Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Name, name, what's your name?

This is the way A.'s ballet class starts out every week. I'm sure at some point they will just start with warm-up exercises but when you're four, you start with a song.

And the song is important because that way everyone knows everyone else's name. Plus it's helped me learn that if you are the type of parent who puts your daughter in ballet, you are also usually the type of parent who names your daughter with something that ends in the letter "a." I include myself in that category.

I will say when we named our daughter, I didn't know anyone else with that name. It also worked perfectly with the middle name we wanted for her, Jo, which was the name of my husband's mother. So it seemed old-fashioned name that wasn't super popular but not something so obscure people looked at you funny.

Safe to say, lots of people must have felt the same way about that name because A's name is everywhere now. And on the rise. Sigh.

Now, I must tell you as someone named Nanette, I have strong opinions about names. I was usually the only Nanette in the room and I liked it that way. Even now, on the rare occasion I meet one, I tend not to like the person automatically. The name is mine...go away and be Nanette someplace else. I'm sorry if this sounds ridiculous but you can't possibly understand my situation if you have a name like Michael or Lisa or Jennifer. If your name runs to the unusual side, well, you tend to be a little protective of it and want to keep it that way.

Of course, as a kid, I totally wanted a name you could find on a light switch or a pencil or a bike license plate. But once I accepted the fact that was never going to happen, I started to feel a little superior and yes, smug that my name wasn't like anyone else's. At least it was memorable. And let's face it, light switches with your name on it are pretty lame anyway.

So imagine my dismay when I discovered that A's name is creeping up the name popularity list. And horror of horrors, she isn't the only one in her ballet class who has it. There are not 2 A's, but three. THREE.

And now, I'm pregnant with a boy. We do not have a name yet. We do have letters we would like to use as his first and middle initials but that is it. I have a few names I like. But. They are not terribly terribly unusual. Most unusual names for boys strike me as trying too hard. Or just hard to wear for a lifetime. So we are struggling. Do we go more common (but not trendy....nothing that rhymes with -aden since that makes me ill) or do we branch out? Do we dare to name him something like Atticus or does that also bear with it the annoyance of having every person he ever meets bring up "To Kill a Mockingbird?" I mean, I can't tell you how many people bring up the musical No, No, Nanette...which is a pretty mediocre musical at best. Do I want to do that to my son?

Here are my personal requirements:

Something simple

Something that starts with M, W, B or J

Nothing too ethnic...of any ethnicity

Nothing that ends in the "y" sound

Nothing that is unisex...since I think once it becomes a popular name for a girl, the girls own it.

Nothing that sounds too harsh to the ear (for example the name Bram would be out since to me it sounds like a noise a goat would make).

Nothing too trendy

Nothing that sounds like it could possibly be the name of a serial killer.

So you see, my requirements are simple, really. Any suggestions? Send 'em my way. I'm sure you have an opinion, everybody does.


Elizabeth said...

That's really hard and LONG to answer because it's pretty complicated (and I am tired and sleep deprived, but...)

We started with crossing out names (-adens, weird spellings, anything with an obvious nickname, popular) and looked for ones that were normal, yet uncommon.

And the best suggestion I have is to go to Social Security lists of most popular names. They go back more than 100 years and look through about 1880ish (i think that's about when it starts) to about 1940 or so... After that, I think that the names get super, super trendy by decade...

(And I know what you mean about names changing, too....we picked Elliot's with such such care, but I think it's about five years from being being kind of popular and chosen much much more for girls...oh well...And Daisy was in the top names the year my grandmother was born, which was who she was named for, now it's kind of hippy, but I don't care.)

Anyway, I am thinking on it for you.

(Sorry for the rambling!)

Pamela said...

We would be having the same problem with boys names... but thankfully, we're having a girl. I'm with you though... I'm just hoping the name for the new one doesn't become too popular. Fortunately, we still haven't met any Jemmas although there's a heck of a lot of Madelines. We really screwed up on that one!

I agree to look through the Social Security site and pick something out of the top 100 but still somewhere in the top 1000.