Today marks the 200th STFU, Parents column on Mommyish, so in honor of the occasion, I'm writing about yoonique baby names. This is the category I've written about the most in this space (in fact, this is the SIXTH baby names column in four years -- you can read the others here, here, here, here, and here), and yet I still felt compelled to comment now that Social Security officially reported adding over 1,000 brand spankin' new names to the extended name popularity list (which acts as a registrar for names that have been used at least five times). I learned this news via an article on TODAY Parents that begins with this perfect lede: "There were 1,393 new baby names coined by creatively-inclined parents in 2014 -- and it's safe to say that at least 1,350 of them would have been better left as words, misspellings, celebrity surnames, or pure flights of fancy." The article goes on to list some choice favorites, including Payzley (always a winner in my book), Mickinley (screw the 'Mc'!), Royaltee (of course), and Wimberley (like 'Kimberly,' except in whiny/drunk baby talk).
Society has a heavily engaged relationship to baby names, partly because we all enjoy a good laugh or a scratch on the head, and partly because we've reached a point where absurd baby names have become wholly democratized. In America, at least, the income gap gets wider and wider, but no matter what sector you're in, people regularly give their children terrible, made-up, unpronounceable, twee, garbage names so their kids will stand out from the crowd. Don't get me wrong, I don't think a bad name is the worst thing a parent can do to a child. Being an awesome mom or dad who's emotionally available to a child and makes wise education choices is much more important than whether or not the kid's name is "Ajax" or "Wolverine" or "Kharrington." There are much bigger problems in the world than parents who enthusiastically choose yoonique names for their kids. But isn't that also why mocking them is so fun? That and the fact that some parents' baby name choices are so special, they naturally inspire conversation.
Now, I don't want to get everybody's hopes up, but I can't say for sure that all of the names in today's column qualify for the extended name popularity list. This makes at least a few of them unequivocally yoonique, and all it takes is a few more of you to give these names the legitimacy they almost deserve. It's only June, so anyone who's expecting has six months left in 2015 to put these baby names on the map for next year. Don't let us down. If you're thinking of naming your little girl "Emily," consider "Xiannyne" instead. If you were debating between Patrick and Jayden, try "BMW" or "J'sirius." If you've never heard a word used as a name, or, even better, seen it before in your lifetime, it's probably an excellent choice. We all have the ability to make history happen here, folks. But first, let's check out the yoonique names in question. Some of them are far worse than others.
1. Candy > Vegetables
I dunno, Ashley, you may want to scrap your plans for Baby Brockley and just call the poor kid Jelly Bean instead. What kind of child wants to be named after a notoriously disliked vegetable? Does he have a sister named Radish? Will his middle name be "Cheese Sauce"? I don't meant to speak for Brockley, but if it were me, I'd be disappointed if it wasn't.
2. Double Trouble
The person who submitted this made a salient point when she said, "I feel bad for them when it comes time to fill in the bubbles on standardized tests." Ouch. Me, too. These names really prove the "less is more" theory, don't they? Poor little Shaughnnaessey-Lynnea and Jaegger-James. I love how Sheryl tells everyone to have fun on this momentous monthly birthday occasion. Of COURSE they're going to have fun, Sheryl. They're babies who are a solid three years away from having to learn how to spell their own names. That future pre-K teacher sure has her work cut out for her.
3. Life On The Inside
3D ultrasound pictures are a lot like potato chips. You can't have just one, amirite?? Each of these pictures is completely necessary to post on Facebook, where little Adisynne Rhoze already has her photo album with at least 15 photos in it. Adorable! And her more commonly-named mother sure is making up for lost time after growing up with a Top 100 name, isn't she? She would never saddle her daughter with a name as unremarkable as "Ashley" or "Jennifer" like many of our moms did in the '80s. No way. Sure, Shakespeare is famous for writing 'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet', but you know what? Screw that. That which we call a RHOZE actually happens to smell the SWEETEST. Just wait until Adisynne's friends are all named Emma and Bella and Zoe. They're going to wish they had a name like Adisynne Rhoze.
4. Cutest Kids With The Cutest Names Contest
Adam, if writing out your children's names in a row sounds like a punchline, you have made some very poor decisions. Highlighting your inability to properly name a single one of your three children probably isn't a great idea, either. Quit telling all your friends what "literally takes less than a minute" to do on Facebook and spend a little time contemplating what you've done here.
5. When An Awful Story Hour Gets Overshadowed By Awful Children's Names
This may be the only effective solution I've seen to combat the disgustingness of parents' poop stories on social media. It's like giving a speech and picturing everyone in their underwear to relieve anxiety. From now on, anytime I get a submission that involves a parent going into detail about their kids shitting all over themselves -- describing poop being "caked over feet, legs, and between toes" just after mentioning baking banana bread -- I'm going to replace the kid's presumably normal name with something like "Xanth." This may be the first real silver lining in the yoonique baby names trend. Terrible names really DO allow you to block out terrible stories. Thanks for that, Jennie.
6. The Wild And Wonderful Whites
Normally I don't ever break my own rules when it comes to covering up last names, but in this case, I had to. First of all, the last name "White" is held by many people. Second of all, I think this particular matriarch of the White family actually wants people to know her children by their full names. Why else would she have constructed something so beautiful for her daughter? "Snow White" as part of her formal name? Be still my heart! Who's jealous that little Kezia gets to live out every little girl's fantasy and legally hold the name of a Disney princess?? WHO? I'll tell you: EVERYONE!!! Names just don't get better than this, you guys. That is, until you meet Kezia's jealousy-inducing little brother:
Well, I guess one member of the White family isn't impressed. Seems impossible, though, right? A kid with the name Blackin White is going places for sure. By the time little Blackin is 18, he'll either be sitting in a jail cell or standing in a government line with a name change form in his hand. It's his call! How he chooses to use or abuse his good name is completely up to him. All his mom can do is give him the tools he needs to navigate the world, and with the name Blackin White, I'd say she's doing a heck of a job so far. Congrats on your naming skills, Mrs. White. Your children may have a common last name, but you still figured out a way to make them sound extra speshul.