Category: Choosing the Right Baby Name
We may not control what race or gender we bequeath our offspring (unless, of course, we are utilizing a sperm bank in the Empire State Building for IVF), but we do have say over their names. If you play it safe with Bill or Lisa, it probably means your kids will be marginally more likely to avoid risk, too. If you’re like us and name them E or Yo, they are likely to grow up into weirdoes like their parents—or at least not work in middle management.
By Gay Cioffi
When my son was about to be born, close to thirty years ago, there were very few resources for parents-to-be to turn to for ideas for names. Nothing as wonderful as Nameberry, for sure! As a veteran nursery school teacher of ten years, I had the added challenge of having favorite names already taken by my many students. I loved the name Oliver, but I would forever associate it with one of the adorable boys in my first nursery school class. And as the youngest in a family of three brothers and a sister, my older siblings had also gotten to favorites of mine, before I was even of childbearing age. I will never forget the phone call from my mother announcing that my sister Ann had just delivered a new baby girl and that she was naming her Jennifer. I went completely silent as I stood in the hallway of my college dorm. “What’s wrong?” my mother asked. I hesitated, but finally confessed that I was hoping someday to have a daughter named Jennifer. Of course, when I reached my sister by phone later that day I had only enthusiasm for the news of a new niece and her beautiful name.
How will you know when you’ve found the right name for your baby? You’ll just know, some might say — but you might know that you know for sure if you experience one of the following 19 signs.
1. Without even trying, you find yourself calling the baby by one of its nicknames.
2. You doodle it in different handwritings on your notebook, just like you did the name of your first crush when you were 13.
3. You suggest it to your partner and he or she can’t even think of one solid objection.
We’ve had second thoughts. Specifically, my lovely wife Cassandra has had second thoughts that were my first thought. Levi, which she thought was trending too close to popularity and therefore rejected to my great disappointment, didn’t become so popular and she thinks it might have been better than Laszlo, which is our son’s name.
He does seem like a certain type of Laszlo, but he seems perhaps more like a Levi. He didn’t turn out to be the Judah I pushed for – he’s fair and lanky and un-Macabee-like. He’s cautious and sensitive and pretty Levi-like.
When my husband announced the birth of our first child to my family last June, they were convinced, thanks to a bad cell phone connection, that we had named our daughter Tetra. My dad Googled the tropical fish, and my brother, who was wielding a video camera, performed a dramatic zoom on its Wikipedia page.
In the two confused minutes it took to convey that the baby’s name was actually Petra, my grandmother had started to come around to Tetra, which just goes to show that even the staunchest traditionalist can accept the weirdest baby name, as long as it’s attached to someone tiny, adorable, and genetically related to her.