How to Be a Dad

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Ruining Baby Names, One Suggestion at a Time

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Ruining Baby Names

“Hey!!! How about [name that you will now probably not choose because I just suggested it].”

When you start telling people you’re having a baby, certain things are going to inevitably happen. It’s like a chain reaction that is as certain and frothy as dropping a sleeve of Mentos headlong into a bottle of Diet Coke.*

* NOTE: For those people who have been living in a cave and are consequently unfamiliar with the reaction of Mentos and Diet Coke, click here. I hate to break it to ya, but there’s also this thing called the Internet. It’s the thing that this post was originally published on before a friend printed it out and tossed it into your cave.


As an expectant parent who’s spreading the word, you need to realize you’re now on a quiz show. Hands on buzzers, folks. You’ll be asked if you know the sex of the baby, or if you want to when it’s been long enough to tell if the macaroni is tube- or shell-shaped, etc., etc., etc., times infinity. But whether it’s a boy or a girl, you’ll ultimately get asked the Million Dollar Question: “Do you have a name picked out?”

Say yes. Lie if you have to. If they ask what it is, just say you’re not sharing it yet. If they press, just say it’s private, kind of like the front-row view of the baby as it comes out of the vagina. If they don’t appreciate that, it will at least shut them up.

But why?

Why try to stonewall any name suggesting? Well it depends on who they are, how close they are, and what your thoughts are on answering this question:

“[Daddy or Mommy], how did you come up with my name?”

Maybe your kid will go on to make it worse by eagerly asking if it was a favorite movie character, or one from a great book, or a famous sports or historical figure…

“Well! -ehem- My former boss actually came up with your name. During a staff meeting. You see, I’m an ass-kiss! And your mother and I? Yeah, we didn’t love you enough to think up a name for you on our own.”

So yeah.

Dear suggesters of baby names,

Choosing a name for one’s child can be a reeeeeeeally hard process. Some couples get pretty nutty about it. And by pretty, I mean ugly. It doesn’t need any added complication. So, unless you’re really close or some kind of mystical gypsy of baby names… SHUT YOUR MOUTH! You may be ruining name options when you suggest them! Even if they’re PERFECT!!!

Best case scenario: you steal a little something special away from the naming process. Or, worst case scenario: your suggestions are banished from the list of possible names. Just by you being the one who suggested them.

What if Morgan Freeman turned out to be named something else just because some well-intentioned but overly-excitable mailman leapt over a garden gnome to shout at his mom when she was carrying, “MORGAN!!! Name it Morgan!” Mr. Freeman’s voice just wouldn’t sound so crushed-velvet cozy as a Ralph, would it?

There’s an expression: too many chefs spoil the broth. But if you’re just a customer passing through the kitchen on the way to the restroom, don’t start dumping the contents of your pockets hand-over-fist into the pot.

Try to appreciate the situation, and think of your place in other people’s lives when they’re expecting. Name-suggest responsibly. Or at least limit your strokes of naming genius to the people you’re related to.


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124 Responses to “Ruining Baby Names, One Suggestion at a Time”

  1. Laura says:

    I always suggest “Megatron.”

  2. Cobacrtr says:

    Man, did this make me laugh! All so true! I’ll go one step further: once said child is named, feel free to keep your trap shut on that, too! A “That’s unusual!” or “Family name?” is okay, but after naming our daughter, Rowan, I’ve had complete strangers argue with me that it’s a boys name, (usually because they have a boy with the same name and are apparently all ready concerned about people thinking the name is “girlie”???) and it is NEVER okay to tell a parent that you have a pet with the same name as their much loved child. I realize you might love your pet, as we love our kiddo, but it’s weird. Even if I had one, I would never tell you that I have a bag that’s called Chanel, just like your precious little dog!

    • kevin says:

      My son’s name is Rowan. I know some girls have the same name. That’s cool. But I get to say my son is named after Rowan Atkinson!
      And after the tree with the slightly poisonous berries in the backyard. I should cut that down before he eats some… wouldn’t THAT be ironic.

      • Cobacrtr says:

        Thank you for making me laugh! We know someone who we see socially a few times a year (and usually a beer or two in!) and she ALWAYS says, “Our boxer’s name is Rowan!”. It annoys the crap out of me. What are you supposed to say? “Glad I don’t have to clean up after my Rowan with a pooper scooper!”?? or “Wow…I bet your Rowan is WAY better at fetching than mine!”?? Seriously! We named our daughter after a character in a book I liked, who happened to be a female surgeon…at this point, my daughter shows NO interest in following in the character’s footsteps. Soap actress is probably a better bet!

        • Lacey S says:

          Ooohhh… was it “Mirror Dance”? Love that book!! I REALLY REALLY try to not do the “My mom has a chihuahua with that name” since she has a billion of the d*mn things and always uses human names – Harley, Sadie, Ginger, Stella, etc. But sometime it slips out. Sorry!!

          • Kate says:

            Hey Lacy – I really love Mirror Dance too! (or any Bujold). That was quick. Don’t know if that’s where she got the name. It wasn’t till I saw your post that I thought of Rowan the surgeon from that one (one of Miles’ “this and that”).

            Off topic, Bujold has a new book about Ivan coming out in November…my son has an advance publication copy.


        • juliette says:

          I named my daughter Sidney. Put aside all the boy/girl debate about the name,and imagine her at 14,going to meet her boyfriend’s parents. Gets in the house,and hears someone yell,”Sidney,come back here!”.. As she turned around,she realized her bf’s mother was calling.. the family dog..

