Someone once said, “the job of a new father is to name the baby”, but we all know if we left it up to him, we’d probably end up with children called Yoda or Bronco!
People pick their baby’s names in lots of different ways; sometimes they have been passed down through generations or named after other family members; sometimes people are inspired by their favourite celebrities or movie characters; and sometimes… we don’t know what people were thinking (we’re looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow!).
In Bali, there are only four children’s names, and the parents can’t choose! The first-born – boy or girl – is named Wayan. The second born is Made, third is Nyoman, and the fourth is Ketut. This makes things very easy, but it can get a little confusing, especially in a classroom filled with 20 Wayans and ten Mades!
From ABCDE to Window, Marijuana and even Number 16 Bus Shelter, some parents aren’t very considerate when picking the names their progeny will be stuck with for life. But celebrities seem to be more guilty of this than anyone.
Not content with one unusual name, Jamie Oliver and wife Juliette Norton decided to name their four children Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Buddy Bear, and Petal Blossom Rainbow.
1960s and ‘70s psychedelic musician famously named his children the equally psychedelic Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva Thin Muffin, but surely the most unusual comes from Tech billionaire Elon Musk and singer wife Grimes. The pair recently named their child XÆA-12. Fortunately, the pronunciation X-Ash is a little easier to say than the name is to read, but it means a life of explaining for their little one.
The beauty of a baby name is, of course, subjective. The Welsh have some beautiful girls’ names, including Naimh (pronounced Nieve), Lowri and Nia, though in Wales they may well be commonplace and not too special at all.
Every year seems to bring about new and unique names that make us wonder why more people aren’t called that. Alaïa, Finn, Winter, Harlow – more unique names are often chosen for their beauty. Sometimes, though, it is the combination that is beautiful, rather than the name itself; Georgie-May, Lily-Rose, Beau Alexander.
Foreign names, the ones we rarely hear, can often seem wonderful but they may have hidden meanings, and in their countries of origin they may be the slightly less inspiring equivalents of Gertrude or Cuthbert. So it’s always important to do some research when dealing with foreign names or words. Take, for example, the lovely-sounding girls’ names Thana and Tristesse. The former means ‘death’ in Arabic, while the latter is French for ‘sadness’ – not so lovely at all.
By common, we don’t necessarily mean ‘bad’, but common names can sometimes be less desirable, both for you and for your children. Anthony, Rachel, Lauren and Christopher are all are all lovely names, but you almost certainly will know at least one or two of each!
Top of the list for boys in 2020 were Oliver, Noah, Jack, William and, surprisingly, Leo. For girls, Charlotte, Olivia, Amelia, Isla and Mia gained most popularity. Interestingly, neither Anthony, Rachel, Lauren or Christopher made the Top 100 list for boys and girls.
NAMING YOUR BABY
The choice, of course, is entirely up to you – and what an endless choice it is. There are a few tips to bear in mind when trying to make your decision:
- Share your ideas. Begin by writing your own list of desired names, and have your baby-daddy do the same. Swap lists and have an honest talk about your likes and dislikes.
- Avoid trends. When Twilight first hit the cinemas, a wave of Bellas flooded the maternity wards of the English-speaking world.
- Consider the combination. Does the name work with your last name? And especially if you’re including a middle name, what are the initials? It’s a bad idea to name your child Penelope Olivia if your last name is Olsen!
- Think about high school. It’s a war zone of teasing and nicknames. Can the name be shortened, does it rhyme with something offensive or does it clash with your family name?
- Find the meaning. Especially with more unusual names, there may be a meaning behind a name. Do some research to make sure your child won’t be cursing your decision in later life.
- Sit with it. Even once you have agreed upon a name and absolutely adore it, explore it. Try speaking to your little belly monster using the name, talk to family and friends about it, use it in real terms before committing to it. Sometimes you’ll realise that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Whatever you decide on, it is just that: your decision. However, it isn’t you who has to live with it forever, so put yourself in those little knitted baby boots and think how your child will feel growing up with the name you have so carefully chosen for it.