The Name Game

What’s in a name? There are a series of questions everyone asks you when you are pregnant. When are you due? Do you know what you’re having? Do you have a name? This last question is usually followed by a few suggestions. Choosing a name feels like such a daunting task if you haven’t had the perfect name picked out for the past 10-15 years like some ladies do.

With my first pregnancy, we had a list of names and a few top contenders, but we weren’t going to pick one until we met her. We wanted to make sure the name fits the baby. Towards the end of the pregnancy, our top choice changed. We had mentioned to our friends and family the top picks when they asked, always noting they are the current faves but we want to meet her. We will regret this always.  I remember reading something suggesting not sharing the name, and I wish I had taken the advice. I highly recommend just saying you “haven’t decided” when people ask, and if you are forward enough, follow up with “we aren’t taking suggestions” because a whole list of names will pour out like a flood. A few people got way too attached to our original top pick, and when we would mention that our top pick has changed, they ignored it completely. What seemed playful to them, was annoying and disrespectful.

When choosing a name, we took 8 things into consideration

Will she get made fun of?

Yes. Every child will get made fun of in school for one reason or another. Kids can be quite creative. Any name can be used as teasing material.

People we’ve known with that name.

It is inevitable that you or your partner will have known, or currently know someone with the same name. While you don’t want your child to remind you of someone/something unpleasant from the past, you should just accept it and move on. If you like the name for your kid, use it.

Children she’ll share that name with.

I guarantee you know someone, or will meet someone, who has a child with that name or knows someone with a child with that name.  I’m not sure why this is big deal to this generation. Growing up all my friends had the same names. Katie, Jen, Erin, Jessica, Lyndsey, etc. It was not frowned upon to use a common name. Now it’s a challenge to come up with a “unique” name. If you like the name, use it.

What type of personality does the name fit?

Personally, for a girl, I loved the long princess’s names. My husband liked the short and sweet names. While most names can go many ways, especially depending on the nickname, some names are just too proper, or too eccentric for your family and lifestyle.

Does the name fit a professional setting?

I feel like this is the one often overlooked, especially for girls. I love names like Coco, Apple, and Bambi. They make great little girl names. However, when I envision my girl all grown up, and in the workforce, I don’t see her being taken very seriously with such a playful name. Personally, I’d pick a name that could support that as a nickname while young, then she can go by the given name when she decides.

Are the spelling and pronunciation simple enough?

First I think about when she is little. Will this be a hard name for her to learn to spell? Will her little friends be able to say her name? Then as she gets bigger, will the teacher be able to pronounce her name? Will her birthday party invitations be spelled correctly? As she grows up, will she have to spell her name multiple times to ensure it’s correct? Having a common name with a unique spelling sounds great in theory, but as you grow, it gets old when no one spells your name right. Living in LA, I’ve also seen a few families name their kids a name the elders can’t pronounce because they have such a thick accent.

What will the monogram look like?

I take into consideration the monogram.  Making sure you don’t spell something silly in the initials. No one wants to get something monogrammed ASS, or BAT.

What will it sound like when I’m calling her?

You will most likely be screaming this name across the playground, so make sure it’s something that sounds good and rolls off the tongue. You also want to make sure it flows with the middle name if you plan on using it with your stern voice.

After all the things to take into consideration we named our girl Cora. This happens to be the name of one of my dear friend’s Mom and turns out another couple from high school had named their daughter Cora too. We thought we had the perfectly feminine, simple, and unique name. The next year it ended up on the top 10 girl name list. Apparently, this is a name of a character on a popular tv series we didn’t watch. I love my daughter’s name though, and I think it fits her perfectly! Now, if only I could come up with a name for her baby sister…

UPDATE November 2015: Lil sister’s name is Bexley.