Posts Tagged ‘ baby naming ’

The Royal Baby: How To Choose A Name?

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the book “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons and can be emailed at or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.


Prepare to have your tastes judged relentlessly.

Giving anything a name can be a daunting task. A poem, a song, your pet iguana. If you’ve ever been in a position where you’ve had to “title” any of them, I don’t need to tell you that it’s a painstaking, often arduous process. And naming your own child is easily the most difficult of any naming decision you’ll make.

First, it’s a name you’ll be blamed for until you die. Second, both you and your spouse have to come to one joint decision (which is difficult when you can’t even decide on a movie for Saturday night). And third, there is often family pressure to succumb to their wishes rather than sticking to your own (likely predetermined) ideas. Just ask Princess Kate, who I can guarantee you, deep down, would’ve loved to go against royal tradition and name her baby Thor, or something equally unexpected. King Thor does have a nice ring to it.

Before you even start the process of determining a name for your child, there is one thing you need to remember: Everyone has opinions, and most of them are terrible. Or at least they will seem that way to you. After you’ve announced that you’re expecting, and you’ve been grilled relentlessly about the-gender-you-won’t-know-for-months-anyway, you will find yourself inundated with baby names. It’s like being smacked across the face with a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Most of the information will be completely unusable and self-serving.

Aside from your own indecisiveness, you also have to deal with the aforementioned skewed views of everyone in your life who believes their opinion matters. For example, you’ll have those who will passive aggressively tell you they hate the name you’ve chosen.

“Sophia? Really? You guys actually like that name?” No, we can’t stand it. We’re just really big ”Golden Girls” fans.

Then, you’ll have those who don’t like the name because it reminds them of someone who wronged them in a totally insignificant way in 1973.

“Oh, please don’t name her Francesca. I knew a receptionist named Francesca and she had a lisp and was incredibly promiscuous.” I was grateful for this information, as the last thing I’d want is for my daughter to be a lady of the night with a speech impediment.

The most intriguing bunch are the ones who believe that by naming your child the same name as someone they despise, your child will magically inherit the awful personality traits of the hated party. Generally speaking, this person’s opinion should be treated like a new boyfriend or girlfriend’s attempt at making homemade sushi—pushed to the side and ultimately discarded when no one is looking.

Your best bet is to not tell anyone your chosen name until he/she is born. Pre-parent, I found this pretentious. But now I believe it’s the path that leads to the least amount of drama, bitterness and resentment. In a nutshell, people are much less likely to speak ill of your decision if it’s one they can no longer change. Not to mention you have a new baby. Anyone with an ounce of social grace knows to keep their mouth shut.

With that said, here is a series of pitfalls to avoid. Follow these and you should be able to keep your child out of therapy for a while.

  • The name chain

If your last name starts with a “K,” don’t name your kid “Mike.” Instead of being Mike Kaplan, your child will end up being My Kaplan, Mike Aplan, or worst of all, Micapalin (which sounds more like an over-the-counter ED medication).

  • Hey, it’s tradition

It’s an honorable act, naming your son after his grandparents. However, if you’re having a boy (and the two grandfathers are Richard and Lester), don’t name your poor son Richard Lester. People tend to abbreviate or shorten names and this one will only spawn ridicule and shame (shorten Richard to Dick…then take it from there). Or, for abbreviation, our newest royal family member: G.A.L.

  • The unavoidable nickname

Speaking of abbreviating names, don’t name your daughter Susan if you hate Sue. It’s like putting a piece of cake in a doggy dish and being angry that the pup licked the icing off. A nickname is going to happen at some point. So I suggest picking a name where you can live with any possible version of it. You can still monogram their receiving blankets with your personal favorite of the bunch.

  • Fallen on hard rhymes

Before you slap a name on that birth certificate, say it out loud to yourself. Then say it to a few others. Did any of them cover their face and stifle a laugh? Well, it’s probably because you named your kid Dino Marino.  If you want to give something a clownish name, saddle your dog with it. Better yet, a goldfish. The life expectancy is much shorter, minimizing the humiliation from their friends.

