A former colleague recently revealed that she’s pregnant. My friend asked for advice. Dealing with colic, diaper rash and cradle cap are common topics discussed among new parents.
However, the name game is what I chose to chat about with my pal since it’s both serious and fun.
Since I’m a decade removed from naming a child, I was fascinated how quickly trends change with names.
I glanced at the most popular names from 1998, the birth of my first child, Jillian, and what resonates today. What a difference in the span of childbirth to adulthood.
I was taken aback that none of the names from ‘98 made the top 10 list for girls and boys in 2019, according to PR Newswire. Michael has been replaced by Muhammad. Aaliyah has taken over for Alexis.
When thinking about a baby’s name, go with your heart and ignore the name chart. If the moniker you come up with is popular, such as Sophia or Jackson, awesome. But if you would like to dust off an old family name, go for it.
If you have the audacity, according to some folks but not yours truly, to add a junior or a III or a IV, like my son, to the family, so be it. There were rumors that Beyoncé and Jay-Z were going to go that route, and fans were borderline apoplectic. How could someone as creative as the Hova name his son Shawn, which is the rapper’s given name? The Queen Bee and the king of hip-hop went in another direction.
You can name your child anything.
How about Audio Science, which is what actress Shannyn Sossamon dubbed her child in tribute to her favorite subject. Or go with Axl after a petulant rock star like singer Fergie and actor Josh Duhamel.
However, please consider that what you bestow upon your child will be etched on their tombstone. Choose wisely since certain names could make life a little rougher than it should be.
Some names shouldn’t be considered. My cousin, a labor and delivery nurse, has heard it all. A mother overcome by joy and an epidural block decided to name her daughter after a part of the anatomy from which she entered the world. All attending talked the emotional mom out of the gaffe.
What career options would the poor girl have had? It’s reminiscent of a Jerry Seinfeld bit. “Did you ever notice a lot of butlers are named Jeeves?,” Seinfeld cracked. “I think when you name a baby Jeeves, you’ve pretty much mapped out his future.”
Speaking of Seinfeld, it’s wise for parents not to reveal the baby’s name. During a classic episode of “Seinfeld,” the quirky character George tells his fiancé what he would like to name their baby: Seven.
His girlfriend mentions the unusual name to her cousin, who runs with it. George becomes enraged and tries to talk the couple out of it.
Just after my wife, Theresa, learned that she was pregnant with our third child, she agreed that he would be named Milo. I suggested the name Milo for his older brother, Eddie. My wife declined but was completely on board the next time around if we had a boy.
That very evening, we visited our friends, Blair and his very pregnant wife, Hanna.
“We haven’t told anyone what we’re going to name our baby,” Hanna said. “But since you two are such close friends, we’re going to tell you. If it’s a boy, it’s Milo.”
My wife’s face was flushed. “Milo is the name we were thinking of naming a boy if we have another boy,” she stammered.
“Well, you have four days to have a boy,” Hanna declared while referring to her due date.
“Why can’t we each have a Milo,” I asked.
“That sounds good to me,” Blair said.
Both women looked at us as if we were suggesting a trip to Kabul.
Apparently good friends can’t have boys with the same name. Fortunately for us, our friends had a daughter.
But don’t just keep your baby name from pregnant pals. Don’t let any friends know what you’re considering. If it weren’t for my wife’s friend, Miriam, my older son might answer to Shane.
My wife was excited about Shane until her friend laughed uncontrollably at the mere mention of the Anglicized version of Sean.
“Shane, you mean like come back, Shane, from the movie,” Miriam roared. “Are you a big fan of the movie ‘Shane’?”
Theresa made the same mistake when she told Miriam about Milo as a possible name. “Milo,” Miriam cackled. “That’s a dog’s name!”
We begged to differ, and my wife had the backbone to stick with Milo.
A former neighbor, who has two daughters, also snickered when she heard that our son was going to be named Milo Sebastian. “Really,” she said incredulously. She had the temerity to continue maligning the name, and I couldn’t resist.
“What would you name a boy, if you could have one,” I asked. Burn, baby!
Also, come up with a name before you’re in labor. You have nine months – make them count. A former neighbor actually left the hospital with three of their seven children nameless. How is that possible? I thought the government required a child to be named or parents would not be allowed to leave. I’m not sure what happened to them. Perhaps they ran out of ideas after having four children.
An extension for filing taxes is understandable, but for naming a baby?
How embarrassing was it for that couple to say to a nurse, “Do you have any suggestions?”
“How about considering contraception next time,” the nurse perhaps replied.
The last word goes to George Carlin when it comes to names. The comedy icon, who is arguably the greatest standup ever, nailed it with his bit on the touchy subject.
“And I’m getting really sick of guys named Todd,” Carlin said. “It’s a goofy name, OK? “Hi, what’s your name?”
“Todd. I’m Todd. And this is Blake and Blair and Blaine and Brent. Where are all these goofy boys names coming from? Taylor, Tyler, Jordan, Flynn. These are not real names!
You want to hear a real name? Eddie. Eddie is a real name, whatever happened to Eddie? He was here a minute ago. Joey and Jackie and Johnny and Phil. … I’ll bet you anything that 10 out of 10 times, Nicky, Vinnie and Tony would beat the crap out of Todd, Kyle and Tucker.”
Perhaps it’s best that Carlin has passed on since such names as Eddie, Nicky, Vinnie and Tony failed to make the top 50 for boys names in 2019, according to Nameberry.
The name game constantly changes, but your baby’s name will stay with them forever. Choose wisely and avoid Shane unless you would like to watch your friend collapse in hysterics.