The Nameberry 9: Back to Basics?
Has it really become harder to name a child?
It seems to be the theme in recent days. Over at Offbeat Mama, Caitlin wrote about her struggles to name – and eventually rename – her youngest child. The New Zealand Herald reported the same thing, noting a 12% increase in parents filing to legally change a child’s name prior to his or her second birthday.
My maternal grandparents named their first three children in accordance with family and cultural custom. My dad’s mom, undecided, pulled his middle name out of a hat. As for my parents, they felt no obligation to honor anyone, and chose short, peppy, upbeat names for their three daughters – until along came a son, and suddenly, family names mattered. If any child ever went nameless for months, or if aunts were divided over accusations of name theft, I’ve never heard the tale.
Could it be that we’re over-thinking it? This week’s parents seem to have chosen some pretty mainstream names, even in a world when anything is possible. At the same time, it takes an awful lot to brand a name bizarre – even extremely different choices like Apple and Pilot have their defenders.
The nine newsiest names of this week would be at home in any nursery in the English-speaking world:
Finnegan – It’s the name Caitlin and her partner eventually settled on for their youngest, after many months of consideration. A friend had asked them not to use it, and they fretted that it might not match their older kids’ names, but the couple ultimately decided that it was simply the only choice that would suit.
Charlotte – Two newborn girls named Charlotte made headlines this week. Bachelor and Bachelorette alum Jen Schefft and her husband Joe Waterman welcomed daughter Charlotte Grace, a little sister for Mae Elizabeth. Meanwhile in England, the late Princess Di has a new niece and a namesake. Her brother, Charles Spencer has welcomed a seventh child, a daughter called Charlotte Diana.
Marnie Mae – While we’re in the UK, did you hear about Tamzin Outhwaite’s new daughter? Tamzin – I do truly love her name! – and husband Tom Ellis now have two girls, newborn Marnie Mae and big sis Florence Elsie. Marnie feels at home with all of those nickname-names currently in vogue in England: Charlie and Alfie and Evie. She’s more of a stretch in the US, though with names like Sadie and Hattie in the spotlight, never say never.
Beatrice Jessica – One last check-in from London**, this time with an Olympic twist. Expectant parents Henry and Emily Lee planned to watch Olympic hopeful Jessica Ennis win gold for Great Britain in the heptathlon. Ennis delivered – but so did Emily! Instead of sitting in the stands, they were meeting their new daughter, named Beatrice Jessica** in honor of Ennis’ achievement.
Bolt – Could Jamaican track and field champ Usain Bolt inspire parents to give their sons his surname? Bolt Jackson sounds like a figure right out of a comic book, but he’d fit right in with Nameberry’s popular Badass Baby Names list, a brother for Dash, Flash, and King.
Leo – A more subtle, but still commanding choice, was the right name for Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford’s firstborn. It’s a great summer name for a boy. Dad and baby both share a middle – the enduring James.
Autumn – From summer to fall, Hollywood veteran Gary Busey is a granddad. His son Jake is a new dad. Daughter Autumn Rosalia arrived July 30. Autumn’s not the only one in the family with a seasonal appellation. Mom’s name is April.
Camden – Kristin Cavallari is the first of The Hills crowd to start a family. She and Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler are parents to Camden Jack. Lest you dismiss Camden as a crazy Hollywood name, check out his stats. Camden ranked #160 in theUS last year, suggesting that we’ll be meeting many more boys by the name.
Did you find it difficult to name your children? Do you think it has gotten harder to name a child in recent years?