Prologue: I apologise now if your name happens to be one of those I’ve listed as ridiculous. It doesn’t mean YOU are ridiculous… or does it?
Naming my child is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I liken it to naming a company or a business, because when naming a child – you are essentially labelling the person with an identity that they will live with for the rest of their lives. A brand name they will live by.
Which may explain why so many couples disagree.
My husband and I did plenty of disagreeing before naming our daughter… and all I can say is thank goodness it was a daughter and not a son. Because I have never really been a fan of the name REGINALD. No. Not even for a middle name, sorry!
Even Elton John decided that Reginald wasn’t cool enough. You can’t rock those sunglasses with that name.
Yes naming babies is a big responsibility, which is why concerned parents think not only about their little bundle of joy, but the adult they’ll eventually become.
Before naming my child, I had to shout the name out, as if I was calling her. Then say it angrily as if I was mad at her. Then I had to imagine all manner of versions her name may get shortened to… because we’re Aussies after all. We don’t call people by their actual names.
In fact, there are HEAPS of names I LOVE, for girls, but not so much what they become when shortened. Basically, names that become genderless like Jess, Sam, Nic or Dan from beautiful feminine names like Jessica, Samantha, Nicole and Danielle. (To those friends and family members who have those names – please be flattered that I considered naming my daughter after you, but not offended that I’m not a fan of the short version).
And as an adult, I often wonder if I could change my name to anything – what would I change it to? (Without the obvious ramifications to your personal identity.)
I wonder if there’s a name that better describes the adult woman I now am. As I’ve mentioned before, Cindy is not my real name, but a shortened version of a different name. (No, not Cynthia).However Cindy is how I identify myself, and who I feel like I am.
When I was young, I wished my name was LISA, because Lisa from The Mickey Mouse Club was my idol. Then when I became a teenager, I wanted to be VERONICA. Not only because it was one of Madonna’s middle names, but also because of the Archie comic and cartoon because Veronica was the one that all the boys loved. (Shallow much?)
NOW – I recognise that I am my name. Changing my sir name after marriage took me nearly 2 years. I didn’t want to.
My full name – the name that had appeared on business cards, on websites, on certificates, resumes, email accounts, drivers licenses etc…. That name in people’s minds – went with my face.
Watching Glee on-line recently, I was surprised when Puck chose the Kiss song ‘BETH’ to sing to Quinn, telling her that he hoped she’d choose that name for their baby. (It’s not a name you hear much of these days). It was a heartfelt moment that will go to air soon on one of TV’s biggest shows… meaning there’s a good chance that soon there will be a whole new generation of Beth’s running around.
I also know how frustrating it must be to have chosen a name you love, only to discover that some show has that name as the main character…. Just ask my sister who loved the name QUINN and was pregnant long before Glee started. Now her adorable little girl will always be “Quinn, as in the pregnant cheerleader?”
Although some people purposefully copy a name they’ve seen or heard from shows, movies or even celebrities. Ever since the birth of Reese Witherspoon’s daughter AVA, the name has been in the top 5 names in the US, UK and Australia.
Meanwhile, whatever happened to names like Michelle, Rebecca, Lisa, Kylie, Sharon, Sarah, Jodie, and Louise??? They were the names of all my friends in class. You don’t see many birth announcements with those names these days.
And what about Diana? Did the name die sadly with her? According to my husband – no. This was his favourite ‘girl’ name. I found myself repeating to him that I was NOT giving birth to a 48 year old).
Pop culture has a big impact on baby names. “Twilight”-inspired names ISABELLA and JACOB were the number one baby names in 2009, and CULLEN (as in Edward) was on the rise. LINDSAY, on the other hand, finds itself falling fast — perhaps in reaction to Lindsay Lohan’s sad and public problems. In 2002, when “Friends” character Rachel Green named her baby EMMA, the name skyrocketed in the popularity stakes and is still at number two on the popular baby names list.
But as a recent CNN article pointed out, even today’s popular baby names aren’t nearly as common as they were in the past. There are a lot fewer ISABELLA’s in 2010 than there were MARY’s in 1960, despite Isabella being in the top 5 girl names.
That’s because parents today often look to unique names that will make their kids stand out, possibly due to another pop culture trend started by celebrities. Celebrities who have clearly been smoking crack.
Why else would you call your child a name like Apples, Maddox, Sparrow, Banjo, Zuma Nesta Rock, Bronx Mowgli, Tu Morrow, Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, Sage Moonblood, or Moxie Crimefighter.
I think Frank Zappa wins the Award for Cruellest Parent ever by naming his 4 children the following: Moon Unit; Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen; Dweezil; and Ahmet Emuukha Rodan.
I’ll never forget about 9 years ago when a friend of mine told me he named his daughter ARABELLA.
Sounded to me like the name of a biscuit, or a light bulb.
But these days the name would barely raise an eye. Names are becoming almost annoyingly unique. Oh, we will call him Nathan – but spell it NAY-than. Or… We will call her Christy but spell it Cristie, or Krysti, or Cristee.
Or names like this: Oh we liked the name Lauren and Heather so we called her Leather….
Of course most parents do worry that too-unique names will mean bullying at recess, but a quick poll of Facebook friends (all who responded were women) found that it was their more uniquely named friends who really grew up to love their names. There are parents who seem to choose peculiar names, but usually they mean something, and I think that’s more important.. (having a name with meaning) than choosing a name because it’s cool or popular.
Sometimes women name their child because of experiences they had during pregnancy. I read Audrey Hepburn’s biography while pregnant and desperately wanted to call her AUDREY but that was bluntly refused. Then after watching The Sound of Music one night I thought BRIGEETA was IT. But then a gay friend said to me, “No, Cindy… fat German girl!”
I also found that during my pregnancy I ate bucket loads of Apples and Ginger. NO – was not planning on pulling a Gwyneth, but did consider the name GINGER. My husband said no – that’s a red head’s name. Guess what colour my child’s head of hair is?
Another common practise is to name the child based on places you live (or have visited) during the conception or birth – or circumstances surrounding the conception or birth.
My daughter was conceived during a cyclone. Cyclone HELEN. Not really a fan of the name Helen. However, the name BRONTE means Thunder, a daily weather occurance in Darwin’s wet season. This plus the fact that I am related to the Bronte sisters was to me – the perfect name. My husband said no. He knew a Bronte who was a pain in the arse.
Yes, we don’t name our children after people we don’t like. Or people that didn’t like us…
CNN also reprted that several studies have linked a child’s name with their future success. One study found that kids whose names start with a C or a D are more likely to earn those grades on their report card. (Cleetus, is that you? What happened to your 2 front teeth?)
Sheesh. Thank goodness my daughter’s name starts with an A, because I was also fond of Zoe.
In the end, I did do the pop culture thing, and named my daughter after a delightful French film, starring Audrey Tatou – which was a small homage to the original Audrey.
Do you think my daughter will grow up to be demure, petite, and speak french? Hmmm…