How to choose baby names

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So you’re having a baby. And you need that perfect name that will let him stand out from the crowd, will proclaim to all and sundry that this is an important and person of special circumstances.

What shall it be, then, Mr. and Mrs Potter?’ I warn you, if you decide to name your son Harry, expect to hear “Where’s your wand, Potter?” or “Hogwarts toss you out again, Harry?”

Not quite so simple, is it? Lets face it, folks, there really are some very important things you should consider before you stamp that precious bundle of joy with some whimsical and enchanting title. Cute might be your first instinct, but just how cute is that going to be over time because, realistically, your child’s name is something that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, or until she marries. It should be chosen with care, consideration and all the love you have for your little darling and the man or woman this child will become.

Be smart. Take some time to think carefully. Say the name you’re considering, not just once, but several times, so its not the first blush you’re hearing but the true ring. The name you arrive at, first and last, should flow smoothly to the ear.

Another thing, the name you choose should most certainly not not not ever form a phrase that might come back to haunt you and more importantly that babbling bundle in your arms who is looking up at you so trustingly.

You ask why? Well, let me tell you, I know of a person who works as an operator in a call center. One day she answered a call from a client who said his name was Private Richard Parts. He went on to add that he preferred to be called Dick. That’s right, gentle readers, this operator found herself talking to Dick Parts, or Private Dick.

This is what can happen when parents don’t consider how the first and last name will sound together. Listen carefully to the sound of the name you are considering. Does it lend itself to being the butt of a cruel joke, because if there is even the smallest chance of it, someone is going to pounce on it and use it to torment your child as he steps out into the social world.

While your considering how your child’s name will sound, also be aware of what his initials might spell out. Scott Allen Pollander might sound perfectly safe. S.A.P. Really want your child coming home in tears because the school bully has begun calling him sap?

So, you think, how about Honey? Flower? Spring? Very seventies, and very dangerous. That bully will have a field day with these. The same with Bambi, Muffy and the typical stereotype preppy names.

Okay, you think, how about something old fashioned and majestic sounding…Perhaps a family name like great great grandfather Delbert or great great aunt Mertile. Perfectly good names. Dignified. Antique.

You might be able to get away from dangerous ground by shortening these to Bert and Merri.

Popular and common names are usually the safest way to go when its all said and done. But not too common. No one wants to be the fifth Tony in the class. That’s just too common for anyone to bear well. But not to fear, you can check a baby names book or website and very likely find a variation for a common name that sounds right and is just that bit to the side of ordinary. One example is my very own daughter, Valene, whose name was derived from Valerie.

Now, proud parents, go forth and choose your child’s name armed with the knowledge of a few possible pitfalls. Just keep in mind if it all goes wrong and the name you decide on fails to please, you have your entire lifetime to make amends, and children do love unconditionally….Just not always their name.

Original post: Sunday, August 2, 2009

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