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Category: Navigating Name Problems and Disputes

baby name decisions

We were intrigued by the question posed on the forums by jackal, who loves the name Ingimar, well-known in her native Iceland, but wonders whether she should give her son-to-be a name that travels more easily, like Robert or Matthias.

Jackal’s question came down to head vs. heart: Which is the best way, the right way to choose a baby name?

Of course, if your heart and head align in your name decision, that’s the ideal.  But often the name we love, the name we want in our gut has some issue: it’s hard to pronounce or it doesn’t work with our surname or our partner doesn’t like it or we fell in love with it long ago but it’s since gotten too popular.

And then our head steps in, proposing the name that flows better, or the name that is immune from teasing, or the name that honors your beloved grandpa even though, ouch, Floyd

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posted by: irishmom View all posts by this author
Tara--hatename

By Tara Wood

When my husband and I had our first child thirteen years ago, choosing her name was one of the easiest decisions we made. We struggled more with the paint color of her nursery and which diapers we’d go with than her name. I knew that I wanted to use Maura somewhere in there but I wasn’t adamant that it had to be in the first name slot. We casually tossed around a few names that we liked, a couple that we didn’t hate and several that were absolutely off the table.

One day, my husband mentioned Juliet which I knew instantly was going to be our sweet wee girl’s name. Only, I wanted to spell if Juliette as it seemed a bit more feminine and I liked that it was a tad longer next to our short, masculine last name Wood. So that was it. It was very casual and stress-free and done.

I did consider that she may be teased as she grew older about the Romeo and Juliet association, but, really, that seems like a pretty awesome thing to be teased about to me. I can think of about a thousand worse things to be made fun of for… like the guy I went to high school with named Richard Head. When several of the boys in our school realized that Dick is a nickname for Richard…sheesh. I felt awful for him. A name used in a Shakespeare play seemed pretty benign, if not totally cool, to me.

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Oh no she didn’t!

shockedchild

Your mouth popped open.

Your jaw dropped.

You simply could not believe what your mother, your spouse, your college roommate, that stranger on the message board said about your baby’s name….or your own.

What’s the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, ridiculous thing anyone has ever said to you about a name?

If you’ve been lucky enough not to be on the receiving end of a crazy name statement, what have you overheard someone else saying?

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name teasing

Pam Spam: That was a rare one, easy to ignore.

But Pammy, said in a whine-y, wheedle-y voice, was more hurtful.  To this day, if someone wants to get under my skin (I’m looking at you, Cousin Michael), they call me Pammy.

Were you ever teased about your name?  In what way?  How hurtful was it — did it verge on bullying, or was it more affectionate, even a sign of popularity?

And what about your children’s names?  Did you look for a name that was tease-proof, or at least one that would not lend itself to teasing?

Has your child gotten teased about his or her name?  Do you find people more tolerant and less prone to name-teasing today than they were when you were growing up?

Please tell us your experiences around names and teasing — either about your own name or the names of your children and loved ones.

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couple1

My husband and I talked about names on our first date.

Me being me, that might not seem so surprising. But it was years before Beyond Jennifer & Jason, and in those pre-internet days my name nerdism was still in the closet.

What was meaningful, I think, is that our baby name discussion signaled we took each other and our relationship seriously.

Which may be exactly why some couples don’t talk about names until they’re expecting a baby or (this is hard to imagine, but maybe it’s true?) the child is actually born.  Honey, we forgot to name the baby!

So when did you and your partner first talk about baby names?

What sparked the discussion, and what did you say?   Did you learn anything about each other or your relationship in the process?

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