      • Karen says:

        YES! πŸ™‚

    • Rebecca says:

      I have a friend who’s mom’s name is Michael. Whenever someone says to her, “That’s a boy’s name,” she looks them straight in the eye and says, “I am a boy.”

  3. Bob Aycock says:

    Both of our boys are named after family members. Even after telling folks this was our plan, we still received plenty of suggestions. My favorite suggestion so far for our daughter (due December 24) is Mary Christmas. Really? You want me to name my daughter Mary Christmas Aycock? No thanks.

    • Manda says:

      I had a second cousin named that, except her mother actually used the spelling “Merry.” The cousin went by Chris her entire life. I didn’t even know her first name was Merry until she died and I saw it on the obit.

      • Bob says:

        Wow. So people actually do that to their children? We’re sticking with more family names for our daughter: Elisabeth Bennett. Of course we’ve already gotten plenty of feedback on why we shouldn’t spell Elisabeth with an “s” and all of the trouble it will cause us and our daughter. Thanks for the non-solicited advice once again, family and friends.

        • emily says:

          My middle name is Elisabeth (with the s..), came from a family name, really not that big of a deal πŸ™‚

        • Christina says:

          Huh…your gonna hate me now, but my first guess was Pride & Prejudice =p

          But then, Elisabeth is a bit more of an english spelling and It’s quite pretty πŸ™‚

          • Rebecca says:

            I definitely thought Pride & Prejudice, one of my Favourite books and the name is quite pretty

  4. Carla says:

    My husbands brother and wife were expecting a baby around the same time as we were, so names were a hot topic around that time. We finally decided on a first name and after some discussion decided to give her the middle name Lily after my grandmother since our other daughter had the middle name Rose after my other grandmother. It just fit and we loved it! My in-laws, though, wanted to name their baby Lilith and call her Lilly. They confronted us about this saying it would take away the specialness of their daughters name and asked us not to use Lily. We did it anyway and they refused to talk to or be around us for a little over a year. Lesson = Keep your mouth shut!

  5. Amy says:

    Loved the naming battle! (not) Once we decided on our son’s name (Sean), we then had to defend the spelling of it. Really? It’s not your kid so please shut up! It was actually our parents who were the worst since it “wasn’t phonetic and it might confuse him later on”. Not that they have much to stand on … they drew my name from a hat.

  6. Jesi says:

    Luckily the hubby and I had names picked out before we even conceived our little girl. We haven’t had anyone suggest anything because when they ask if we have one we can say “Yes. Norah Margaret.” So far we haven’t had any negative comments about it either–most people seem to love it, so it’s pretty re-affirming for us. Both are family names. But it’s a good thing we were so firm in our decision because it would drive me crazy to have people suggesting names to me right and left.

  7. LB says:

    Too true! My mother-in-law suggested the name Levy repeatedly, even after we shot it down repeatedly. Even after I told her I had an uncle Levy and I didn’t want to name him after my uncle who was a fine man but I wasn’t particularly close to him. The funny thing is, at a family Christmas gathering 5 years and 1 pregnancy later we discussing baby names and I found out she tried to convince at least two other family members to name their kid Levy. Wtf?

  8. Jess says:

    This was the bane of my pregnant existence.

    Because I am a possessor of the baby cave, we’re sort of pre-wired to start thinking of baby names in the same breath as our first toddling steps. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any female who has ever considered or is currently a mother, who didn’t have at least a small but cogent stock of baby names scribbled somewhere; a diary, scrap of notebook paper shoved into a memory box, or, ehem, a bar napkin (because that’s where all women think the most clearly about their future spawn).

    The mistake I made during The Transition To Womanhood was to share my names with my mother. While years away from ever procreating, she remembered that shit. And was very quick to suggest that they were HORRIBLE names for my unborn child. Sure, she “did it out of love”, but c’mon!!

    The funny thing is that we ended up naming Dylan after two musicians we have always been very inspired by, but had never considered actually leveraging that inspiration to name our child…until A FRIEND SUGGESTED IT!

    So yes, we are the people who actually took the child-naming advice of an indefinitely single, dude-friend in a fleeting moment of irrelevant conversation, a mere one week before I shot that little sucker out my coot chute.

    • Lacey S says:

      πŸ˜€ I definately had a list… most of which were either ‘taken’ before I had my son, or which my husband unequivocally shot down in few opportunities I had to discuss names with him, and he came back with names that were patently ridiculous. We still hadn’t really decided on a name by the time our son was born, so as I’m lying there exhausted and dazed, a newborn on my chest, the nurse said “What’s his name?” My husband said unhesitatingly “Bruce Sampson” which was the ONE name he’d suggested months before that I quickly said said “Yes, let’s do that one!” right before he said “Nah.. I don’t like it afterall” πŸ˜›

      Although if we’d KNOWN he was going to have an extra toe, we probably would have at least gone with “Blackjack” as a middle name, if not the whole “Vladimir Thorium Blackjack Sutton” that my husband wanted….

  9. Nicole Craig says:

    Years ago, when my mom was pregnant with my brother she had this problem. The baby was thought to be a girl due July 4th, and it just so happened to be 1976 (the Bicentennial year) so my stepfather wanted to name the girl Liberty Bell. Luckily he came about a month early, yes you read correctly, HE came. So he is Sean. Named after Sean Connery. Mom won.

  10. Sara says:

    We got tons of suggestions and most were awful. My husband’s family is Chilean and my family is from the U.S. so we really got all sorts of names. My brother said we should just say we were naming her Dark Ninja until they shut up.

