Francesco, Rocket, Cricket and Haze: Baby Names in the News

By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

The world is awaiting a royal birth announcement, and I’ll admit I’m unreasonably excited.

But it is different this time, isn’t it?

A high-profile arrival usually comes complete with a headline-grabbing given name. There’s North and Knox and Rainbow Aurora, Apple, Hattie and Everly, Zuma and Bronx Mowgli.

Some are prime for imitation, and catch on with non-Hollywood types. Others are unlikely to be used by anyone other than celebrity parents, and while unusual names are more accepted than ever, Suri has yet to crack the US Top 1000.

This time we know one thing for certain: the prince or princess won’t have a wacky name. I suppose Kate and William could slip in a quirky Anglo-Saxon royal as an extra middle – Elswith or Athelstan or Godwin. But the couple doesn’t seem likely to go that route.

Instead, we’ll be celebrating an evergreen classic of a name, the kind that we too often ignore.

But that’s later this month. Last week was dominated by daring choices, along with a few more subtle picks mixed in.

From last week’s baby name news, let’s talk about:

Valentin – Ali Landry and Alejandro Monteverde brought home baby #3. He will answer to the romantic and saintly Valentin. Older siblings are Estela Ines and Marcelo Alejandro. They’re names that fit right in with dad’s Mexican heritage, but also feel very wearable in the US.

Francesco – The big news is baby Valentin’s middle. Ali hinted that her new son’s name would pay homage to Pope Francis after the couple had an audience with him earlier this year. Francesco fits right in with choices like Mateo, Marco, and Luca that have been in vogue in recent years.

Rocket Man – Pharrell Williams’ son is nearly five, but we’ve just learned his name: Rocket Man Williams, inspired by the Elton John song. No surprise that a musician of Williams’ talent would look to lyrics for inspiration. It’s the middle name Man that puts this combination over the top.

Cricket – Speaking of surprising noun names, Busy Philipps announced the name of Birdie’s little sister: Cricket Pearl. If Rocket raised eyebrows, Cricket earned generally favorable responses. The best part? Busy’s candid tweet: “It’s weird people think my kids will be in therapy because of their names. Guys, my kids will be therapy for LOTS of reasons, I’m sure.”

PearlCricket’s middle name is the elegant Pearl. It’s a nice balance to her informal first name. Could Pearl be the new Rose, the simple, go-with-anything middle, favored by parents everywhere?

AntonJoanna Goddard blogs at Cup of Jo, and she and her husband Alex have just welcomed their second son, Anton James. Big brother is Toby. Alex wrote about the anxiety of choosing the right name in the New York Times a few weeks ago. I think they nailed it. Anton is familiar but not often heard, relatively underused, and linked to the enduring Anthony. Plus, Toby and Anton sound like brothers.

Hunter – DesignMom blogger RaleighElizabeth is also a new mom! Hunter is such a common surname that it has always seen some use as a given name, but he started to catch on during the 1970s. By the 1990s, he was mainstream. Can you imagine a scene, circa 1981: “They’re naming their son what?” Today, he’s a handsome, well-established choice for a boy.

Maxwell Haze – There’s nothing surprising about Maxwell, the name Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson and his wife Kristin chose for their second son, a little brother for Mason Frey. But Haze is a daring middle choice. No word on why the couple chose it. Haze could be a weather-related nature name, something like Frost or Rain. Or maybe it is a family middle? Regardless, Haze punches up the popular Maxwell, and the full name pairs nicely with their firstborn.

TallulahPatrick Dempsey and Bruce Willis both have daughters named Tallulah. Like Ava and Harlow, this name has serious Hollywood cred thanks to legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead. But somehow this name hasn’t quite caught on – yet. 126 girls received the name in 2012, and now television’s Marsha Thomason has welcomed a daughter named Tallulah.

Anais – Equally appealing is Tallulah’s middle name, the French Anais. She’s far more exotic than Anne. With parents embracing Annabelle, Anneliese, and so many Ann– names, could Anais catch on?

Is Pearl the new Rose? Will Tallulah ever catch on? Oh, and as always – if you have heard any great names this week, please share them in the comments!

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19 Responses to “Francesco, Rocket, Cricket and Haze: Baby Names in the News”

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Gummibear Says:

July 14th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I really think Pearl will be the new Rose.
Not sure about Tallulah.

livia Says:

July 14th, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I like Francesco and Tallulah! Anais I like the look of but I’ve never been sure on the pronunciation.

I really like Maxwell Haze too. Haze rhymes with Blaze and sort of fits in with the other ‘bad boy’ names, but it’s somehow softer as well. Maxwell is sweet and Max is awesome. Nice.

Haili73 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 12:36 am

I hate Talullah. It’s the name of a monkey in a very annoying Barbie movie, Island Princess, and my little sister loved it. I can’t think of the name the same way ever again (nor Rosella or Tika or Luciana or Ariella or yeah…any of the names from that movie) Talullah sounds too…”ruffly” weird adjective, I know. But that’s what I think of.

I do like Pearl. And I don’t mind Cricket’s sister Birdie’s name as a nickname.

maggiemary Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 9:14 am

Valentin Francesco is lovely.

Cricket is terrible.

joel613 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 9:41 am

Pearl is a simple classic and classy name used either first or in the middle. I’m glad to see it back in use but hope it doesn’t become as overused as Rose which has now almost become the Ann/Susan(Sue)/Louise(Lou) of its day.

