STFU Parents: The Future Of Baby Names

Back in July, I wrote about the Crazy Baby Names people give their children. Today’s parents are all about naming their children “uniquely” so that their kids have a better chance of being ‘noticed’ as they go through life. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be taken more seriously, but certainly they’ll be given more attention, if only because their classmates and teachers will be repeatedly mispronouncing and misspelling their names for years to come. It’s actually a bit ironic that so much of what’s reported about parenting right now revolves around children’s names as well as their digital identities, because while I think it makes sense to purchase eponymous domain names for babies, I often wonder who will be able to remember how to spell them.

To make matters even more complicated, many parents have reported feeling “name remorse,” leading them to legally change their children’s names. I can understand the remorse if parents want to change their child’s name from “Khenzie” to “Sarah,” but most of the time in the articles I’ve read the parents are quoted as saying, “She just wasn’t a Khenzie. She’s a Maddilhyn, and that’s that!” [Insert long sigh here.]

Now, with the end of 2011 approaching, everywhere I turn there’s a new baby name list. Most Popular Baby Names Of 2011. Least Popular Baby Names Of 2011. Top Baby Names You’ve Never Heard Of 2011. (OK, I made that last one up.) So in honor of our name-obsessed culture, and all the poor kids out there who will likely go through life asking, “Mommy, why does my name sound like the state capital of North Dakota but look completely different?” I wanted to build on the Crazy Baby Names column with some new submissions. I’ll not only offer up some wacky new names, but will highlight a couple of other trends in baby naming, as well. Let’s get started!

1. The All-In-One
STFU Parents

This baby is the epitome of everything one should expect from baby names today. That extra ‘y’ is just begging me to ask the question, “No really. Why?

2. Baby Name or Television Network?
STFU Parents

I actually understand why some people name their children names like “Eva” but prefer a pronunciation of “Ava” to “Eeeva.” To me, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, however, is taking a name/word/town like “Aspen,” substituting an “E” for an “A” and then cutting out the other vowel. This poor child is already carrying around the weight of a giant fake flower on her head, and now she’s got to go through life correcting every person who confusingly calls her ESPN? Parenting fail.

3. Name Drama

The stupid. It hurts. I’m not even sure where to begin with this cluster of idiocy, but suffice it to say, I’m fairly certain that Harpers and Rylees have been roaming the world for longer than Buffy and Ashley’s kids have been alive. Also, Mason was the #3 most common boys name on BabyCenter’s poll this year, so good luck with that, Jolene.

4. Crowdsourcing

I mentioned crowdsourcing in the first baby name column, but that involved a mom-to-be asking her friends their opinions on a hodgepodge of names. This time around, the parents have gotten more tech savvy, utilizing a survey-hosting website and using Facebook to promote it. They even made a video of their baby receiving his name! Aren’t you dying to know what they went with? No? Me neither. This isn’t the Never Ending Story; this is real life. Can’t people come up with their own baby names? And since the answer to that question is obviously “yes,” isn’t this just a display of attention-seeking narcissism?

I do love a name game, but something tells me these parents weren’t totally committed to choosing the name their friends choose for their baby anyway. Every set of parents has a “favorite,” and I’m guessing these two were no different.

5. My Child Is God

Parents naming their kids after the one and only (or so we thought) Messiah Himself. What will they think of next??

Side note: How this kid’s life is going to be made any richer or easier by having the name “Messiah,” I do not know. Maybe Misty just wanted to ensure that her eldest would be an overachiever? You tell me in the comments!

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  • haha

    just LOL @ My Child is God ! so hilarious…

  • Paedyn

    Alright, so first let me state my name is Paedyn (pronounced Peyton) and I cannot stand it. No one spells it right. No one pronounces it right. No one understands why the “d” makes a “t” noise. It is cruel to give your child this kind of name. People automatically think I’m pretentious or something because my name is spelled oddly and is an -ayden name.

    Can I also add, no one had related this at all the black names? I’m not trying to be racist but it’s literally only an issue among black people or so I am aware. I have heard so many strange and made-up names (Janeesia (Juh-nee-shuh), Alionda (Aahl-eeh-awn-duh), Leonaja (Leeh-oh-nay-shuh), Lascanda (Luh-sawn-duh), and JeDoanaya (Juh-doe-nay-uh) to name a few of my friends) and I don’t understand why parents do this. Don’t they understand people automatically judge people based on their names? Don’t they understand that these names makes these kids feel really “ghetto” and maybe that isn’t the image they permanently want just based on their name?

    Gosh, people really need to wise up. What is the world coming to? Anyway, trust me Paedyn is an awful name so never name your child it.

