When Elly was pregnant with her second son, we exchanged emails regarding the names for her impending bundle of joy. While brainstorming boy names, I roped in L&O for some of her input. Filling her in on Elly and my conversations, L&O quickly remarked that the conversations sounded a lot like conversations she and I had.
Which makes sense - because my friends tend to be as into names as I am. And have similar, fantastic taste. We tend toward the traditional, which I think may be a generational thing, as most of Thatbaby's daycare class has classic names. Some deem them old fashioned, but I much prefer them to the misspelled "creative" names that have inundated us for a while.
So with that in mind, this is how Thatboy and I picked a name.
1) A vetoed name was immediately off the list. If he didn't like a name, it was off the list. Which got rid of quite a few of my favorites.
2) Names of friends and names of
family members were off the list. As someone with two cousins that share a first name, I
get annoyed having to qualify whether I mean Sam X or Sam Y when
talking to family members.
3) I’ll never forget being in elementary school when my best friend’s
older brother decided to change his name. According to him, he went
from his middle name to his first name – although no one believed him.
We all thought he went from his first name to his middle name, because
we’d never heard of anyone originally being called by his middle name.
My best friend (who probably knew) told me we were being ridiculous.
If we were correct, his parents would have given his brother the
initials A-S-S, and no parents would be that cruel to a child. While
not quite as drastic, we made sure to rule out any initials that
would give our son or daughter any difficulty. Unfortunately, that
ruled out an entire letter for first names, but it’s a sacrifice we
think our future children will thank us for.
4) Similarly, we ruled out another letter for first names, the letter
that begins our last name. Because to me, having a first and last name
starting with the same letter makes you sound like a cartoon character
(see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny) or a comic book character
(see Peter Parker, Lois Lane).
5) No made
up names. These are some of my FAVORITES because I always picture the
parents sitting around saying “Hmmmmmm there are millions of names out
there, but I don’t like a single one of them! I’m going to make up my
own to show how smart and creative I am.” Problem is, it rarely makes
you look smart or creative. Usually it has the opposite effect. The
two most common ways to make up a name are to take a name that exists
and change the first letter (I’m looking at you Zaiden) or to combine
two names by smooshing them together in an almost inhumane way
6) No made
up spellings. This is
where you take a perfectly good name and decide to butcher the spelling
to make it more “unique” or “creative.” Again, like the made up
names, it rarely has the effect of making you look smart or creative. I have a friend who named her daughter Alice.
Which is a fabulous name. She had to seriously battle with her
husband who wanted to spell it Alyss. But that was back during the
time of the “y” when those things were stuck in any which way into any
name – whether it needed a y or not. I’ve noticed the trend has moved
to “x” and you’ll start seeing more names like Jaxon floating around.
Usually (but not always) you’ll see these misspelling associated with
really common names – as though the parents are trying to say “See, I
knew there would be 70 Olivias in her class, so I wanted to set her
apart by naming her Oilyveah.” But when you’re screaming across the
playground for little Oilyveah to stop kicking little Xristoffer in the
head, the other 69 Olivias and their parents aren’t going to realize
your precious pumpkin has a different spelling (all sound same).
Likewise, what lesson are you teaching your child? That conventional
spelling doesn’t apply? If you don’t like the way something is
spelled, change it! I see that going over REALLY well during the
elementary school days of spelling tests and spelling bees.