  11. kevin says:

    Remember Magnetic Poetry that was popular a decade ago? I happened to still have a template for making your own (the set I had at university wasn’t… expressive enough). And I filled that sucker up with every boys name we could think of (that we liked) plus about 8 tiles with our last name on it.

    They went on the fridge, and we spent the entire pregnancy moving names around, switching the order, adding more middle names, less middle names.. it was awesome. Friends would play with it too, and come up with new combinations. It helped us a lot, because name combinations would sit there on the fridge for three or four days and give us a good chance to see if that name was starting to sound awkward (or notice if it rhymed with something saucy)

  12. Kyle says:

    Great article, Andy. Thanks for entertaining me as I sat in the OB office waiting room. We found out today that we’re having a boy!

  13. bfmama says:

    We (at my urging) were quite close-lipped about our names, until shortly before birth my husband actually shared them with my mother both times.

    Our criteria sound simple, but made it somewhat hard to find names we liked.
    1) Easy to spell and pronounce
    2) Gender specific (no names that are common for both genders)
    3) Not too common – so nothing in the top 50 names, according to the SSA.
    4) No names that reminded me of someone annoying from my past (this was the hardest to abide by!)
    5) No naming after relatives. We didn’t want to name after a relative the first time & feel obligated to balance it out for any future kids. We did use my middle name for our daughter’s middle name and my husband’s first name for our son’s middle name, but didn’t want to get into the grandparent arena.

    • Christina says:

      You know that naming in the top 50 was one of our criteria, and in april of 2009, “Ethan” actually met that criteria! By the end of 2009, it was in the top 10 names of the year.

      Now, I know at least 3 Ethans in my son’s vicinity – one of which has the SAME EXACT name as him (first & middle) while the kid’s mother has MY name.

      Not weirded out at all.

      • Sandy says:

        Just out of curiosity… why was “in the top 50” a criteria? I had a girl name picked out since middle school, but when I realized it was that common, I changed it. I guess I’m curious about why you would want a common name.

        • Leah says:

          I’m really curious about this too! (months later) I had a name picked out for a girl since the time that I first understood that someday I could have a child. Fast forward to finding out I was pregnant, and that name was in the top 5 for the last several years. There was meaning behind it, and I named her very deliberately despite that fact, but I sure wish she wasn’t going to end up with 8 others in her class with the same name.

  14. Dembai says:

    Knowing how irritating both sides of the family were (especially our mothers) we both refused to take any suggestions nor cough up the names.

    We had them picked out about halfway through my pregnancy, but the LAST thing I wanted to hear was “oh, but that’s the name of so-and-so and that person is HORRIBLE!”

    I did get a request not to name our baby something, but it was such an odd name, and the person requesting it was a good friend who would probably never have a child again – but wanted to save it just in case. I had no issue with that.

    • Andy says:

      Well played. Very well played. I’ll probably follow this one up at some point with a post about keeping your name options to yourself and why. Ugh! Ahhhhh, anyways, all part of becoming or continuing to be a parent, right? πŸ™‚

  15. Anne says:

    Omg. Thanks for the pet comment! My husband and I were tossing baby names around before we knew the gender. When asked during a family gathering if we had chosen a name, we said we really liked Oliver for a boy. A few weeks later, still before the gender discovery, my MIL got a new dog and named it Oliver. Because it’s such an uncommon name. REALLY????? Anyway, we had a sweet baby girl, so all is well….

  16. Gale says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen! We figured this out by 2nd baby, and did exactly that (told everyone we had a name in mind, and it would be a surprise). It also helps shoo away the naysayers who will tell you the name that you love is just aweful.

    My last baby a friend of mine really did help me name my baby, who I decided at the last minute I wanted to name something that meant peace, but couldn’t find any good boy names for that. Asked my friends help and she sugggested Micah for the verse from that Bible book “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” That was a keeper.

  17. Desiree says:

    Because I hate this name, may I please suggest Tiffany to EVERYBODY in the spirit of this post. We may not be able to end cancer this year, but hopefully we can at least end Tiffany forever. Let’s do something for humanity, people.

    So, tell everyone to name her Tiffany, people. For all mankind.

  18. Michelle says:

    Ha! I can relate. The best advice I ever got on the subject came from an old lady from church. She said “If anyone else asks what you’re going to name him, just reply with Cornelius Shagnasty!” So we did. It worked like a charm!

  19. Manda says:

    We knew ahead of time not to tell my family any of our babies’ names. Friends, I’m okay with….as long as they’re not living in the same town as my family (They’re really good at finding stuff out.).

    So, we like to come up with decoy names which is why everyone was horrified to learn that if our first child was a boy, we were naming him Boris. I had to learn to be a better liar. It’s hard to tell someone you’re naming your child “Boris Gordon” with a straight face (The Gordon part was real. He would have been named after my deceased FIL.).

    But, we had all girls and I didn’t have to come up with a decoy girl name because my mom did it all by herself. She found out her name started with a “D” and swore to everyone that we were naming her “Delfina” “because it meant dolphin and Manda likes dolphins” (yeah….when I was 12.).

    We went along with it. Our kids’ actual names are Danica, Emily, and Callan.

  20. Amy says:

    We had pretty much settled on a name, but weren’t planning on telling anybody til after the birth. Then all of the sudden out of left field my aunt, whom I am not terribly close with, suggests the name we had already chosen!!! It was such a downer because I didn’t want her thinking that SHE thought of his name. Irritating, yes. But we kept it anyway. Once you have a name you hold on for dear life, lol!!

