Choosing the Right Baby Name

Looking Up the Meaning: When I venture into the realm of fiction, I often consult baby name sites or books to choose character names. I want the name to match the idea of what the character is like, even if it is never mentioned in the book. I know it, and that’s usually enough.

When choosing your child’s name, that’s not a bad idea. In all of this, I will use my name as an example. Depending on the language chosen, my first name could mean wanted child, rebel or bitter. My middle name pretty much means little woman.

With this, there are two out of four hits. I was very much a wanted child and I have a rebellious nature that surfaces from time to time. But I’m not bitter and no one would dare call me little. I’m nearly 6 feet tall and the phrase “full-figured woman” definitely applies.

Matching Sounds: As a transplanted Southerner, I grew up being called Mary Charlotte. To me, the sounds match. If you are naming a boy, keep in mind that his last name is most likely going to stay the same all his life and matching the sounds is a good thing. With a daughter, you can match the first and middle.

Nickname Possibilities: This is important to consider. Nicknames can be helpful or they can dampen the ego quite a bit. If you choose a name that has several possible nicknames, choose the one you like the best and use it. It will be harder for other children to change it after it’s ingrained into your child’s head.

For this, my name doesn’t help much, but the name Richard could. There are a lot of really good nicknames and one that could be a real problem in the wrong setting. Ricky makes a good nickname and can stand up to any other, more negative choices.

Seeing the Baby First: This actually isn’t an unknown concept. Parents have up to a week after the child is born to turn in a name and acquire a birth certificate. Be forewarned that if you haven’t picked a name before you leave the hospital, baby goes home as John or Jane Doe.

Teasing Factor: Some names actually scream “Tease Me!” Even if he was your favorite great uncle and left you a fortune, calling a child Eugene is asking for it. Think about the children you went to elementary school with. Were any of them teased because of their names? You might want to avoid choosing those.

Used Names:” My side of the family is big on the idea of using family names when a child is born. Back to me as an example, there have been Mary Charlottes in the family for centuries … at least six that we know of. I took a lot of flack when we named our eldest child until I dug up a family member with the same name. Believe me, that took work.

Our younger daughter was named following the expected trend with a twist. There are no Andreas or Maries that I’m aware of, but Andrea is feminine for Andrea, of which we have plenty. Marie is a derivation of Mary, again of which we have many.

The amusing part came when I explained to the girls how their names were chosen. Our younger daughter looked up and said “You gave me a used name? How could you!” I don’t think she minds now, but I also seriously doubt she’s going to name any of her children names that come from the annals of family history.

Choosing a name can be fun, but it is also likely to cause a lot of fuss. Try to have fun with it, but remember the poor kid will have to live with it at least until he or she turns 18.