Feb 052009

Mr T and I realize that, sooner or later, we will have to call our daughter something other than “Wallaby.” But we’re having a terrible time actually choosing a name.


(Wallabies are cute!! Image source)

It’s just so much pressure.  What about all those studies that seem to equate name with life outcome? Why, according to this website, your baby’s name “is the single most important influence on your child’s personality and destiny.”  How can we tackle that alone — perhaps we should just throw in the towel and hire a baby name consultant??

Here’s What We’re Sure Of:

Mr T has one main criterion for naming a girl:  The name must sound terrible when used to introduce a stripper.  If she decides to go that route, she’ll just have to come up with a stage name.

I have a few others:  (1) Nothing that will draw comments from every third person she meets.  So, nothing too creative, and no names of famous people.  (Though Auntie Dubbs swears “Vera Wang” is OK!)

(2) Nothing that will require constant correction of spelling or pronunciation.

(3) No “prank call” names: When your last name is “Wang,” you just can’t use names like “Anita” or “Ivana.”  Even my beloved grandmother’s name, “Frieda,” sounds wrong.  (Shortie knowswhat I’m talking about….)

(Indexed, via the Freakonomics Blog)

But then there are so many grey areas.  Would you use….

- The name of a friend’s child?  Or even just someone in social proximity?  (There’s only one other baby in our building, and she has a name we considered at one point.  But wouldn’t it be weird to use it?)

- The name of a friend or acquaintance?  Assuming you’re not “naming the child after” the person….

- The name of a friend’s DOG?  We hang out at a dog park all the time, what about the names of dogs we see regularly at the park?

- A name that calls to mind a particular famous person?  (“Keira” is a lovely name, but aren’t you basically naming your child after Keira Knightley?)

- A popular name?  We’d like to avoid anything in the Top 10 (no one wants to be the 3rd “Jennifer” in class), but what about, say, 11-25?  And different states have different Top 10s, so do you follow the local or the national trend?

- What about a name that’s especially popular in your culture or cultural subgroup?  (I thought we were doing well, but had a few shocks from 10 Ways to Avoid Hipster Baby Names….)

Bonus Question: Did you pick a “someday baby name” in your youth?  If so, do you think you’ll use it?

Interested in baby names?  I recommend these sites:

NameVoyager (oddly mesmerizing graphs of a name’s popularity over decades)

Nameberry (name descriptions can be a bit flippant, but the lists are fun)

Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing (“A Primer on Parent Cruelty”)

The Renamer (choose a name based on personality traits)

And P.S. …. Feel free to suggest any fantastic girl names for little Wallaby!!

  23 Responses to “Your 2 Cents: Baby Names”

  1. I love my daughter’s name- Emma Isabelle- and if I ever have another little girl I’m thinking Genavieve… :)

  2. I was named after my Dad’s favorite newswoman, who ended up on a little show called the View. :) Anyways, not to sound vain, but I think it’s pretty and could totally work with Wang: Meredith.

  3. Ariel, those are lovely names.And Meredith, I *love* that you were named after Meredith Viera! She’s so smart and classy; your dad clearly had good taste.

  4. I’m thinking her name needs at least two syllables because Wang is only one syllable. You want at least a 2:1 first name syllable to last name syllable in this situation (however, if you have a last name with a lot of syllables then the first name needs to have less syllables). These are just my rules of thumb.For example, ‘Jane Wang’ just sounds boring on a girl. ‘Tara Wang’ sounds better, but you can’t go all junior (though there is no hard rule on that is there?) So, I’m looking for a name with like 3-4 syllables to roll off onto the Wang (that sounded gross didn’t it?). Here are some that come off the top of my head.Alexandra WangPenelope WangJacqueline WangSophia WangHere’s one out of left field, but the girl who had the name was tre’ gorgeous…Svetlana Wang.

  5. Aw, Rocky, always a sucker for a gorgeous gal…I totally agree with you on the 3-syllable front, although I think our 3-syllable names may have been whittled down to the 2-syllable “names they’ll end up being called anyway.” Alexandra was definitely on our list at one time, in part because we were married in Alexandria. (Cheesy? Maybe.) And Sophia is one of my favorite names, but sadly I already used it on our last dog.

  6. Sophia! One of my middle names, and an all-time favorite of mine. Is it on your official list?Also, thanks to you, I got sucked into Nameberry for two hours- as a kid, I read baby name books for fun (kinda long story…) haha.

  7. I have the same criteria as you! And… I have some names picked out, but I’m not sharing (sorry!).However, here’s a site for some more inspiration: http://youcantcallitit.com/ :)

  8. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are having the HARDEST time with naming our little girl too. I feel the same as you on all levels!

  9. Hehehe. The only thing I would say is that, if you’re doing a middle name, be careful of the middle initial too. My full name sounds fine, but when you take the first initial of my middle name and pair it with my maiden name, it’s kind of gross/obscene. It was seriously the bane of my existance growing up because it was on all my government issued ID. Boo!

  10. When I was a kid, I spent hours plotting out the baby names for my ten children. Ha! Now I tell my fiance he’ll be lucky if he gets more than two. Anyway… my suggestion is Eloise.