  21. Tube- or shell-shaped macaroni. Love it.

    We’ve actually been soliciting names for baby girl #2. We used our favorite girl name when our daughter was born two years ago and have been trying to come up with an accompaniment ever since. Now, with a deadline actually looming, we’re taking any help we can get. I just feel bad when I reject every single suggestion, I’m sure that doesn’t encourage anyone to keep offering ideas… It’s true though, I’d hate to tell this baby that my random co-worker came up with her name and we used it because we couldn’t think of anything better!!

    • Christina says:

      With my first, I wrote down a list of names, filled up a sheet of paper. I went through and marked out the ones that I didn’t like. Then I handed the sheet to his dad and he marked out the ones that he didn’t like. We were left with about 15 names. I went through the list reading off the names. Thomas, Slade, Ricky, Dominic, Jordon.
      Hold on read those last couple again. He liked the way Ricky Dominic sounded together as I read it off the list. If we had a girl, her name was going to be Madison Marie. Got that name the same way.

    • Manda says:


      Love that name. My husband said it was “too hick” (you know, the lumberjack with the deer shirt that says “Rack ’em up”…yeah, he said it’s hick).


  22. Christina says:

    I know the feeling about the names.
    My sister wanted me to have a girl.
    When I was pregnant, my sister wanted to know the names we were considering. I told her if we had a girl, her name would be Lonnie Nichole (after her grandma’s Lois and Pennie, and my cousin that just passed away)
    She told me that was a stupid ugly name, and that I should name her Penelope. I told her the name was set, it wasn’t changing.
    “Well, I hope the baby is a boy with an ugly name like that.”

  23. Mimi says:

    Our second son is due any day now (seriously, get this thing out of me!!!!), and, thankfully, the only suggestions we’ve gotten from people are joke names. My family and I LOVE to refer to the baby as anything BUT it’s actual given name while it’s still en utero. This one has been Frankenpeenie. Others in my family have been Skeletor, Cletus the Fetus, Peenie…. Whee!

  24. NiIki A says:

    We didn’t really get suggestions, but when I was one week past due, my MIL left me a voicemail critiquing the first AND middle name if it were a boy- Luca Cristo- (Luca is a girl’s name, and Cristo is inappropriate unless we were Hispanic) and telling me that since I was obviously naming the girl’s middle name Benedetta after her mother Betty, that I should know that Benedetta wasn’t her name and I must be confused. SO glad that was a vm and not an actual phone call, b/c I’d have climbed through the phone and smacked her. We ended up having a boy first. With our second child we were recycling the girl’s name which my one friend thought was weird.

    My husband and I didn’t have too much of a fight over names, although he did want my son’s middle name to be Olam which roughly translates to “the world” in Hebrew. I hated it, but didnt want to rock the boat. My hubby ended up changing his mind on his own.

  25. Raina says:

    While discussing names my husband told me that if the baby were a boy he rquired the intials to be RPR as this goes generations back. I could not for the life of me find names I absolutely loved to fit those intials.

    While teaching Sunday school a little boy in my class walked in wearing a Rumpelstiltskin shirt and Puma shoes….. I looked up at my husband and jokingly suggested the name “Rumpelstiltskin Puma” there that fits the intials requirement.

    Without missing a beat my husband said “Yep, that’ll work. Rumpelstiltskin Puma it is.”

    I am so thankful that we are having a little girl in Dec which we are naming Sophia Elisbeth Noelle. πŸ™‚

  26. Laurie says:

    Wow, this is very funny! What a ridiculous responsibility it is to name your kid! Never have really thought about that before…

  27. Louise says:

    If I had a boy, I wanted to name it Jericho. I thought it had a royal presence about it. My sister flatly told me she wouldn’t speak to the baby if I called it “Jerry-whatever”. My husband liked the name Brody, so I tried to compromise with Brody Jericho. Hubby wasn’t to convinced about the initials though.

    In the end, it didn’t matter, and we got our little girl Abby Maya.

  28. kristin says:

    OR…..if you actually have a pair of balls, you can say “our child’s name will be XXXXXX…..”. and if met with a negative reaction, tell the person to fuck off and go about your day. your kid, your name choice. pretty simple. cannot believe a dude would have this sort of people pleasing attitude.

  29. emily says:

    My kids dads mom has already ruined one of my favorite names for my baby boy by pretty much telling me to pick that name..but I do love the name and did before she mentioned it (I am the type to keep my baby name choices secret too..learned that year ago) Now if I use that name it will seem like I was doing it for her. I honestly hardly know her and the babys father and I are not together. Argh! Still working on new baby boy names.

  30. Karen says:

    Don’t ever choose a name that is on only one side of the family though if your inlaws are the jealous type. We always liked Erik and Elizabeth for middle names – both are on my side of the family. As my husband said he would never grace a child with a name that could be horribly used against him in teasing.

    My son was named for Connor McCloud and Erik is a strong Viking name. Well, kid is a brainiac and a half who scares me he is so smart.

    My daughter was going to be Sarah Beth unitl he learned the name came from the ghost that reportedly haunts a friend’s grandparents’ house – one I visited a lot in my childhood. So we opted for Sarah Elizabth (and Elizabeth is my sister’s name). It was not an intentional slight but…

  31. JP says:

    Ok, so I’m a few days late as usual.

    While deciding on names, I realised something almost profound…
    …You never realise how many people you hate until you have to name your child.

