Monday, May 21, 2012

What Shall I Name My Child?

One of the first and probably biggest things that we (my husband and I) are going to do for our child during their first few days of life is to give them a name.  It's such a huge and difficult decision since it is something they will literally have to live with for the rest of their life.  It is something that is not easy to change and is something they cannot control like hair color or eye color.  They're basically stuck with whatever decision that we make.  Generations to come will know my child by that name.  With all that being said, I have only a few basic requirements for a name.

1. It must be relatively easy to spell.  I have a name that can literally be spelled at least 5 different ways.  It is not an usual name but I have spent a lifetime spelling my name for people and correcting them when they get it wrong.  It's funny because when I talk to other people with my name, one of the first questions we ask is, "how do you spell YOUR name?"

2. I want to avoid "popular" or "trendy" names.  I don't want my child to be one of several people in their class while growing up to have the same name.  I grew up with two other people with my name and we always had to differentiate ourselves by adding the first initial of our last name or by using a nickname.  The social security administration recently released a list of the top baby names of 2011.  I, unfortunately, like many of the names on that list but will be avoiding them as well as the top names from the last five years or so.

3. I do not want an exotic name.  I LOVE Hawaiian names and other ethnic names.  However, in my opinion, I think they are best suited for middle names to avoid the problems listed in #1.  It can also get annoying when people mispronounce the name.

4. I don't want to name my child something that would be considered "strange" or "unusual."  There are some pretty crazy names that celebrities have given their children.  I don't want a person to automatically stereotype my child or have it become a part of their identity based on their name alone.  I don't want their name to be their defining characteristic or something that people can't get past.  Giving my child an "unusual" name will make it a topic of conversation throughout their life when meeting new people.  I can see some people wanting their child to be "unique."  However, in this day and age of identity theft and cyberstalking, having an "unusual" name is not cracked up to what it used to be.  Sometimes having a ubiquitous name gives you a better chance at anonymity.  I was horrified to discover how easy it is to find my name on a simple google search.

5. The name must "age" well.  I don't want people to look at the name and say, "that was so 2012!"  I also want it to be something that they won't be embarrassed by when they're older and have to apply for a job.  Can you imagine having to fill out a job application with a name like Apple or Coco?

I think if I had a "common" name like "Jennifer" which was #1 the DECADE I was born in, I may feel differently.  However, since I do not have a name like that, I've come up with these basic parameters.  I have been searching for popular names from the 40's, 50's, 60's, etc.  They were common back then but not common today.  Since they're somewhat "common," the spelling or pronunciation of the name is not much of an issue.  What do you think?  Am I over thinking this or do you have any good suggestions?  We've got to make a decision soon since that is one of the first things they ask you after  the baby is born.

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