I've had baby names on my mind lately, as, well, no one ever
seems to be able to pronounce my daughter's name correctly.
I named my son, my daughter's older brother, Daniel. Long
before I was pregnant with him, I was on an elevator in Eilat,
Israel, where a quote from the Hebrew Bible - the Book
of Daniel - was inscribed on the silver doors. I
remember thinking that Daniel would be a strong name for a boy, and
I placed it in the back of my mind. My son was a Daniel from the
first second I saw him, and to this day, he'll let you know that
he's Daniel and not Dan or Danny. The great thing about the name
Daniel is that everyone - everywhere we go - from Brazil to Italy
to Israel - everyone can pronounce and is familiar with the name
Here's the story behind my daughter's name - the name no one can
pronounce: When it came to naming our daughter, her
father insisted on naming her Amalasunta
, after the
ancient Queen of the Visigoths
. "No, nope, that won't work," I said,
standing firm, "No one will ever be able to pronounce
that!" And so we settled on Chiara
. It means light and fair; the perfect name for
our little blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter.
Well, as it turns out, no one seems to be able to pronounce
While I was pregnant, we kept the name a secret from everyone,
so it was never tested out. Of course we don't have a problem
pronouncing Chiara (KEY-are-ah) - one of the more popular girls'
names in Italy - and we just assumed that everyone else would be
able to pronounce it fine, too.
I don't know whether to laugh or wince when, at the doctor's
office, for example, the receptionist on duty calls out everything
from Kiera to She-ierra
to She-are-ah. I can't tell you how many times I've
politely had to say, "It's Chiara - key-are-ah" - and
even then, most people still don't get it.
For a brief moment in time, it crossed my mind to perhaps
officially change her name to Claire - the English
equivalent of Chiara. But she's already my Chiara, and her
name fits her just perfectly.
Here's to hoping that our Chiara -
that's key-are-ah - comes to love teaching people how
to say her name, the right way.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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