How I Named My Baby: Clover June Isobel
Brooke Sharkey, a content creator, and Jeshua Sharkey, a web designer, are New Zealand natives who recently moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with their daughter Clover June Isobel.
Clover was born in New Zealand on September 21, 2021. Below, we speak with Brooke about how she and Jeshua named their baby girl.
Tell me Clover’s name story!
I’ve had a baby name list since I got married, more than five years ago. Our last name is Sharkey, which is pretty unique. We always thought it would be kind of cool to use an S name.
We had a list of girl names that start with S — Clover was the only one that didn’t! We loved Sutton, Spencer, Saskia, and Saffron. Unique, punchy names. But none of the S names felt quite right!
After I found out I was having a girl, I went to see my midwife. She asked if we knew the sex of the baby and without knowing anything about our names said, “You know what name I really love? Clover.” It felt like a sign!
We started to do more research into the name Clover. We love that it means lucky — the first thing I think of is a four-leaf clover. The three leaves of a three-leaf clover represent faith, hope, and love. The fourth leaf is good luck!
Jeshua and I met by total chance (on Tinder) and it always felt really lucky! A lot of cool things, like our big move to America, have happened to us throughout the past decade and we’ve always felt lucky. We were drawn to names that mean luck as well as names that mean love. Clover is a lucky name and includes the word "love" inside of it.
We also wanted a name with nickname options. My name is Brooke, which is so short so there are no obvious nicknames. I like that we can call Clover Chloe, Coco, Clo, or Clove. And CJ as well, with her first middle name being June. We use Coco a lot, but most of the time we just call her Clover.
How did you decide on her middle names?
It was a toss-up between June and Belle. We liked the idea of a one-syllable middle name. Belle means “beautiful”, and June is my birth month and my mom’s birth month. We really couldn’t decide between the two.
But then we won the green card lottery. We had our interview in June, which was when we were deciding on her name. We found out she was a girl in May, had our babymoon in June, and then our green card interview the next week, which would determine if we’d move overseas when she was a newborn or not. We thought that if everything went well and we got our green cards, we’d go with June.
My sister-in-law is named Elizabeth, and Isobel is derived from that. We liked the meaning and that it has the “bel” element. Jesh wanted ownership of one part of the name, and he really loves Isobel, particularly with that spelling.
How is baby naming in New Zealand different than in the US?
There are some popular names in the US like Liam and Charlotte that you don’t hear as much in New Zealand! At the moment, we’re hearing a lot of Arlo, Aria, and Mila in New Zealand. Names like Ezra, Daisy, Hugo, Oscar are common, but they still feel cool and unique since they haven’t been around in a long time. Names in New Zealand are a little bit quirkier than in the US.
Our traditional language is Maori, so there are Maori names in New Zealand. Some are more popular than others, like Aroha, which means “love” in Maori, and Moana, which means “ocean.”
Did you talk to anyone besides Jeshua about baby names?
A little bit, but then we had a lot of people weighing in about which names not to use! So we decided to keep Clover a secret.
We did tell family early on about our boy name. We wanted to use Finn, which is a pretty common name these days, but Finn Sharkey is so cool! If we ever have a boy, we might use it. Finn Sharkey sounds like a great stage name. We never got any bad reactions to it!
What were the other names on your list?
I like really cute girl names like Daisy, Poppy, Rosie, and Chloe, but I didn’t like how the “ee” endings went with Sharkey.
For a boy we liked Felix because it’s a family name. It was harder for us to come up with S names for boys. We have a Samuel in the family. I loved the name Sloane for a girl or a boy, but it didn’t go with Sharkey very well — too close to “loan shark.” We didn’t think about boy names as much since we were leaning toward Finn.
What were your favorite names when you were younger?
I’ve always thought about baby names. It’s so fun! The first names that I loved were Lily and James. I think it was because of Harry Potter — those are the names of his parents. I was obsessed with Harry Potter, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of Harry or Hermione or Ron.
When I was a teenager, I really loved the name Kelsey, from the song by Metro Station. I thought it would be cool to have a daughter who would have her own song. I also liked Ryder. I’ve since changed my mind!
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
I know at least two babies with the names Olive and Daisy. The Daisys I know are Daisy Jean and Daisy June. I know a couple of girls named Juniper and Margot as well.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process for you?
I didn’t expect it to take me as long to settle on the name. I had been thinking about it for quite a while, so in that way it was hard. This human is with the name for life! It’s not about finding the cutest name or the trendiest name or the name I like the most. It’s about finding an identity. And that’s the hard part! But once I did feel right about Clover, it really felt like the name.
For a year or two before we had her, I really thought we’d use one of the other names. Clover was way below the S names. I was surprised that I changed my mind so fully.
How does Clover’s name reflect your personal or family identity?
We’re cool, young-ish parents. We like to travel and moved overseas when she was a newborn. Her name being unique and punchy and the nickname Coco reflect our style. We like to be comfy, cozy, but still cool. And still kind of classic as well!
How did you decorate Clover’s space?
The walls and artwork are white. She has a few cool things — a disco ball mobile and a print of some disco balls above her crib. I made the mobile, and it reflects light on the walls when it’s spinning around.
On the floor, she has a toy shelf and a big cream-colored playmat with oranges printed all over it.
What are some of your favorite gifts you received for Clover?
My husband got a custom four-leaf clover necklace for her. It has his writing on the back, which the artist engraved. He gave it to me after I had Clover. It’s super special.
I also love all of her little Nike shoes. She wears these little sneakers and they’re the cutest things!
What are the cool things for families to do in New York?
In the summer, most parents and kids live at the park. You dip the kids into the splash pads and they run around in swimsuits and play on the playgrounds. Most parents carry a picnic blanket everywhere.
If it’s not a park, it’s a museum for the air conditioning. There are so many coffee shops around, so we’ll stop for coffee and then meet a friend at the park.
The cool thing about New York is that you end up meeting a lot of people at the local park. All of my friends live within three or four blocks of me because we met at the park!
Brooke’s (and Clover’s) Favorite Things
Baby Air Force 1s
Baggu Sport Crossbody Bag
I live in New York, so I like to travel very light when I go around the city. I have it down to an art. I carry everything I need in this crossbody belt bag — one diaper, one thing of wipes, some snacks — that’s all me and Clover need!
Baby Jogger City Sights Stroller
It’s a compact lightweight stroller that you can fold up with one hand. It’s important to have a stroller that’s really lightweight because you end up carrying the whole thing with the baby inside of it when you’re on the subway!
We use this to go in Ubers and taxis.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Gorman Picnic Rug
I always carry a picnic rug because there are so many great parks. This blanket sits at the bottom of our stroller.
Thank you so much, Brooke!