I went to a baby shower yesterday, and yes, of course, there was baby name chatter. Top names under consideration for the (multiple) expectant moms in the room included Amara, Mara, Miranda, Gavin, and Nolan.
I find these conversations alternately thrilling and painful. You’re not really supposed to dissect their name choices, and you’re certainly not supposed to volunteer that Nolan has been gaining in use rapidly, and doesn’t necessarily meet their unusual-but-not-too-out-there requirement. Or that Amara isn’t really easy to pronounce, especially if you want her second “a” to sound like star and car, not bear and care.
But I will say this: I was in a crowd of hyper-educated, high-achieving, globe-trotting women, and yet we all seem to favor girls’ names that are frilly valentines. I’m not sure what to think about that.
Elsewhere in the name ‘verse:
- Did you see this question about Ashton? Love her response, and this quote: “The land of contemporary names is a probabilistic terrain where names tilt one way, then the other.” I know it makes us crazy, but there it is.
- Petra, Simone, Theodora – Nameberry’s list of feminizations is delicious. My latest name crush is Theodora, nicknamed Thora.
- Dulcinea is my favorite from Eponymia’s post, though I’ll admit I think Toad the Wet Sprocket before I think Don Quixote.
- Is Snooki enciente? I care more than I should … okay, and I’m charmed by the idea of a little girl named Angela but called Gigi.
- Triplets named Gone, With, and Wind? What happened when those poor kids grew up and were no longer introduced in a series?
- Bree’s list of names from the family tree of Marie Antoinette had me captivated. I love seeing how Maria Theresamanaged to recycle such a limited pool of family names for so many children.
- While we’re on the subject of re-invention, Zeffy’s comments about her family having a strict ban on passing down names intrigues me – especially since she’s come up with a clever way to sidestep the rule.
- Did you notice this Elsa and Cleo sibset in the Melbourne birth announcements? It’s one of my favorite combinations, thanks to Babble blogger Jane Roper.
- Quadruplets born on Leap Day – what are the odds? An even bigger shocker? I like their names: Reuben, Zachary, Joshua, and Samuel.
- For Real spotted a baby Edna!
- Mabel, Oscar, and Bonnie Sue – once again, Name Soiree rounded up the kind of sibset that makes me want to bring dinner to the new parents just so I can ask how they chose such retro-cool names.
- Gawker weighs in on baby names – again – but this time it is not at all mean spirited. Maureen O’Connor rocks – and makes her “old lady” name tremendously cool!
Lastly, did you see Nancy’s post about Baby Name Inventiveness? It’s an intriguing question. I’ve defended variant spellings, but is there something different happening in recent decades? There’s a long history of parents making up names and respelling them to encourage different pronunciations. Is it new, or is talking about it new? I’m not sure …
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and a special thanks for voting in March Madness. Can’t wait to see which names advance to the round of eight!
I find it VERY hard to keep my mouth shut when people are discussing baby names; it’s so hard not to say anything when someone said they are going with Harper because it’s so unique, or to point out that the name they’ve picked for their son is declining for males and growing for females.
I’m afraid what stops me (not to my credit) is that I always think, “No if you interfere too much you’ll skew the data”!!!!!!
HA! Love that thought, Anna. 🙂
C in DC says
Love some of the alternatives on Zeffy’s list, especially Meret (but how would one chose to spell it: Marit, Meret, Merit, Merritt; and is it mer-ETT or MAIR-ett?) I worked with a Mereta (mer-ETT-a) once. Lovely name and person.
The Quad names are fabulous.
So now I’m curious. What exactly is a frilly valentine’s name? And what isn’t?
That’s an excellent question … I think anything that it is three or four syllables and ends in a almost always fits the bill. Except not always. Alexandra isn’t, but Alessandra is … And I’m not sure about Isabella. Wait, I’m going to ask on FB.
I thought for sure you would have done a post last week about Samuel Garner, but I didn’t see one. Am I missing something?
Since entering the name-blogging world I am always surprised to see my daughter’s name listed as “frilly” — nothing against frilly names (love lots of them) but I wouldn’t necessarily put Ottilie in that category. Now, the “Valentine” part I cannot deny!
No, I’m not sure if I would put Ottilie in the frilly category, either. After all, I called Romilly a Katniss. I’d call Ottilie a Hermione. Then again, I’ve heard Cecily called frilly, and I don’t disagree …
This is a bit OT, but I made a blog post that might interest Abby considering it talks about her “semi-former” name (of course anyone else who’s interested is welcome to read it too):
I knew a sibset named Do Me and Sol. They were Korean-American, and I don’t know if the names Do and Me worked in that language, but Sol, who I knew best of the lot, said that often (American) people wondered if she was actually Seoul. They were named for the music, though, and I always thought Sol was the luckiest, because it’s a very pretty name.
Charlotte Vera says
“Frilly valentines?” Roseanna definitely falls into that camp! Of course, she’s named for her grandmother, but if I’d had my way she’d have been Rosamund, also something of a frilly valentine. Incidentally, I think Mark’s beginning to feel some name regret now that we’re in NZ since both Rosann and Rosanna are much more common here than they were in North America.
I love that list of Marie Antoinette’s siblings’ names! Since most of the names have a softer, more lilting sound I have to say that final x in Maximilian startled me.
I do think that inventedness in spelling has increased in recent years, at least in certain places. For example, when my grandparents immigrated to Canada from Germany and had children in the 50s, they sought for names that would simultaneously make them fit in in Canada and work in German. So no strange spellings for them. However, as Canada becomes increasingly more and more multicultural immigrants are encouraged to retain their home culture, or at least adapt the Canadian culture to their own. In my experience, this sometimes leads to popular North American names being spelt a way that either makes the most sense given an individual’s cultural background, or somehow incorporates naming practices from their linguistic heritage. I can also lead to the feeling that there’s no need to obey the traditional rules of English naming practices.
Many of my favorites are frilly valentines, too!
Charlotte Vera says
*It can also lead, not I can also lead :/
The Quads were big in the news over here. Even more unusual is that two of the babies are identical (about a 1 in a million chance of that happening naturally).
They have an older brother called Luke as well who looked to be about 4.
Gone, With and Wind? Oh, no. I also have a crush on Theodora – so pretty. It’s funny about the not honouring people from our family tree… somehow we still ended up with two Simons and two Josephs, although one is in the middle spot. Thankfully no one went for Mary or Anthony. In just three generations our family managed to have 22 Marys and 9 Anthonys.
The link to Nameberry’s list of feminizations isn’t working…But I love Theodora nn Thora!
Raquel Somatra says
I guess Wind really lucked out in that triplet name set… And, though I love Mabel and Oscar, I can’t stand Bonnie. I have no idea why– I met my first Bonnie when I was 7 and even then, I thought it was an improper name. It’s strange how I still feel the same about some names I disliked in childhood, but others, such as Francis, have become much more appealing.
Charlotte Vera says
Hmmm, all I kept thinking of is all my friends who refer to flatulence as “wind”.
Raquel Somatra says
Oh, that’s awful! I was thinking more alone the lines of nature… River, Clover, Wind…? But maybe not anymore!