  11. Sweet T — Sophia is one of my favorites as well! Love that it means feminine wisdom, and the coolest kid in my junior high was named Sophie. But then I had to go and use it for my last dog….Tifffany — Thanks for that link, I love the site and its suggestions. They also linked to http://www.babynamebrainstorm.com which may turn into another new addiction.Fall — Good luck, with naming AND of course pregnancy! You’ll have to check back in a few months and share your choice!Girl — Wow, I never considered middle initials. And that makes me desperately curious about your full name…. ;)Lauren — The thought of even ONE kid still gives me a panic attack at this point! Though they say a certain amnesia sets in and eventually makes more than one sound like a better idea…. And I love Eloise. There’s a character on Lost with that name who may prove to be significant this season; if so, will be curious whether that gives the name a popularity bump.

  12. *cough* Allison *cough*I used to love the name Rain in high school, but didn’t want kids to sign “Rain, Rain go away”.Then my favorite was Madison, but that is too over used now AND the name of my neighbor’s dog.Then I liked Meredith, but now it is my ex’s Mom’s name and I will remember her every time I say it, so that is bad.Next was Addison, but since my name is Allison is that weird?So now, who knows.

  13. “A Time Mag. article: Please Help Joel Stein Name His Babyhttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1858883,00.htmlI like Sophia too, how about Claudia, or Kathleen (Kathy? Katy?), Corrine, Marta, Elizabeth. None of those sound bad with Wang, to me any way.When I was a baby and my parents had roommates to help with the rent, their roommates (who were also married) named their daughter after the Cabbage Patch Doll I got for my second birthday, Elina. (Pronounced Eleena). The roommates they had before that were a single mother from Africa named Sinky and her daughter Jazz. Jazz left me almost all her babydolls, so my black babydolls were named Jazz-dolls.”

  14. Wallaby is a perfectly fine and acceptable name that no one would think is odd or strange. At all. Ever.

  15. Ali — Hm, Meredith and Addison … any chance you watch Grey’s Anatomy? (Wink.) I love “Addison” too and had never heard it before that show.Viola — That Time article was great!! Sadly, we have no roommates to fall back on, but I like Elina. A good friend named her daughter “Elena,” and don’t know that I ever would have thought of it otherwise, but now it’s one of those out-of-bounds names I’m obsessed with (like Vera!).Bucky — No comment. Though it WOULD advance our goal of getting her through high school without ever being asked out by a boy….

  16. I am not pregnant, but we pretty much have our names picked out already (middle ones too!). I am big on naming after family members. My grandmother will be our daughter or my FI’s grandfather will be our son. Both are deceased and meant a great deal to us.A few other suggestions:JessicaJordanaMichela (Mi-Kay-la)AliceAliciaHopeAlexandra – really, given your wedding location, so sweetVeronicaMeredithKateCarolynKimberlyElizabeth/EllieOr, take a word in another language/root word – something to describe the miracle or amazing gift that she is.Good luck! And hope you are feeling well :)

  17. Elsa Wallaby Wang = EWWcan’t have THAT! (though wallabies are some of the cutest creatures on the planet!)I do like Elsa though. It is traditional, but not too common. Easy to spell. Has solid elegance (unlike say, Bambi)I liked “Geneva”, but never had a girl babyBest wishes!!Suz from Wisconsin (woot!)

  18. PS– if she is Elsa, no Z-middlenamesE.Z. Wang

  19. Hmm…I like:Maggie RaeAudrinaClara…great baby name links btw!

  20. Wow, S — great suggestions, thanks! (And thanks for the good wishes.) Three of them, at least, have been on our consideration list….Suzanne — I never really considered initials, and you’re good at them! “EWW” particularly cracked me up, though I’m sure part of that is the funny idea of sticking with Wallaby as a middle name. (And, yeah, “E.Z.” wouldn’t do much for our parental goal of being sure she never gets a date in high school!)Hami — Lovely names, and you don’t see them overly often. I especially like “Audrina.” And glad you enjoyed the links — aren’t they addicting?!?

  21. Ugh – name choosing is overwhelming! I know if I have a daughter one of her names will be Alta – just have to figure out something to go with it! She will be Alta #4 and probably hate it like I did until she’s about 18 :)I LOVE the name Sophia. LOVE IT.Also love Ella.What about Jilian :) 3 syllables.

  22. Jilian is a wonderful name. As is Alta. (Trust me, as generational women’s names go, it could be worse! I love both my grandmothers tremendously, but just can’t bring myself to name our child Shirley or Frieda.)

  23. late in the game but i must participate!your rules are awesome. no stripper names tho is kinda disappointing, but i understand.my given name is a boy’s name, and i think it’s one of the reasons why i lack estrogen and cannot attend any female only events without freaking the f out. i’d love to say ‘look at me i turned out fine!’ but we both know better than this.da hubs and i joke about naming a dog a very very common person name. it’d be hilarious to go to a crowded park and yell across the field ‘stop eating your own poop/licking your balls/sniffing that dog’s butt, mike!’ and see 5 mikes turn around. i know, we have a terrible sense of humor. and i apologize if you have someone close to you name mike (but then who doesn’t).personally i think a short first name to go with a short last name is especially pretty, but you gotta have a long middle name to offset it. no suggestions on the middle ones but for the first names i like reese and grace.reese wang, grace wang both sound beautiful to me. oh thinking about wallaby gets me so excited! if i come to DC can i please please please hold her? perhaps we can get some felafel?? hee.

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