    One of the suggestions made to us by a friend was “Wolverine”, which we kinda ended up using by accident.

    Our son’s name is Logan James.

    (Wolverine’s is James “Logan” for you non geeks!)

  32. Can I just say something(s)? We decided to keep our (only) child’s name a secret until he was born, though we did tell everyone the sex as soon as we found out. OMG the questions people asked, beyond inappropriate and often quite annoying. I know people meant well but jesus.

    So we named our son Jack. I work at a pretty small local company. The VP of the company had her son when mine was a year and a few months old, and they named him Jack as well. WTF!!??!! I thought it was a joke at first. To this day I still don’t know why they did it. If it were me I’d be like, well that name’s taken. I would show some respect yo. I’m sure I’m going to get flack for saying that, oh well. Since I’m late to the thread anyways maybe no one will notice.

    Nowadays I get the “so when you are having another one?” with a “knowing” look. What they don’t know (and is none of their business) is that we do not plan on having any more children for a number of health reasons. I hate the “knowing” look I get after I say that we’re not having any more, and they say “oh I said that too and now I have 4! You’ll see” and I want to strangle them with a wire.

  33. LizzyWednesday says:

    While trying to come up with girls’ names we liked (we’d agreed immediately on a boy’s name) it became incredibly apparent that my husband and I have VERY DIFFERENT naming styles.

    I like names that are old-fashioned, bordering on “fuddy duddy” while he likes names that I dubbed “Yuppie puppy” or smelled a celebrity-crush or other pop-cultural influence.

    Yes, it’s quite a task trying to name a child!

    The munchkin is now 2.5 and people are starting to imply that it’s “about that time” … my answer is “so they tell me…”

  34. Sylvia says:

    My husband’s name is Billy Lee. Not William Lee, Billy Lee, and he’s a Junior. I couldn’t imagine saddling a child with Billy Lee III. Roman numerals belong to kids with upper crust names like “Octavious Rushmond Hilton IV” not Billy Lee.

    My husband’s parents inquired about carrying on the family name, but we told them we were planning on naming our son Guillermo (Spanish for William). His mother couldn’t tell we were joking, but to her credit once she heard the name, she stopped asking and didn’t say anything. When our son arrived and we named him Nolan, she was visibly relieved we didn’t name him Guillermo. We didn’t receive any flak over discontinuing the famillial name.

  35. Mereska says:

    We decided to keep the baby names secret until we had the baby (gender was a surprise even for us), mostly because we didn’t want to feel locked into a name if we decided we didn’t like it anymore. We picked Penelope “Penny” Jane pretty early on for a girl, but couldn’t think of a good boy’s name. Eventually I told some coworkers that we were stumped on boy names, so they spent a whole day coming up with goofy boy names for me! We finally came up with one on our own and then had a girl. We thought Penelope was pretty unique, then after she was born, a lot of friends told me how they had Penelope on their list too for the next girl and then Kourtney Kardashian had a Penelope. Oh well.

  36. Sandy says:

    I had a friend in college named Merrideth Christine Maas. Yes, folks, Merry Chris Maas. Then, I worked with a guy named Thomas “Tom” Mato. Tomato. REALLY? Why kind of parents are these? And, why would you shorten your name if your very cruel parents burden you thus?

  37. Sandy says:

    Oh, to the comment about ending the name Tiffany. I’m with ya, sister. Anytime someone tells me they are naming their kid Tiffany, Destiny, Amber, etc. I generally say something really peppy, like “congratulations that’s one of the Top 5 Stripper Names. You’re going to save a fortune not having to send her to college.” I’ve lost some friends, but I think they’ve settle for Emma, or something equally generic, instead.

    If you think I’m kidding check this out

  38. As a teacher I found it difficult to have the name discussion with co-workers as they always knew a XXXXX who had been an utter monster in class; looking back I was just as guilty of this before I was pregnant and later had a whole list of names that we couldn’t use because I was too used to using them to tell kids off! I found that ignoring the suggestions of Chewbacca and Luke (as in Skywalker) meant that my husband changed his mind…. I could never quite tell if he was seriously considering them or trying to wind me up!

  39. sara says:

    love the post. when we were pregnant with our 4th (a surprise to say the least!), the older 3 were determined to help with names. they suggested everything from paul bunyan, john wayne, godzilla, and bruce wayne, to pricilla, minnie mouse, juanita, and capt. underpants.

    for our family, we enjoyed our nightly name suggestions at the dinner table. although we didn’t take all of their suggestions seriously, we did jot them down.

    in the end, we found a name that meant jolly or cheerful-tate. our tater has added so much spice to our lives. he has even decided that he would have rather been named bob.

    my point is, while having names suggested to your growing family may be annoying, hopefully people are just trying to share in the joy that you are experiencing. smile, say thank you, and move on.

  40. Christina says:

    You see… I just avoid all this mess by having had names picked out since I was 7! That’s right! Huey, Duey, and Luey for boy triplets. Daisy, Jasmine, and Rose for girl triplets!

    All I ever needed in life. Stops all questions dead in the water.

    Carry on.

  41. audreysmagic says:

    I love, love, love the names Arizona and Valeria for girls. I have no children yet, but my mom just gave me the weirdface at Arizona and told me Valeria sounds like a STD.

    But in order to stall people who asked about my name when I was still fetal, she said “Bubba,” boy or girl.

