How I Named My Baby: Cyrus Canyon
Lauren and Amir Bavani live in Queen Creek, Arizona with their two children: Jasper Julietta and Cyrus Canyon.
Their son Cyrus was born on November 22, 2021. Below, we chat with Lauren about how she and Amir named their baby boy.
Tell me how you named Cyrus!
With both of our kids, we never found out the gender. That’s very rare, at least among people I’ve talked to. We always have a girl name and a boy name and for our first child, Jasper was our girl name and Cyrus was our boy name.
My husband moved from Iran to the US when he was 13, and he wants to keep some of his Persian culture alive even though he’s very American. But when you’re researching names it’s hard to tell. Is this Persian? Is this Greek? What’s the root? You can see it from so many different sides.
We wanted names that were easy to say and pronounce but not commonly used. We loved how Cyrus means “lord” and “sun” — it’s such a strong meaning. And the only Cyrus I feel like I’ve ever known of is Miley Cyrus.
We came up with Canyon for his middle name because we recently moved to Arizona. We’re both Chicagoans, but we wanted warmer weather, and my parents are close by. We moved out here in May, and I loved the idea of a nature name, especially since Jasper is kind of a nature name, in a way, with the stone.
We had a few different combos. Cyrus Cosmo, because Amir loves galaxies. But we just really loved Canyon because it seemed kind of rustic and we wanted to go with the alliteration after Jasper Julietta.
What other names were on your list?
We were going to go with Cyra Celestine if Cyrus was a girl. It sounds so great with Jasper Julietta. I love it, and part of me is like, “Ah! Now we never get to use that one!”
Our backup girl name for Jasper was going to be Nova. But I felt like it was getting too popular, and I saw it on a lot of things. We liked Nasrin as a middle name. My mom said when I was a kid, I always joked that when I had a kid I would name her Rose, and Nasrin means “wild rose.”
Did you ask anyone for advice about baby names?
No, it was just Amir and me both times. We didn’t tell anyone any names when I was pregnant with Jasper. We didn’t want to get any opinions or hear anyone say, “Oh, that’s a boy’s name!” Jasper’s name suits her so well — she’s such a tomboy — and I didn’t want anyone to ruin the image I had of her name.
With Cyrus, we told my parents because we were living with them when we first moved out to Arizona while our house was being built. Since we were spending a lot of time with them, we let them know what we were thinking. We never let them know the middle name options, though!
What were people's reactions when they heard the name?
As with Jasper, people were like, “Oh, what a cool name!” I’m excited about that — I’m glad people love it. Both of their names suit them so well, and we couldn’t be happier. At the end of the day, Amir and I just loved their names. I would look at Nameberry all the time for inspiration. I was constantly searching, but deep down I knew we had found what we liked and should stick with that.
What would your younger self have liked to name a baby?
I had a bunch of dolls as a kid, and I remember one of them was Neve, like Neve Campbell. I love that name. I had another doll named Gia. I always envisioned having girls. I loved Rose, but it’s just so common now. My mom said I had imaginary friends named Kelsum and Jameson. Very random!
I worked in men’s custom clothing for years and now I’ve branched out into selling luxury home. I’ve always had a pulse on trends, which is maybe why I’m interested in names.
How do you feel about your own name, and how do you think that influenced your choice?
Lauren is so common — at some of my jobs, I was the seventh Lauren. At work, I actually go by LJ, since my maiden name was Jarrett. I like having that nickname to differentiate myself.
But I do like Lauren. It’s pretty, it’s easy, and people know how to spell it. We definitely wanted rarer names for our kids. I hope their names are not super mainstream by the time they’re thirty! My parents didn’t know that when naming me.
Hopefully, Jasper and Cyrus will be the only ones in their class at school. We weren’t drawn to any of the super common names.
Was it important to you that Cyrus’s name matched Jasper’s?
It was. But maybe if we had liked another name, we would have been okay with them not matching. I knew I didn’t want a J name — I wanted them to have distinct initials. But I liked that they both had a Persian root and a strong S sound. Their names go together but are different enough.
Is it easier for you to come up with girl names or boy names?
Girl names! There are so many more girl names. I just couldn’t find a boy name that I liked besides Cyrus. It was such a struggle. Asher is kind of cool… I don’t know why boy names are so much harder!
If you were having a baby tomorrow, what names would you choose?
Originally, before we even had kids, we talked about Remy, but then it became really popular. The other name we liked was Rumi. We were thinking about doing Rumi Ray, since my dad’s middle name is Ray. I was on the fence about whether we’d use it for a girl or a boy. To me, Rumi sounds a little bit more like a girl, but it definitely works for a boy.
Farrah was one of our girl names. Farrah Florence. But we’ve never even been to Florence, so I’m not sure if we should use that! I like Soleil a lot, but I always worry people are going to pronounce it wrong.
We liked Cassian for a boy. I thought Mercer was cool.
Amir has a really cool middle name — Zare (zar-AY). It’s the family middle name from his dad’s side, so I was looking for a Z first name to go with it. But we never found anything we loved. Besides, I feel like people would pronounce Zare wrong — it always happens.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
One of my good friends just named her daughter Marlowe, which is so pretty, and she has an Arden. My other close friend has a Nell and a Harrison, which I suggested.
My best friend from high school has a daughter Vayle, which is a family name. They named their son Hartford, but they call him Hart. Another friend has a Piper and a Beck, and my other friend has a River, Nixon, and Riggs. Very on-trend!
Here in Arizona, we’ve met an Easton.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
How few names I really liked. When you start looking, you’re like, “Oh my god, there are so many cool names!” But when you actually think about whether you want your child to have this name forever, it’s such a small list. At least that’s how I felt. I could make a huge list of cool names, but there are only a few at the top that I could envision for my child.
I thought it was going to be a lot harder to narrow down a shortlist and decide on a name. It felt really locked in — once we found the name, it stuck.
But I know for some people, it’s much harder. It depends on your personality. Some people wait for the name to come to them, but it wasn’t like that for me.
What advice would you give to someone just starting the baby name process?
Try and fast forward. Think of how many times you’re going to be yelling at your child to do something and repeat their name over and over again.
Practice hearing the names often. I would ask Amir to say the baby names and use them in conversation to make sure I liked the way they sounded.
I would hate to choose a name and have it not sit well — that would drive me nuts. The repetition is helpful because you’re going to hear that name so much.
You can do so much more with names now, in terms of the way people look at it. Nobody cares! Do what you envision for your family.
Thank you so much, Lauren!