Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

Yes, it's fair to say that baby names have been on my mind a bit lately. I haven't moved to a serious state of decision yet. I'm more in the "search and destroy" phase right now. We have a list of about 7 or 8 names that have survived the carnage and are still looking for new and fresh options, but we probably won't decide on one until "Bebe Trois" is born. We like to see what a baby looks like and what name fits her before we decide.

I have very specific tastes in baby names, in case you haven't noticed. And if you don't know me well enough to know my "rules" on baby names, I'll lay them out for you:

1) The name must be heard of without being common.

2) The name must be easy to say, spell and remember. (I know "Daphne" might not fit those qualifications for some people. But it is a 3000 year old name and I spell it the traditional way. So I figure if you can't say or spell Daphne, it's your fault, not the name's fault.)

Those are the two main qualifications. But the sub-qualifications are:
3) The name has to be a real name with a real history, i.e. not made up. Not even from combining syllables from real names. (No Janalyns, no Jaydens, no Karalees, no Briannas, etc.) So... traditional, but still uncommon.

4) The name can't be a last name turned first name with two syllables ending in er/or or en/on (i.e. Taylor, Brighton, Hunter, Addison)

5) Absolutely NO alternate spellings allowed. In my mind, it doesn't make the name more unique to spell it weird. It just sentences that child to a life of having an average name without the benefit of anyone being able to spell it right. And as someone named Arianne, I know a thing or two about having to spell your name out EVERY SINGLE TIME. (p.s. Hey, Moms-to-be? It sucks! Don't do it!)

6) Nothing trendy. No matter how cute I think it is, I won't use a name in the top 200 most popular baby names from the last decade, preferably not in the top 500. How can I know this? The Social Security baby names website, of course! It's pretty much the best invention ever for choosing a baby name. How many times have you heard a mother say, "I had never heard of another Jennifer/Madison/Ethan/Kaden when I named my child that!" Well, if she had checked the S.S. baby name website, she would have known that it was the #1 most popular name for the last four years. So...before I choose a baby name, I check the S.S. baby name site to see the trend for the name I like. It'll tell you how that name has done in the last 10 years, 100 years or more; it'll tell you how popular it is by state; it'll let you browse the top 1000 names for any give year; or you can look up a year and see what people were naming their kids then (which is especially helpful if you like names from a certain era. Yay 1910! Boo 1966.) That way I can be sure that I won't accidentally end up with four other kids in my child's class with the same name.

"Daphne" for example, has not ranked higher than 476th out of 1000 in the last decade. Perfect. "Beck" hasn't ever been in the top 1000. Even better.

(Side note, Daphne actually had another Daphne in her class at the beginning of the year, and, despite my careful planning, she had to go by Daphne T. until she moved to a different class. Can you believe it?)

So as I consider the list of names I like, I have to hold them up to my rules and see how they do. All of the names I like are fairly uncommon. Some of them more than others. I recently discovered that one of my favorites has jumped from the high 200's to #108 last year. So that's probably out. Another that I like is very uncommon, between #570 and #935 in the last decade, but a possible nickname for it has sped up the rankings to #101 as of last year, dangerously close to being a popular name. A couple that I like are not even in the top 1000 names and haven't been for about a century. Those names fit my specifications best, but they may not be the ones I like the most.

And then there is rule # 7:

7) I can't name my child something that someone else I personally know has recently named their child. It's a weird thing about me I can't explain. But that's just the way I am. I guess when you go to all the trouble of choosing an uncommon name, you don't want someone you know to use it too. That defeats the purpose. And so similarly, I feel like I can't go using a name someone else I know has just used.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. (Yes, there is one. Surprise!) In the last two weeks, I have had FIVE of my most favorite, yet most uncommon names, taken by other parents! I haven't ever voiced my names aloud, so it's not that they stole them from me. They just...stole them from me. Don't get me wrong. These are still very uncommon names. I'm not afraid of having three of these in my child's class at school. But I still have this thing where I feel like I can't name my child the same name as someone else I know, even someone I don't know well and don't often see. So what do I do??? Use the name or not?


I'm not asking for actual advice here. I realize I am on a remote island when it comes to baby names and I have learned by now that pretty much no one out there shares my opinions enough to give me advice I would listen to. Usually, I don't even share my names or rules...I just know no one will agree. So I guess I simply wanted to voice how frustrating it is to have this great list of names and then, only 2 months before the baby is due, to have five of them picked off my list (IF I follow rule #7).

Hmmm...Maybe I'll throw out rule #7.

Or maybe I'll just name the baby Mildred so I won't have to worry about it at all.



Beautiful Blue Eyes said...

You will find the perfect name!! When you find it, you will just know!!

rae said...

Keep it. I had a fairly common name; my sister didn't. I've always been jealous.

Suzie said...

Can't wait to hear what you choose!

(I know two 2 year olds named Beck and I met a baby Daphne the other day. SOrry)

Tiffany said...

I actually kind of like Mildred.

Financial Aid for College said...

The reason I don't like Mildred is because it sounds like a combination of Wilted and Mildew. Not cute. But I'm dying to know what name you liked that so many other people did too. Tell?

And as soon as you choose the perfect name, a thousand other people will hear it and steal it. Happened with YOUR name!

CaraDee said...

It's okay, you can name her Matilda. I won't be mad. ;)

Bjorge Queen said...

Call me crazy, but I've always liked "Gert" short for "Gertrude".
I like Hilde too. But that would be shortening a name and I don't know if that goes against your rules.

Lyns said...

Wow--and I thought MY rules were strict...we've lucked out..Isis and Soren are BOTH real names...quite old and unusual AND not used hardly at all--neither broke the top 500...

I can't wait to see what you choose

Oh and my BFF has a daughter named Daphne..same spelling.

Nicki said...

You and Jennie are certainly cut from the same cloth! I had one rule when I was trying to find a name for Briella but I threw it out the window :)

Sara said...

I agree with the making up spelling one, learned it the hard way too!

Chelsea said...

I love your rules - other than #4, which would rule out Sawyer. :D But I understand why it made the list, the last name thing is a huge trend.

What is so weird to me is how people come up with names that they think are unique when they're really trendy. My parents honestly thought they were being super creative with all of our names, and yet when you look on the S.S.I. site our names are all pretty trendy for the years we were born (except for me - my name was very unusual until Chelsea Clinton came along. Which I was actually happy about, because now people generally know how to pronounce/spell it!)

Is there something in the air/water that makes everyone think of similar names at the same time? A friend of mine recently had a baby and named him Zephyr. Pretty unique right? ...then a few months later I noticed that another friend on Facebook had used the same name. These people have never crossed paths. So strange!

alex dumas said...

You are so damned quirky. Love it.

Kay said...

Daphne is actually pretty common right now, same with Beck. And Beck is a last name too.

I say just go with a name you like, and don't worry so much about how common.

Omgirl said...

Actually, Karyn, Daphne is still pretty uncommon. It hasn't ranked above #476 out of the top 100 names nationally in the last decade. The year we named Daphne, it was in the 500's. So that is plenty uncommon for me! It's only names in the top 100 or 150 that you hear all the time anyway, so anything lower than that in rank could probably be considered relatively uncommon.

MrsAshley said...

I'm naming our baby girl Evangeline. I think it's feminine and it has a pretty awesome history- invented by Longfellow. An old girly name is perfect for my tastes and it's fairly uncommon too. From 1967-2005 it didn't make the 1,000 ranking and in 2009 it was 429. Just an idea!