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The Power of Nice Names: Charlotte, Simon, and Vivianne

abby--3-26-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Confession: I’ve watched Kid President’s latest YouTube video more than a dozen times.  It’s called “Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here,” and even though little Robby Novak (a.k.a. Kid President) never mentions names, it reminds me of the happiest part of talking all things onomastic.

Around 360,000 babies are born every day.  That’s 4.2 newborns every second.  Even if we limited it to arrivals in the English-speaking world, it would take a lot of berry brainpower to help find names for all of those lovely new people.

It’s worth looking for the right name, isn’t it?  All of these new people are going to do some amazing things.  At their best, the names we bestow on our children honor that potential.

Maybe that’s what really raises eyebrows when celebs choose names like Rainbow or NorthEven if we appreciate the style, the names can feel so big, so defining, that the new arrival has a lot to live up to – before he or she has even taken a first step.

This week’s names strike the right balance.  They’re stylish, but not outlandish.  They’re common, but not Top Ten. This week the baby names in the news are all downright nice, and that’s a good thing:

Charlotte Jeanne – It’s a daughter for The Bachelor alums Jesse Csincsak and wife   Ann.  Charlotte joins big brother Noah Theodore at home.  There are probably dozens of other sister-brother duos named Noah and Charlotte, and no wonder.  The Biblical patriarch and the literary, royal girl’s name aren’t quite the same style, but they go nicely together.  As for Theodore and Jeanne, I’m pretty sure that Theodore honors Jesse’s dad, Ted, making it a safe bet that Jeanne is family name, too.

Vivianne Rose – The spelling is unusual, but the name chosen by the New York Jets’ Eric Decker and his country singer wife Jessie James is a classic choice in the midst of a comeback.  The most common form of the name is Vivian (#140 in 2012), followed by Vivienne (#322), and Viviana (#478).  Here’s guessing that we’ll see all of the Viv- names jump a little higher when the 2013 data comes out in a few more weeks.  Baby arrived just in time for the second season premiere of the couple’s reality show, Eric & Jessie: Game On on E!

Annis Octavia – If you were expecting your eighth child and it was a girl, wouldn’t you want to use the name OctaviaBlogger Jodi and husband Trevor did just that, though after much discussion, the number-themed name ended up in the middle spot.  The story of how they got to Annis from Anne and Agnes is fascinating, too.

Elsa – Congratulations to Chris Hemsworth – you know him as Thor – and his Madrid-born model wife Elsa Pataky on the arrival of twin sons.  The boys will join big sister India Rose at home.  No names yet, but can we consider mom’s name for a moment?  Elsa – an operatic heroine and the ice-conjuring sister from Frozen – is the kind of pan-European name that could catch on.  She’s more interesting than Ella, less expected than Elizabeth.

Nina Odette – Speaking of international names, the newest addition to the Hanson clan will answer to the globe-trotting name Nina, combined with the French swan-princess middle Odette.  It’s a combination that is startlingly pretty, but still a little bit on the restrained side.  Nina is the first girl for Isaac and Nikki Hanson.  She joins brothers Clark Everett and James Monroe, who are both known by their middles.  The musical family also includes eight cousins.  Zac and Kate are parents to Shepherd, Junia, and Abraham, while Taylor and Natalie have five children: Ezra, Penelope, River, Viggo, and Wilhelmina.

Rivers Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wife Candice have welcomed a second son, Rivers. Rivers wraps up two trends: our love of nature names, plus a growing affection for ends-with-s choices for boys.  It’s almost a perfect match with big brother, Hawkins.

Hunter Lee – Actor Josh Holloway, of Lost and Intelligence fame, and wife Yessica are now parents to two!  Son Hunter Lee joins big sister Java Kumala.  Kumala is mom’s maiden name.  Their new arrival shares his middle name with dad.  After that daring choice for their daughter, Hunter seems surprisingly safe.

Simon John – I’ve recently discovered Andrea Dekker’s blog.  The professional organizer turned blogger, is now also the mother of two.  New son Simon John arrived earlier this month.  Both names honor family, and Simon is especially meaningful.  As Andrea puts it, “nothing spectacular, but still really special for our family.”  I think that’s something many of us are looking for with our children’s names – special, even if the name isn’t an attention-getter.

Miles – I started out with Kid President’s video welcoming all of those new babies to this wonderful world, so I can’t overlook this one.  Kid President is now an uncle, and the video was made as a greeting for his new nephew, MilesMiles seems like exactly the kind of name that belongs on this list – stylish and current, but a solid, down-to-earth choice.

Do you prefer stand-out names that get a reaction?  Or are you more interested in a name that strikes a balance between standing out and fitting in?

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