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Ava, Sid, and Bodhi: The New Reality of Baby Naming

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

You’ll never guess the name that repeats in my son’s third grade.

It isn’t Alex.  Despite having a Top 20 name, he’s never had to share.  His friend Matthew is also one of one, and has been since kindergarten.  The same is true for Chloe and William.

The name that repeats?  Micah.

It’s one of the new realities of baby naming.  In our quest to avoid calling our kids the 2014 equivalent of Jennifer and Jason, Ashley and Josh, we skip over the Top Ten and even Top 100.

But that’s no guarantee that our relatively uncommon choice won’t be shared.  My kids know more than one Lucia and a couple of Finns, two Jareds, a Skyler and a Skye, a boy Jordan and a girl Jordan, a boy Seamus and a dog Seamus.

So it isn’t really a surprise that the high profile birth announcement name to repeat this week wasn’t Ava or Isabella, but Bodhi.

Sure, choosing a Top Ten name means that you’ll eventually meet other children with the same name.  In fact, there is another Ava in this post – a big sister.  Name your kids Mason and Olivia, and you’ll hear about your friend’s neighbor and your neighbor’s cousins who used the same names.

This week’s names are a rich and varied bunch, ranging from the most popular choices to some rarely heard picks.  And yet none of them are promised to be one of one in 2014.

The nine baby names making headlines are:

Hazel John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are new parents!  They chose Hazel, a vintage choice at home in Hollywood – Julia Roberts has a Hazel, too.  At #175, she’s the kind of just slightly different choice that plenty of parents named John and Emily are making nowadays.  Speaking of John, didn’t you love The Office storyline where both Jim and Pam and Angela and Robert name their sons Philip?

Ava Marie Jean – No matter how many times I hear Ava, it still seems like a stylish choice.  Now Rev Run’s daughter Vanessa and her boyfriend, Mike Wayans, part of the multi-talented Wayans family, have chosen the name for their daughter.  Looking at the couple’s extended family, Ava is pretty safe – she’ll have relatives called Amai, Summer, Daphne, Cara Mia, and Keenen.

Isabella Eve Josh Gad is having quite the year.  The Tony-nominated actor voiced Olaf in Frozen.  Now he and wife Ida Darvish welcomed daughter #2.  They played it safe with her name, Isabella Eve.  But that’s no surprise – big sis is Ava Tanya.

Sid Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen have both answered to super-popular 80s names.  Could it be why they went in a different direction for their new son?  Sid fits right in with Max and Gus, grandpa names that have reclaimed the playground.  But Sid also has a certain cool thanks to punk rock’s ill-fated Sid Vicious – who was born John.

Macks – Babble blogger Lauren Jimeson is now a mom of three!  She and her husband passed down a family name to their son, Robert McKay Jimeson IV, but they came up with a clever nickname for baby #3: Macks.  Macks joins sisters Harlan and Avery.  Yes, he will have to spell it forever and ever.  But as Lauren has written before, she prefers something “a little bit off the radar.”

Fianna Francis Finn, Fiona, isn’t this one inevitable?  And yet Fianna feels different, too.  Actors and new parents Danny Masterson and Bijou Phillips went with a name that brings to mind legendary Irish warriors.  Legend tells us that the Fianna once answered to Finn McCool himself.  This makes Fianna feels fierce but feminine.  Just eleven girls received the name in 2012.  Here’s guessing that we’ll see a few more in the coming years.

Rain – The first Bodhi birth announcement came from Australian actress Teresa Palmer and American actor Mark Webber.  The couple’s Instagram of Bodhi Rain made it clear that both names were chosen for their meanings.  Bodhi means enlightened, but does Rain really mean abundant blessings from aboveEven if I quarrel with her definitions, I like the sound of Bodhi Rain.

Ransom – Yes, Ransom brings to mind a large payment in small bills, or maybe a note made up of letters cut from magazines.  It seems like a strange name for a child.  But you’ll find it in use. Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox are parents to Bodhi #2, Bodhi RansomRansom’s original meaning was closer to redemption.  Again, it makes for a richly meaningful choice when paired with Bodhi.

Bodhi Will Bodhi be big?  Bode Miller is among the most accomplished American skiiers ever – and he’s just taken home another medal at the Sochi Olympics.  Bodhi is the kind of spiritual name that parents have gravitated to in recent years.  Both newborn Bodhis have big brothers with Biblical names – Mark Webber’s Isaac and Brian and Megan’s Noah.

Which names repeat in your circles?  Have you chosen an unusual name only to be surprised at how common the name became?  Or, if you chose a more common name, have you found that it is often shared with others – or not?

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