The Name Game

8 Nov

A few days ago I was reading an article online about Jamie Oliver and his family. 

He and his wife had their fourth child recently (aww, sweet:). And while I was elated that Jamie and his wife seem to have a good marriage and are loving bringing more and more small people into the world, my warm fuzzy feelings were quickly swept away and replaced with horror, repulsion and sadness as I read what this couple has named his children! Just to throw them out there, we have: 

Poppy Honey
Daisy Boo
Petal Blossom Rainbow 
   and last but not least… 
Buddy Bear Maurice

I mean, come on already! All these names would be really cute nicknames but are not so cute as real names. I could totally follow this trail and carry on talking about other ridiculous names that celebrities have named their children however… I’d rather steer us in another direction. I would like to offer you…


1) Start with a name you like, a name your drawn to.
2) Check out the meaning.
     It’s that age old truth- what you say to someone repeatedly, especially a child, will become their truth. For instance, if a child is always told they are stupid and will amount to nothing, chances are, they won’t do so hot in school or life and will probably end up flipping burgers at Micky D’s forever.  If you choose a name that means “bitterness”, don’t be surprised if you end up with a grumpy,  bitter child on your hands. You might not be directly calling them “bitter” but names have meanings for a reason, yah know.  In some cases, you might find a name you love has multiple meanings. I say, choose the meaning you like best and stick with it. 
3) Say it with your surname. Write what the child’s initials would be.
     You want to make sure it rolls of the tongue nicely with you surname and that the initials don’t spell anything weird or crude. 
*The next 3 fall under the same category…
4) A name must be culturally appropriate.

  • In generalplease try to remember that you will not be sitting by your child’s side to rescue and defend them for the rest of their life as people of all ages, cultures and literacy levels read out there name, try to spell it  and along the way may potentially butcher it.

  1. If your surname is particularly ethnic sounding, don’t be cruel and give the child a first name that is incredibly ethnic sounding of a different ethnicity.  I, for one, would not want to be known as Takako Hajeeb Papdopoulos.
  2.  Consider nicknames. 

     Some names are great full names but might have terrible nicknames for whatever family or cultural reason. For instance, when trying to find names for our babies, I suggested the name Ariel. My husband immediately veto’d this because her nickname would obviously be ‘Ari’ and ‘Ari’ is a family word for butt. No dice. 

    Another example would be this; I really like the name Macy for a little girl. In America, it would have been fine but in South Africa ‘macy’ means girl in one of the local languages and can sound trashy if said in the wrong way. Make sense?

  3. Don’t do go to crazy with the spelling! At the moment, the trend in our generation is to spell a name in whatever way floats your boat. However, it is ESSENTIAL that a name is easy to say and easily pronounced when being read at a first glance. If you choose to spell your child’s name very unusually it will most probably be said and spelled a thousand different ways throughout their life leaving them frustrated and forever politely correcting people while inwardly cursing you.  I wanted to spell our daughter Blake’s name: Blaike but we ended up going with the more known spelling of: ‘Blake so that she hopefully wouldn’t have to deal with this her whole life. (*Good call Husband:)

5) Try to picture them introducing themselves as adults using this name. Some names are super cute for children but don’t ‘grow up’ with the child. Some names just sound like a child’s name. I wouldn’t easily feel confident and assured doing business with a 30 year old man named Buddy Bear Maurice! Plus, it’s a proven fact that a name plays a roll in people first impression of you and people with certain names are more likely to be hired when interviewing for a job than others. 

6) Decide what you can live with. For instance, when choosing a unisex name you must come to terms with the fact that people will not immediately be sure what sex your child is. I  love my girls being “girlie girls” and will regularly take them out in head to toe pink and with big flower head bands. But still, when people hear the name “Blake” they ask if she’s a boy. I love that name enough that I’m willing to forge ahead and gently remind people that it is, in fact, a unisex name. Plus, it suits her. So I live with it.  

7)Above all else, consider you child. 

After umming and awwing and going through the process I just described, just before I delivered our twins, Husband and I decided on the names Keena Zoey and Blake Adelaide.

Keena means bold and courageous & Zoey means life giving. 

Blake means bright and transparent and Adelaide- noble. 

Their initials are don’t spell anything weird and their names are easy to say, read, pronounce and spell. We’re not perfect at this process and you might not even like the names we choose in the end but, at least now you know…



One Response to “The Name Game”

  1. Merci Miley December 2, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    This article is so funny! Love the way you write and your kids names.

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