Greetings, my friends and loved ones! I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted, but I've been very busy. First there was Draw Something, then SongPop, and now Farmville 2. It's atrocious the way those things suck up your time. As a result, some people who didn't even know they were pregnant when I did my last post are now about to give birth! Isn't life amazing?
But let's get down to business. Here are some of the emails I've received lately!
My wife and I are expecting. We want a name that’s sort of hip and modern, but we also want something that's not often used. Where should we look?
One of my favorite places to look for baby names is during the credits of movies. Not only do a lot of actors and actresses have crazy names, but their characters’ monikers are sometimes out of this world! Generally speaking, audiences are hesitant to name their babies after a movie character, thinking it’s tacky, but trust me -- in a year, no one will remember what movie the name came from, and your future offspring will be just fine.
Let’s take a look at some of the names from the more popular movies of 2012!
"The Avengers" - Loki, Thor, Selvig, or Pepper
"The Dark Knight Rises" - Bane, Fox, Foley, Daggett, Stryver
"The Hunger Games" - Seneca, Katniss, Primrose, Peeta
"The Expendables 2" - Gunnar, Booker, Trench, Church, Pilar
"Snow White and the Huntsman" - Ravenna, Nion, Coll, Finn
If that doesn't give you enough to think about, there are plenty more where those came from!
My name is Susan Tupper, and I am the author of Naming Your Baby Without Shaming Your Family (Randall House, 2011), which was the best-selling baby name book for over two days in July of 2011 on amazon.com.
I take issue with your last column, in which you suggested that parents who want to give their children unique names to choose everyday objects, such as Teapot, and use those as monikers. Just because celebrities are missing enough brain cells to choose names like “Rocket” or “Pencil” doesn’t mean well-educated “regular” folks should follow suit. In fact, we should get as far away from that trend as possible!
Yes, some parents will always want to give their children unique names. However, in my professional opinion, there are better ways to go about it. My colleagues and I have invented two “baby-naming games” that I hope you will see fit to share with your readers. They are as follows:
1. Keyboard Jamboree: Four out of five experts agree there is no better way of letting a baby’s older siblings be involved in that child’s life than being an active participant in the naming process! This works especially well with children between the ages of 1 and 5. Simply place the older child in front of a computer and allow their innocent, child-like fingers to caress the keyboard. The letters that present themselves onscreen will be the newborn baby’s name. It may look strange to you at first, but the process will certainly bond your family together.
2. Scrabble Tiles Jubilee: Place “Scrabble” tiles in a bag. Each family member, starting with the oldest, should take turns pulling out a letter until six or seven have been chosen. The letters should then be spread out on a table and arranged to make something that sounds “name-like.” If no vowels were drawn, the family may decide what vowel sounds the name should have; actual letters not necessary.
My colleague Anna used this method to name all three of her children, and I can assure that Jamack, Belvia, and Feshdr are very healthy and happy, and no in-laws were shamed in the naming process.
Susan E. Tupper
Author of Naming Your Baby Without Shaming Your Family (Randall House, 2011, 332 pages)
Thanks? I guess.
My husband and I are expecting twins in November -- two boys, to be precise -- and we want to choose two names that go together. But we don’t want one name to be better than the other, because we’d hate to be the cause of any future resentment between the boys. Yet it is so difficult to pick two names that not only sound nice, but that are equal in merit. What should we do?
-Tiana H., Clifton, Maine
Your problem is both extremely common and extremely serious. The fact of the matter is, one of your boys’ names will come before the other's in the alphabet, unless of course you give them the exact SAME name (which I would not recommend as it incites confusion). Fact: the child whose name appears first in our alphabet will have the advantage in life. He is likely to feel superior to his brother. Therefore, I suggest you give the boy whose name comes later in the alphabet the slightly better name. This will cause everything to be harmonious and bring about justice for all.
Can you please tell your readers to stop naming their kids things that rhyme with Aidan? In my son's class at school he has a Braedon, a Cayden, a Jaden, a Hayden (female), and a Zaydon. Whatever happened to Christopher? Or Michael? Or names that didn't rhyme with each other?
-Mark in Syracuse
I hear you, I do. And while having two simultaneously-popular names that happen to rhyme is not that unusual (think: Lloyd and Floyd, Chester and Lester, Jean and Dean, Greg and Craig, or Mary/Carrie/Terry/Jerry/Gary/Barry/Larry), I think parents need to get away from the -aidan trend in the same way they should step away from all names starting with "Mc." They've been done. To death. Get over it.
In the last couple of years, I've had several friends give their babies these super long names, that they then immediately shorten to nicknames. Lilliannabelle becomes Lilli, Allyssabeth becomes Ally, and Sebastian becomes Ian. My question is, if you're going to call your kid by a nickname anyway, why give them the long name to begin with?
-Curious in Oklahoma
It's an American thing. It's as if parents think letters (as in the ABCs) are akin to layers of blankets, that the more you have, the more secure/safe/happy your child will be. Plus they're afraid of their kids hitting age 5, declaring name-hatred, and running off to the nearest social security office to become an Isabella or a Jeremiah. If they start off by giving their child a long name with lots of syllables, then the child can keep their original name but have a slew of nicknaming options. And sure, some folks will simply name their kid Ada or Ian to begin with, but at what risk? If you ask me, none. In fact, I'm getting so tired of the "Lynne" and "Ella"s being tacked to the end of names, that I think the United States should impose a special tax on any parent who gives their child a name with more than three syllables. We'd either solve the deficit or stop the madness. A win-win, if you ask me.