Monday, May 27, 2013

Mommy Mondays: More on Names

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 (Charmony).  

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.


  1. I find a number of young people who get offended when you can't pronounce their name or spell it incorrectly. I say get creative with the second name and keep the first name on the more traditional spelling. Mind you I am not sure what that is anymore:D

  2. Our youngest son was named after the character "Bailey" in the hit TV show Party of Five. Very little creativity, loved the name.

  3. I completely agree with your steps to picking a name and I love traditional names spelled the traditional way. The hard part about being a teacher is that some of my favorite names start to seem less appealing

  4. I love your name-picking steps. I tend to not love super traditional names (i.e. I am dead-set on naming my first daughter Remy, just because I love it) but it really depends on the name. I'm named after my dad's sister who died before I was born and I'm the only Joanne in my family (though it is also a combination of my grandparents' first names - Joseph and Anna). In the.boy's family, everyone is named either Michael, Parry, or Christopher and I am totally breaking the cycle on that one. I refuse to name my child something just because it is tradition.

  5. I noticed you excluded boy names on girls, which probably means if you have a daughter you're going to name her Fryd or Jaysen, right? Brought to you by the person who just saw someone name their daughter Bradlee.

    1. We already covered that - I didn't want to be repetitive

  6. Ah... the name game! I love your naming process :)