways: very traditional, different spelling of common ones, or completely made up.

Don’t believe me? My friend’s daughter is named Adelaide. A relative of ours went with Heidy for her girl. When I was visiting my sister (also in Utah); she told me of a Zax and a Jax.

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We could go on and on about why people pick this or that, but I’m actually more fascinated by a different phenomenon: why we all pick the same type of name at the same time. I thought, perhaps, everyone talks to their friends about names they’re considering. Or, maybe they all pick names based on popular shows or books.

With the exception of Bella/Ella (looking at youTwilight), pregnant couples seem to just think along the same wavelength. We picked a name that starts with “E” for one of ours coincidentally the same year that four others in our friends group did, and our choice wasn’t even on the list of ones we liked. Last year, four neighbors went with “C” names: Cole, Crew, Connor, Charlie.

How does it happen? Why?

Amidst the screaming, running hordes of Puke Park, I came up with a new theory. Perhaps we’re all just trying to pick something original so that we can actually find our offspring. This is true even within a single family, so the kids can tell which one Mom is yelling at.

That, and it’s quite possible we’ve run out of names.


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