August 3rd, 2011
New Zealand has long been a bastion of creativity when it comes to baby names. Number 16 Bus Shelter, Talula Does The Hula In Hawaii, and twins Benson and Hedges can attest to this. Talula disliked her name so much she hid it from her friends and had it legally changed at age 9.
So when parents are willing to go to such extremes, I have some sympathy for name laws.
Except that they are so arbitrary.
Recently the country added to its list of 89 banned baby names. It’s up to a single judge to decide whether or not a name gets the green lit. Among the outlawed monikers? Baron, Bishop, Duke, King, Messiah, and Judge itself, all shot down for the possibility of being mistaken for titles. But I imagine for some, that’s the point?
Under such a law, Reese Witherspoon’s Deacon might be a Dylan, Donald Trump’s Barron (sic), a Brandon.
In the United States, a country that was founded on the abolishment of the monarchy, we are so removed from nobility that these names (which are also surnames I might add), seem perfectly serviceable. I’ve met a Duke, a Lord, two Nobles and a Chaplain, none of them any worse for wear.
What do you think of banning baby names?
Are there any title names you like?
August 1st, 2011
I may have been one of the last three people to join Facebook, but even in the relatively short time I’ve been on there have been updates and changes on a weekly basis. It’s kind of annoying.
This most recent version allows pregnant mamas (like you? not you?) to update your profile with the name and due date of the child you’re expecting.
To me, finding out the gender — and telling — demystifies birth enough. To announce the name and gender electronically via a stream of updates wherein one also finds out that Esther got a new air conditioner and little Donnie ate avocado for the first time? Hopelessly unceremonious. This risks that your neighbor will break the news to aunt Myrtle at the grocery store, and that your pregnant second cousin twice removed (*gasp*) uses the name first.
What do you think? Would you, or did you, announce the name of your unborn child on Facebook? What do you think about electronic birth announcements in general?
Somewhat peripherally related, while we’re on the topic of Facebook, does anyone else like to scout for names? It’s weirdly stalkerish, but such is the nature of the beast. Here are a few friends of friends with intriguing names:
July 28th, 2011
For baby name inspiration today I turn to YOU, the ones making and naming the babies.
Here are a few of my favorites from the June 2011 birth board on Babycenter. When I’ve done this in the past, it’s caused quite a stir. So today I ask that you keep any criticism to yourselves. These are real people, and I like to pretend that the parents of the babes below were reading YCCII:
Aowyn Georgia Grace nn Wynnie
Have a new well-named child in your life? Please share. We want celebrate with you!
Image by Phyllis Peacock
July 20th, 2011
A big thank you to my readers Kristen and Debbie for urging a return to this topic:
Rebecca Woolfe is just taunting us! After our speculative Girl’s Gone Child post I really wanted to let her completely surprise us, but she has alluded to twins “Rhythm and Blues”– their pseudonyms, and even bought the letters “R” and “B” for their room! So it seems a second shot at this is inevitable.
The question remains, after son Archer and daughter Fable, will she stick to word names for her twin daughters? My gut tells me yes. How will the names relate to one another?
Here are a few “R” and “B” names that to me, feel very her. We’ll have to wait until October to find out what they choose for sure!
B: Babette, Bijou, Boheme, Bronwen, Briar,
Blythe (on the discarded list, sadly), Bryony, Bronwen, Bard, Bright, Bloom, Bliss, Ballad, Bellamy, Brio
R: Reve, Reverie, Ray, Rhea, Rain, Raven, Rhapsody, Roxanne, Roxy/ie, Regina, Renata, Rio, Romy, Rowena, Rue, Runa, Ruth, Rune, Rowan
I absolutely love the way Reverie flows, its dreamy connotations, and the nickname “Rev” feels very rock and roll. Rune, a name I was previously unfamiliar with, has a layered meaning I can see appealing to them: according to Behind the Name, it’s derived from the Old Norse and means “secret lore.” Pronounced with two syllables, it’s a common name in Norway, though the Irish have a word with similar meaning, rùn.
For the Bs, Bloom keeps calling to me, as does Bijou. It’s so hard to speculate beyond this. I do love how R and B honor the mother (Rebecca nicknamed Bec), and wonder if this was subliminal or intentional. What do you think Bec and Hal will name their baby girls? What do you like paired together? Renata and Bloom ? Rune and Bijou . . .?