    • Andy says:

      Smart mom. Sometimes it’s best to keep your choices under you hat until the little one has arrived and people have to shut up (even though not all of them will). πŸ˜‰

  42. evan, yo! says:

    When my parents broke the news about my mom being pregnant with me, my older brother–who was really into sharks at the time–suggested Hammerhead. It didn’t stick.

    My dad suggested Seamus for me and each of my three brothers, but my mom shot it down each time. When my younger brother announced that his wife was pregnant with a boy–after my other two brothers each had two girls–the name was brought up again. Fortunately we were getting a dog at the same time and named him Seamus, to take one for the team. Of course we love the name now.

  43. Claire says:

    I’m fairly sure we had about 10 names rejected solely on the fact that one of our family members suggested it, so I’d maybe leave the end of this post off. πŸ˜›

    • Andy says:

      Yeeeeeeah. True. We had some of that too. By some I mean a LOT.

      At least with family you can punch them in the arm without as much fear of a lawsuit. πŸ˜‰

  44. CbabyRKO says:

    My best friend from college named her son Isaiah even though she f#^king KNEW that’s what I was naming my son. Its a good thing I didn’t see her during my pregnancy coz I kicked her ass over the phone but it would have been like WWE SmackDown had I actually saw her face to face.
    Its like how could you be such a grimy little booger and take my baby name?

    We were staunchly opposed to Jeremy,Jeremiah,Jared and any other Jer- type names becoz the thought of someone calling him Jerry was more than we could bear!

  45. Sara says:

    This made me absolutely crazy. My husband and I chose a name for our son fairly early in my pregnancy, of which my mother quickly told me she hated and had another name all wrapped up in a neat little bow for us. My initial rejection of the name wasn’t enough, she continued for weeks on end to tell me and everyone else she came across how much she hated her unborn grandson’s name. And those others decided to join in and tell me that my mother should have a say in naming MY baby. Um, WHAT!?

    It was so heartbreaking and felt so incredibly disrespectful, but I never wavered. He has an awesome name that matches his incredible awesomeness.

    Next pregnancy, no one will know the child’s name until it’s here. And then I dare you to look my perfect, precious child in the face and say, “I don’t like that name.” I will maim you like an untamed lion.

  46. Paul says:

    When we were trying to find baby names for our first child, my wife settled on a girl name, Amelie. Before our baby was born, my oldest sister had her first child and named her Emily. A bit perturbed, we decided Ariana would be a good girl name, but we ended up having a son, so the name was shelved for later.

    Fast forward 1.5 years, my oldest sister has another daughter and names her Eliana. Strangely enough, we didn’t tell her what our new girl name choice was. I have decided that my sister wasn’t being insensitive, she just likes the same names we do, but prefers the letter E where we prefer A. When you grow up together, I guess you start to think somewhat alike…

    Our second child was a daughter and we named her Coralie (after one of my grandmothers). Thankfully, that name has not been duplicated (nor had it been claimed in advance) for any of my grandmother’s 100+ great-grandchildren.

    Mission accomplished.

  47. allicia says:

    I know a kid who’s middle name is Kenobe (I’m not geeky enough to know if I spelled that right)

  48. Jill says:

    My son’s name is Noah. After the guy in the Bible. The Noah of the bible had three sons, named Ham, Shem and Japheth. When my son was a little kid, I teased him once and told him he should have three sons and name them Ham Shem and Japheth. It was a JOKE!
    FF 15 or so years, and my son is now expecting his first child. Guess what he plans to name it if it’s a boy? Yup, I could be grandmother to a little Hammie. Maybe that will teach me to shut up.
    I met an old lady the other day and told her this story. She said she’d had an Uncle Ham. So I started to not hate the reality of the name. I went home and told my husband, “I think Ham is growing on me.”
    He said, “In more places than one.”
    I hit him. But not too hard. Because truthfully, if he’d passed on a straight line that good, I’d never have forgiven it.

  49. Michael Kamp says:

    As a teacher you get a lot of perfectly good names ruined by bad students.

    “Oh, but it’s a good name!”

    “Yeah, but the moron from last year had that name. I cant shake that connection.”


    My last name (Kamp) means “fight” or “battle” in my native tongue, so if we had a girl I wanted to go with Ninja.

    Ninja Fight – best name ever.

    We had two boys instead so teen suffering and anguish was averted.


  50. Fawn says:

    When I was nine I had the names of both my kids picked out, boy: Jason Daniel and I’d call him JD. My daughter was Samantha Renee.

    My son was born first and I went through a slew of names and the on that stuck was “Jordan”. Now the spelling portion of my naming ritual, Jordon? Jordan? Jourdan? An so it goes (you can play with vowels) I stuck with Jourdan because his name would be common and I wanted him to have something original, I even made a song about his spelling of it and sang it to him until he could spell it on his own, about two. His middle name was always going to be Christopher because it is my favorite male name & I didn’t want his first name to be Christopher because its always shortened to Chris.

    My daughter isn’t a Samantha Renee, though I fought for that name. Morgan also got shot down because it was associated with someone. So she became a Parker (my husband had always loved the name Parker when he was introduced to Parker Posey) and she shares my mothers middle name which all went perfect.

    I am a culprit when throwing names out to friends when I hear what the sex is of the baby. Though I only do it with close friends and tortured my sister with it. I think I helped name two of my nieces. Oops.

    I love all these stories. I love hearing how people come up with names and I will get better at naming everyone’s child (or not naming) πŸ˜‰

  51. Jim MacQ says:

    We came up with our own approach: the working title.

