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What's in a Name?

by Stacie Dahl

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (William Shakespeare) While this may be true, when you really think about it, there is A LOT in a name. This is your child's identity that will influence him or her for the rest of their life!

The first gift that you give a child is the gift of their name. Choose your gift to your child wisely. Take time and weigh out all the options and have a backup just in case. I have compiled a list of real people, real names that I have come across over the years whether it is from kids at school, soccer teams, dance classes, church associates, friends or family. These are some of the unique names and some traditional ones that I came up with. See baby name suggestions here.

Nicknames happen when your child is even just weeks old. One of the most common ways to nickname a child is to take the first syllable and then add 'ie' or 'y' at the end. For example, Joshua becomes Joshy; Trevor becomes Trevy; Madison becomes Maddie; Abigail becomes Abby. Sometimes a gentle reminder is in line if you don't care for the nickname. If you name your son Matthew you may need to let his soccer coach know that he goes by Matthew not Matt as he is calling his name from across the field. I know for myself, I may like a name but when shortening it, it isn't as appealing. If you love the name Jacob but can't stand Jake, you better look for other options. As much as we may love or hate the nicknames, you must think into this a little when selecting a name.

Play the rhyme game with the potential name candidates. There is nothing worse than the sing-songy 1st graders who come up with a terrible rhyme for your child's name. These rhymes brand your child and are often carried through the school years longer than you would like. Remember ''Josie-Grossie'' from the movie, ''Never Been Kissed?'' If you love the names Kelly & Shelly you may think twice as you discover that they rhyme with smelly & belly.

Imagine you and other parents cheering on your child at a sporting event like soccer, baseball or even football. Call the proposed names outloud and see how they sound. Don't forget to practice calling them to dinner or asking them to clean up their room.

My personal experience would say that 1 or 2 syllable names for boys seem to be most popular right now. For girls it seems everyone loves long fancy names. Often girl names are 3 or 4 syllables long but the child may go by a shortened nickname. Think about how long and involved the spelling of the child's name is. After all they do need to learn to write their name in preschool and kindergarten so a 10-letter name is pretty tough compared to those with 4 or 5 letters.

There are no rules that you have to name your child the traditional name. If you love Don but feel like you have to name the child Donald--don't. Nicknames as the real, given name are ok.

Try writing out and saying out loud the names that appeal to you. If your last name is 1 syllable that may influence you to not want something 4 syllables long. Here are some patterns that seem common for name syllables. For a one syllable last name, try 2-1-1 or 3-2-1 or 2-2-1. For a two syllable last name try, 2-2-2, 3-1-2 or 2-1-2. Keep things simple, if you have a long last name maybe a short first name would best suit it and vice versa.

Don't forget to think that girls (in the American traidion) will change their last name in some 20 or 30 years. Delaney McCraney isn't going to rhyme forever. Girl's names should be flexible. If you have an unusual last name maybe she will end up marrying someone with the last name Smith or Johnson, you never know. Mary Ketteringham could one day become Mary Smith.

Maybe with a bit of luck and your creativity you can combine names to create new ones. What about combining Mommy & Daddy's names to create a beautiful name for your child. If that doesn't work you don't need to stop there. Combine two grandmother's or grandfather's names. For that matter, combine any two people you love! And it doesn't have to create a name, sometimes it creates initials. Kyle & Lacey as parents may find that they can get Kasey out of their names but may choose to go with Kathryn Claire for the initials of K.C.

Here are some combination names to get your creativity started:

John & Tracy = Jacie or J.C.

Robert & Corey = Rory

Kyle & Lacey = Kasey or K.C.

Dan & Katie = Kaidan

Jeff & Lori = Jory

Karen & Linda = Karly

Good luck in the name game!

Copyright 2004-Stacie Dahl

Owner, Blankie Bundles

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