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Francesco, Rocket, Cricket and Haze: Baby Names in the News

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By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

The world is awaiting a royal birth announcement, and I’ll admit I’m unreasonably excited.

But it is different this time, isn’t it?

A high-profile arrival usually comes complete with a headline-grabbing given name. There’s North and Knox and Rainbow Aurora, Apple, Hattie and Everly, Zuma and Bronx Mowgli.

Some are prime for imitation, and catch on with non-Hollywood types. Others are unlikely to be used by anyone other than celebrity parents, and while unusual names are more accepted than ever, Suri has yet to crack the US Top 1000.

This time we know one thing for certain: the prince or princess won’t have a wacky name. I suppose Kate and William could slip in a quirky Anglo-Saxon royal as an extra middle – Elswith or Athelstan or Godwin. But the couple doesn’t seem likely to go that route.

Instead, we’ll be celebrating an evergreen classic of a name, the kind that we too often ignore.

But that’s later this month. Last week was dominated by daring choices, along with a few more subtle picks mixed in.

From last week’s baby name news, let’s talk about:

Valentin – Ali Landry and Alejandro Monteverde brought home baby #3. He will answer to the romantic and saintly Valentin. Older siblings are Estela Ines and Marcelo Alejandro. They’re names that fit right in with dad’s Mexican heritage, but also feel very wearable in the US.

Francesco – The big news is baby Valentin’s middle. Ali hinted that her new son’s name would pay homage to Pope Francis after the couple had an audience with him earlier this year. Francesco fits right in with choices like Mateo, Marco, and Luca that have been in vogue in recent years.

Rocket Man – Pharrell Williams’ son is nearly five, but we’ve just learned his name: Rocket Man Williams, inspired by the Elton John song. No surprise that a musician of Williams’ talent would look to lyrics for inspiration. It’s the middle name Man that puts this combination over the top.

Cricket – Speaking of surprising noun names, Busy Philipps announced the name of Birdie’s little sister: Cricket Pearl. If Rocket raised eyebrows, Cricket earned generally favorable responses. The best part? Busy’s candid tweet: “It’s weird people think my kids will be in therapy because of their names. Guys, my kids will be therapy for LOTS of reasons, I’m sure.”

PearlCricket’s middle name is the elegant Pearl. It’s a nice balance to her informal first name. Could Pearl be the new Rose, the simple, go-with-anything middle, favored by parents everywhere?

AntonJoanna Goddard blogs at Cup of Jo, and she and her husband Alex have just welcomed their second son, Anton James. Big brother is Toby. Alex wrote about the anxiety of choosing the right name in the New York Times a few weeks ago. I think they nailed it. Anton is familiar but not often heard, relatively underused, and linked to the enduring Anthony. Plus, Toby and Anton sound like brothers.

Hunter – DesignMom blogger Raleigh-Elizabeth is also a new mom! Hunter is such a common surname that it has always seen some use as a given name, but he started to catch on during the 1970s. By the 1990s, he was mainstream. Can you imagine a scene, circa 1981: “They’re naming their son what?” Today, he’s a handsome, well-established choice for a boy.

Maxwell Haze – There’s nothing surprising about Maxwell, the name Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson and his wife Kristin chose for their second son, a little brother for Mason Frey. But Haze is a daring middle choice. No word on why the couple chose it. Haze could be a weather-related nature name, something like Frost or Rain. Or maybe it is a family middle? Regardless, Haze punches up the popular Maxwell, and the full name pairs nicely with their firstborn.

TallulahPatrick Dempsey and Bruce Willis both have daughters named Tallulah. Like Ava and Harlow, this name has serious Hollywood cred thanks to legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead. But somehow this name hasn’t quite caught on – yet. 126 girls received the name in 2012, and now television’s Marsha Thomason has welcomed a daughter named Tallulah.

Anais – Equally appealing is Tallulah’s middle name, the French Anais. She’s far more exotic than Anne. With parents embracing Annabelle, Anneliese, and so many Ann- names, could Anais catch on?

Is Pearl the new Rose? Will Tallulah ever catch on? Oh, and as always – if you have heard any great names this week, please share them in the comments!

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