Adventures in Baby Naming

Just taking a break from drowning in a pool of my own sweat (better than somebody else’s sweat, I suppose) to re-post this column about picking out a baby name.  Originally published on March 9, 2009, I was pregnant with Miss Skye at the time and successfully kept her name to ourselves UNTIL…Mr. Candy convinced me that telling our moms would make a great Mother’s Day present.  Still kind of wish we’d kept it to ourselves.

Back in the good ol’ days (read:  five months ago), Mr. Candy and I would tipsily wax poetic over a pitcher of sangria about that day waaaaaaaaay in the future (read:  now) when we’d create a life together.  I would, of course, sail through my illness-free pregnancy and pain-free delivery to welcome a perfectly healthy, Penn- or Northwestern-bound baby.  (Yes, our names are Mr. and Mrs. Preppy McPreppy.  Why do you ask?)

And names?  Oh, we had the names all picked and ready to go.  A boy?  His name would be Drew.  Girl?  Why, she would be Miss Madison.

Again, with the preppiness.  I KNOW.  I know.

Now that the sangria buzz has long worn off and reality has set in… well, selecting a name for our little girl on the way has turned out to be not so easy.

My eyes used to glaze over when my seven-year-old cousin would tell me about her friends in class, because that’s the kind of caring relative I am.  Besides, hey, let’s face it:  all you need to do is distractedly smile and nod, and make armpit farts every once in awhile, and a seven-year-old thinks you’re awesome.  Rapt attention not required.  However, now that I am with child, I make more of an effort to actually, you know, listen to what’s happening on the playground these days.  And do you know what’s going on out there, my friends?

Every little girl in the world — nay, the universe — is FREAKIN’ NAMED MADISON!

Also, telling booger jokes to friends apparently never goes out of style.  Just a little tip from this parent-to-be to you.

So, yeah, “Madison” has withered on the vine, along with our sangria buzz.  Not that there’s anything wrong with choosing a hyper-popular name (read:  Candy is trying to avoid a barrage of e-mails from indignant parents of little, booger joke-lovin’ Madisons); in fact, we clearly think it’s a lovely name, but it’s just not the route we want to take anymore.

No, instead, we want to thumb through our stupid book of “60,000 Baby Names” and yell out names while the other person noncommittally shrugs, “Nah” or yells, “No way!  I knew a girl named that in high school and she was such a BITCH!” — till we become utterly delirious.  The next morning I wake up, look at my scribbles and wonder, “How in the world did ‘Shadow’ get on our list?!”  And boom!  We’re instantly transported back to square one.

By the way, it must be noted that the author of our “Big Book of 60,000 Baby Names,” which suggests the likes of “Pribislava” and “Cupid” for our baby, is the mother of a girl named JENNIFER.  Her middle name is probably Madison.

Although we do have a list of possible contenders, albeit a shaky one, Mr. Candy and I do not yet feel inclined to share the names with anyone, including our parents.  Naturally, this has landed us on their list — their shit list, that is.   What our family does not understand is that we do not WANT their input.  We do not need that drama.  Between you and me, we just can’t shake a baby-naming story that Mr. Candy’s colleague shared about her own name; a story so tragic, that all we can do is try to learn from it.  You see,  Mr. Candy’s colleague’s parents wanted to name her “Romney.”  The grandmother hated that name with a passion, so in an attempt to keep the baby from being named Romney, she actually BOUGHT A CAT AND NAMED IT ROMNEY in hopes of deterring them.  Yes, yes, she did.  Unfortunately for the grandmother, her li’l scheme did not work:  Mr. Candy’s colleague is named — yep, you guessed it — Romney, and Grandma Crazy ended up with a cat and a granddaughter named Romney.  Ah, karma and all that.

The moral of this story:   Wait till you pop out the kid, then whip up a pitcher of sangria — and the baby naming process will become a snap.  Until, of course, you wake up the next morning, look at the birth certificate and wonder, “Why in the world did we name our baby Shadow Madison?!”

Because sharing is caring, as I tell my kids. (Except my wine. Never my wine.)
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Candy Kirby

Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

23 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh man that is quite the horror story. Don’t let your relatives buy any pets for the next four months. You’re right about every little girl being named Madison though. If you want to stray from the route of most popular names I suggest you thumb through the top ten names for girls lists they have online.

    My mother didn’t want to give me a terribly common name but also not a weird name so she thought Jessica would be a safe bet. Yep, most popular baby name of the year. The same thing happened to my brother. The all original Michael.

    I know you’ll name her something fabulous and that you love, but please, don’t call her something cringe worthy like Snowflake Melrose

  • Just count your blessings that you’re not a teacher. The thought of pretty much any name brings up horrible flashbacks.

  • Emily, Abigail, and Caitlyn are all the rage here. Frumpy, no? With middle names like Grace, and Joy. Yuck.

  • Candy, whatever you do please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, don’t name your child Adrienne Roxanne. My parents did that to me (assholes!) and I’ve had to endure men yelling “Yo, Adrienne!” at me (‘cuz it’s soooo original) or singing “Roxanne” at me, a la Eddie Murphy in ’48 Hours’.

  • Just stay clear from any names Stephenie Meyer has used or might use in the future. I was absolutely in love with “Isabella” until Twilight came out and every single teenage girl has magically become Isabella.

    I’m glad my parents named me Beatrice, it’s hardly ever used in any teen soap opera or vampire books.

  • Naming our children was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Ever. It took us 3 days after they were born both times, but they snuck up on us (they were both born early). I highly recommend the book “Beyond Jennifer and Jason, Madison and Montana” because besides lists of names it goes over the whole not too common- not too weird debate and gives great ideas. Good luck!

