Columns

2017.08.09 And I will name you Bexley...

By DAVID GREEN

I know of a couple pregnancies in my sphere of connections and that made me think about baby names.

Coming up with the right name can be a very difficult project. Of course you want to avoid a name that’s too popular. There were three Davids in my class at one time. Maybe we were all in the same fifth grade classroom. David Schaffner. David Williams. David Green.

If you get too many of the same name, undesirable nicknames might arise. David, the Short. David, the Silly. David, the Smelly. No, those have absolutely no bearing on the Davids listed above.

You want a name that will fit the child, but how can you know? What will your child grow into?

Author Lauren Collins recently wrote  about her own naming dilemma.

“Naming a baby is like trying to buy a house with no asking price and then trying to predict what that house will be like in 30 years, even if it moves to a different city or comes out as a transgender woman,” Collins writes.

At that point she notes that in 2016, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn and Kaitlynn dropped in popularity the most precipitously of any name.

Will your child be strong and able to fend off playground teasing if you name him Apollo, Legend or Magnus? What if you name your daughter Royalty, Bexley or Poppy? When do you cross the line from interesting to cruel? Those names are all increasing in popularity, but maybe you should give them the yelling test. Can you comfortably go to the front porch and yell down the street, “Time for dinner, Royalty!” “It’s bedtime, Apollo!”

Collins is living in France now, married to a French man, and she has the extra challenge of finding a name that will fit both French and American cultures.

She was thoughtful enough to desire a name that everyone could pronounce. The Disturber staff sees a lot of names from kids in Morenci and Fayette, and there really are some that I don’t know how to say. They generally turn out to be a fairly common name with a spelling that just doesn’t make sense to me.

Collins wrote about the naming culture in France that stemmed from the French Revolution. After the overthrow of the old regime, the National Convention passed a law that allowed any name to be given to a baby. Napoleon didn’t like that and ordered that French babies could only be named after Catholic saints.

That was later softened in 1813 to permit the names of persons from ancient history. The law was in effect until 1966 when a Breton man gave his many children names including Adraborann, Brann, Diwezha and Maiwenn. Then the law was softened further to include mythological names. You’re all right, Apollo.

The New York Times published a story a while back about grandparents buying naming rights for their grandchildren. Here’s $10,000 if you keep our family’s traditional name of Frank alive.

Other grandparents just want to avoid the trend of odd names popping up everywhere. I know I shouldn’t say “odd,” but it’s not always easy to be polite.

Here are a few names gaining in popularity, according to the Social Services Administration: Adonis, Bridger, Boone, Koda, Tadeo, Legend, Thiago, Cannon and Bruno. Those are the boys. For the girls: Saoirse, Alessia, Reign, Calliope, Tinley, Tinsley, Wren, Jemma, Journee and Clementine.

If you wish to join a growing trend, try Kehlani, Kaylani or Kailani.

Collins said that she used to look down on the parents who waited for a delivery room decision, or worse yet, took a few days after the birth to decide. But then she was down to the final days before her son’s birth, still without a name to give.

Near the end, they decided on Louis. It could be Lew-ie or Lou-wee. She admitted that she never imagined naming her child Louis, but once the decision was made, “suddenly I could see myself cooing it into his neck, writing it into his clothes….”

You name a child what you like, but it’s up to him or her to grow into it and become the person it represents.

If you need a push, 2017 is most often producing Liam, Noah, Lucas and Mason for the boys; Emma, Olivia, Ava and Isabella for the girls.