July 19th, 2011
Hi Elisabeth, my name is Nicola. My husband Francisco (Frankie) and I have four children and are currently expecting our fifth and six — boy/girl twins. Our oldest child is from my previous marriage and her name is Cherry Guadalupe, named for my ex’s mother Cherise and my grandmother Guadalupe. Together Frankie and I have Luis Francisco, Rafael Oscar, and Celesta Persephone. All three of our kids were named after family and friends.
With the twins, Frankie and I want to continue the theme of naming the babies after family and friends but we’ve almost run out of names that we like and wouldn’t mind having our children bear. With all of our other children, their names have some sort of correlation to their godparents’ names. Our son’s godparents are named Ronaldo Luis and Katherine Anne and our daughter’s godparents are named Michael Alessandro and Veta Narcisa.
For our son we thought about using Ronaldo’s intitials but incorporating Katherine’s name in some way. We really like the name Rey (spelled that way–not Ray) and Katherine (who is married to Ronaldo) has a maiden name of Leon Zayas. So, we feel that we should name our son Rey Leon Falto de Garcia. However, we don’t feel completely confident in his name and are still open to suggestions. We will consider other R names and also the idea of using Lorenzo as the middle name (Lorenzo is the hispanic version of Laurence, Katherine’s father’s name). We did consider Rey Lorenzo as well but feel that Rey Leon sounds nicer.
For our daughter we opted to not use any combination of initials but rather to use variants of her grandparent’s names to incorportate. We would like to incorporate my mother’s name, Rosalind, somehow though as well. For our daughter we are kind of considering giving her three names, two as her first and one as her middle. We decided that we would use Veta but we both like Veda better and we would also use Alessandra. So her name would be Veda-Alessandra Rosalind Falto de Garcia. You can see my concern in the fact that she would have an extremely long name and I am not sold on the whole hypenated first name. I have a very long name myself and it has always been a hassle between signing documents and getting documents mixed up due to the fact that they had the wrong first and last name, etc. It’s really just not something I want my daughter dealing with. I really don’t want to omit Alessandra from the name but we really also want to use Veda and Rosalind or some variant of Rosalind.
If you could help us in deciding on a name for our son and shortening the name of our daughter, it would mean the world to us! They will be here shortly and thinking about them entering the world without definite names is a scary thought for us. We appreciate your help so very much, thank you!
Oh and I mentioned that Cherry is from a previous marriage to clear the air that her name is in fact not Cherry Falto de Garcia — or Cherry Garcia! Her last name is actually just one name, she dodged a bullet on that one!
July 18th, 2011
Thank you Donald Trump for not keeping us in too much suspense. He took it upon himself to announce his granddaughter’s name on Fox & Friends this morning.
Mrs. Jared Kushner has given birth to a baby girl: Arabella Rose.
Perfectly lovely, not too popular, chi chi enough for a Trump.
I speculated on my Facebook page that she might stick with an I theme. She herself is named for her mother, Ivana. Illeana, Ivançica, or another Isabella offshoot, Isadora would have been lovely. Perhaps they can save that one if they have another baby girl.
Arabella has already been riding Isabella’s coattails up the popularity charts:
It debuted in the U.S. top 1000 in 2005 for the first time since 1893 at an impressive 795.
If this was a sleeper success story before, the cat’s out of the bag now. We see it fairly frequently in London Times and Telegraph birth announcements. In the U.S., it was Babe‘s given name on the soon-to-be-defunct soap opera All My Children (don’t ask me how I know that). She fits in perfects with the ultra feminine names of the moment: Adrianna, Olivia, Audrina. Love it but aren’t an Ivanka fan? Try going one step further to Araminta or perhaps Mirabella.
I see Arabella shooting quickly to the top 100, especially with this high profile birth.
July 15th, 2011
Kate Hudson and Matthew Bellamy have announced the name of their little boy, born Saturday, July 9.
Welcome to the world Bingham Hawn Bellamy!
They’re calling him “Bing.”
I recall reading several references in the press about their difficulty agreeing on the name (something many of us can relate to, I’m sure). It seems Bingham has satisfied both parents requirements, and I’m so curious what they were! Any guesses?
Maybe Dad wanted an English name tied to his culture, and playful American Mom wanted something that wasn’t too stuffy? Think alliteration was important to her? After all, big brother is Ryder Russell Robinson.
