Get widget

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

Naming your child can be a nerve-wracking experience.  You love the name Aidan or Madison, but it seems like everyone is naming their child that these days. Are you just a sheep-like follower, in line with the herd?  You really want to name your child Jezika, but you're afraid people will laugh or judge you.  But you don't want to name her Jessica.  You'd rather Jezika.  What do you do?  You love the name Helen or Ezra but you're told they're too old-fashioned for today's children. Back to the drawing board.

Or not.

Yes, your child's name is an important decision, and one that you have to make for him or her. It will follow the child for the rest of his or her life, and of course you don't want your children to feel ostracized or odd or boring because of it. But in my experience, it's not kids that think of those kinds of things. It's adults. Kids tend to take things at face value, so that when they're told their friend's names are Brayden, Jewel and Dorothy, that's it. Simply a way to address their friends. 

The top ten names for 2010 for boys are: Aiden, Liam, Noah, Jackson, Ethan, Cayden, Mason, Logan, Landon and Oliver.

The top ten names for 2010 for girls are: Sophia, Charlotte, Ava, Addison, Olivia, Amelia, Lily, Isabella, Chloe and Bailey.

All this means is that adults like those names. Nothing more, nothing less.  You could choose from that list, or choose from the top 500 list, or choose a name that's not on any list.  A name does not define a person, it only gives them a way in which to be addressed.

Dulce Fatima and Natalina Marie were named after their grandparents on either side.  My husband and I come from Portuguese and Italian families.  Are the names different?  Yes. Do we love them? Yes.  Do the babies love them? So far, yes. They don't know a name from a name from a name. They just know that the one they have is theirs and that's enough.

As parents, sometimes we overthink the implications of a name, too worried about what society will think, forgetting that society to us is often just our friends and acquaintances.  In any case, children usually come up with nicknames for themselves so that even if you feel you've failed your child in the name department not all will be lost.  Try to keep in mind if you're making that all-important decision right now, or if you've made it and regret it, that it's really not an all-important decision in the scheme of things after all.  At best, the name you've chosen will be one both you and your child love.  At worst, it will be a minor hiccup to work around.

A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

If you enjoy this blog, please vote for Tales of an Unlikely Mother on We're number 15, just scroll down and click on the thumbs up.


  1. I still maintain that though I love the name Azrael, the nickname would have been bad.

  2. If we had a baby girl, I was dying to name her Frankie - everyone I knew HATED that name for a girl. Good thing we had a boy, I guess?

  3. Just wondering, what source was that for the names? Is that worldwide? US?

  4. Just want to say again that I love your kid's names. I think it's sweet they are named after grandparents! I didn't know that. My son is named after my grandfather, too.

  5. @sapphyres: Like the cat?! That's awesome!

    @jadesymb:, not official in the slightest, just there for quick reference. Google and the SSA would be a way better place to get official counts.

  6. Yeah, my kids have no idea that certain names are seen as "weird" by adults. It's just a way to identify someone. They are completely shocked and/or mystified when they hear about someone with the same name as one of their friends. "Adam, ADAM! There are TWO Adams!" And I'm thinking that there are probably thousands in the world, but the kids are just stuck on it being a name of someone they know, so how can it belong to someone they don't know as well?

    I had a childhood friend named Clemency. I remember my mom commented that that was a strange name, but it wasn't until I was in high school that I realized clemency was actually a word, not just a name, and that yes, it was sort of interesting to name a kid that.

  7. My girls have very unusual names and my boys have uncommon but not weird names. I did it that way on purpose :P I had fun with the naming game :)

  8. I love your babies' names!

    I agree that it's the adults that bring their own issues/troubles/preconceived notions/connotations to the names, not the kids. I grew up with a gajillion Jessicas in every class, and I don't ever remember once thinking, "Man, I guess your mom didn't love you very much if she couldn't come up with a more creative name..."

    I have a non-traditional name (Karinya) and sometimes even today I get people saying, "yeah, but what do people call you? Don't you have a nickname? Karen? Kari? Do you make people call you by your real, long(ish), hard to pronounce (not really!) name?"

    Um, yeah?

    Anyway. Didn't get any of that when I was a kid, and now that I'm an adult and *love* my name, the occasional raised eyebrow doesn't bother me!

    -Karinya @ Unlikely Origins



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...