Clementine: Baby Name of the Day

Amy Keyishian
8


Another Clementine-Flickr Photo By Richard Moross
I was trolling celebrity-baby blogs today (God, I love my job) and saw that ubermodel Claudia Schiffer is sporting a third baby-bump. Never mind that she's due in May and looks half my size; she's gorgeous, and her other kids are named Caspar and Clementine. Clementine!

My friend Cindy was mulling over baby names when she was pregnant with her second. Knowing that I am – how to say this nicely? – not someone who'll pretend to like something I don't (okay, fine, I'm a bitch), she asked me, "What do you think of the name Clementine?"

I swooned. Though I mercilessly mock truly unconventional names, this one hit my sweet spot. It sounded like a sweet squirt of sunshine; how could you hear it without smiling? Cindy thought so too. She just had two concerns: how to make sure nobody called her Phlegmy Clemmy, and how to tell her mom, MaryLou. MaryLou is a wonderful and amazing woman, but like any mom, she does make her opinions known.

When I went to the hospital to get my first glimpse of Clementine, this is what I saw: Cindy sitting up in bed, wearing the rose chenille bed-jacket her mom had gotten her (I still covet that thing). And sweet grandma MaryLou, holding the new baby, beaming down at her so intensely that she looked bathed in grandmotherly light. Then she looked up and saw me, and her expression darkened. In her slight Tennessee twang, she said, "I hear I have YOU to thank for this?"

Fast-forward ten years, and MaryLou loves the name – can't imagine the child named anything else, and swears she doesn't remember not liking it in the first place. And nobody has called the child Phlegmy anything.

In French, Clementine means "clemency, or mercy." It's not ranked on the CafeMom database, but 17 CafeMoms have daughters named Clementine. This name hasn't been in the top 1000 names in the past ten years, according to the Social Security Administration. I don't care! I still think it sounds like sunshine!

Plus, how did Cindy manage to foresee the coolest Clementine of all, in my favorite movie of all time?

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