How I Named My Baby: Cade Bennett
We spoke with Dara about tradition, namesakes, and the family affair of naming Cade.
Tell me about how you chose Cade’s name!
My family follows the Jewish tradition of naming after people who have passed. My cousin and I have the same initials because we’re named for the same person. When I was pregnant, I decided I wanted to follow that tradition.
Originally, we were looking at B and R names for his first name, for my husband’s grandfather, who was Bob, or Robert, or an M for my uncle. I settled on a name and told my mom, my sisters, and my husband, and no one liked it. Everyone told me it was terrible. My sister is a teacher and said, “this poor kid. It’s not going to work! Trust me on this.”
So we kept going. Cory and I had a list and sat down with my sisters — one on speakerphone — and my mom. We all sat around and read through the list, and none of the names clicked. I was getting so upset and frustrated because I was fixated on the three letters. Finally, my youngest sister said, “Why don’t we just look at a different letter. Let’s find somebody else.” I had a sister who had passed away when I was five named Callie. I was trying to avoid using a C name because my youngest sister is already named for her.
The name Cade has been floating around my family for a long time because it was going to be Callie and my younger sister Catarina’s name if they were boys. Cat goes, “How about Cade?” My husband was like, “Yes, that’s it!” He instantly fell in love, and the thing was, he had never reacted to a name like that. So we stuck with that.
What about his middle name?
For his middle name, we still wanted to use a B or an R. If we used an M, he would have the same initials as my husband, and we wanted to give him his own initials. We went through the list of names that we had, and Bennett was the one that stuck out.
Middle names are really important to me because I’ve always gone by my middle name. My family calls me Dara Paige. I know I’m in trouble when my mom calls me by my first name only.
I started working professionally as an actor when I was 10, and when I had to join the unions, my parents asked me what I wanted my name to be. I told them I wanted my full name. It was a very ‘90s kid thing to do. I produce a lot of shows and work with people who were on Broadway as a kid or acted professionally and everybody goes by their full name too. It was a trend in the early 2000s. I work with current Broadway kids now, and none of them use their middle name.
My middle name is a big part of my identity, so to me, it was really important for Cade to have a cool middle name.
Cade’s name was really a family process. Can you tell me more about that decision?
It turned into a family process by accident. Originally, I was trying to keep the name to myself because I knew that everybody would probably hate the name I picked out. I came up with the first name by myself and passed it through my husband, and he was like, “Yeah, sure,” but I think he was just trying to go with it — I don’t think he actually liked it.
My sister was painting something for his nursery and wanted to put his name on there, so she asked me if I would tell her. Her reaction was not great. “Ohhhh…that’s nice.” Of course, that led to “What is it? What is it?” from my family, so I told my mom and my other sister. They didn’t love it either.
Do you want to share the name?
The original name I was thinking of was Reeve Morgan.
Wait! That’s so cool. They didn’t like that?
No! I didn’t think it was that bad, but nobody liked it. They told me people would call him Reid.
Morgan is still in my back pocket for a boy, for another day. I’m not a fan of it for a girl, but I love it for a boy. When I was growing up I knew so many Morgans who were girls, but only one who was a boy.
I also liked the name Rhys but that got vetoed because it’s too popular. My sisters both said the Welsh spelling makes it look like “rice.”
Theater and movies and TV shows were always very important to me, so in my head, I imagined having a kid with a name that was slyly after something. I love the name Miller, and Arthur Miller is one of my favorite playwrights. It’s sneaky!
I also had this thing where I wanted to give him a baseball name. There are certain baseball players who have really cool names. There’s nothing else they could possibly do except play baseball, because how could you not with a name like Buster Posey? So I decided that his name had to pass the baseball name test.
Cade Bennett definitely passes the test! But I also think Reeve Morgan works, for the record.
I’m really close with my mom and sisters so having them like the name was just as important as my husband liking the name.
