It's that time of the year again! The Social Security Administration recently released its comprehensive list of baby names for 2013, and the consensus is that yoonique names have continued -- and will continue -- their rise to baby name domination. Sure, the Emmas, Avas, Liams, and Jacobs aren't going anywhere, but more parents seem to be looking around and saying to themselves, "You know what this world needs? More human children named after fantasy/sci-fi/animated characters. Or obscure towns or cities, but spelled with different letters. Or just a sacred word like "Angel" spelled backwards. This world needs yooniquely named babies!"
While news and gossip blogs traditionally reported the most popular names of 2013 (Sophia and Jacob), most outlets honed in on other details, too. NPR wrote, "You might also be running into more kids named Jayceon and Daleyza, two names the SSA says had the biggest gains in popularity among the top 1,000." io9 titled its post, 'Popular New Baby Names Of 2013: Vanellope, Kaptain, Tuf, And Kyndle.' Today noted the "kree8tiv spellings of more conventional names: Finlea and Massyn, Elynne and Karsan," and CNN helpfully pointed out that "the names tend to reflect pop culture's influence on trends. The fastest riser for girls in 2012 was Arya, the name of a beloved character in the "Game of Thrones" series on HBO." In other words, yoonique names with kree8tive spellings have actually gone pretty mainstream.
Soon, these STFU, Parents columns about baby name trends won't seem remotely absurd, because everyone will already have or know a child with a similar (but not TOO similar!) moniker. It's all fun and games until you have a niece named Nevaeh and a nephew named Anson. Or, perhaps you've always wanted to name your own child something like 'Saylor' or 'Kamdyn,' and you no longer find the mockery of such names to be funny. Once enough people adopt the yoonique name sensibility, the ones left standing out in the cold are those who didn't initially embrace the trend. Much like the habit some parents have of creating Facebook pages for their babies, "wacky" baby name trends are becoming rather commonplace and therefore far less wacky. I'm anticipating future pushback from readers who, over time, have come to accept and welcome names like 'Brayden' and 'Kaidence' into their lives. But until that fateful day arrives, I'm sticking to my belief that yoonique names are usually more effective at confusing teachers and government workers than they are at ensuring greatness and instilling confidence in kids. Let's check out a few (more) examples of these current naming trends -- and don't forget to check out the SSA's list of names that have increased in popularity from 2012 to 2013. You may as well get comfortable with the names of our future leaders, doctors, and celebrities now. President Lloyal, anyone? Oh, and speaking of presidents, if you're going to give your kids "themed" names, don't do it like this:
My message to parents: JUST SAY NO.
1. Instinctual Naming
This is a solitary comment sent to me from a thread whose status update source is unknown, unlike Morgan's kids' names, which all have directly identifiable origins. Did you think Linkin was named after Linkin Park? You are correct! How about Leviticus -- did you guess that name came from the Bible? Right again! The only name Morgan is still confused about herself is Blade, but y'all know how it is when you're all drugged up in the hospital and you give your kid a middle name like Blade. That shit just kinda happens. Either way, Ledger Bentley seems entirely appropriate. Who doesn't want to be named after a great actor who accidentally OD'd and a fancy car that less than 1% of the population can afford to own?
2. Biblical(-ish) Naming
Ugh, I'm not sure what's more annoying: Kelly's suggestion of "Savion" or Amy's stance on "prophetic symbolism." Nothing like reinforcing Biblical values via a kid's first name! There's no WAY that a kid named Ephraim will grow up to be anything other than a scholarly leader. And if he chooses to uphold his mother's philosophy when he's older, he can name his kids Shuthelah, Beker, and Tahan just like Ephraim did in 4000 B.C. The circle of life!
3. Xtreme Naming
People: We need to get right with the letter 'x.' The letter 'x' is not a toy. It is not a game. It is the third least common letter in English, with a frequency of about 0.15% in words, and 'X' appears at the beginning of English words less frequently than any other letter. Which is Xactly why it's so important that words that begin with 'X' be spelled correctly. When parents give their kid a name like "Xsavior" (a butchery of "Xavier" and a cousin of "Savion," no doubt) just to be yoonique and xtraordinary, they're doing the kid a disservice. Same goes for the name "Xander." You can name your kid "Zander" if you want to, but he'll be missing out on an 'X' opportunity, and thankfully those don't come around too often.Yet.
4. Gettin' Ziggy With It
There's nothing wrong with a Bowie fan naming his kid Bowie. Or is there? Let's think this one through here, because I've also recently heard that the name "Lennon" is gaining traction, which I suppose shouldn't surprise me. These are homages to the greats! When I name my children Tom Petty, Heartbreaker #1, and Heartbreaker #2, it will be a humble nod to the aging rocker and his band. But still -- something about it just doesn't feel right. There's only one Bowie, and the name should be restricted to pet use or other things like cars or perhaps plants. But not babies. You can stick your baby in a Ramones onesie if you want to, but don't actually name him "Joey Ramone."
5. Sound It Out, Idiots.
I think if I saw "Rillar" I would pronounce it correctly without needing Jessica's prompt -- but really, there's no point in arguing semantics. The crux is that it's no fun going through life correcting people on how to say your name, which is essentially what Rillar's ("rillerz") been saddled with. I do appreciate Jessica's approach to correcting people, though."Thriller" remains the best-selling album of all time, and anytime it's worked into conversation I'm happy.
6. Toy Restriction Imposed On Father Of Gods And Men
Zeus may be named after the Greek King of the Gods who resided in palaces of luxury as he ruled over Mount Olympus, but he will NOT be spoiled! At least, not if his mother "LaRaie MotherofZeus" (as she's formally known) has anything to say about it. She may have spoiled him throughout his life so far, but she won't be doing that anymore, as of 6 hours ago. Perhaps "LaRaie MotherofZeus" has given the impression that she wants her child to think he can have whatever he wants, but that simply isn't the case. Just because she named him Zeus doesn't mean she wants him to think he's a god or something. The important thing is that he'll be the only Zeus in his class. Fingers (and thunderbolts) crossed.