  • Arlyne

    I have a weirdly named kid. His name is pronounced Wraith, as in specter, ghoul, ghost, spook, vehicle in Halo, ICP album, etc, etc. Which was not what I wanted his instant ‘classification’ to be. There’s a good reason for his name. It was well thought out, and I made sure to give him a ‘normal’ middle name to use if he chose to. His name is NOT spelled Wraith, obviously, it is spelled ‘creatively’ but in a way that makes phonetic sense.

    So, I can forgive a lot of ‘weird’ names, so long as there is some logic to the spelling. (Espn as Aspen is a ‘Oh hell no’ though)

  • Elan

    My name annoyed me as a child (in part because my little brother was named one of the most popular boys’ names – Jacob), but I’ve come to love it as an adult. I have met a small handful of boys with my name (the masculine version is Israeli- based, Elon), but only one other female with the same spelling and pronunciation.

    As much as I probably shouldn’t, I judge people a little on their ability to pronounce my name (aside from being the name of various ski, carpet, and jewelry companies, an Elon University, and the title of an album by the jam band Firefall, it is also a French word that has become part of the English language – elan vitale, anyone?).

    I like my name and enjoy the history of it, and am always a little pleasantly surprised when a stranger pronounces it correctly the first time. It could be worse. I went to high school with a girl name Chlamydia.

    • Steven

      I love your name! Probably just because I drove a Lotus Elan though. :)

  • bobseverns

    I do not agree with #4 as necessarily a bad idea. Don’t dismiss the power in using social media to educate/expose unique names (a good name is a blessing and chosing one is important ) This is also an opportunity for parents to share a cool moment with family and friends. I felt priviledged to be involved with this actual survey and these parents are the furthest from narcissistic and closer to “ahead-of-the-curve”. Also couldn’t this type of crowd-sourcing have possibly spared the world a few Mikkayllahs?

  • Mommyishblows

    In regards to #4
    1) no one expects you to care about this, YOU DON’T KNOW THEM. For dear friends and family this was an exciting way to get involved
    2) “attention-seeking narcissism” is the farthest from the case, so you missed the mark here, not surprising since YOU DON’T KNOW THEM
    3) Leaving their last name on the post is careless and ignorant, if you want to share your (oh so loving) opinions, fine. It is your character being displayed, but leave your examples general, show some respect.

  • Adam

    A few problems with your fourth example: You forgot to block out an occurrence of the family’s name in the photo…which is an interesting bit of short sightedness in an article where you are criticizing people for being shortsighted. You should correct that immediately.

    Also, you say in that example “Can’t people come up with their own baby names?” – which I think is what you criticized people for doing in the previous three examples. Not to mention it is common for people to seek input on naming their children. Utilizing modern media to include even more family and friends in their joyful experience isn’t that far fetched – and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t for you to exploit and condescend.

    • Aunt Sarah

      Please block out the last name in #4.

      It’s so easy to complain about other people. You are NOT friends with Audrey, and it is completely inconsiderate to post this in a public place when her Facebook page is private. Her friends and family enjoyed being involved in naming her son and I’m proud to call myself Aunt Sarah.

      Remember that you set the example for your own children. Do you want them to grow up thinking it’s fine to publicly insult people based on snap judgments? I hope not!

    • Kate

      Mega points to you for being the only one to maturely point that out…

  • Erin

    I know someone who named their baby Azazel, another name for Lucifer.
    I also watched a little boy named Cruz Strait. Coolest name ever..

    • irritated

      my nephew was named azazel at birth, its also a color. When parents realized it they changed it.

  • Katja

    My mother would make home visits to kids with speech problems and one of her clients had a 4 year old daughter named Dacodea (pronounced Dakota). My mother asked her why would she do that to her kid and she told her that she misspelled Dakota on a spelling test when she was freaking 8 but she was so set on that particular spelling she would hold onto it her whole life until she had her first baby.

    Well, that client married someone who had two kids with K names (something like Kyle and Kelly) and they had another baby on the way who they were going to give a K name to. So my mother, after a lot of prodding, convinced her to legally change her daughter’s name to Kody since that’s what they were calling her anyway.

    • nobabyzone

      That seems really rude and intrusive of your mother.

    • Tobi

      Yeah, really.

    • irritated

      kody’s a name for a dog…..

  • MyLifeWentDownTheTubesWhenMyParentsNamedMeToilet

    I’ll take a McKenzie or whatever variation over certain Victorian names. Susan Semolina-Thrower or Princess Cheese, anyone?

  • Angela

    Worst name I have ever seen: N-a

    Yes, N-a.

    Pronunciation? Nadasha

    • headdesk

      You saw it on the internet. Where someone made it up.

      Try again. No one is actually named that.

    • irritated

      yes, they are…I have seen variations. Also, Abcd (ab-suh-dee), hohandsome cashmere, toofine, and roblowe…..

