Wednesday, February 1, 2012

You’re going to Name your Baby WHAT? Thoughts on Today’s Baby Names

Photo by idiahoeditor (

Every year our newspaper publishes a special section called “Bundles of Joy.” People pay to have a picture of their baby in the paper. I peruse the section, not so much for the pictures (even though they ARE cute), but for the names.  I find it fascinating what people choose to name their offspring.

Here are my very unscientific observations based on this year’s “Bundles of Joy.”  NOTE: Ideas on baby names are extremely subjective.  I hesitated to write this article because I don’t want to offend anyone.  If I pick on a name you have chosen, I apologize.  This is only one person’s opinion.

There were a total of 134 babies featured this year (if I did my math right).  I divided them into several categories and counted the total babies with names in that category.  All examples are from this year’s “Bundles of Joy” section.

Classic Names – 9
These  are the perenniel favorites, timeless names that will always serve a child well. They were common in my generation, but not as common today.  I only noticed one girls’ name: Anne.  Boys’ names included James, Mark, Thomas, William, Andrew, and Nathaniel.

Boys Names Used for Girls – 10
This is a pet peeve of mine.  Perhaps parents are trying to give their daughter an advantage by giving her a masculine name.  But probably they just like the sound of it.  I don’t.  And what’s worse – it ruins a perfectly good boy’s name.  You probably know a man named Tracy, Stacey, Dana or even Lois.  Those names used to be men’s names, but now the poor men have to suffer through life with a woman’s name.  Here are some of the names listed this year: Parker, Maisyn (changing the spelling does NOT make it a girl’s name, thank you), Payten (ditto), Peytin (ditto), Avery, Riley, Emery (and that is (or rather WAS) such a great boy's name), Halyee, and Reece.  (Okay, Okay, there is Reese Witherspoon, but it’s still a man’s name.) Please, people.

Old-Fashioned Names - 12
These are the names of our grandparents, names our classmates would have laughed at.  But today they are appreciated as “retro.”  I like most of these names. Examples: August, Levi (ok, I don’t like that one),Titus, Veronica, Oliver, Cecelia, Theodore, Cora, Naomi, Juliet (cool!), Ava, Ella.

Trendy but “Normal” Names - 48
These are names that were practically unheard of when I was growing up, but have become commonplace today.  Most of these are now good, solid names that will serve a child well. Examples: Ethan, Karlie, Lily, Lauren, Alison, Justin, Zachary, Carter, Jackson, Katelyn, Landon.

Newbies but Goodies – 30
People are becoming more and more creative with their names – and that can be good.  Some names are made up; others are uncommon or from a unique source. I really like some of the more unusual names.  Here are some examples from this year:
Girls: Amirah, Kinley, Emilia, Vionna, Gemma, Norah, Arynn, Maya, Kinsley, Somara.
Boys: Easton (very nice), Zavian, Donovan, Kyler, Griffin (my daughter really likes this one – I have mixed feelings), Caiden, Cade, Hudson (I really like this one), Emerson.

Just Plain Odd – 25
OK, people, creative is good, but odd is, well . . . ODD!  Here are some that made me shake my head in wonder.
Girls: Isla, Atleigh, Brylee, Brooks (I like Brooke, but Brooks?), Zariyah, Danica (“sounds like yogurt,” my daughter commented), Berkeley (a city in California?), Brinlee ( what???), Honor (honor is a good thing, but a name???), Alivia (Olivia is nice, but why change the first letter?), Alexiana (now you KNOW she’s probably going to be called Lex anyway, so why bother with a five-syllable name?), Harlow (really?  A GIRL named Harlow?  I’d put it in the boy’s names category, but it doesn’t even fit there.),
Boys’ names: Gunner (I’ve heard of the Swedish name Gunnar, but GunnEr???), Brenson, Enzo (Sounds like a laundry detergent), Cruz (this baby was Caucasian, BTW), Ryder, Marek, Brogan, Maddox, Holden, Ryker, Declan (how do you pronounce that, anyway?), Duran.