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Picking a baby name is one of the most fun, and most difficult, parts of preparing for a baby.
This is the identity they will have for the rest of their lives, whether they like it or not.
It’s exhilarating because you get to be creative. You can honor people on both sides of the family, talk about hopes and dreams that you have for your child, and look up the meanings behind names.
It’s difficult because putting the name through various tests, like the Name Game, may cause you to change your mind over and over. For example, “Nat the Brat” was a nickname I had growing up – my parents apparently didn’t put my name through that test.
Some know their baby’s name before they’ve even conceived while others bounce names around until they meet their little one face to face.
When we were first married, we talked about baby names constantly! Our adoption journey began and names were once again a hot topic; I became pregnant again and names were again in our conversations. Pinterest has blog posts upon blog posts about what to name your baby; bookstores have shelves of baby name books; Instagram has entire accounts dedicated to baby names: the possibilities are endless. What about this? What about that? Are there any special names in your family? What about mine? Does it rhyme with a bad word? Will our kid be made fun of with that name? The questions and tests are endless.
But there are 5 most important questions you have to ask yourself before picking your baby’s name.
1. Does this name have deep meaning for you and your family?
Picking a baby name is personal, and names are subjective. Recently my grandma mentioned someone named their child Aspen and how ridiculous it sounded; I then shared with her that was one of the names on my Potential Name list! To her, the name was silly and weird, unheard of, and a city. To me the name was simple and a little more unique than Joe. No matter what name you pick for your baby, people will have their opinions both good and bad. You don’t have to ask them to share their opinions – if the name you chose has deep meaning, you don’t have to explain it to every single person who raises their eyebrows at you.
2. Do you have a quick explanation ready?
Whether you name your baby Will or River, people will ask you how you went about picking a baby name. For us, the middle names of our children are extremely special while the first names are less complex and a little more simple to us. When people began asking us why we named our son what we named him, we realized we needed to have an explanation ready. Honestly? It was not some grand heroic explanation, but at least we know what to say when people ask and are no longer fumbling around with words.
3. Are you ready for confusion?
Especially if the name you have chosen is unique, spelled differently, or gender neutral, people will be confused and not hide it. Their faces will contort and portray pure confusion. They will ask you to pronounce and spell it. They will ask if he is a boy or girl. They will assume they know and say, “Oh he has so much hair!” when in fact, your little one is very much a girl. You may not even realize the ways people can be confused about your baby’s name until you have him or her in your arms, but be ready!
4. Has it passed the Playground Test?
Yes, picking a baby name means putting it through the Playground Test. I am sure you have written it on paper, spelled it out in journals, imagined it hanging in the nursery. But have you imagined what it will be like to yell it across the playground a dozen times in a row? Have you put it through the Parent-Voice? “Davidddd, put that down.” “Sue! Sue, get off that kid and go down the slide!” These are important tests to be sure the name you have chosen passes. It adds an entire perspective.
5. What will his or her nicknames be?
Is the name you have chosen short, allowing for a nickname to be completely different? Some names you have no idea what nicknames will fly out of your mouth; for instance our son’s name is 4 letters and 1 syllable and we add things to the end of his name. We never planned that. Other names rhyme well with words you may or may not want tacked onto your kid’s identity growing up. Sometimes their nicknames are unexpected and are born out of things they do and like. There is no planning these before you know your baby! Nicknames can be temporary or permanent – some stick for the entirety of their life while others come and go.
Picking a baby name is no easy business. But ask yourself these 5 important questions before picking out a name, and you should be golden!
Featured image source: www.loveheartstringsphotography.com