Ava, Sid, and Bodhi: The New Reality of Baby Naming

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

You’ll never guess the name that repeats in my son’s third grade.

It isn’t Alex.  Despite having a Top 20 name, he’s never had to share.  His friend Matthew is also one of one, and has been since kindergarten.  The same is true for Chloe and William.

The name that repeats?  Micah.

It’s one of the new realities of baby naming.  In our quest to avoid calling our kids the 2014 equivalent of Jennifer and Jason, Ashley and Josh, we skip over the Top Ten and even Top 100.

But that’s no guarantee that our relatively uncommon choice won’t be shared.  My kids know more than one Lucia and a couple of Finns, two Jareds, a Skyler and a Skye, a boy Jordan and a girl Jordan, a boy Seamus and a dog Seamus.

So it isn’t really a surprise that the high profile birth announcement name to repeat this week wasn’t Ava or Isabella, but Bodhi.

Sure, choosing a Top Ten name means that you’ll eventually meet other children with the same name.  In fact, there is another Ava in this post – a big sister.  Name your kids Mason and Olivia, and you’ll hear about your friend’s neighbor and your neighbor’s cousins who used the same names.

This week’s names are a rich and varied bunch, ranging from the most popular choices to some rarely heard picks.  And yet none of them are promised to be one of one in 2014.

The nine baby names making headlines are:

Hazel John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are new parents!  They chose Hazel, a vintage choice at home in Hollywood – Julia Roberts has a Hazel, too.  At #175, she’s the kind of just slightly different choice that plenty of parents named John and Emily are making nowadays.  Speaking of John, didn’t you love The Office storyline where both Jim and Pam and Angela and Robert name their sons Philip?

Ava Marie Jean – No matter how many times I hear Ava, it still seems like a stylish choice.  Now Rev Run’s daughter Vanessa and her boyfriend, Mike Wayans, part of the multi-talented Wayans family, have chosen the name for their daughter.  Looking at the couple’s extended family, Ava is pretty safe – she’ll have relatives called Amai, Summer, Daphne, Cara Mia, and Keenen.

Isabella Eve Josh Gad is having quite the year.  The Tony-nominated actor voiced Olaf in Frozen.  Now he and wife Ida Darvish welcomed daughter #2.  They played it safe with her name, Isabella Eve.  But that’s no surprise – big sis is Ava Tanya.

Sid Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen have both answered to super-popular 80s names.  Could it be why they went in a different direction for their new son?  Sid fits right in with Max and Gus, grandpa names that have reclaimed the playground.  But Sid also has a certain cool thanks to punk rock’s ill-fated Sid Vicious – who was born John.

Macks – Babble blogger Lauren Jimeson is now a mom of three!  She and her husband passed down a family name to their son, Robert McKay Jimeson IV, but they came up with a clever nickname for baby #3: Macks.  Macks joins sisters Harlan and Avery.  Yes, he will have to spell it forever and ever.  But as Lauren has written before, she prefers something “a little bit off the radar.”

Fianna Francis Finn, Fiona, isn’t this one inevitable?  And yet Fianna feels different, too.  Actors and new parents Danny Masterson and Bijou Phillips went with a name that brings to mind legendary Irish warriors.  Legend tells us that the Fianna once answered to Finn McCool himself.  This makes Fianna feels fierce but feminine.  Just eleven girls received the name in 2012.  Here’s guessing that we’ll see a few more in the coming years.

Rain – The first Bodhi birth announcement came from Australian actress Teresa Palmer and American actor Mark Webber.  The couple’s Instagram of Bodhi Rain made it clear that both names were chosen for their meanings.  Bodhi means enlightened, but does Rain really mean abundant blessings from aboveEven if I quarrel with her definitions, I like the sound of Bodhi Rain.

Ransom – Yes, Ransom brings to mind a large payment in small bills, or maybe a note made up of letters cut from magazines.  It seems like a strange name for a child.  But you’ll find it in use. Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox are parents to Bodhi #2, Bodhi RansomRansom’s original meaning was closer to redemption.  Again, it makes for a richly meaningful choice when paired with Bodhi.

