Nearly every parent-to-be says something similar about their child’s name: it should be familiar, but not too common. Or distinctive, but not weird. I spend a lot of time looking for names that are just different enough.
In moments of frustration, it can feel like we just want EVERYONE else to stop naming their kids Ruby and Sam and Presley so we can use those names.
Except if everyone else stopped using those names? They wouldn’t be those names anymore. Some other names would occupy the same space.
It’s complicated. Like Goldilocks, we’re always looking for the names that are not too hot, not too cold. Nothing wrong with that.
But we can make ourselves bananas in the process. This list from Her Family stopped me in my tracks. They asked parents about the biggest dealbreakers when it came to choosing names. #10 is “name falling in baby name charts.” I get that. Larry and Tiffany had their moments, and it’s time for fresh ideas.
But #5 on the dealbreakers list? “Name rising in baby name charts.”
And, of course, the name we love in July 2019 could disappoint us in six months, just as we’re holding our brand new baby in our arms, because it’s leapt up the charts in an alarming fashion.
No wonder searching for The Name can feel so difficult! Did you worry about this issue? And if you did, was there anything that made it feel easier to decide – even when there are so many unknowns?
- Have you seen Toy Story 4? I’ve got the production babies list in this post. But I keep thinking about other names from the series that could prove influential. Bonnie has benefited from the 2010 installment in the franchise. She’s the little girl we met in the third movie, and she’s back as the main kid in this summer’s blockbuster. Back in 2010, the name had recently left the US Top 1000 for the first time ever. But by 2014, it was back, and it’s quietly climbed in use since. With Bonnie playing an even bigger part in the new movie, maybe the name will get another boost? I need to update the post on Bonnie to reflect all that potential …
- Nancy Friedman is one of my favorite writers on all things related to naming. Here she shares the story of her given name. Which she actively dislikes. Her story reminds me of my own in so many ways. (Complete with a happy ending that disliking your given name can lead to all sorts of interesting possibilities. Parents, even if you get it wrong, know that sometimes that can be weirdly right.)
- This conversation on pronouncing names with Hasan Minhaj and Ellen DeGeneres matters so very much. We won’t all get it right.
- When we write lists of themed names, we all – myself included – tend to focus on the most specific types, like my beach boys list, packed with names like Kai, Reef, and Cove. So I’m intrigued by this list from The Friendly Fig, which is all about the general vibe – bright and cheery, even if they don’t connect to the coast in any concrete way.
- Nameberry released a new Top 100, based on the most-viewed names from January through June. It mixes the expected – Isla and Asher – with names that might just be the next big thing: Seraphina, Cleo, Cassian, or Bear, maybe?
- If it’s July, it’s time for the New Names Showdown! We’re voting for our favorites of the boy and girl names debuting and returning to this year’s US Top 1000. Your votes decide the big winners. In years past, Arden, Sylvie, and Marlowe have claimed the girls’ title, while Wilder, Shepherd, and Wells came out on top for the boys. You can vote in the opening round of this years’ contests now through Thursday. The girls’ match-ups can be found here. And for the boys, visit this page to vote for your favorites.
- I almost forgot: my solution to the Goldilocks baby naming conundrum are these lists: Sweet Spot Girl Names, along with Sweet Spot Boy Names. They’ve held up pretty well over the last few years, so while it’s tricky, it is very possible to choose a name that hits the mark. Sometimes.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
It’s funny. Nancy Friedman emphasises – as many do – the importance of having ‘a backstory worth telling’ for a name. Sounds reasonable, yet I’ve never, ever felt that “We had a friend with that name and just really liked the sound of it” was an inadequate naming story! I’ve always liked my name, and I don’t feel that “We liked the sound of it” is necessarily inferior to stories like “It’s the name of your great-grandmother who swam the English channel, and a famous author we admire, and it has 6 letters as you were born on the 6th, and it starts with a C because you’re the third child, and it’s French because we honeymooned in France etc etc”.
Perhaps if you like the name yourself – and have a good relationship with those who chose it (I’m guessing if your parents mistreat you it could affect your view of ALL their choices, name included) – the backstory actually doesn’t matter??
You raise a good point – I know plenty of people who love their names, but don’t have a backstory. (At least not one that they know.)
It always bugged me that my name didn’t have a backstory. (And I eventually changed it.) But my name DID have a backstory. My mom had a family name, one shared across multiple generations with lots of of cousins. She intentionally gave her children short, upbeat American names that were meant to be all our own. So that blank slate quality did speak to something important – but it wasn’t the kind of thing I could wrap my head around at the age of 8 or 9.
But you raise a good point … I’ve found more reasons to love my children’s names as they’ve grown and made them their own. So maybe it’s not all that simple …