How I Named My Baby: Kinsley Arin
Jasmine and Kevin Wiggins II, a financial operations manager and contract specialist, live in Virginia with their daughter Kinsley Arin.
Kinsley was born on August 20, 2021. We spoke with Jasmine and Kevin about her name story.
Tell me how you named Kinsley!
K: I’m named after my dad, and my sister also has KAW initials, so we want to keep that theme going with our children.
J: I was looking for cool K names. I didn’t want something that a lot of people had, but I haven’t heard of a lot of Kinsleys. I thought it was interesting, so we went with that! I love the way Kinsley looks when I spell it out.
K: For the middle name, it just worked out. Jasmine’s dad’s name is Aaron, so Arin is a spin on that.
Do you use any nicknames for Kinsley?
J: She goes by Kinz, Kinz-Bae, and Kinz Bear. My maiden name is Smith and our last name is Wiggins, so my dad calls her Smiggs.
K: Our friends call her Kinsley, but she definitely answers to Kinz!
What other names were on your list?
K: We considered a few different spelling variations of Kinsley, as well as Kinzie.
J: We figured out her name pretty early in the process. I didn’t want anyone to think I was copying them, so the day we found out she was a girl, we announced her name was Kinsley Arin Wiggins. We also put it out there so no one else who was pregnant could be like, “Oh, Kinsley!” and copy us.
K: Before we knew if it was a girl or a boy, we were just saying “Baby K.”
The other name we were thinking about was Kali, but recently I noticed a lot of Kalis starting to be born. Spelled Kali, Kaleigh, Cali — I’ve seen all types of variations!
If Kinsley was a boy, what would the name have been?
J: Kevin is Kevin Wiggins II, so we were going to use Kevin but change the middle name. We hadn’t decided on the A name!
K: Keeping that KAW going! But we compromised — Jasmine doesn’t really like my middle name, so if we’re fortunate to have a boy, we’ll use Kevin for the first name and a different A middle name. It’s similar to Jasmine’s dad and brother. They have the same name, but different middle names.
If you have a son, will you call him Kevin, or by a different name?
J: They call Kevin “Little Kev” and his dad “Big Kev,” even though they’re 6’7” and 6’4”, so I don’t know. Littler Kev?
K: Some people call my dad Wiggins, our last name. But my mom would always call me Kevin II.
But it really depends on the middle name. Our son would more than likely go by his middle name and use the full name on formal documents. That’s what Jasmine’s brother does.
How did people react when you announced the name?
K: People really liked it. It felt unique.
J: It’s not too far to the left, it’s at a nice middle point. People can pronounce and spell it. Everyone liked Arin, too. They thought it was cool that I pulled my dad and brother into her name. People connect to the name more when they know it has significance to it.
K: If we weren’t sticking with the KAW tradition, Kinsley’s name probably would be Arin. I love the name — it’s ambiguous, and there are different ways you can spell it.
If you have another daughter, what names are on the list?
J: There are so many K names out there! I’m looking more to gender-neutral names, but I would be open to something else. I know there’s the Kardashian trend of K names, so I try to stay away from that, because everyone has a Kylie or a Khloe. They’re cute, but I want something else for my daughter.
K: We were looking at Kendall though, at one point. We also liked Kodie.
What would your younger selves have liked to name a baby?
K: I’ve always liked the names McKenzie and Aaliyah. If we have another girl, her middle name might be Aaliyah.
J: My brother’s middle name is Justin, which I liked. My best friend growing up was named Alexis. I love that name, but I feel like it would be so out of touch to use that name now, since it’s such a Millennial name.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
K: The name that stands out the most is Carter. Every time I turn around, there’s someone named Carter! I’ve seen it on boys and girls. At one point, I thought about Karter for a girl, but not anymore. Karter doesn’t stand out to me as much as it used to.
J: I didn’t want her to be Karter W. When I was in school, it was the Brittanys. There was Brittany A., Brittany C.…
One woman that I know named her son Hugo, which is really cool. I love how four-letter names look, like Onyx and Knox.
Did you have any big fears related to baby names?
J: Definitely being put into a box based on her name. As African Americans, names mean a lot in our culture. I wanted her to have a fair chance coming out of the gate. With our names, Kevin and Jasmine, you don’t really know what our race is. I’ve seen firsthand how that racial bias affects people. I didn’t want her to have to go through that with her name.
K: I’m big on gender-neutral names, where you look at a resumé and can’t tell someone’s gender. That’s an advantage, especially raising a daughter. You want her to have a fair opportunity for a job and everything like that.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
J: How many names there are in the world! We knew wanted a K name, which made the list shorter, but it can still be overwhelming. I can see how people could spiral down a baby name rabbit hole.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
J: Take your time and be open. If you really like a name and it has meaning behind it, go for it. Our values were family and tradition — we prayed about it, we talked about it, and it fits the name we came up with.
I wrote her name down a lot, like I was doodling the name of my high school crush! You’re going to have to call them their name for their whole life, so you have to take your time and make sure you like it.
K: Also consider your child’s perspective. Do you think they’ll like this name when they grow up? Obviously, you can’t predict it, but you have to think about what their name will bring to them and the value it will hold.
How does Kinsley’s name reflect your family identity?
J: Kev is very close to his family and I’m very close to my family. I actually work with my parents! Kinsley’s whole name is family-oriented. Her name represents our family, intertwined.
K: Kinsley’s the first grandchild on both sides, and Jasmine and I are both the oldest of two. The unification of both families is embodied within Kinsley.
How would you describe your style beyond baby names?
K: Simple, minimal, and neutral.
J: I try not to put Kinsley in a lot of florals, hot pinks, or yellows. I’m cool with a little mauve here and there, but nothing overly girly. I thought I was going to dress her in a lot of brown and black, but she is a little girl, so it’s fun to do some colors.
K: Jasmine used to say she would never put our daughter in pink or bows. She was a tomboy growing up. Funnily enough, every time we’re at the store, Jasmine has something pink in her hand.
J: It’s just so cute!
K: Kinsley adapts to whatever we put her in. She can have a mandarin orange jumpsuit on, and it just works. She just flows.
What was your favorite baby gift that you received?
K: Kinsley received a lot of ornaments for her first Christmas. Next year, we’ll have to get her her own tree!
Our family gave us a lot of personalized ornaments that said things like “Kinsley’s First Christmas.” Jasmine and I really love shoes, so we got one ornament that looked like ballet slippers, with her name and birthday engraved on the back.
J: I love personalized gifts, and Kevin’s mom’s friend made a quilt with Kinsley’s name and sunflowers on it.
What’s your favorite toy or book that Kinsley has?
J: We like the book Hair Love, because Kinsley has curly hair, and I want her to know that it’s beautiful!
K: Jas’s grandma got us a kids’ book of daddy-daughter Bible stories. It’s meant for dads to read to their daughters, so it’s really special.
K: Kinsley’s definitely taken on our trait of being minimal! You unwrap the package and she wants to play with the paper. But she loved the Skip Hop platform that she stands on. She can spin around and grab things. Kinsley has a blast when you put her in it — she can play there for an hour.
Did you do anything special during the pregnancy?
K: I spoke to Kinsley each night. It was very sentimental to me, especially when I could feel her moving.
J: After every doctor’s appointment, we would get smoothies. It was a nice ritual, especially with COVID — Kevin wasn’t able to be in the room for my first appointments.
K: Before I could go in, I would be in the car on speakerphone. Jasmine would record the heartbeat.
The most memorable thing was when we did a 3D ultrasound. We brought our moms, which was really special. We saw how Kinsley was going to look, and Jasmine and our moms got necklaces made of her heartbeat and name.