Bodhi Will Bodhi be big?  Bode Miller is among the most accomplished American skiiers ever – and he’s just taken home another medal at the Sochi Olympics.  Bodhi is the kind of spiritual name that parents have gravitated to in recent years.  Both newborn Bodhis have big brothers with Biblical names – Mark Webber’s Isaac and Brian and Megan’s Noah.

Which names repeat in your circles?  Have you chosen an unusual name only to be surprised at how common the name became?  Or, if you chose a more common name, have you found that it is often shared with others – or not?

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25 Responses to “Ava, Sid, and Bodhi: The New Reality of Baby Naming”

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ClaraOswinOswald Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 12:11 am

I actually really like Sid! Ransom I’m iffy about — on one hand it brings to mind “Out of the Silent Planet” and “Perelandra”, but on the other there’s Ransom of Red Chief. Cooler character than mid I think.

miloowen Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 9:05 am

Love Fianna, the rest meh. Sidney is better than Sid — heroic Sidney Carton comes to mind. Sid just makes me think of the bratty brother in Tom Sawyer. Now it would be really cool is all those Avas and Eves became Chava or Chaya. Same name, better sounds, and no one on the playground with your name unless you live in Williamsburg, lol.

Abby Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 10:06 am

@ClaraOswinOswald – A nice point about Ransom – definitely works on a character.

@miloowen – Oh, Chava and Chaya – great choices, and definitely distinctive!

thiswastheirworld Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 11:55 am

Fianna is a lovely name, but I could never use it because it’s the name of a major Irish political party: Fianna Fail, which means Soldiers of Destiny.

aedunn2 Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

When I was in elementary school (late 90’s) there were FOUR Rachels in my grade of about 65 kids.

Freya_1983 Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I had a stuffed bear named Bodhi (obviously quite some time ago), but it doesn’t mesh with my current tastes. It’s a little too surfer-boy, and that doesn’t have quite the appeal it once did!

aedunn2 Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Just to clarify, my classmates would have been born in 1990/1991, before “Friends” aired, so whatever the reason for so many Rachels, it wasn’t that.

mel_finch Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Sid is fantastic! I’m not a Bodhi fan, but it might grow on me.

Here’s an unusual repeating name: I know an Emmanuelle and an Emmanuella.

BritishAmerican Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

In my daughter’s 3rd grade class, the one name that repeats is Jacqueline. I think the girls have different spellings, but they still have to go by an initial or nickname.

In my son’s Kindergarten grade, I expected there to be another Henry, but he is the only one. Instead there are two Howards! One does go by Howie.

Oh and there’s a girl Peyton and a boy Payton in 3rd grade too.

At church we know three kids: Joe, Joe Joe and JoJo. (Two are Joseph and one is Josiah.)

My son has an Ava in his class. He pointed her name out to me before, asking me if I knew how to spell it – since he knew. I think he likes how short the name is and he even noticed that it’s the same backwards as forwards. 🙂

RainstreamofSpiritClan Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 2:36 pm

My English teacher and her husband xhose Ransom for their oldest son because of a Bible verse about being ranomed by God. Younger siblings are brother Tait and sister Kambry

RainstreamofSpiritClan Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I know at least 5 Bryan/ Brians, 2 of these are father Brian and his son Bryan

katybug Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Ransom is a family name way, way back in my family tree. I am kinda drawn to it, especially the redemption meaning.

I know four Jacks all born within a year of my son, as well as two Harpers and two Hadleys, and a bunch of Ellies, Emmies, and Evies.

LuMary Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Ransom sounds like a Puritan name to me, as ransom is a well-understood biblical concept, i.e., Christ paid the ransom for our sins.

