Focus Friday: What’s really in a baby’s name?Posted by Haute Mama Heidi
Choosing a name for your baby is surely one of the loveliest aspects of being pregnant. All that leafing through name books, saying them aloud whilst trying to imagine a little personality to match the moniker, and the fun of keeping friends and family guessing as to your choice of name. Not to mention that utterly delicious moment at some stage after the baby is born, in which you finally match your baby’s face to his or her name for the very first time, and settle once and for all on what your child will be called. Magical.
But this week Bounty Parenting Club released a top 20 list of the most unusual baby names and, it has to be said, they’re anything but magical. (Apologies to anyone intending to call their offspring Zowie, Puppy or Ice.)
Faye Mingo, spokeswoman for Bounty said: “It’s great to see parents being creative and wanting their children to stand out from the crowd with more unusual names but there are a few names here that children may find hard to live up to!”
Hmm. Is it really great? More than one in 10 of the parents polled by Bounty said they regret their decision to choose an unusual name, and one in 10 said their child doesn’t like their own name. A further third of parents said they get frustrated that people often struggle to pronounce their child’s name correctly, and a fifth acknowledge their child would probably have an easier ride at school if they had a traditional name like Sarah or James.
The poll also shows that 75 per cent of parents who chose to give their child a traditional name such as Robert, David or Jennifer believe that parents who choose more alternative names are paving the way for their children to be bullied. And six in ten say those who choose wacky names are being selfish and aren’t thinking of the child.
So, without further ado, here are the top 20 most unusual names: Shy, Unity, Bean, Zowie, Puppy, Ice, Victory, Porsche, D’Andre, Denim, Diesel, Armani, Rooney, Bowie, Cobain, Echo, Heaven and Maroon.
And if you’re with child yourself and seeking inspiration, here’s a helpful guide to what NOT to name your baby. But surely naming your baby is one of the domains of life in which no-one else’s opinion should matter? The idea that I ought to have consulted the internet for its wisdom on what not to call my children gets me all irritated. Grrr.
Haute Mama founder Fiona agrees: “The name you choose for your child is such a meaningful and personal decision. What other people think shouldn’t influence you too much. I know of parents who gave each child a name that begins with the same letter. Friends have five girls called Amy, Alison, Anna, Aifric & Aoibhe, and another family opted for Pearl, Ruby, Jade & Amber, all of which are beautiful to me.”
“As for the names of our own children, we found the name Amelia in a baby book and thought it worked well with Rae, which is a family name. I was really keen for her to be known as Amelia-Rae, not just Amelia. I remember when I told one friend the name we had chosen she burst out laughing and said it sounded so ‘hill-billy’! I must admit I was a bit taken aback but I guess she must have been thinking about Billy Ray Cyrus! I was a bit concerned about the name sounding a bit pretentious. Do hyphenated names have that effect on people?! But I was really keen to keep the name ‘Rae’ an integral part of her name. With my son, Quinn, was the only boys name we could agree on. We had the idea that an Irish name would be nice, but one which my husband’s Canadian family could spell. So Quinn it was. Of course, shortly thereafter I got addicted to Glee where the lead pregnant teen is called Quinn. My husband was unimpressed!”
We’ve been debating if there’s a gender issue here too. Do girls somehow ‘get away’ with less conventional names compared to boys? Plus many girls’ names that might be considered unusual these days are actually quite traditional names from a bygone era. Think flower-inspired names like Poppy, Lily and Dahlia.
Possibly the best piece of advice I’ve heard on the subject of naming your baby is to imagine what your chosen name looks like on a CV, aged 25 applying for a job.
What do you think? Did you choose an unconventional name for your child and if so, why? Do you agree that an unusual name can single a child out as a potential victim for bullies? And most importantly of all, has anyone ever actually met a child called Shy or Puppy?!