Category: Abby Sandel
Choosing a great baby name is a little bit like putting together a puzzle.
This week’s baby names in the news – and my, it was a busy week – all share a certain pattern.
Start with a recognizable, but not too popular, two-syllable name.
Now calibrate. If the first name is common, make sure the middle name is a real surprise.
Names like Katniss and Rainbow grab headlines. Will anyone really name their daughter after the Hunger Games heroine? Will Holly Madison’s little girl grow up loving her colorful name, or will she legally change it to Rachel when she turns eighteen?
This week’s baby name news was all about sweet spot names. They can’t be dismissed as trendy. The names would have been familiar one hundred years ago. Odds are strong that they’ll still be in use in another century or two.
And even though they feature in high profile birth announcements or pop culture references, there’s no reason these names wouldn’t wear perfectly well on a child.
This week’s baby names in the news are:
It happens all the time.
You’re expecting your first – or second, or third – and the perfect name eludes you. There are lots of possibilities and maybes, but none of them are The Name.
And then along comes a movie, a television show, a celebrity, a song, and that’s it. That’s the name.
The numbers tell us that pop culture is a major influence in baby naming. And yet we resist the idea. A name from a Jane Austen novel? Classic, sophisticated. From a soap opera or a Disney Channel series? Sometimes we’re a little dismissive of those choices.
But here’s the thing about names: we can’t consider them until we are aware that they exist.
This week’s names all come from movies and television, books and blogs. You may have heard them before, but seeing them on the screen could make the names feel fresh, interesting, and just right for a daughter.
Do you celebrate your name day?
While the idea is little known in the US, many cultures prefer name days to birthdays. The idea is simple: instead of celebrating your day of birth, you and every other Margaret or Joseph or Andrew are feted on the same day.
The custom has its origins in saints’ feast days, but plenty of non-saintly names exist on national calendars. Wanda is a legendary figure in Poland, so no surprise she has a name day there, along with other Slavic staples like Bogdan, Dobromir, and Grazyna.
Word is that Facebook is now encouraging users to add their name day celebrations to their profiles. Americans love a holiday, from Halloween to Cinco de Mayo. Could name days catch on here?
I’m in favor. Double the reasons for cupcakes!
It’s been a quiet week for high profile arrivals. Sure, Michael Weatherly of NCIS fame and wife Bojana welcomed son Liam. It’s a great name – friendly, upbeat, accessible. Liam is also a solid favorite in the US, just like big sister’s name, Olivia. Last year, he was the #1 choice in at least nine states, and shows no signs of slowing down.
But name news isn’t just about celebrities. In order for parents to consider a name, they have to know that it exists. Books, television, movies, athletes, actors, song lyrics, people in the headlines – they can all add new options to an expectant parent’s shortlist.
Baby name books have always surfaced some unusual possibilities. I fell in love with Hephzibah in a paperback name encyclopedia from the 1970s, the same book my mother used to circle mainstream options like Jill and Amy. Hester came from The Scarlet Letter. And Caroline, a name I eventually used as one of my daughter’s middles? She’s from a Psychedelic Furs song, a classic I never noticed until I heard the lyrics.
Now Nameberry, and the vast community of baby name blogs and websites, is part of that process, too. This week was filled with daring, even fanciful names for girls with global influence. Some of these might seem too much for a first name, but I can hear most of them in the middle spot.