    We decided not to find out the baby’s sex beforehand, since we weren’t going to decorate with pink or blue in any case, and we didn’t want to get in the habit of calling the baby by a name that would turn out to be the wrong sex. So we decided that the baby would have a “working title,” a name we would use until we met the little creature.

    I’m one of five boys, my father was one of seven boys and two girls, and my bride was the only girl born in her family in a long time, so we fully expected a boy the first time. We picked a boy’s name (Kevin Robert, after two close friends) because my bride knew that she wanted to use her family name (Ashley) for a girl if we had one, so that was settled. But until the birth, we decided that the baby would be referred to as “Vladimir Pitney.” If anyone asked about names, that was the answer and we stuck to it. (Ashley is almost 27 now.)

    For our second, we went literary. Our child was tagged “Grendel Caliban” after the bog-monster from Beowulf and the bog-monster from The Tempest. After a couple of years with Ashley, we knew what to expect. I still call Christopher “Grendel” on occasion.

    A friend provided the name for our third, “Pysoxyl Forthescan,” today known as Katherine or Katie Rose.

    Working titles, man. The only way to go.

  52. Jim MacQ says:

    Now, when people are expecting, I suggest the most horrible names I can think of.

    “Leroy Fujimoto”
    “Basil Ornfeld”
    “Dort Monaster”
    “Leighton Frisbee”
    “Hezekiel Pung”
    “Fumford Baggleswang”

  53. Chelsea says:

    I wish I had never asked any of my family their opinion on my new daughter’s name. They were just awful about how much they disliked it. Her name is Huxley Marlowe, after the authors. Finally, I told my mother if she didn’t shut up about it, I was naming her Optimus Prime. That silenced the dissent, finally.

  54. Miika says:

    I guess I’m lucky. My son’s name is Damien Alexander (first, middle), and got nothing but positive feedback. Now, if he asks how he got named, that could be tricky. Damien was originally to scare my folks (with The Omen and all that jazz). To balance the “unholiness” from his name, I thought about holy things, then the element of holy. I turned to my favorite game series (Final Fantasy FTW!), and found the “holy” summon: Alexander. I didn’t want his name to sound too dark, but it had the perfect balance. Since I’m good at boy names, though, my husband won’t let me touch girl names. I had such high hopes, but I guess we’ll talk more about if/when I get preggers again, right?

  55. Lynn says:

    I think my mother single-handedly committed every baby name annoyance ever while I was pregnant. Here is just a small sample:

    1. Poo-pooed every name I liked. I named my kid after a Harry Potter character, but she insisted people would think of a not so liked former Brittish PM instead. Because more people here in the US are going to know about WWII UK than a character from a best selling book series.

    2. If I had a girl I couldn’t name her Ella because I had a great aunt with that name who didn’t like it and went by her middle name. So basically I have to pick a name liked by everyone living and dead.

    3. Suggested names every chance she got. Often the same ones over and over again. And it’s not like they were family names, or unique names. She totally we over and over how I should name the baby Leroy. No reason. She just liked it.

    4. Would corner me at family events and say “I’ve been thinking, you should name the baby [stupid suggestion],” and just keep going on and on disregarding any polite attempts to change the subject. More than once it got to the point where someone would have to intervene and flat out tell her to leave me alone.

    5. I started saying sarcastic things like “No Mom, we’re naming the kid Humphle McGumpkins and that’s final. Still didn’t get her to stop.

    Finally had the baby, gave him the name I wanted and she can just deal. I’m still amazed I didn’t kill her though.

  56. Anna says:

    My brother always wanted to name his son after a relative many generations back who was Justice but was called Jett. This was his plan which he never told me so that I would not ‘steal’ his name. (I never would have, honest!) Then John Travolta named his son Jett just before my nephew was born. Ha! Our Jett is an amazing young man now – a science whiz kid!
    And our 4 sons have much more traditional names… considering Hub wanted to christen the youngest Morrell < eewww! That's a mushroom! Hub and I would bat around names and we easily agreed on girl ones, but never had any.
    With the 4th son, He agreed with me on Simon, but I'm sure it was just to end the discussion, because as soon as he was born Hub declared 'nope, not Simon' and thus began the next 3 weeks of poor wee boy sampling various names for a 1/2 day or so at a time…. He is now Jacob (which promptly catapulted from obscurity to one of the top 5) Taggart (better than Morrell!)
    rejects: Ace, Buck, Seth…. many more.

  57. Anna says:

    One last story… My grandmother was 10th born in her family and everyone had an opinion on what to name her. So her father sat down and opened the family Bible, began to read and said first girl’s name they came to would be it. Not Bathsheba, Jezebel, Magdalene, Delilah (thank goodness) My grandmother was Beulah ! (Boo for short!)

  58. Ryan says:

    We originally wanted to name our child, whether it be boy or girl, Parker. Then my teenage sister (at the time) said “Oh no, you cannot name my niece or nephew Parker! What if your child is chubby? They’ll call him PORKER”

    We immediately moved on from wanting to name the baby Parker and landed on Dylan for the baby which turned out to be a boy.
    As a girl growing up with the name Ryan, I can attest that kids are cruel and all potential nickname should be considered when playing the naming game!

