In the past six months, several articles have circulated the internet with headlines like 'Battle of the Baby Name,' 'That's MY child's name! For some parents, baby-name theft is no joke,' and 'My Best Friend Stole My Baby Name — and Then Stopped Talking to Me.' Clearly, baby name-stealing is a modern day crime that's not to be dismissed. The more posts that get published on the subject, the more it's treated like a legitimate affliction. (Although, as I was preparing to write this new column on the trendy subject, someone wrote an article titled 'If you think your baby name was stolen, you've got another thing coming,') It's like parents are finally speaking out about this important issue, one blog post at a time, and the internet keeps clamoring for more.
Of course, parents are always getting dramatic about something baby name-related on the internet. A few months ago, Romper ran a popular post titled 'I Corrected Everyone Who Mispronounced My Son's Name' about a mom who corrected everyone from shortening, misspelling, or mispronouncing "Maximilian" for a week. Websites are always looking for high-traffic content, and parents love bitching about myriad name crimes—everything from people criticizing their (usually horrible) name choices, to disengaging from friends and family who refer to their children by unauthorized nicknames—so there seems to be a recent uptick in "name-sensitivity" internet outrage. Plus, as parents increasingly give their kids yoonique names (or classic throwback names they think they're the first to rediscover), their expectations irrationally rise that their kids won't have a bunch of name twins. Most parents are not only upset to learn that another child has the same name as their little future leader, but they obsess over the amount of time separating the kids, as well. Did you have a baby and name him "Aidyn Sparrow" in the same school year cycle as your best friend, who also happened to give her baby the same exact name? Well, that's even more fucked up than if you'd just waited five years. This is why so many parents keep their unborn baby's name a secret, even as they become increasingly annoying about it.
There's a lot of competition involved with baby naming these days, and a lot of parents put pressure on themselves to "get it right." Many believe that their child's success will invariably be tied to his or her name being "special." Standing out from the crowd is key, and you have to start with a quality brand name. Even if a name isn't particularly uncommon, parents can get unexpectedly enraged when their child's original moniker suddenly pops up everywhere they go. This can happen naturally, as moms realize they're not the only ones who fell in love with the name "Emma," and dads accept that they're not the first to arrive at "Jaxton," but it's particularly alarming for parents when a celebrity 'steals' their baby name. It creates a tidal wave of identically-named babies, which irks even the most laid back of parents. They can't help it. One minute, their kid's name was a precious, rare gem, and the next, it's trending on Twitter.
Karla is trying to be funny, but she's still mildly upset by Princess Charlotte's name. Never mind that 'Charlotte' was ranked as the 19th most popular name in 2012, the 11th most popular name in 2013, and 10th most popular name in 2014, (and Princess Charlotte was born in 2015); Karla's daughter will forevermore be known as "Charlotte S.," all thanks to the Royal Family. Jerk move, monarchy bitchez! Haha, I'm kidding, and I do appreciate that she's trying to incorporate a sense of humor. It's crucial when a tragedy occurs, such as Justin Timberlake revealing himself to be a fedora-wearing baby name thief. Denise couldn't have seen this coming.
It's nice when people can see the humor in these things. Unfortunately, that's not the case for most of the parents featured in today's column. But when you act you've laid claim to a name like you're in the Land Run of 1893, I guess it can be hard to grasp that your child's name probably isn't one-of-a-kind. I guess it's easy to slip into a polite, suppressed rage and post about it on Facebook. At least, for these parents it is. Let's check 'em out!
1. Mommyjacking: Birth Announcement Edition
Kimberly is the kind of friend who says, "Great minds think alike!" when she means, "Thanks for stealing my idea, bitch." With every exclamation point in her comment, I feel more confident that she'll take this Madelyn/college roommate infraction to the grave. It's also kind of funny that she accuses her college roommate of "stealing her original girl name," but seems to be rather casually announcing that her hypothetical future daughter will be named Claire, which is Melissa and Nick's new daughter's middle name. Mommyjackers aren't exactly known for their self-awareness.
2. Nope, Not Passive-Aggressive At All
Well damn, Dave. Tell us how you really feel. Now is a great time to make accusations, so don't hold back! Sarah and Stefan just had a new baby, and what they want more than anything right now is a little sassy commentary about how they previously "stole" a baby name. Who doesn't appreciate breaking up all of those heartfelt messages of congratulations and good cheer with a snide, sarcastic (but totally hilarious!) quip from Uncle Dave? I'll be shocked if Sarah and Stefan don't ask Dave to be the baby's godfather.
3. Story Hour: Name-Stealing Edition
Wow, Katherine, please stop thinking about this and devote some time to literally anything else. You could strap on a FitBit and take a nice walk, or crack open an old, dusty book on your shelf, or try out for the 33rd installment of Survivor—anything that will distract you from obsessing over this brainless topic of conversation on Facebook. What's being described here sounds like "inbred naming." I can't even keep track of who named who what. It just sounds like some people in your family might not know there are a lot of other names out there to choose from. Then again, culturally speaking, traditional names often get repeated many times throughout a single family. Maybe that's how your family treats the names "Wyatt." It's genealogical! And "Audrey" / "Aubree"...close enough! Can you blame a 15-year-old for trying?
4. There Can Only Be 1
Samantha is DRAWING THE LINE, people. Trena's dog happens to have the same name as Samantha's daughter, and despite Trena not even naming the dog herself, that is completely unacceptable. Everyone knows that you don't name a DOG "Khloee." That's a human name! It's way too special to be used on a freaking dog, especially since there was only ONE "Khloee" in all of Nova Scotia before Trena's stupid dog came along. How rude. How inconsiderate. How unimpressive and unworthy of Samantha's respect or friendship. NO. Fuck that. Samantha doesn't need to be confronted with that kind of aggression when she's scrolling through her newsfeed. It's like a slap in the face. Trena, ur BLOCKED.
Ooookaaayy? On the one hand, I applaud the fact that two friends have willingly given their babies the same name, with almost the same spelling, and aren't verbally assaulting each other on social media. On the other hand, that name is "Brekkyn/Brekken," and I'm not really convinced that the decision was forged out of logic. I might have had a little more faith, had Rae—whose first name is Brekken's middle name—known how to pluralize "princesses." Still, it's refreshing to see friends who are so eager to share their lives as moms rather than find something to pick apart and publicly hash out on Facebook. And I'm sure by the time Brekkyn and Brekken are in kindergarten, there will be a Brekkin, a Breckhen, a Brekynn, and a Brehkün. There are far too many baby name thieves out there for there not to be.