Bing Bellamy is super fun name that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I see him sporting a faux hawk and an arm full of gorgeous tattoos, or whatever the downtown thing in L.A. is in 2033. Bingham Bellamy, on the other hand, could sit on the House of Lords– er, maybe the House of Commons. They both work for an actor or a rock musician.
Love that they honored Goldie in the middle.
UPDATE: Bingham nicknamed Bing did tick all the boxes for both parents, but not just stylistically. Bingham is Bellamy’s mother’s maiden name, and Kurt Russell’s father was called Bing. So it seems fated. I wonder why it was so hard to decide?
July 12th, 2011
As we all know by now, Natalie Portman and fiance Benjamin Millepied chose the name Aleph for their son. Aleph represents the space marker in the Hebrew alphabet or aleph bet, that takes on the breathy position of a glottal stop or pronunciation of the vowel adjacent to it in the word.
Jewish mysticism associates Aleph with air, a oneness with God, and infinity. In the sacred text Sefer Yetzirah, “Aleph is King over Breath, Formed Air in the universe, Temperate in the Year, and the Chest in the soul.” In Rabbinic Hebrew, the Bible begins with Bet, the second letter of the alphabet. To reward Aleph for “his” humility, he is given the task of starting The Ten Commandments.
In addition to the first letter of the alphabet, it also represents the number one. Both Natalie Portman’s father Avner and her grandfather Arthur‘s names begin with the aleph, and it perhaps honors both men without explicitly naming her son after a living relative (her father is living while her grandfather has passed). After reading more about Aleph, I’ve come to really respect the choice and expect my research only scratches the surface of this spiritual name. Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate would not take a decision like this lightly, so while at first it may have seemed like a wacky celeb name, it’s actually one chosen from careful deliberation.
The week also brought us news of another much anticipated babe, the child of David and Victoria Beckham. They shocked us all when they chose zeitgeist sweetheart Harper as their daughter’s first name, but stuck to their convention of choosing the unconventional with they put Seven in the middle.
Despite being the fourth child, Seven is David Beckham’s lucky number. 7 was his Jersey when he played for English team Manchester United and the national team. Harper Seven was also born in the 7th hour on the 7th day (Sunday) in the 7th month and weighed 7 something pounds. It looks like it’s her lucky number too.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Seven used as a name. Erykah Badu dubbed her son Seven way back in 1997, and as readers so astutely pointed out in the comments, Seven was George Costanza’s unborn child until a couple overheard him and “stole” the name. My generation will recall Six on Blossom, and Novogratz child and fifth son Five made is reality TV debut last year on Nine By Design.
I went to high school with a boy called “Cuatro” because he was the fourth in line to bear the name. Trey and Trip are also variations on this theme which sometimes wind up on the birth certificate. I’m partial to Sixtine (sic) and Octavian myself. In some languages Nina is the number nine and Una number one.
Do you think letters and numbers are the next wave in baby names? It’s just an extension of the word name trend, and has the capacity to dip into religious and cultural symbolism of the power of symbols, scientific and mathematical harmonies, and the history of language. I can see Brooklyn parents really digging this. Gone are the days when being “just a number” is construed as a bad thing.
Are there any letters or numbers you particularly would like to see on a child?
July 7th, 2011
Alas, this is the last and final installment of the hugely successful sibset game. What a fun way to spend these breezy summer days.
Please tell me where you would like to go from here:
-Continue the game beyond #1000?
-Analysis of your comments?
-More games of other types (suggestions welcome!)?
How to Play:
You have five children, two boys, two girls, one of your choice. Their names must come from this list, extra kudos if you also include middles from this list or otherwise.
Image: Antony of Antony and the Johnsons
July 6th, 2011
Comparisons between Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are inevitable. They’re both high profile, right wing women with strong followings. They both have five children, three girls, two boys. Has anyone else but me wondered what they’re called? I was hoping for a humdinger in this bunch, a Bristol or a Trig. Something that stood the chance of scaling the charts, something that sounded new.
No such luck.
Michelle Bachmann and her husband Marcus had an opportunity to play a real life “Sibset Game.” They chose relatively timeless, inoffensive, and rather lovely names for their children: Lucas, Harrison, Elisa, Caroline, and Sophia. She also helped to raise 23 foster children, all teenage girls suffering from eating disorders. No word on their names (or accounts), though I am curious. Obviously the Bachmanns wouldn’t have weighed in on those.
While I wouldn’t let a politicians choice on his children’s names sway me one way or the other, this seems to be an indication of sound judgement on one score.