  59. Ashley says:

    In my husband’s family, the men have the initials CAR, going back 4-5 generations. His name is Cyle (Kyle with a C) Ashton, his father Coy Andrew III who went by Andy). Luckily, MY day’s name is Adrien Clark, so by the time we’d been dating for a month, I’d secretly decided to name out firstborn Clark Andrew and call him Andy. 3 years later and we were expecting our first child-I wouldn’t commit to the CAR initials because hubby wanted original names, so I’m throwing around “Hayden” after Hayden Christensen- hubby and I are Star Wars geeks. (This was in early 2003, before the Hayden/Aiden/Jayden craze) my aunt and cousin convinced me Hayden was horrible & I decided I’d use Clark Andrew but keep it a secret. Two years later, in the midst of the Hayden/Aiden/Jayden craze, the cousin that HATED Hayden named her son Hayden! I was angry at the time, but now I love the fact that there are no other Andy’s other than mine!
    Side note: We had our Charley (Charles Avery) shortly after Andy turned 4. Andy insisted from the moment he knew he was getting a brother, that his name would be Charley, so that’s how the second one was named! Now that Charley is in kindergarten, the only other Charlie’s we know are different friends baby GIRLS, and of course “Good luck Charlie” on TV! So Charley is convinced that he has a girls name. πŸ™

  60. Patricia says:

    We wanted to give our children names that would forever link them with the country they are born in, Ireland. We love the names, the kids don’t mind at all because in their eyes their name is normal. But every one else is a bit baffled.They dont know how to pronounce or write, I always have to write the phonetic sound in brackets behind it. Their names are Aoibhinn Ciara (Ayveen Kira) and Aodhan Darragh (Aydan Derra).
    We think its funny πŸ™‚

    • Dena says:

      Love those names – and trust me, as a simple enough “Dena” (DEE-nah), with a middle child named “Brom” (BRAHM), people will still get the pronunciations wrong.

      Phonetic guides much appreciated! πŸ˜‰

  61. David says:

    I was amazed at how much I would recoil at a suggestion, as much as I might already like that name. I guess I just didn’t like the idea of someone else helping decide my child’s name.

    As for stock answers for what I was naming my child when people asked, Knife (kuh-NEE-fay) if it is a boy and Spatula (spah-TU-luh) if it is a girl.

  62. Mel says:

    One of the names we were thinking of for our daughter was Beth. I like the name, it just so happens to be my short for my mothers name. When we told her that it was a girl, she said ‘Elizabeth is a nice name’ in that way that Mum’s ‘suggest’ you do something. We named her something else

  63. Rebecca says:

    Hubby wanted to name my daughter “Clarissa” *shudders*and all I can think of is the snobby girl from Charlie and the Chocolate factory who was such a snob (putting it mildly) suffice it to say I won and she is named Sophia Rose πŸ™‚

  64. Maria says:

    When I was pregnant with my twin boys, their in utero names were Cyclops and Poseidon (we are Greek). We had fun with it, and people loved it.

    On a related note, I had a co-worker who actually named his son Ian Danger. So he can say, with a straight face, that Danger is his middle name.

    • Dena says:

      Excellent, lol! Those could still be used as nicknames today, or hollared out as additional middle names when either boy is in trouble! πŸ˜‰

  65. Dena says:

    I was a teacher, so had that issue of “no… I had a student named that once…” and my adopted Scottish husband states staunchly that there is too much unoriginal naming in both his adopted family (his first name is his mother’s maiden name, and his middle is his dad’s first) and in his birth family (when he hired a geneologist to find his birth mom, there were three women of the same name in the hospital that day, giving birth to little boys!).

    With our firstborn being the first grandchild on both sides, WOW did the name suggestions from family come pouring in! We told them that if it was a boy, he’d be Phlegm, and if a girl, Saliva. πŸ™‚ As we are a well-matched pair of weirdos, I think we worried them enough that they backed off, lol! We held fast to keeping names under our hat, choosing “fait accompli” as the best way to fend off criticisms.

    Now we have Axel (actually a Danish name from family on my side), Brom (Scots Gaelic – chosen in response to all the “Axel?! That doesn’t sound *Scottish*!!” from my in-laws) and daughter Carys (Welsh, and deliberately chosen for a “C” since we incidentally already had A and B). πŸ˜‰

    PS – when you name your firstborn a name like “Axel”, it really puts you on a path where subsequent (and great!) names like William, Michael, Elizabeth or Patricia can fall from the list of possibilities. We wanted the sibling names to still “go” together, which narrows the focus suddenly.

    • Dena says:

      I am grateful that hubby and I recognized early how easily even *we* could get on each other’s case in naming our children. πŸ˜›

      We gave each other veto power, but then also agreed to be kind to each other about our suggestions. We made lists on our own of names we liked, then shared them with each other. We’d then give the names back that we liked best on the other person’s list.

      From paint colours to furniture to baby names, doing that “narrowing lists by likes” method has helped us keep potentially trying processes more positive!

  66. NoLooingBack says:

    Even worse than contributing a name that then gets the axe….making faces/sounds/giving negative opinions about things parents say they are thinking. It isn’t your kid so shut up about your opinions about the names that the parents have undoubtedly struggled to come up with – so unless you are specifically asked “what do you think if we name our little girl Wondering Flower of the Meadow” don’t tell me what you think!!

  67. tasia says:

    When I was pregnant with my second we bought a house from someone not my aunt, who attempts rather unsuccessfully to sell real estate (she had a broken back at the time that required some nasty surgery and recoup time). She was pissed at all of her relatives and sent out a hate letter addressed to every one of us … including to my unborn child using our current favorite name pick… telling all of us to stop meddling in her life. We ended up going with a different name and the former favorite didn’t even make it into one of his middle names. We ended loving our sons name so it all worked out ok. But what kind of loony pills do you have to be on to send hate mail to an unborn child?

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