Love Tallulah, that it hasn’t swept the popularity charts but has become common enough that it isn’t deemed strange to me is a plus. I love Ava, Eve, Eva etc but they’ve lost some of their luster through their commonness.

Haze as a middle is fine, it probably has some meaning for his parents. To me that’s where unique names belong, if the kid ends up liking it fine, it gives him stories to tell but if he doesn’t it can stay where it belongs, buried and rarely discussed in the middle.

Valentin wouldn’t be my choice but makes sense within the family history and dynamic, same with Francesco.

Cricket is an insect not a child! At least she gave her Pearl to fall back on.

Rocket Man is just another example of a self involved celebrity not considering what impact on their child a silly name will place on them.

Mischa Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 9:44 am

I love Valentin, Francesco, Anton, Pearl and Maxwell. Rocket Man and Cricket are quite ridiculous “names” for a human being. And I find Busy Phillips comments (“It’s weird people think my kids will be in therapy because of their names. Guys, my kids will be therapy for LOTS of reasons, I’m sure.”) somewhat disturbing. She doesn’t appear to have much confidence in her parenting skills or her ability to raise well-adjusted children. I don’t admire her children’s names and I have a sinking feeling that the names she chose didn’t help their chances of avoiding therapy in the future. I can only hope I’m wrong.

EmilyVA Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 12:17 pm

As someone who has been in therapy for a long time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being in therapy. The judgment surrounding therapy keeps many people from getting the help they need. Personally I think everyone could use a little therapy. Many people end up in therapy for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t mean they had bad parents! (I don’t have bad parents!)The comment above shows ignorance about therapy which again leads people who need it not to seek help.

As for Cricket Pearl, I like it as a guilty pleasure name. I wouldn’t be brave enough to use, but it’s better than Birdie in my opinion.

iwillpraise Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Birdie and Cricket is a little much as a sibset. I suppose you can expect such a thing from someone who goes by “Busy” on a daily basis…. but maybe if she’d have chosen Pearl Cricket? Birdie and Pearl would be quite darling. Maybe even spelling it Crickette could have somehow seemed a bit more name appropriate. It is kind of cute, but really only as a nickname. Let’s hope she doesn’t get called “Cricky”.

One thing is for sure, I definitely prefer Tabitha nn Tabby to Talullah.

tori101 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Hmm…
Valentin Francesco is gorgeous, the flow is stunning. I love Francesco! I find Rocket Man ridiculous, along with the sibling set Cricket & Birdie it’s just so silly. I can defiantly see how Pearl could become the new Rose, Pearl is just as elegant as Rose and sounds beautiful. Pearl is great but I don’t want her to become to over-used and loose her refreshing appeal. I’m not really keen on Anton, I mean I totally see why people would love Anton but for me I just seem to dislike him. Hunter and Maxwell Haze are great names though!

Abby Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Glad to hear all of the love for Pearl, and Valentin, too!

Interesting how split everyone is on Cricket. Most people seem to love it or hate it, but no one is lukewarm …

I agree about Maxwell Haze. Haze *does* fit in with all the bad boy names, but livia, you’re right – he’s softer, more wearable, somehow.

tomaura226 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I knew several Crickets growing up in South Carolina, but it was always a family nickname that stuck. The two I knew best from school were named Christina and Harriet on paper and Cricket to everybody that knew them.

flybella Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I just ADORE Tallulah Anais! So sweet.

Poppy84 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Cricket is an interesting one – definitely NMS, but it does go well with a sister called Birdie.
I’m from Australia, so associate the work Cricket with the (boring) sport – and I guess Birdie could be a reference to golf? In which case, the paring of the two is genius!

Sunshine.10 Says:

July 15th, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Great post! I love the name Pearl and, although I do not like Cricket much, the names do balance each other nicely!

I met a family this week with a newborn named Linnea Ruth. 🙂

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

July 16th, 2013 at 4:48 am

Valentin Francesco and Tallulah Anais are both ornate and lovely.

Cricket seems odd as a name (it does seem like the sport, like calling someone Football or Hockey).

I remember suggesting Haze for a boy’s name to someone wondering if you could call a boy Hazel – Haze seemed a bit more gender-neutral. I’m thrilled that a real parent had the same idea!

I dreamed the royal baby was named Eleanor Margaret (something beginning with M, but not Mary) (something else I can’t recall).

Eleanor Margaret is Elea Nickerson’s name … I’m thinking the dream was telling me that her picks for a princess are bang on the money.

Mischa Says:

July 16th, 2013 at 10:09 am

@emilyva – No where in my post did I show “ignorance” or condemn therapy. As a sociology and psychology major in university, I do know the stigma of mental illness and the value of therapy. My comments were directed at Busy Phillips’s statement regarding her prediction that her own children will need therapy when they grow up. I don’t think any parent should be making jokes about young children and therapy. Parents should do everything in their power to ensure that their children grow up in a loving, positive environment and giving them a great start in life by choosing a name that will serve them well from childhood to adulthood. If her comments were a joke to deflect criticism of her name choice, then it was in poor taste.

ResaandMo Says:

July 16th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Valentin is my great grandpa’s name,so I was surprised to see it in a birth announcement. I like it.

Haannahh Says:

July 17th, 2013 at 7:45 am

I abousolutly love Busy Phillips, her personality is so great! She takes all negative criticism in such humor, I love Cricket.

skizzo Says:

July 18th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

@joel: I disagree, unique names should be used as first names, what’s the point of having it in the middle to be forgotten? Boring first names already rule baby naming laws, they have no personality whatsoever, no identity.

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