There Must be a Dozen Ways to Name Your Baby

In response to Susan Adcox’s invitation to write about the challenge of not “butting in” on the naming of grand baby, I have faithfully followed a relentless rabbit trail, in order to bring you my best thinking on the Baby Name Selection Process. The naming of your child must not be taken lightly because the result is something your baby will be stuck with for a very long time. Remember, the name makes the person, or does the person make the name? I can’t remember.

That being said, there is really no need to fret. There must be at least a dozen ways to name your baby.

1. Family names: For the parent who wants to honor a family member. However, you may run into trouble if your favorite uncle has the hideous name and the great name goes with the cousin that you can’t stand.

2. Biblical Names: For the parent who wants to pass on a strong character image. However, stay clear of Mephibosheth and Jehoshaphat because no one will be able to pronounce or spell them.

3. One of a kind Names: For the parent that wants their child to have the one name that 6 billion other people haven’t thought of. However, be very cautious if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. What if there is another one out there somewhere?

4. Flower & Spice Names: For the parent who wants to name that little girl for something as sweet as she will become, like Cookie, Cinnamon Jasmine, Candy, or Sugar. However, as she gets older her career choice may be limited to exotic dancing.

5. Name it and claim it Names: For the parent who believes in the power of positive thinking and names their child a name like RICHard, King, or Princess, However, (Do you really need me to point out the pitfalls here?)

6. Androgynous Names: For the parent who wants to allow their child to grow up with a non-gender specific name. However, get used to having to say boy or girl every time you talk with someone about them.

7. Intentionally Confusing Names: For the parent who has a secret desire to be a comedian and tests the water when naming baby. (No however here) just a link to Boy named Sue.

8. Lineage Names: For the parent who wants a clean, simple, done deal, name by adding a jr. at the end of their own name. However, this can be used one time, for one child only.

9. Wide open Crazy Names: For the Southern parent only, who simply won’t be satisfied unless baby has a double name or a nickname. However, be prepared to be misunderstood by every single person north of the Mason-Dixon line.

10. Up to fate Names: For the parent who just can’t make the looming decision and is reduced to throwing a hand full of scrabble letters into the air, putting them into some sort of order and manufacturing a name. However, you may end up with a baby name containing all vowels.

11. Miscellaneous Names: For the parent who doesn’t find the perfect name from above categories and names baby after a city, month, or season. This also includes the parent who for some unknown reason wants to spell a common baby name in an uncommon way, and the parent who succumbs to the name with the most votes from his Name our baby contest blog post.

12. What am I missing Names: Your chance to offer a category in my comments box.

After choosing a name, be sure repeat the name out loud. Names like Bucky, Muffin, Hercules, etc. sound cute for babies and puppies; but think how these names may negatively effect baby’s future ability to run for office? After all, who would vote for a name like Barak or Newt?

Also, write the name on paper to test the way the letters interact, like you did in junior high when you wrote out your future name if you married the boy who sat behind you. Many a relationship ended over the way a name looked on paper (sometimes even the heart over the small i didn’t help). On the other hand there was that one boy whom could have been named Sprinkelstump and you wouldn’t have cared a lick.

My last bit of advice on naming your bundle of joy is this. Consider the immortal words of Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” ………… or as stinky when baby needs a diaper change.

19 thoughts on “There Must be a Dozen Ways to Name Your Baby

  1. Pingback: Character Names « Writing = Passion

  2. Jordan Bullock

    Are you used to the boy or girl with me yet? Also, how should grandparents go about choosing their name used by their grandchildren?

  3. I loved this post, Gwen! We had the WORST time picking names for our children. Our daughter and her husband also struggled. He is Korean-American and she is Japanese-American. So they settled on a Hawaiian name to be neutral.

  4. Oh this one is real simple and I can’t believe you left it off your list. The way I selected my childs name was to let my wife do it. I was told it was her who carried him around for 9 months, and dammit she was going to pick the name LOL. Great post Gwen.

  5. Dallas Nevins

    My daughter had a sweet little girl in her class named Swastika. Every single parent did a triple take at the class list and asked for confirmation, but it was in fact true.
    After being very disturbed by this, I did my research and found out that Swastika is actually the Hindu symbol for peace. Hitler used this beautiful symbol and turned it into something the western world sees as a symbol of evil.
    So, when I mentioned this to someone at work (and this someone would have been on Hitler’s hit list), they had the incredible insight that maybe this little girl could reclaim the true meaning of the symbol.
    But, we then decided that was a little too much pressure to put on a 5 year old from India who didn’t speak a word of English, and decided to give her a nickname, “tika”.
    I can’t help but think, if her family stays in America, she is going to have a hard road ahead of her with her given name. So sad how we tease and judge. I was the first to immediately think her parents must be crazy, until I met them, learned about their culture, and then felt horrible for my first thoughts.
    First thoughts and impressions do sometimes begin with a name….

  6. So, I must comment that I went against my mother’s advice and named my daughter Sears. It’s one of those gender neutral, will come with a lot of teasing (come see the softer side of sears), family names and I haven’t regretted it for a minute. She’s now 6 and of course every single time she says her name, she has to repeat it as people to do a “double ask” to make sure they have it correctly. However, her name is so her and I can’t imagine my Sears with any other name. I had the same problem with my name, Dallas, as I still get mail to Mr. Dallas Nevins and every time I say my name to someone over the phone or in person and over the age of 65, they call me Alice. There was a time when I wanted to be Jane or Susan or anything “normal” but now I’ve come to love my unusual name. AND, I get jealous and a little competitive when I meet other Dallas’….

  7. Consider the way the name will sound with the last name. Some of our family members are named Sanderson, and with the wrong first name, it’s guaranteed to become Anderson (Liz Sanderson). Also, do not name your baby after any celebrity who is recognizable by a single name (Cher, Beyonce, Elton, Kobe) because your child will forever be associated with that individual instead of having their own identity.

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