Saturday 16 August 2014

The name game

Picking a name for your child is one of the most important and considered things you can do. In my opinion at least. I have never understood why some people do not have a name picked by the time their baby is born; fair enough if you have a couple of favourite names and you're not sure which fits best so want to try them out first. But not having anything in mind is just baffling.

Names have power. They have meaning. And yes, Katie Hopkins, you had a point (in part) when you said that you judge people based on their names. We all do at times. If we didn't, it wouldn't matter what we named our children. Any name would be a good choice. 

Instead, when you run through names with your partner, you'll quite candidly say what you really think about the names and what or who they make you think of.

The reality is that a name is a label you will have for life. It's the beginning of your identity, your personality even. Has anyone ever said to you that you suit your name? It forms our sense of self and introduces us to the world. Some names have become iconic as a result. 

It's just a word but we all add meaning to these names based on our experiences. It's a personal thing, to choose a name for someone else who comes into the world and needs a 'label', and the process of choosing a name can be a long one for some, unless you've had a name picked out for years.

I wrote about this before Ethan was born but Stephen and I chose the names of our figurative children around six or seven years ago and Ethan was always going to be our first choice for a boy. As we didn't know what we were having, it was still a surprise when he was born and we had a name picked to give to our bundle of joy. I don't think I looked at him for the first time, with his dark eyes, shrivelled skin and reaching hands, and thought "he looks like an Ethan", but over time, that's his name and he suits it well. Children grow into their names and the many variations of nicknames grow with them. 

Ethan was Bean when he was in my belly, although now it's hard to think of them as the same person. My current favourite nickname I have for him is Munchie but I know that I will have several more over the years to come.

We decided that if we were going to give him a middle name, it would have to be for a reason. You don't really use your middle name for much these days so if Ethan had one, we wanted it to have significance. We chose both of our dad's names and it's nice that we could honour important people in our lives and in Ethan's too.

I always think that teachers have a tricky job when it comes to names; not just having to learn so many but to choose a name for their own child that doesn't make them think of someone they taught. 

The trouble with names, as I say, is that they are a personal choice and everyone will have an opinion. It's important to give due consideration to your choice of name but to be sure to pick something you like or that means something to you, without letting other people's views influence your decision.

I love hearing strange names or combination of names which make you think 'HOW did their parents not see it?!'. Examples of this I've heard over the years include Pat Mycock, Rhoda Lake, Drew Peacock, Paige Turner and once I saw someone from the army interviewed on TV and his name was Major Dickie Head. I'm not joking! I even took a picture of the screen as I couldn't believe it.

When choosing a name, you need to say it out loud, together with your surname and any middle names. You need to write it down, to see how it looks or if the initials spell or suggest anything. It's also a good idea to think of any likely nicknames or alternative spellings. 

Try to keep it to yourself. It may be superstitious, but I don't like jinxing things and some people can be a bit tactless without thinking and may have something unfavourable to say about any of your name choices before it's all 'official' (then it's just good manners to keep it to themselves!).

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter - if you like a name, then that's all that matters. As long as you've given it some thought, and considered how that child may get on with that name when they are older. Some names chosen because they're popular at the time may not have any meaning later on but actually that doesn't matter either, as that child will have grown into that name and given it a meaning of their own.

We don't get to choose our own names when we are born - this is something that is gifted to us, so it's got to count.

Every year Netmums releases the Office of National Statistics top baby names and yesterday these were announced from the year that's been. These lists always fascinate me, to see how some names come into style and others go out. When we first chose Ethan, we'd never met another Ethan ourselves but there's a couple at his nursery and it seems to be quite a popular choice - in fact, it's the 14th most popular name this year in Britain. It doesn't matter really, we would still have chosen the name I think even if it had been number one, as it's a name we talked about a long time ago. I was the only Kelly in my school from a very early age, whereas there was always at least two or three Claire's, for example, so I just wanted Ethan to have his own name, rather than being known as Ethan O in the future.

So, what are the most popular names this year? How popular is your name or your child's name? Here's the top 10 boys and girls names and you can see the complete list on Netmums here.

Top 10 boys names over the past years:

    Origin: English, Meaning: the olive tree
  2. JACK
    Origin: English, Meaning: god has been gracious
  3. HARRY
    Origin: English  Meaning: army man
  4. JACOB
    Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: supplanter
    Origin: German, Meaning: a man
    Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: twin
  7. OSCAR
    Origin: English, Meaning: God's spear
    Origin: English, Meaning: resolute protector
  9. JAMES
    Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: supplanter
  10. GEORGE
    Origin: English, Meaning: farmer

Top 10 girls names over the past year:

    Origin: English, Meaning: Industrious, striving
    Origin: Spanish, Meaning: olive
  3. EMILY
    Origin: German, Meaning: industrious, eager
  4. AVA
    Origin: English, Meaning: variant of medieval name Avis or Aveline
  5. ISLA
    Origin: Scottish, Meaning: Island
    Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: rich
  7. POPPY
    Origin: English, Meaning: flower
    Origin: Hebrew, Meaning: devoted to God
    Origin: Greek, Meaning: wisdom
  10. MIA
    Origin: Latin, Meaning: mine

What names do you like? How did you come to choose your child's name?


  1. Alfie and Archie aren't on here for a change :). I love traditional names for boys and it's so true you do kinda judge on a name. That's why I went for strong traditional names to carry them through life x

    1. I like it when names sounds good together for siblings, like Alfie and Archie. You're right, they're strong names that will never go out of style x

  2. I've got a Jacob and a Samuel.

    I'd always loved the name Jacob. I decided when I was about 15, that I would call my first born son Jacob. It wasn't fashionable then. Apparently it was the 27th most popular name in the year he was born. His dad chose his middle name as he had no say in his first name.

    Jacob actually chose Samuel's name. His class teacher at the time had a son called Sam and she talked about him in class so much that he became slightly iconic! Hubby and I had a list and couldn't shorten it so Samuel became the only option. We chose his middle name from our list as it went with Samuel..


    1. That's so sweet! I love it when names have a story behind them, just gives them even more meaning.

  3. I never met anyone with my name when I was little (although the flip side is that I could never get anything with my name on it!!) and now if I meet somebody called Bethan I get really annoyed!!!

    So, when we thinking of names, I wouldn't consider a name if I already knew somebody with it or if I thought it was popular, but at the same time you don't want to go too crazy.

    The day my brother started nursery he was one of three boys called Christopher and my mum hadn't realised it was a popular name, so I wanted to avoid that!

    We chose Gwenn (Welsh, like mine) and Elsie for her middle name. Elsie is really popular now but I chose it because it was my Grandma's name and I thought my mum would like it.

    I keep a list of names on my phone for future reference!!


  4. Like you said it's hard for a teacher to choose a name. My husband is a teacher and he kept saying: 'don't like that name', 'can't have this one, it reminds me of...' or 'I have a horrible one in Year 9...'.So it was really hard. In the end I found the names while watching TV. My son is Arthur and our daughter is Constance.


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