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Outlandish Baby Names: Cisco, Buttercup, North

abby--6-24-13

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Has the world gone mad?

The latest celebrity baby name to make headlines feels like more of a punchline.  Most parents rule out names that fit a little too well with their surname, like Fox Hunter or Blue Greene. 

Even though the new mom denied the rumor earlier in her pregnancy, it appears that Kimye has doubled down on the directional names, calling their new daughter North West.

At first glance, it seems absurd. 

And yet, I’m drawn to the name North.  Nickname Nori feels very wearable in our Nora/Cora/Eleanor moment.

I’ve defended Pilot and Apple, Suri and Romeo.  This comment from Lyz Lenz at The Huffington Post sums it up perfectly: “… name diversity isn’t something to be feared, but embraced.”

Tom Scocca also took a measured approach to the famous duo’s choice in his article at Gawker.  Little Miss West’s name “… is probably not going to be one of the 200 most traumatic or weird or challenging things about this child’s life …” True enough.

My take on North?  It’s a great name.  It’s outlandish when paired with the surname West.  But it isn’t child abuse or irresponsible parenting.  It’s just an attention-getting name, like Rainbow Aurora or Apple Blythe Alison.  The same freedom that lets Kim and Kanye choose North creates space for us to use names like Rufus or Clio.

It felt like this week was all about stand-out names, the kind that you don’t hear much.  Or maybe ever.

The nine baby names in the news last week were:

North – I love his subtle virtue vibe, his nod to the natural world.  North reads masculine to me, but just like Wren or Cedar, I have a hard time assigning gender to noun names.

Nori – Yes, Nori is seaweed.  But I’m charmed by the way Kimye arrived at their daughter’s nickname.  She’s Kimberly Noel and he’s Kanye Omari.  Take the no from her middle name and add the ri from his, and there you have it – Nori, which just happens to pair up with North perfectly.

Quinoa – No, I don’t think you should name your child Quinoa.  But if you aren’t following Tiffany Beveridge’s My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter on Pinterest, you’re missing out.  Beveridge calls her fictional girl Quinoa, and has gives her friends names like Harrington, Chevron, Roylston, Booker, and Hallifax.  It’s laugh out loud funny.

Coco Frances – Speaking of funny, thanks to Nicole for pointing out this web series, Convos With My 2 Year Old.  Coco Frances is the actual name of web series creator Matt Clarke’s daughter.  Coco makes a cameo at the end of most episodes.  I love this combination – Coco is a little bit wild, but still very wearable, and Frances anchors the name.

Kaidence – I first heard Cadence in the late 90s, and yes, her dad was a drummer.  Take Cadence, mix in two scoops of Kayden, and now the most popular spelling for this musical moniker is Kaydence.  It was widely rumored that Kimye had settled on this name, but with yet another spelling.  Could Cadence/Kaydence/Kaidence be the new Mackenzie/Makenzie/Mckenzi?

Kalasin – Proof that plenty of families aren’t interested in naming their children Sophia and Jacob: the Offbeat Baby Names thread at Offbeat Families.  Kalasin and Kelandry, both from Tamora Pierce’s fantasy novels, got a lot of love.  Other stand-outs included Eithne, Seren, Zuzu, Zen, Tobin, and Wolfgang.

Buttercup – Could this be a great middle?  Ebsie has Eloise Buttercup May on her shortlist, a nod to the movie The Princess Bride.  It also makes me think of The Foundations’ upbeat single Build Me Up, Buttercup.  Buttercup is far more daring than Lily or Rose, but that’s the point this week.

Cisco – As in Cisco Systems?  The character from Grand Theft Auto?  San Francisco?  Or The Cisco Kid?  Never mind.  Because while the list of associations is long, I think Cisco’s sound is great.  I stumbled on him in this list of birth announcements at For Real Baby Names.  He’s a little bit techie, a little bit cowboy, a smidge alternative, too.  If your best friend just named her son Arlo, Cisco could be the perfect replacement.

Doone Isla – Let’s end with one more celebrity birth announcement, this time from swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard.  She and husband Sacha Brown have welcomed a daughter called Doone, a little sister for Blaise Ray.  I’m surprised by Doone, which makes me think of Lorna and beaches and Frank Herbert’s sweeping sci fi novel.  Then again, Sloane is on the rise, along with Blair and lots of other tailored names for girls.  Maybe Doone is just a midpoint between Delaney and June.

What do you think of daring, even outlandish names?  Are they unfair to the children?  Or just a preference of the parents?  Would you consider a name outside of the US Top 1000?

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