Monday, January 13, 2014

Baby Names

It's time for another post. A friend actually requested one on facebook. And it's a good time for one, really. Because I have a problem - I have nothing to name. Names have been an unofficial passion for me, since...forever. If there were some way to legitimize this passion, I'd be all over it, trust me.

Anyway, recently two separate friends have reached out to me for advice on what to name their kids. So I participated in some really fun brainstorming sessions.

For anyone that looks at a baby name book with fear - I don't get you at all, haha. Those things are amazing! For anyone glad to give it away...who ARE you? Mine is on the shelf with the dictionary and gets 10x more use.

I wanted to give you a few tips, as I seem to be discovering people who don't adore this process get overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

This is how I name kids. And it's a good place for you start if you are not in love with any one particular name.

Today - we will name our 4th child. (I am NOT pregnant!!). A girl? No problem. Her name is Shaughnessy Aleah - Shaunie for short. Done. Easy right? Haha. That's how simple it is when you love only one thing above all else.

But what about when you love a lot of things? For me, boys names are the thing. I love so many of them. Soooo many. For about the past year I have been in love with a boys name: Deacon Cash. We'd call him Cash, most often, and probably Dekes too (I am a super nick-namey person, personally).

Problem: Deacon Cash doesn't work with our family "rules". We decided that our boys would have 3 names, the third one being named after someone. Since we already have two boys following this "rule", it would not be fair to stray from it now and leave 1 child out.

Last week, this name was troubling me, so I decided to work on it. (keep in mind, this was ME working on this ALONE. My husbands opinions haven't factored in here, since he's busy and doesn't really enjoy working through the process to name fictional children;-)

I made a list of everybody we could name him after (third name choices): We have already used our fathers names of James & David


Not a single one of these work after the name Deacon Cash. Especially with our last name. The flow is wrong because Cash is too short of a name. Deacon Brian Cash actually sounds ok - but it's breaking the "rule", and at this point, I don't want the rule broken, only to accommodate a name I like. So - I have to choose one of the names on this list, for sure.

So I back it up to the second name - Cash. It is really the problem with this whole name. So, I take into account other names we liked, when naming our other boys. With Brooks, we had 3 first names to pick from. Brooklyn, Lleyton and Callum. With Grey we toyed with the idea of using Lleyton, Callum, Breckin or Judson. Since two of those names are now used, we are left with Breckin, Judson and Callum.

And we like Callum better. Deacon Callum works.

Now for the namesake - choosing the great grandparent could work (John or Allan), choosing the great uncles (John, William, Clifford or Trevor) might be a stretch. Choosing only 1 of my brothers names seems a little like picking favourites - could be awkward. Brian's lifelong best friend is named Joshua. Seems to fit really well!

Deacon Callum Joshua.

Cash would be a nickname, like Grey or Brooks or Kenna - something he's called, but not something that is actually part of his name. It's a mashup of {Ca}llum and Jo{sh}ua

For the final check-off. Does it match with the "theme" we have going on with our kids? Is Cash the same type of name as Brooks and Grey. I'd like to consider that style of name Modern Cowboy. I think Cash fits. Does Deacon go with Brooklyn and Lleyton? I think it does.

So the end result is that I have the name that I wanted to use. Deacon Cash.

And on paper, I am still honouring all the things I set out to accomplish - names that "go together", a name with a "perma-nickname", 3rd name in honour of someone we love, all three names flowing well with our last name. None of these things are things I am willing to compromise on. There are a good many names that I love, that don't fit with the names of my other kids - so they're out.

I hope reading through my process has inspired you to think about what is important to you in naming your kids, and given you a few ideas of how to work through all the millions of names, whittling down the selection into a handful of choices to pick from.

An idea: Use highlighters in your baby name book. Yellow over ALL the names you like the look or sound of. Go back and do pink over all the names you would actually use (there is a difference). Then go back over in orange all the ones that belong to a "theme". They are all "old fashioned names", they are all "Old English" names, they are all "place names", they are all names that start with an "M" etc. A good place to start is with all the names that are orange in your book. There shouldn't be many, if you follow the formula above. There is your handful! Happy naming!

Read my other posts on baby names here

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