I don’t care for the short forms Max, Gus, or Sid as official names. Max is great as the diminutive of Maxwell, Maximilian, or Maximos (Greek)/Maximus (Latin). Gus is nice if the longer form is officially applied, i.e., August or Augustus. Sid is cool, but Sydney is too girl. Can’t think of another long form.

saraallison Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 9:57 pm

We know a bunch of elementary school-age Noahs, Jacobs, and Bens. Not too surprising, I guess. The girl names are more varied, but there is an Isabella and a Belle in my son’s K class.
I think Ava Marie Jean is really pretty. That’s probably my fave of those listed here. I really don’t care for Bodhi/Bode. I do kind of like Fianna.

KateMP91 Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I would love to meet a little Hazel…so sweet!

I am tired of Ava…I would like the name more if it was just Marie Jean.

I love Sidney on a man. Sid is such a strong name.

I think Mack makes a better nickname than Macks.

Bodhi/Bode is a very common surname where I am from. Therefore, it feels very normal and familiar to me. I love it, but could not use it due to the whole surname thing…I would have people thinking I named my son after them! 😉

I love the flow of Bodhi Ransom, but I would not use Ransom. It reminds me of kidnapping, and I wouldn’t want my child to bear a name that reminded me of something so terrible.

litysmama Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

In my group of friends I know too many Evangelines, Avas (way too many!), and Jacksons–but those are to be expected. Unexpected names that I know multiple children with the name of: Levi, Jamie (girls), Bailey (girls), and Titus.

Waverly123 Says:

February 24th, 2014 at 11:15 pm

About 4 years ago, in my class of about 30, there were 4 Sarah’s. In a group of 20 girls age 16/17, there were 2 Emily’s, 2 Allison’s/Alison’s, 2 Shannon’s, and 2 Samantha’s (both went by Sam). At school, in a class of about 20 (15 girls, 5 boys ish), there are 2 Rachel’s and 1 Rachael. And there are 2 more in the grade that aren’t in the class.

chigley Says:

February 25th, 2014 at 1:50 am

The name I have seen repeated by so many of my friends in the past couple years is Hadley. I know 4 or 5! Personally, I’m not a fan of the name at all so it baffles me why it’s so popular!

SarahGies Says:

February 25th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

In her class of 11 toddlers, my daughter had 2 Hudsons and a Charley (g) & Charlotte.

hollyrose Says:

February 25th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

In my little sister’s class (age 8) There are 18 boys- 5 are called Luke and 3 are called Charlie.

Abby Says:

February 25th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

@hollyrose – What are the odds – 5 Lukes? Wow!

@SarahGies – Not too surprised about Charley + Charlotte, but repeating Hudsons? It’s never the names you expect!

@chigley – Oh, I like Hadley. It makes me think of The Paris Wife. But it does seem like you know more than most …

@litysmama – More than one Titus? Be still my heart! A great name to repeat – but definitely not one I would’ve guessed …

@mel_finch – I know what you mean about Bodhi growing on you … it wasn’t a name I responded to at all, and lately I’ve been really liking it. And wow, Emmanuella and Emmanuelle? That’s unusual – but oh, I like that name!

dismoi Says:

February 25th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

I am hearing a lot of Bodhi all of a sudden!

Jacquielle Says:

February 26th, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I think it’s funny how tastes in areas run together…and often we don’t discover them until circles match up at school, etc. Perhaps, birds of a feather flock together in the naming world also!

In my circles there are several Nathans, Natalies, Isaiahs and Levis. I know 2 Titus’, and if I didn’t know better, I would assume Abigail (Abby) to be the number one name in the country, followed by Madeleine/Madelyn (Maddy). I’ve yet to meet an Emily irl under age 20.

catcher5 Says:

May 22nd, 2014 at 9:41 pm

In my neighborhood there are 2 Mavericks, 2 Hollands (girls), 2 Kinleys, and an Adele, Adelia, and Della. We have a Bodhi too, but I’d never heard of it until we moved here. All of them are under the age of 5.

summerskin Says:

September 28th, 2014 at 6:07 pm

I know multiple girls named Bailey, Madison/Madyson, Shelby, Ashley, and Chelsea. Product of being a millennium baby, I guess. (However, I’ve never met another Simone!)

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