One of the most daunting tasks on the to-do list of pregnancy is naming your kid. Will he be one of 7 other Lukes in his class? Will she be too much of a tomboy to be a Tallulah? Maybe it’s easy for some couples but my husband and I have decidedly different taste in baby names. Three times now we have struggled and we’re continuing to struggle on this last baby. Are you right there with us? Here’s 7 of the methods we have used over the years in an attempt to find that perfectly fitting name.
1. The Social Security list of Popular Baby Names
When my mother in law was growing up there were a lot of Karen’s around so her teacher decided she needed to be called her middle name “Jean” in class. Well, my MIL hated her middle name and didn’t appreciate this at all. (She dropped her middle name when she got married) Not that any teacher would ever be able to get away with that in todays world, but I also didn’t want my kid to be “Noah M.” his whole life because there are 5 other Noahs in the class. Some people are totally cool with the latest greatest baby name, but we (read: I) decided we really wanted something more unique. This list was generally used as a “what not to name our baby” reference sheet. I’d occasionally find a name I loved only to find out that “Logan” was somewhere in the top 20ish when my first son was born and immediately cross it off the list.
2. Popular Names by Spelling
Along the same lines as above there is this crazy list where someone took the time to compile a popularity list by spelling. (Unfortunately this website is only up until 2013, but still interesting to look at! If anyone has a link to a similar list that’s more current please send it my way!) Without going into anything that might offend someone I’ll just say that my husband and I both prefer traditional names to just embrace the traditional- it’s frustrating for kids to constantly have to correct people on how to spell their name! (more on how we screwed this up later) And then there are names like Caitlin or Kaitlyn that don’t really have a traditionally correct way of spelling so there’s a little more leeway. Point being- a name might show up on the social security list way down at around 100 and you think oh, that’s not terrible, only to find out that if you take all the many ways to spell the name into consideration it’s actually most like the 15th most popular. Plus it’s really interesting to see how many people went with the traditional spelling and how many went out (sometimes WAY out) on a limb.
This is my favorite of all the baby naming websites out there. I use it quite a bit when I find a name I like to then see if it has a meaning associated, an origin and if it’s traditionally used as a boy’s name or a girl’s name. If you scroll down a lot of names also have lists associated that say things like “If you like Caroline, you might like….” Their search engine is great because you can search by “starts with,” “ends with,” “contains,” “syllables,” “origin,” or “meaning.” And then you can also pick the popularity level. Unfortunately there is no name that starts with E, has Scottish origins and means “stubborn” so back to the drawing board for our little no-name.
4. Your favorite book (or movie)
Do you have a favorite novel? For awhile there the name Katniss became popular because of the Hunger Games. Bella and Edward went crazy for a few years after the Twilight books came out. And I could be wrong but I’d imagine that quite a few Luke’s dad’s were partial to the name due to Mr. Skywalker himself. I fell in love with the name Harper after reading a Charlaine Harris series where the main character is named Harper Connelly. Those books came out in 2005- the name Harper wasn’t in the top 100. But in 2016 it was #10 on the Social Security popularity chart. Not to say that Harper became popular because of the Charlaine Harris books, it more likely was because David and Victoria Beckham named their daughter Harper in 2011. I also strongly believe that the Aiden craze came about after John Corbett played Aiden on Sex and the City. Man, Carrie screwed that one up….
Point being, pay attention to what you’re reading and watching! That main character might be the start of the latest trend.
What do you know about your family tree? My dad’s parents were totally into Genealogy and would travel to Salt Lake and dig through old archives trying to get further and further back into our family history (My grandpa was back into the late 1400s, though my grandma claims he didn’t thoroughly research to the extent that she did so her records are more accurate despite only being into the 1500s). My husband’s family actually has a book with his branch of the McLeod line from 1793-1971 and another with the history of the MacLeod clan in the 1300-1500s. (they dropped the A in there somewhere) Did you know that McLeods really like the name Alexander? They would name their first son Alexander and then get to kid #9 or so and say F it, lets go with Alexander again!
6. Maps and Special Places
Way back in 2004 my then boyfriend, now husband, and I visited this town in England called Crewe where he had stayed with a family to play soccer when he was 12. While we were there he told me he loved me for the first time. Once we started looking at maps and reminiscing about special places I couldn’t imagine naming our first son anything but Crewe. 5.5 years later I still love his name, but remember back up there under #2 in regards to spelling? Well, suddenly there are a bunch of Crew’s in this world- there were none when our Crewe was born but suddenly Crew, Cru and Cruz are all popular choices. Which bums me out a bit but what can you do? Everyone spells his name without the e on the end- We didn’t throw in an extra e just to be trendy, he’s named after the place. But since most people have never even heard of Crewe, England let alone have travelled there, our Crewe will spend his entire life correcting people on the spelling of his name.
7. When none of the above work…..
We had the hardest time naming our second son- at the very beginning of the pregnancy our 2.5yo was obsessed with all things Lighting McQueen and Dusty Crophopper so he decided he wanted to name his baby brother Blade “Like A Helicopter” McLeod. (Middle name “Like a Helicopter”). We couldn’t come up with anything better so we called the baby Blade the entire pregnancy. We used all the resources and ideas above and then some to try to come up with names and one day my husband came home and said “You guys have been calling the baby Blade so much, I feel like that’s just his name. I don’t think anything else is ever going to sound right.” So, essentially he was named by a 2 year old. (We changed up the middle name however, despite “like a helicopter” being pretty rad) Our friends still joke that you should be careful what you call the fetus, you could end up with a baby Blade.
So here we are on baby #3 and we’ve used the tactics above to come up with a short list of ideas. But without knowing if it’s a boy or a girl the list will probably just stay as is until baby arrives in just over a month (holy sh*t.) I’ll tell you what though, we have gone ahead and ruled OUT the names that Blade and Crewe have come up with, so you can rest assured this baby will not be named Ebo or Booty.
Does your bump have a name yet???