We get pretty jazzed when someone from Parents.com welcomes a new baby into his or her family. And this week, we were thrilled to help Parents.com executive editor Michael Kress and his wife, Stephanie, welcome a brand new baby girl.
They chose names that are significant to their family for Sophia. Sophia (Tsofiya in Hebrew) was chosen to honor Stephanie’s late father, Tsvi. As any name nerds know, Sophia is currently the most popular name in the country, and it means wisdom. The most famous bearer of the name was movie star Sophia Loren.
The middle name, Devorah, is a Hebrew name that means “bee.” The Kresses chose it to honor Michael’s grandfather, David. Our friends over at Nameberry think it’s a fresh way to pay homage to a Deborah, too. It’s a name that hasn’t cracked the top 1000 here in the U.S., but I think it’s a lovely choice.
Congratulations to Michael and Stephanie! And we can’t wait to finally see some pictures of your beautiful little one.
I’m dedicating this column to a lovely family I know, who is mourning the loss of their beautiful Pierre. I was never fortunate enough to know Pierre in real life, but I saw him grow up on Facebook. He had a soft, gentle smile that really lit up his whole face—and from the stories his mother Mary regaled us with, it was clear he was thriving thanks to the loving care of his family, after spending his first years in a Haitian orphanage. And it was also clear, from the numerous posts on Mary’s Facebook page, that Pierre’s life has touched the hearts of hundreds of people from around the world. I know my words won’t mean much in the face of their grief, but his name was in my heart today.
Pierre is the Frenchified version of Peter, and it means rock—a nice, solid classic for a boy. While Peter has largely stayed in the top 200 baby names for the past century, Pierre has zig-zagged all over the map, and has even moved out of the top 1000 altogether. But I think it’s a lovely way to pay homage to a Peter, but with a little French twist.
I’m not sure what middle name Mary and Doug chose for their son—or if they kept the name he was given in the orphanage. Pierre pairs beautifully with other French names like Blaise, Julian, Noel or Warren. Or try something like Valentin, Hudson, Sebastian, James or Leo. They’re all lovely names—just like Pierre.
I’ve written before about J.K. Rowling’s naming prowess. Her names from Harry Potter are legendary—Severus Snape, Remus Lupin and the like are perfect names that say something about the character before they even speak! And even in Casual Vacancy, her first “grownup” book, she had some good ones.
So I found it interesting that she picked a pretty bland name—Robert—for her pen name when she tried to publish her first mystery novel in secret. (It’s called The Cuckoo’s Calling, in case you want to take a look.) But now that the secret’s out, we can analyze her name selections, which once again befit the novel and the characters that populate it. There’s the alleged victim, Lula Landry, a supermodel with a bit of a bad-girl streak, and the trusty assistant Robin (perhaps a nod to Batman’s trusty sidekick?). I’m loving the name she saved for her detective hero best, though—that’s Cormoran Strike, a former military man who’s dealing with a struggling detective agency, a bad breakup with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, an amputated leg, and a high-profile case, all at the same time.
Cormoran is a very uncommon name—it’s popular in Cornish myth, though, as the name of the giant who created the rocky outpost, St. Michael’s Mount, just off of the coast of Cornwall. He was allegedly felled by the legendary Jack the Giant Killer, and the treasure the giant had stolen from the Cornish people was returned to them. It’s the perfect name for Rowling’s hero—a large, stocky man who has a bold and brusque way of dealing with the world.
Cormoran would be an excellent choice for someone looking for an alternative to some of the more popular Celtic/English names—like Connor, Liam, and Cameron. It lends itself to a short-and-sweet middle name pairing—Strike would be an offbeat (and striking) choice, but you could also consider True, Lee or Rex with it.
What do you think of the name Cormoran? Too offbeat, or a cool alternative to some pretty popular names?
It’s all girls this week in celebrity baby names. Singer Monica and her husband, Phoenix Suns’ b-ball player Shannon Brown welcomed their first daughter, Laiyah Shannon, while it’s a second girl for NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, who welcomed Lydia Norriss, who joined big sister GenevieveMarie.
Laiyah was the name the baby’s godmother picked for her. It isn’t a common name—and seems to be a variant of either the Hebrew Leah, which means weary, or the Catalan nickname-name Laia, which means sweet speaking. It’s also similar to the name Aaliyah, worn most famously by the late pop singer, which is an Arabic name that means “high born.” Her middle name is Shannon, in homage to her daddy—this unisex Irish name is now slightly more common for girls.
Lydia is a classic Greek baby name, currently in the top 100. A Lydia plays a small part in the New Testament, and it rose in popularity in the 18th century—it was featured as one of the Bennett sisters in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Norriss appears to be a family name.
What do you think? Would you prefer the more offbeat Laiyah, or the classic Lydia?
According to one judge in Tennessee, not so much. MessiahDeShawnMartin’s parents couldn’t agree on a name for their baby, so they took their battle to court. A child support magistrate in Tennessee recently ruled that Jaleesa Martin could not name her child Messiah (which, incidentally, is currently in the top 400 baby names in the country, so she was hardly being unique), because “It’s a title that has only been earned by one person—Jesus Christ,” magistrate Lu Ann Ballew told a local TV station. And she changed the baby’s name to Martin Deshawn McCullough.
As we’ve talked about in the past, the U.S. doesn’t generally outlaw baby names, though other countries have limitations on what children can be named. Jaleesa is appealing the decision, and I’m thinking she may win—though this case is complicated by the fact that both parents aren’t agreeing on the baby’s name. You can catch a CNN report on the story here:
So what do you think? Did the judge have the right to pick a name for the baby? Are there any baby names that you think should be banned in the U.S.?