Name That Baby!

Name That Baby!, pg. 4

9. Sell to the highest bidder. Jason Black and Frances Schroeder of Mount Kisco, NY, made headlines last summer when they put their third child's naming rights up for auction on Yahoo! and eBay. The minimum bid: $500,000. They hoped that a corporate sponsor's beneficence would allow them to buy a home and start a college fund. "You see it with buildings and concert halls," Black told me. "This seemed like the logical next step."

Maybe to them, but not to a number of journalists who found the idea distasteful. (On the Today show, Katie Couric told Black she thought it was "creepy.") The couple, who have two older daughters, decided to end their pursuit. They eventually gave their baby boy the old-fashioned name Zane.

Meanwhile, Gwen and I had reached our wit's end. What was there to do? That's when, suddenly, the skies brightened, the heavens opened, and our path became clear.

10. Leave it to fate. "My husband placed five names we agreed on in a hat and picked one out," says Veronica Rodriguez of Aurora, CO. Sounds easy enough, but even this process isn't foolproof, as Autumn Conley of Springfield, OH, discovered. "I decided that whichever name I drew first would be the baby's first name and the second would be the middle name," says Conley, who had been told that she was having a boy. "I ended up drawing the name Drystan Tyler. Ironically, I gave birth to a girl!" Conley wound up naming her daughter Cissy Alanis. (Cissy is Conley's mother's name.) "Just make sure to choose a boy's name and a girl's name -- in case Mother Nature decides to overrule the ultrasound," she advises.

Finally, sometimes a new parent simply finds the (arch)angels at her side. "I liked the name Gabriel, but my husband didn't want to name our son after an archangel -- funny, since his name is Michael," says Loralee Nolletti of New York City. Nolletti, whose husband was out of town, went into labor a month early during a snowstorm. The first taxi driver that she and her sister, Julie, hailed didn't know where the hospital was. The second driver knew where he was going. "As we were pulling up, Julie pointed his identification out to me," says Nolletti. "His name was Gabriel. That's when I said, 'Julie, I've just named my child.'"

Gwen and I hoped that fate -- or at least common sense -- would shine down on us in a similar fashion. In the meantime, we resolved to remember Barbara Kay Turner's advice: "Parents obviously want to do what's best for their children, but there are some names that should never be given to a child." Think twice, she warns, before choosing joke names and those that are so distinct that they're difficult to spell and pronounce. "Remember, a name is for a lifetime," she says, "unless it's really so bad that a child later decides to change it."

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