For this week’s baby name news, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks the nine newsiest names, but looks at why it’s a plus to pick a popular name ahead of the curve, what the hottest new nickname is, and when some names have run their course.
Let’s say you named your daughter Stella back in 1999. Your Stella is now in her teens, but somehow every friend-of-a-friend is using your name for their new daughter, and it isn’t just your imagination. Stella barely registered in the US Top 1000 back in 1999, but today, it is a Top 100 pick – and rising. You find yourself thinking unkind thoughts about Tori Spelling, and wondering why other parents can’t be just as creative as you were, back in the day.
While parents might find it irritating, I suspect that the kids who grow up with ahead-of-the-curve names probably like it just fine. I know a 30-something Mackenzie, a 20-something Hannah, and a recent conversation about a teenaged Sophia made me think: is the happiest of occurrences to receive a fashionable name early in its rise?
It is a tricky feat to pull off, but if you’re lucky enough to be the parent of a 6 year-old Harper or a tweenaged Lucy, congratulations. Your child will probably grow up sharing her name with attractive fictional characters, as well as the kids she babysits.
I don’t mean to suggest that you should strive to give your kiddo the next big name, but if you’ve accidentally managed to do so – and betcha lots of Nameberries do just that – maybe there’s a silver lining.
On to this week’s baby name news:
Bristol – We haven’t heard much from Sarah Palin’s oldest daughter since she exited Dancing with the Stars, but NASCAR returned to Bristol, Tennessee this weekend. Despite her similar sound to dated 1980s favorite Crystal, and associations with cream sherry, dozens of places from the original Bristol in England to the race track in Tennessee, and, of course, the Palin clan, Bristol seems to be catching on. Over 500 newborns received the name last year.
Delilah – Hey there, Delilah! Rod Stewart became a grandpa last week when his daughter Kimberly welcomed her firstborn. Dad is actor Benicio Del Toro. One of Rod’s hit singles inspired parents to consider the name Maggie Mae. It feels fitting that his first grandchild has a name boosted by a pop hit, too. The Plain White Tee’s 2007 single isn’t the only thing behind Delilah’s rise, but it is does give parents a built-in lullaby.
Georgia – Speaking of dynasties, former president George Herbert Walker Bush is now a great-grandfather, following the arrival of his grandson Jeb Bush, Jr.’s first, a daughter named Georgia Helena Walker Bush. That’s right – the latest addition is Georgia H.W. Bush. The family is known for passing down their names, and I do appreciate that they didn’t save the appellation for a future son. What do you think – too close to her very famous great-grandpa’s name, or a great way to honor a loved one?
Irene – The Greek personification of peace now shares her name with a hurricane wreaking havoc on the Atlantic coast. It also happens to be my late grandmother’s name – and given Irene’s popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, she can be found on an awful lot of family trees. Conventional wisdom suggests that a devastating storm would never inspire parents to consider a name, and sometimes that’s true. But Katrina actually rose modestly in 2005, before falling off sharply in the following years. If you’re at a loss for a name, and the end of your pregnancy is defined by evacuating or hunkering down with candles and canned goods, maybe the National Hurricane Center isn’t the most unreasonable source of inspiration. Check out their full list here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml
Lily – She’s the new Maddie – the ubiquitous nickname shared by several popular names for girls. You never can tell if that grade-school Maddie is short for Madison or Madeline – or Madisyn, or Madeleine, or Madelyn … Now Maddie’s little sister is Lily, and the guessing game continues. Is Lily short for Lillian, Lilianna, Lilia, or even Lilith? Or is it just lovely Lily – or Lillie? Two arrived in my circle this week, and while I do love the name, I’m struggling to keep them straight!
Mavis – She’s the opposite of Lily – absolutely unheard of for decades, unless you’re a Thomas the Tank Engine superfan. But the new Diablo Cody movie, slated for a December release, stars Charlize Theron as Mavis. Young Adult is about Mavis’ return to her Minnesota hometown following a divorce. I cannot wait to hear if the movie offers an explanation for her off-beat appellation.
Phayson – The 65th Little League World Series concluded this weekend. All of the teams included talented kids with intriguing names, but Team Europe really caught my attention. Their roster included boys called Beau, Bram, Diamond, Kay, Rafael, and Phayson. Center fielder Phayson Antonia hails from Rotterdam, and easily gets my vote for the most unusual player name.
Teal – Real Simple tells me that Teal is the color to add to my fall wardrobe, and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority has announced that their newest line will be identified by the hue The dark-greenish blue shade is pleasing, and the sound fits right in with modern appellations like Tate and color names like Scarlet. Having twins? Real Simple suggests pairing Teal with Gray, Saffron, or Violet.
Tia – Speaking of twins, I always thought Tia got short-changed compared to sister Tamera. Tamera’s name isn’t for me, but it is a full, formal name, compared to the bite-sized Tia. The Mowry sisters have been in the spotlight since the 90s, and they’re now the subject of a new reality show on the Style network. Mia, Gia, and Lia all have their fans, and Zia has been spotted in birth announcements, too. Will Tia’s new show boost her name? Maybe. But I suspect it might be her son’s name, Cree, that gains the most from Tia & Tamera.