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Baby Naming Therapy

posted by: omnimom View all posts by this author
Portrait of unhappy pregnant woman crying on couch

By Lauren Apfel, Omnimom

I wrote a post here not too long ago called Confessions of a Baby Name Snob, a funny post about how my sister and I name other people’s babies better than they do. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, this piece, but like all resonating humor there was more than a kernel of underlying truth. Readers must have picked up on this, because an equally funny thing started happening as soon as the post went live: messages in my inbox with subject lines like “Name my baby!” and “Help us, please!”.  Emails with swirling stories of beloved great grandmothers’ initials and first names that had to work in two languages and middle names that needed to start with this letter or that.

Several of the pleas, I kid you not, came straight from the hospital, where a new baby was lying in his bassinet, swaddled, helpless, waiting expectantly to be bestowed with the perfect moniker. How could his parents fail him now? They couldn’t. So they got in touch with me. Not because I have any savant-like skill in this arena, I assure you. But because they were looking for someone, someone who cared, to hold their hand through the thrilling, yet increasingly anxiety-inducing, process of branding a child for life. What they wanted, it occurred to me, is what all of us want, all of us, that is, who appropriately value the art of nomenclature. What they wanted was a little baby naming therapy and I was happy to oblige.

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namesakejackie7

By Jackie aka callmecalliope at namesplash

When my sister was born, our relatives insisted she be named to honor a beloved, recently deceased family member.  My mother hated the traditionally male name and refused to use it, igniting a bitter conflict that lasted years (until another child entered the family and was given the moniker).  While I don’t think parents should give in to pressure from relatives when it comes to naming, there are certainly many parents who DO want to use the name of an adored family member or friend.

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abby--2-18-13

It’s an all girl baby names issue of Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel’s Nameberry 9 newsiest names this week.

Did you hear?  Barack Obama declined to offer baby name advice.

The president hosted a fireside chat on Google+ last week.  He tackled complex, divisive topics like the environment and the economy.

But baby names?

When writer and vlogger John Green introduced his wife, Sarah, and asked Obama if he’d help them choose a name for their second child, the president passed.

Had Green asked that question on the Nameberry forums, we would have all dived in fearlessly.  What’s your firstborn’s name?  Do you have any middles picked out?

Giving baby name advice is tough.  It means sorting names into the good and the bad, or maybe the good and the less good.  Explaining why we like a name is nearly impossible sometimes, isn’t it?  Explaining what we dislike can be too easy.

This week’s news was filled with gorgeous girls’ names representing every possible style and trend, from imports to underused classics to modern discoveries.

The nine most newsworthy baby names are:

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yes-no

A few weeks ago we asked the Nameberry moms and dads to tell us their best baby names rules.  What followed were hundreds of suggestions, from the idiosyncratically individual (All middle names must be Celtic and begin with R) to rules so universal they might apply to everyone.

Rule Number 1, according to one berry?  No dumb names.  We’re down with that, along with these 21 other smart, sensible rules that every modern baby namer should follow:

1.     No yooneek spellings.  Name your son (or daughter) Peyton or even Payton.  But not Peighton, Patyn, or Paitynne.

2.     No made-up names.  Translating a meaningful place or word into a name is all right, but don’t manufacture a name from whole cloth.  Jaunel and Calton, we’re looking at you.

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mistakehelgaweber

There are few things more thrilling in life than having your first baby.  But newbie baby namers are prone to making some mistakes that more experienced name choosers are able to avoid.

If you’re choosing a baby name for the first time, don’t make one of these 7 common mistakes:

1. Believing that the names that were popular – and creative – when you were a kid still have the same status.

Name tastes have changed radically over the last decade or two.  Goodbye, Jessica and Josh, hello Layla and Serenity, Landon and Tristan – all Top 100 names.

2. Thinking that the playground rules are the same as they were back in the day.

Kids no longer get teased for having names that are unique, androgynous, exotic, or hard to pronounce or spell.  Rather, name diversity is celebrated.

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