Naming Your Child 101: An Introduction

I, along with probably most other pregnant women, have a couple of apps for pregnancy. One is awesome and is an extension of my old fertility app. It lets me track symptoms, medications, diet, exercise, milestones, doctor appointments, and more. It also, of course, tells me exactly what fruit or veggie Little Dumpling is currently measuring up to (an eggplant this week!). The second app I have is one from Baby Center. They have some really good articles and videos related to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as some handy tools (like a bumpie feature and a kick counter). They also let me know which fruit or veggie Little Dumpling is measuring up to (a rutabaga this week! I get the feeling that your produce may vary). They also have a robust community feature, which, I believe we’ve chatted about the community features before.

Unlike before, I am able to keep a cool head when reading through these threads. I’m part of an October birth group, so the topic trends amuse me, especially since I’m due late October and am thus on the back end of timing. For instance, the current topic du jour is the gestational diabetes screening test – easily five threads a day on this topic. Last month it was the anatomy scan. Baby names, though, is a topic that has been trending for a couple of months. These threads range from “what are you naming your child” all the way to “what names do you hate,” but regardless of the exact question, this topic always brings out a few types of people:

The Yoonique Speller: Perhaps it’s the grammar enthusiast in me or perhaps I’m just too traditional to appreciate it, but I cringe every time I see this person. You know the one. She’s naming her child Breatanny or Jaxonne or Eleaurea (it’s pronounced “Laura” – duh). I mean, seriously. Being a creative speller does not make your child’s name unique. At the end of the day, he/she is still a Brittany or a Jackson or a Laura. The only thing being a creative speller accomplishes is making your child’s name a pain in the ass for her. I can only imagine 20 years in the future, your poor Olivia Alyviah on the phone saying “that’s spelled A as in Annie, L – Y – V as in victor – I – A – H” and then repeating herself a dozen times because the person at the other end of the line is completely confused.

The Unique Name Extreme Competitor: This woman doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that there really isn’t such a thing as a completely unique name and becomes hyper competitive about keeping her name a secret, lest someone try to steal it. I mean, I understand maybe not mentioning your perfect chosen name to your pregnant cousin or acquaintance. You do you. However, this particular woman gets antsy about announcing her name to a bunch of internet strangers. Does she realize that there are approximately 323 million people, just in the US? And that it is highly likely that her chosen name has already been chosen by someone else? The most extreme case I’ve seen of this so far was the woman who proudly stated (after chiding the rest of us for sharing our names) that she doesn’t even call her children by their names in the grocery store for fear that some pregnant woman in the next aisle might overhear her and use her precious names – NAME STEALER!! ALL PREGNANT WOMEN ARE OUT TO STEAL MY NAMES!!

The Name Hippy: This is a more recent phenomenon, brought about by the trendy Apple’s and Rain’s of the worlds. All Name Hippy wants is peace on Earth and to end poverty and for you to meet her children: Peace, Earth, and Poverty. Blessings to you.

The Trend Unaware Woman: This woman has no idea that name trends can be regional or periodic. She will fight you to the death over the fact that Paisley is a super popular name, because it is. Duh. She’s from Texas and she works in a daycare and she’s seen a hundred Paisley’s in the past month! She seems to have no idea that the name’s not all that popular outside of the Southern states. Same goes for the woman that seems to think trendy names from the 70’s (think Rebecca) or 80’s (think Daniel) are still “trendy” names for 2016.

The Trendy Name Hater: Just like it sounds. This woman hates trendy names with a burning passion. She will mock you endlessly for your Emma or your Charlotte or your Noah and never let you forget that you followed a trend. Now the interesting part of the Trendy Name Hater is what she’s actually about – does she prefer timeless classics like Henry or Mary? Is she into biblical names like Isaac or Nathaniel? Or is she into finding the cool, but not too popular names like Phoenix or Kade? So many facets to the Trendy Name Hater.

The Name Creator: This woman seems to think that she was the very first to create a name and that all others who use it must have stolen it directly from her. As an example (a real life example, mind you, I could not make this craziness up), one woman was so upset when someone stole her first born’s name (changing the spelling) after they announced it while she was pregnant. Just because you change the spelling, Yoonique Speller, doesn’t mean you didn’t steal MY name!!! With her second child, they decided to be super cautious and never, ever announced the name. Anywhere! And yet! Alack and alas, she had already mentioned her love for that particular name on (I kid you not people) MSN Groups about 14 years ago and WOULD YOU BELIEVE that there’s now a child in her child’s daycare with that exact same name! OUTRAGE! She really regrets mentioning the name online a decade and a half ago because someone clearly remembered and stole it. Sigh. Please note, this type can go hand in hand with the Unique Name Extreme Competitor woman, but not always.

The Meaningful One: This woman always tacks on the meaning of her chosen names and I often wonder where exactly she’s getting her information. She seems to only be happy when a name means something significant like happy or chosen or golden (Abigail or Joshua or Carmella, apparently). I always wonder how reliable these meanings are and am dubious that most names (according to popular name searcher websites) mean positive things. I for one would love to see someone be like, yes, we named him Owen, meaning destruction.

The Head Scratcher: So beyond the Yoonique Speller and the Name Hippy and the Trendy Name Hater and the Meaningful One, occasionally you find yourself truly stumped by another woman’s name choice. What is she thinking???? you ask yourself as you reread and reread her choice, gauging the likelihood of a typo. Sometimes the name seems truly bizarre (Windsor, but only for a girl – because that makes it better). Other times you know what they were shooting for (merging both grandmother’s names, for instance) and yet you can’t help but wonder if they are crazy for liking the outcome (Brylynn, which apparently is pronounced “Bry-lynn” but that hasn’t help me much). And sometimes, you’re just truly lost (Vaeda has had me scratching my head all morning).

Now don’t get me wrong. You can name your child whatever you please. We all have different priorities, as evidenced by this list. I will not judge you for naming your child Amillion or Nitrous, if that’s what you’re into. If you’re more the Jennifer and Brian type, also have at it.

What I find the most interesting is the name trends themselves. One of my favorite sites, Wait But Why, has a great piece on naming children and he also pointed me to an awesome tool: The Name Voyager. You just type in a name (or the beginning letters) and you can see how the name (or variations) has trended over time for both males and females. For example, you can see that some current trendy names are simply a bunch of people naming their 2015 babies after their great-grandmothers (Emma, is a great example, like he mentions). Another fun thing to find is when one sex takes over another sex’s name (like Lynn).

Anyway, I’m still on the hunt for Little Dumpling’s name. I think I’ve decided, but every time I try to firm up my commitment to the name, I always back down a bit. (I’ve got plenty time right?!) In the meantime, I’ll keep combing through these naming threads in hopes of finding the perfect name to steal borrow.