    • Angela

      @headdesk – I know for a FACT it is a real name. I work for a company that provides immunizations to children and I saw the shot record. Try again yourself.

    • headdesk

      Oh ho ho! I know you’re definitely telling the truth! Let me guess, when you asked about the pronunciation the mother said, “The dash be silent”.

      Your story doesn’t even make sense. If you just saw the name on a record then how do you have any clue how it’s pronounced?

    • irritated

      hahaha, poor people couldn’t spell

  • Gabrielle

    GREAT article! People that do this to their kids are ignorant and selfish. We really do live up to , (or in these case, down to), our names. Choosing an identity for a brand new person should be taken VERY seriously! Though the fad will fade and the parent will hopefully grow up, the kid will be stuck with it for the rest of their lives!

    • But…

      So you’re angry that your parents named you Gabrielle? Wouldn’t you consider that ignorant and selfish as well?

    • Gabrielle

      @ But… To reply to your question “So you’re angry that your parents named you Gabrielle? Wouldn’t you consider that ignorant and selfish as well?” No, I’m not angry. I love my name. It’s a classic. But I would be angry if they spelled it Gabriyell or some other “unique” misspelling. I’m assuming your parents didn’t really name you But, because that would make anyone angry! :-)

    • But

      You’re missing the point. The point is that some of these names are names just as old as Gabrielle or older. One in particular that is made fun of a lot is Aiden. Another is Bentley.
      Aiden happens to be an old Irish name, while Bentley is an old English name. People like you seem to have no issue in making fun of these names just as much as others, but you don’t stop to consider that Gabrielle isn’t the most classic name in all areas. Turn the tables for once. Realize that in some regions, Gabrielle is known as a trailer park name, just as are Nevaeh and Destinee.

    • Gabrielle

      @ But, I like Aiden and I don’t have an opinion on Bentley. My issue is with people purposefully misspelling their child’s name without considering how it will impact the child. The child will spend the rest of their lives explaining their name and trying to correct people who spell the name properly, but not the way theirs is actually spelled. It isn’t cute or trendy and it certainly doesn’t add anything to the name or to the one who’s stuck with it. It is ignorant to choose to misspell a name. I had to chuckle when I read what you wrote about Gabrielle being a trailer park name like Nevaeh and Destinee. Maybe if they misspell it, I suppose then it would be trailer park perfect too! Come on now, fess up, did your parents really name you But?

  • Emily Cain

    Most of these arguments against unusually spelled names are pretty moot.

    My name is exactly as you see it here and no one manages to get it right–I always have to spell my name out.

    The only perks I’ve experienced so far from having a short, popular, white bread name are 1) relative anonymity in Google searches, and 2) I can always find tacky keychains at the beach.

    Downsides include but are not limited to confusing role calls, tests and homework being handed to the wrong person, getting the wrong bills, and answering to strangers who were calling for a different Emily.

  • asturnut

    I work in a Maternity Center and some of my (least) favorites included

    Aul’tum (I asked the mom if she MEANT to spell it like that and she shrugged and said her neice picked out the name, but she had no idea how to actually spell autumn)
    Iam God Allah (first middle last- poor kid is gonna get TORTURED)
    Candida (the mom had been diagnosed with a yeast infection and liked the sound of it. SERIOUSLY. I asked her if she realized she’d get teased and she said no one was gonna know what it means. SIGH)

    We also had a patient whose baby’s first name had 3 apostrophes and one hyphen. I can’t even remember what it was because it was too complicated!

    We’ve had some doozie’s in the past decade… I wish I had kept a list!

    • liltampa71

      In a baby book I saw the name Abcde (pronounced Ab-c -dee.) I will name my next child Wxyz.

    • Tangie Miner

      Candida is a Spanish name. It means “white.”

      I know what you mean about people naming their kids after booze. I went to school with a lot of girls named Brandy.

  • asturnut

    Oh and what about people who name their kids after liquor? GACK! I’ve known several people who did this, and proudly share that “that’s what I was drinking when I got knocked up” What is WRONG with people?

    Two examples:
    Remy Martin (a girl, no less!)

    And my all-time favorite white trash name was “Crystal Tiara”. Yeap, that’s the kind of name I would have named my fictional barbie babies when I was SIX!!! People need to grow up.

  • cg

    My parents named me Chrystal-never crazy about the name, but I blame the age they were when they had me-my younger brothers all got timeless, biblical names. Now that I’m 32 and trying to be taken seriously, I go by Chrys, which is all my family has ever called me anyway. It’s a good thing, because I married a man with the last name ‘Glascock’–and took his last name.

