Is there a baby names arms race?
I happen to be writing from New York City, just a week after the Health Department released their 2009 stats proclaiming Isabella and Jayden top of the charts. Yawn.
But then the Wall Street Journal’s Metropolis blog interviewed Baby Name Wizard’s Laura Wattenberg on the results. Two things stood out: first, Wattenberg is a master of linguistic analysis. She declares that today’s parents prefer names lacking “two consecutive voiced consonants.” Buh-bye Robert and Alfred, Nancy and Betsy.
But this quote grabbed me: “Individuality has become a prized virtue and there’s a kind of competitive landscape — a baby name arms race — where parents are determined to make their child stand out.”
It is true that even the most common given names are given to fewer children with every passing year, whether that name is Mary or Isabella or Ava, John or Jacob or Jayden. But I’m not sure that we’re intentionally competing for a stand-out name for our kids … more in a future post.
- Speaking of standing out, here are a few rarities mentioned in the NYC Health Department press release: Nava and Zeidy for girls; Pinchus, Orion, and Drake for boys. Not sure about all of them, but those last two? I imagine we’ll hear a few more Orions and many more Drakes in future years;
- And back to the arms race: apparently, friendships really do end when two expectant mothers land on the same name. I’m with ParentDish UK’s Tamsin Oxford on this one: “So what if you’re going to call him Sam, it’s not like he’s going to be the first child with that name, and there’s no way he’s going to be the last. Surely what counts is the fact that he is your Sam?”
- Here’s an often-heard pheonomenon: I don’t like made-up names, but I like this one I made up. Swistle weighs in on Junuh, which I think she rightly concludes feels both feminine and invented. The respelling Junah might hold up better, but it would never have the masculine appeal of Cannon or Gunnar. Or even Greg;
- Nancy asks whether more of us will name our children Kindle. It’s a hop, skip, and a jump from Kendall to the e-Reader. She also tells us that 24 girls received the name in 2009. And don’t forget surname picks like Kinsey and Kinley, both of which are heard more and more;
- On the AppMtn Facebook page, I mused about the sibsets of the future: Buster and Minka, anyone?
- Can’t get enough of wacky celebrity names? Here’s another slideshow. Call me jaded, but I’m finding it harder and harder to be surprised by any baby name, chosen by anyone. Okay, well maybe Audio Science still seems extreme. Well … and Jagger for a girl. And … okay, I lied. It’s an inexhaustible subject;
- Which reminds me, what do you name your child when your name is Beyonce? That’s one Nameberry contest I can’t wait to enter;
- Here’s a cheerful name: ForReal spotted a Pollyanna Nell. Plus girls called Laurette, Odette, and Isla Antoinette in Washington. Are the -ettes ready for a comeback yet?
- DaddyTypes gives us a list of Footloose-inspired baby names – with Ren and Lulu on the list, it isn’t as outrageous a suggestion as it appears;
- One of Swistle’s posts resulted in a daughter named Felicity, nicknamed Fliss. Love that nickname!
- If there a baby names arms race, here’s the finish line. (Though I don’t think this post is legit.) What should she name her triplets, gender TBA? Current options are, boys first: Mystique Mariah, Blueberry Love, Disney Cinderella, Raven Superman, Dave Superman, Clandestine Superman.
In celeb news, I was so busy speculating about Egypt catching on, and what Beyonce might name her maybe-baby, and how crowd-sourcing works because second-born Bowen Brees has a much better name than elder son Baylen … well, I missed the arrival of Lance Armstrong’s daughter, Olivia Marie, a little sister for Luke, Isabelle, Grace, and Max.
And, of course, Matt Damon and wife Luciana welcomed daughter Stella.
Celine Dion has also welcomed her twins – two boys! – but names have not yet been released. Please leave a comment if you hear anything!
That’s all for this week. As always, thanks for reading!