Thursday, July 15, 2010

Expecting the unexpected - Baby Names

Now that I am in my 7thmonth of pregnancy, you would think that DH (dear hubby) and I would have decided on a name for our baby girl. But no, we have yet made up our mind. As we are Chinese, we would be selecting a Chinese name and an English name for our little girl. Picking a Chinese name was easy and we decided one ‘that is it’ pretty much right away. But the English name is a little elusive. DH suggested that we leave this choice up to our little girl. Future flashes of my little girl wanting to call herself ‘Barbie’ or ‘Purple’ after her favorite toy or color pop into mind. I tell DH that selecting a child’s name is a parental right we earn and should exercise. So the search for an English name continues.
We want a classical name that is not too out-there and one that is too common either. Currently we have a very short short-list and waiting to meet our little girl before deciding.
Living in Hong Kong means we have encountered our fair share of interestingfirst names.
Galaxy (boy) – ‘You can call me Garlick’, said the man when we first met
Fluffy (girl) – was the name of a client’s wife. Had to keep a straight face while introducing myself
Kinky (girl) – Now I have not actually met Kinky, but my ex-colleague did. His favorite story goes: Him meeting Kinky who introduced herself, ‘Hi, I am Kinky’and him replying ‘Hmn, so am I’.
While I am pretty sure that these creative individuals came up with their own names, it makes me wonder if there are some tips for parents in naming their offspring.
1. Last name consideration
This has to be initial basic factor for consideration. For instance, if you have a long uncommon last name, perhaps you want a shorter simpler first name. Make sure that the first name sounds nice with the last name. Be sure to avoid one with negative connotations.
I remember a teacher, Mr. Chng, whose daughter is called Monica. Now Monica is a lovely name but Monica Chng, when read fast (‘mo-ni-ka-chng’), means to touch your buttocks in Hokkien (a Chinese dialect).
DH’s surname sounds like ‘thing’ and one of our common jokes is naming our daughter Amazing. Don’t worry for our little girl; it’s just a joke!
2. Naming after someone special
I know many people who name their child after the grandfather or grandmother. There is also a tradition of naming the first son after the father. This is a good way to honor someone special to you and your child benefits from a role model he/she can look up to.
3. Initials
This is a simple tip, which didn’t occur to me till I read it. The trick is to check the first initials of the chosen name, middle name and family name. Now, Zachery Edward Tobin is great but it’s not the same case for Zachery Isaiah Tobin (Z.I.T.). Young children these days are smart and can be cruel. Young ZIT will no doubt be the butt of endless jokes in the playground.
4. Polls and feedbacks
I have tried a poll with the short-list of names that DH and I had selected. The outcome? The results are as divided as we are. Moral of the story is not to rely on others’ input for a decision you should make yourself.
Some people announced their name choice upon decision before the baby is born. What they find is unwelcome feedbacks from others along the lines of ‘Are you sure? I know a XX who is such a biatch’ or ‘How about YY? Your dad will be so upset with this choice’. Or worse, a friend stealing your chosen name. No one has dips on names after all. So my advice would be to announce the baby’s name along with the birth announcement. That way, you will have no protest over your name choice as attention is focused on your cute little newborn.
5. Baby websites
You can seek your inspiration from the various baby names websites. The popular name list can be your picking ground or you can avoid names that are becoming too popular.
Below are several baby websites I have come across in the course of selecting our baby’s name. I hope it’s useful to you too.
  • Baby Genie: crazy genie who churns out names that go well with your surname
  • Babyhold: has a nice selection of unique baby names
  • Nymbler: my favorite site so far. It suggests names based on name that you like but will not use for one reason or another.
  • Think Baby Names: not the most user-friendly website but I like the yearly rank of the top 1000 names (most website list up to top 100) in various countries. It also boasts of a database with over 30,000 names.
  • which is best for finding out what others think. It features a user ranking for every ranking, the number of name list it is on, songs that the name appears in and many more.
  • Baby center: how can I leave out my trusted pregnancy resource website? BabyCenter allows you to search for meanings, find out historical popularity of the name and create a list.
Have fun picking your baby’s (or future child’s) name!

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