    • liltampa71

      Chrys, I can relate to the Biblical names thing. I am, however, the youngest. Siblings are David Michael, James Thomas and Rebecca Lee. All Biblical, first and last (from my pastor father). I am Tammy Christine. I found out later that Tammy means perfection and Christine means christian, so I joke they named me best (I am not a perfect anything), but it made me feel left out when I was younger.

  • liltampa71

    I know someone who had twins. Named them Trinity and Messiah. God complex anyone? And to complain that a child has the same name as your child. My son’s first name is common, last name is not. There is still someone with the same name – not related to my knowledge – that lives in the same county as his dad. And I’m sure my son will never get confused or feel less than because of this.

  • irritated

    Parents also need to stop with the “aiden/addison” names….I worked at a school. 1 classroom had a shayden, braden, caiden, jayden, addison, maddison…I wanted to call all the parents together and just yell REALLY??? And spell the names correctly, it is so annoying to constantly hear my name is Jackson, spelled with an x! Last, rant….Nevaeh….we get it, its heaven backwards. We also get that you are most likely poor, ignorant trash. I can guess and be about 95% right on socioeconomic status by a child’s name.

    • Tangie Miner

      Really? You would meet a five year old child named Nevaeh or Jaxon, and immediately label them poor, ignorant trash? That says waaaaayyyy more about you than it does about them.

    • kittybear

      Not the kid…the parents are poor ignorant trash. The kid can’t choose their own name.

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  • Tashina Demman

    Oh ridiculous baby names. Saw a lady on facebook who named her daughter Maebie. Now I’m not one to make fun of names, but COME ON! I’m just imagining the poor girl in school:
    Teacher: “Can you tell me your name?”
    Maebie: “Maebie.”
    I chose a unique name for my son. Ezraeus. Most people pronounce it correctly and it means, more or less, helper. I’ve grown up my whole life with people mis-spelling my name (Tashina) and when people ask what my name is, I say it and then spell it so they don’t say, ‘pardon me?’ a million times.

    • Leigha7

      Maeby is one of the main characters in Arrested Development. I’ll admit that, if you forget about the WORD “maybe,” it actually sounds like an okay name. But the word would make it problematic in real life.

  • Name that is hard and I hate

    My name is so difficult for people to pronounce. I never liked the name when I was a kid and still don’t like it today.

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  • noa

    I lived in Georgia for a couple of years and the names I heard around there were astounding. Examples:
    My mother knew a woman who had her son but was unsure what to name him. The hospital happened to serve her dinner in the midst of her name deciding and with dinner came orange jello. So what was the poor lad named? Ornello.
    My father worked with underage sex offenders and had two that were named Shithead (pronounced shi-tea-yed) and another named Diarrhea (pronounced duh-rear-ee-u [u as in shut]).
    I went to school with a boy named Sexona. Middle name Table. His sister’s name was Pleasure. That is inappropriate beyond belief and yet I am not making it up. Ironically another student had the last name of Hofocker. That always elicited a snicker out of everyone in gym class because the teacher insisted on calling everyone by their last name.
    I also knew a boy named Truly which always made me want to break out in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme song because I always thought of Truly Scrumptious.
    My sister goes to school with a boy named Baby. And I know someone named Jeep.
    Lastly I know someone who named their child Emry. It was going to be Kindle (sp?) but people kept asking if her child was going to love reading.

    And lastly my parents saddled me with Shenoa. Pronounced shi (as in ship), know, u (as in cup). Once people hear it pronounced properly they coo over how pretty it is but I am constantly having to spell it out for people. The nicknames I get are even worse: Shayshay, Shonono (to go along with Shayesyes), Shenandoah (Valley), Shaniqua, Sheshe… the list goes on for miles. I was 18 when someone finally pronounced my name correctly the first time and I was so shocked that I literally stopped dead in my tracks and looked around in shock because I genuinely thought I was hallucinating.

    • noa

      Posted on the wrong article. Dangit.

  • 24601

    One of my favorite comedy bits is David Alan Grier reading medication names as though they were kid names. Comedy gold!

    “Mavik! MAVIK!!! Don’t you talk to Januvia like that! Mavik Parlodel Williams! You look at me when I’m talkin to you! “

  • Kittybear

    I have a friend who is naming her son Avery…..perhaps it used to be used a bit more for boys, but nowadays its become more of a girls’ name, and that’s exactly how I associate it. I know somebody whose kids’ names are Markus and Maekynzie. I also know somebody who named her daughter Stella Rosa, and swears she wasn’t named after the wine (and btw, before the baby was born, she was made well aware that was the name of wine, and I think she had jokingly suggested it because of that).

    People choose stupid names. I would happily name my daughter Kaylee, but I hope others don’t find it to be a stupid name.

  • Cori

    …So nobody’s heard of Harper Lee?