New Year’s Name Resolutions: One Berry’s list
By Aimee Tafreshi
It’s a New Year and time for new baby name trends to emerge, some names to fade into the dust, and others to take center stage. During the past decade, we have seen many baby name trends come and go, and names like Aiden, Emma, Ava, Brooklyn and Jayden take center stage. As we enter 2015, can we make some baby name resolutions for the New Year?
1) Let’s resolve to avoid the obvious and over-played choices.
Emma Grace, Ava Grace – these are both beautiful names, and I personally have always liked the names Emma and Ava. However, I would steer clear of these combinations in that one in ten parents in the South have used them, and your daughter will most likely have a girl in her classroom with the same first and middle name.
If you can’t live without Emma or Ava for your little girl, but want a simple middle name, why not break ranks with a name like Emma Gray or Emma Bay? For Ava, what about Ava Louise? Ava Renee? These middle names aren’t groundbreaking, but they sound downright fresh compared to the ubiquitous Grace.
Also, for boys, please avoid the following names: Aiden, Jayden, Kayden, ad nauseam. Every time I hear that a new mom has named her son Aiden, I secretly cringe. These names are not unique, they are overused, and using one will date your son to the present time period. Your grandmother may think these names sound fresh and cool, but I promise you they are stale and mainstream. I would much prefer a simple Robert or John to an Aiden and its brethren. Aidan from Sex and the City was modern and artistic; Aiden on a young child today is one in a sea of thousands.
Exceptions: A family name combination you have to use, or a family or surname that just happens to be popular. Or you have been in love with the name for 20 years and can’t bear to use a different moniker. Just ignore me when I roll my eyes upon first hearing the name of choice.
2) Let’s resolve to spell our children’s names correctly.
As parents, we bear many great responsibilities toward our children. One of the greatest tasks is the name we bestow upon our child. In recent years, there is an emerging trend of “kreatiflee” spelled names, that is, names that are intentionally misspelled and would make Hemingway roll over in his grave.
When you give your child a butchered name, you are basically indulging your own selfish desire to be unique in some bizarre way. This is what a kreatiflee spelled name indicates about the parents and family of the poor child – they are uneducated. Nobody named Jesyka is going to be appointed a Supreme Court justice or chosen to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And Matecyn sounds like an unfortunate strain of bacteria. Please use a commonly accepted spelling for your child’s name.
As a parent, you need to put your desire to be different aside and spell your child’s name in an acceptable fashion. You do have flexibility, as there are commonly accepted variations of many name choices, e.g., Steven vs. Stephen, or Madeline vs. the French Madeleine. Both variants are easily recognized, pronounced and spelled. Don’t choose a name that requires your child to face years of “Huh?,” “Umm, can you spell that for me?,” and “Wait . . . what?!” If you have to use a kreatiflee spelled name, save it for the family dog. The vet won’t care.
3) Resolve to think about your name choice on an adult.
A family member was heading out for a massage one day and relayed to me that the masseuse’s name was Cinnamon. (And no, this wasn’t an “exotic” massage.) Expecting someone akin to a porn star, I was surprised when she reported back that Cinnamon was entirely nice and normal. Poor Cinnamon, I thought, given a name that limits her career options to stripper or Vegas show girl. I would have immediately changed my name to Cindy – a pedestrian choice, but mainstream and respectable.
Which brings me to my point – choose a name for your child that can comfortably transition from babyhood to adulthood. Traditional names like Robert and Charles have the extra benefit of providing a cute nickname (Bobby, Charlie/Chuck) in childhood and then transitioning into a very grown up name if preferred.
Names like Kaylie, Braylee and Ashlynn may be sticky sweet but they don’t inspire much confidence in the business world. Look for a name that your child can grow into, or a name that allows for a kid-friendly nickname and the option for a mature adult name. One of my childhood friends went by Mary Anne, using her first and middle name. Now she is just Mary. This is a great example of a “convertible” name that will take your child from the crib to the boardroom.
There is also a group of names that evokes certain ideals, religious beliefs or a state of mind: Serenity, Patience, Temperance, Karma, Heavenleigh (Heavens no!), Princess, and Chastity. While these names may sound lofty, don’t set a child up for failure by giving her a name she can’t live up to or doesn’t embrace. I wouldn’t feel comfortable as a 35-year-old named Princess, unless I worked at Disney World.
4) Resolve to stand out by choosing a perfectly “normal” name.
The baby names that stand out to me are the ones that are perfectly normal, spelled according to normal English usages practices and not used on one in four children. Examples of names that make my ears perk up on the girls’ side are Sloane, Lydia, Daphne, Astrid, Esme, Bridget, Gretchen, Eliza, Delaney and Muriel. All of these names graced the Social Security Administration’s most recent top 1000 baby names, yet none of them have hit the mainstream name jackpot yet.
For boys I like Lyle, Vance, Rory, Tate, Vincent, Beau, Pierce, Lane and Nash. These aren’t outlandish names by any stretch of the imagination, yet they aren’t necessarily considered “classic” names like Henry and William. And none of these names are uber-popular like Noah, Liam, Olivia and Sophia. If you look for a name flying below the radar, and spell it correctly, your child will stand out from 90% of his or her peers.
If you can resolve to accept even one of these resolutions for the New Year, then the future Starbucks baristas and pharmacists will much appreciate the easier spelling.
What names do you think should exit stage left with 2014? What names do you think will be hot in 2015? What baby name resolution would you propose for 2015?
Author’s note: Like all of you Nameberries, there are baby names and trends that I love and those that don’t appeal to me as much. I do not hate any child’s name, and I think every given baby name is special in its own right. These resolutions are simply my no-holds-barred opinions with a humorous undertone, and many of you will passionately disagree. I believe our differences of opinion are what keep the topic of baby names interesting and ever evolving.