At the end of the day, this is your decision and yours alone. When my wife was pregnant with our second son, we made a monumental mistake and told everyone our three top choices. This guaranteed one thing: at least one person would be disappointed. In fact, people started referring to the baby by their favorite…while he was still in the womb!   We waited three days after his birth and ultimately decided on the least popular of the three, Nathaniel, and announced it to the families shortly thereafter. Sometimes, at night, I close my eyes and can still hear the crickets.

So, stick to your guns, decide on a moniker that sounds pleasant with your last name and one that you’ll be comfortable shouting for the next couple of decades.

Thanks for reading, and look for my blog next week about the thought process behind going from two to three kids. In the meantime, check out my recent appearance on Huffington Post Live, discussing “How to Hire a Nanny.” They had me take my glasses off, so I l0ok blind, but I was thrilled to be a part of the conversation.

What are your baby-naming pet peeves? Add a comment below!

Pregnant belly picture courtesy of



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Naming Baby–Fia’s Story and More

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Ack. I’m in the same boat as fellow blogger Berit. We are both due in 2 weeks and trying to come up with names for our babies.We have enlisted the help of yet another Parents Blogger who specializes in names. Here is what she wrote recently for my name dilemma.

With Fia, Phil and I were in the hospital for 2+ days before we decided on a name. They urged us to decide on something before we left, because it can be a real pain to go through the courts afterwards in getting a “legal” name on the books. I felt pressured. And oh-so-exhausted from a rough labor/C-Section. I didn’t want to rush into anything as important–or permanent–as a name.

I remember my father in law calling, “Have you come up with a name yet?” “No!” we said. “Well, when?” The pressure to decide on something of this magnitude irked me. I wished we had a system more like they do in Iceland: you take the baby home and a few weeks or even a month later, you decide on a name. You have a “baby naming” party and everyone comes. By that time, you’ve really had the chance to get to know your infant a little more. And potentially rest a bit. Or at least be more rational than you those first few days.

When Phil and I went to the hospital, we were armed with a list of 200 names. He printed out the top 100 girl names for the past 10 years, and then another set of the top 100 girl names from the turn of the century. Talk about some funny ones: Bertha, Mamie, and my favorite: Freda.

As I labored–and even after Fia came–we went through the list with a highlighter, eliminating most of them. Then we made another list of our favorites and started combining potential first and middle names.

I kept coming back to Fia Lily. I had come across the name Fia on a search when I was about 5 months pregnant. It meant “fiery one” in Italian, as a derivative of Fiama. In Scandanavia, it means perky. And in Portugese, Fia means daughter.

I loved Lily, but a) knew it was too popular to be a first name. b) can’t have another “ill” name, ie: Phil, Jill, Lil. Too cute. But together, I felt like Fia Lily sounded so pretty, almost lyrical.

We also wanted something with a good nickname, and we liked “Fi” (Fee). Wee Mee Fee, we’d say during my pregnancy.

So in the end, we decided on Fia. Or Fi, for short. Fia Lily Johnston is her full name. Unfortunately we didn’t do anything with Lily. I think in order for a middle name to be effective, you have to start using it right away. Am thinking we try this strategy with Baby #2.

So what to name #2? I like Liam, Luke and Lucas…but now Baby Center has Liam as #4, Lucas as #9. Bleh. I want something short, but that also lends itself to a nickname. Unless we made the middle name the nickname. That’s one way to utilize it I guess.

I like Simon a lot. And Callum…but to a lesser extent.

His middle name will probably be MacNeil, which was Phil’s grandmother’s maiden name. And I think Simon MacNeil or Liam MacNeil (Johnston) sounds cool. The middle name could serve as the nickname, ie: Mac.

Can’t do MacNeil as a first name. MacNeil Johnston. Say it outloud. Sound like a pharmaceutical company.

Thoughts anyone?

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