    Also, I definitely agree with you about not sharing the name with anyone ahead of time. A name in a vaccuum is easy to disparage, but once it’s attached to an adorable baby no one will be able to argue with you that it was a bad choice.

  • Being pregnant they are lot of things to remember and to do..because pregnancy is a responsibility..that we should have something to do in order to have a harmonious living:)

  • Ah! I am a Jessica too, and yes, there were so many of us in our class-we all had to go by last names. I also have a middle name that isn’t really a girl’s name (Clark) so there I was, stuck with my lovely last name, which gave way to terrifying songs “B-i-n-g…” Well you get the idea!
    Point is, give the kid a second choice-a middle name they can use!

  • Definitely keep the name to yourselves until the baby’s born! It’s terrible how people will so easily say “Oh God don’t name her THAT!” after they’re the one who asked in the first place.

  • We named our daughter Adele (she’s now 17). There’s not one other person in the whole district with that name. Everyone comments on it, says it’s a lovely name. She hates it. Sometimes you just have to look at your baby, and a name will come to you. Good luck!

  • Hi – I found out I’m pregnant yesterday, and of course the first thing I did, apart from looking in horror at the atrocious spelling in pregnancy forums across the internet, was look up baby names. One random name picker suggested Nathaniel Daniel might be a good combination. Don’t think so. We’re sticking with Mungo.

  • Congrats, rachiesparrow! Brainstorming names and catching the ubiquitous forum spelling errors will keep you very busy, indeed!

    Welcome to the site…


  • Man the name game is fun but also so hard! I have 3 grown children named Candice,Brendi & austin,I called them the ABC’s- worked great with our ‘s’s last name. I now have 7 grandchildren and enjoyed the name game with my children. We have brendi’s kids-Carena {Candice/Rena-aunt/great g’ma} Elliana {Elizabeth ‘me’/Ann} Victoria {other g’ma { named for 5 women in the family-1st child,grand, greatgrand & great-greatgrand! all around she goes by Elli!} her brother is Joseph{pawpaw} Damion Blaze {dada is a body piercer and loves these names…}- goes by Blaze! he lives up to that fiery name! Candice {candee at times} has twins named Kensleigh Gail { 3rd generation Gail after me and candice} & Gracie Louise { 3rd generation on daddies side of the family!] and lil sister Chloe Annette { great g’am on mommies side} and my son Austin has- Jackson { after 2 Jacks on his mommies side} David { 3rd generation] and Laura { g’ma on other side} Avery { greatgreat uncle on daddy’s side} she’s a singing star in your funny baby pictures gallery!
    i love names like madison & issablella also but they are like the names joshua and brittany when i was nameing my kids…i used to joke that they had a clearance sale on soem names…then ended up with a niece and nephew with those names…oops! love the names but over used…
    i have a friend who has 23 daughters all named for little mermaid characters…’ariel’belle,adella ‘paige’ and ‘melodie’ rose! sorry to go on and on but i too love the name game…

    have fun with the name game and look all thorugh family names and mix it up and bit and you will find the perfect name for your sweet lil baby girl..

  • My 3 girls names: Eden Rebekka, Brenna Piper and Lindsay Eve. For my youngest (now 6 months), it took us a month and a half to name her after she was born. And my husband & I started looking at names during my 1st trimester.

  • My in-laws HATED the name we had picked out for a boy. They started calling my dog by the name to try to discourage me from sticking with it. It got so bad that literally the first thought that went through my head when the ultrasound showed girl parts, I was just relieved that I wouldn’t have to hear about it anymore.

  • 4 months along now and NO REAL ideas, but here are a few we’ve thought of:

    First Middle
    Whosis This?
    Hay Seed
    Ima Baby
    Pooh Peepants

    I guess we’ll have to get serious soon, but having fun……..

  • What the people who name their daughters madison don’t realize is that they’re naming their kids after a fish — the Darryl Hannah mermaid character in the movie SPLASH. The mermaid names herself Madison after seeing the street sign for Madison avenue in NYC). No girl in the world was named Madison until that movie came out in 1984. You can look it up on the Social Security baby name web site — the name didn’t show up in 1984 and then in 1985 it was the 600-something most popular name and it climbed from there. To me this represents how we no longer have much roots or authentic culture or identity in this country. We name our kids after pop culture. We name them after celebrities and trends instead of saints or family members as in the past.

  • My step sister is named Romney.

    When I was pregnant with daughter #2 my cousin was trying to make me name the baby Allegra. I told her, “Why don’t you name your baby Allegra?” A few years later my cousin had her own baby girl and named her Tatum. I’m not sure which name is worse. Yuck.

  • My daughter will turn a year old next month. We had a very difficult time naming her. We chose her name a few weeks before she was born. This week I sent in the paperwork to legally change her name. Yes, my daughter is nearly a year old and I am changing her name. I’m in that 3% of the population that actually has baby name remorse and does the unthinkable.

    • Now I’m really curious as to what the first name was, and what you changed it to! My sister named her son Landon, and a few days after she brought him home from the hospital, she couldn’t remember what she had named him! So she called the hospital, and lucky her, they hadn’t sent off her paperwork yet. She changed his name to Tryston when he was 4 days old, without a problem. So your not alone with changing your child’s name, just waited a lot longer than most do! I wish you and your baby the best!

  • Hopefully the presumptuous relatives keep quiet after the baby arrives. No guarantee though. I have a sister in law who manages to make EVERYTHING about her. My pregnancy… not her timing, her husband didn’t mention when his brother (my husband ) called to tell them it was a girl… She must not mean enough to me for me to call her directly…
    Blah blah blah
    Then after my daughter arrived I heard “well when you said her name was going to be L___, I thought it was weird. But I like it because it’s an ‘L’ name like mine…”
    Oh thank God you’re happy with something that has nothing to do with you…