It actually took me a little bit to fall in love with the name Cade for him. I loved the story and I loved how much my husband liked the name, but I just wasn’t sold on it. It crossed everything off the list, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to go.
But it made perfect sense once he was born. After I met him, I couldn’t imagine him being anything else. He looks just like my sister Callie [pictured below, center, with Dara and Samantha]. There are certain times of day when I’ll look at him and he has her big eyes. That makes the name for me.
What were some of the suggestions you received?
My youngest sister was pushing for River or Bear, to which we said, “We’re not cool enough for that.” We definitely can’t pull off either of those.
Reign was another one. It felt too Kardashian to me. Even if we spelled it like Rainn Wilson. I have friends that could totally do that, but if we had a kid named Bear, I think my friends would be like, “Are you okay?”
What was on your list for girls?
I really love Yiddish names. They’re so cool. I’m a big musical theater nerd, so for me, it gets extra points if it’s in a musical. Like Fiddler on the Roof. In college, I told my friends I like the name Chava and they were like, “No!”
Cade’s name was going to be Beyla if he was a girl. It’s the Yiddish form of Bella. It’s one of my sisters’ Hebrew names, and I absolutely love it. We were still debating the middle name when we found out he was a boy.
My sister was convinced that I would use the name Cosette because one of my all-time favorite musicals is Les Miz. She was joking, but I actually considered it as a middle name for a hot second before learning I was having a boy!
Cade is named for four people, technically. His middle name is for Cory’s grandfather and my two surrogate grandmothers, who were Belle and Betty. I already have the letters picked out for our second baby. Definitely M, and maybe B. So Beyla is still on the list.
Is it important to you that Cade’s future siblings’ names match in some way?
For me, the most important thing is finding a name that my husband and I both like. I totally understand why people want to make their kids’ names match — it makes perfect sense. I love when twins have that. But it’s not important to me.
When I was looking for names, I was on all the sites, and people get so focused on finding the sibling set for whatever name they’re going to pick. That’s wonderful and great if that’s what you’re into, but it’s so limiting. They all become a set anyway!
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
Benjamin! Five people I know in the past year have had Benjamins. Two separate people have had Olivias. I’m noticing that it’s a lot of really common names. We’re actually the first of our college friends to have kids, but our classmates who are went for more unique names — we went to NYU for the arts school, so everyone’s really artsy. Everyone goes outside of the box. But people that I graduated high school with are using traditional Hebrew biblical names.
I’m also noticing people getting really creative with middle names. If they go with a very traditional first name, they use a very nontraditional middle name. I think that’s really cool! I know a lot of people who do go by their middle name as they get older, and I think that’s awesome.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process for you?
How hard it was! I love baby names and thought it would be really easy. But I couldn’t come up with one boy name. Every name I heard, I hated. I felt horrible, because girl names were always so easy. There’s more freedom to be creative with girl names. I always liked the name Ashley for a boy, like in Gone with the Wind, but if you name a son Ashley, you get a lot of looks. Whereas if you name your girl, say, Hunter, nobody’s going to care.
There are some very creative boys’ names out there, but not many that aren’t way too out-there. It was very hard to come up with something we liked that I hadn’t heard many times before.
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
We sat down one day and typed out our list, and then we forgot about the list. We put it on our phones and shared it with each other, and every time we heard a name that we liked, we’d add it to the list, but we didn’t go back and dwell on it. That was great because when it came time to pick his middle name, we already had the name we liked. We’d already done the looking, we’d listed everything we could think of, and we had enough distance from it where we weren’t overthinking our options. It was easy enough to pair the first name with the other choices and see how they felt together.
We started relatively early. We found out we were having a boy around thirteen weeks and started looking after that. We would add names periodically and I would look at it every once in a while, but I wouldn’t obsess over it.
Thank you so much, Dara!
Photos via Mirabelle Photography, Dara Bloomfield and Cory Stambler