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Toeing the Line Between a Creative and Crackpot Baby Name

Toeing the line between creative and crackpot.

By jeannesager |

Gwyneth has Apple. Frank Zappa has Moon Unit and Dweezil. And a New Zealand family has Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii.

At least they did.

Nine-year-old Talula Does the Hula convinced a judge to put an end to her parents’ attempt at whimsy last month with a name change that made international news. Her creative parents got a tongue-lashing from Judge Rob Murfitt for “[making] a fool of the child and [setting] her up with a social disability and handicap unnecessarily.”

Murfitt’s become a folk hero to wackily named children the world over. But a legion of creative namers are outraged.

“Normal names like John or David have always seemed very unimaginative and even stifling to me,” says Lynette Bondarchuk. When she gave birth to a boy in 2005, the Edmonton, Alberta, mom graced him with the name of a character from a ’70s made-for-TV movie. The brainchild of musician Henry Nilsson (supposedly while tripping out on acid), the film followed Oblio, the only round-headed creature in an animated land where everything is pointy.

“I saw the film in 1978 – when I was nine – and never forgot the story,” Bondarchuk says.

She tacked on Justice as a middle name – to represent her own social activism – and opted out on a traditional last name. The result? Her little boy is Oblio Justice X. That’s right – X, as in Malcolm, who dropped his given surname, Little, because he considered it a slave name. Bondarchuk now uses “X” professionally as well, and defends her choice vehemently.

“As I said to one friend-of-a-friend – Marie – who repeatedly disparaged his name (within earshot) every time she saw us, ‘What makes Oblio any worse than Marie?’”

Similar logic convinced Portland, Oregon, parents Kurt and Cathy Kemmerer that it wouldn’t be “too bad” to name their son Catcher.

“I had just spent the past week watching the Ken Burns documentary Baseball,” Kurt explains. “This left me with fresh memories of many of the old-time names and nicknames. Dizzy, Babe, Mordechai, Mookie, Boog and Solly are a few that I threw out, thinking I was being funny and lightening up the mood.”

“Fine. If we’re going to go with baseball, why not just Pitcher or Catcher or First Base?” Cathy spit back. It was a joke, but Catcher stuck.

“We did feel slightly embarrassed to tell people his name at ball games, though we have grown used to it now,” Kurt admits.

Catcher is what name researcher Laura Wattenberg calls a “meaning name.” The author of the Baby Name Wizard says thousands of parents are creating names out of common nouns with which they have positive memories or connotations.

“A small percentage of parents are simply captivated by some unusual name idea,” she says. “But more often, parents start off seeking a distinctive name then cast around for inspiration. That often means ending up with a name that has personal meaning, whether it’s your favorite baseball stadium, your great-great-grandmother’s maiden name, or the name of the street where you were born.”

Vivian Hung and Joe Giamarese chose “Alila,” the name of a Balinese hotel where they spent a luxurious few days during Vivian’s pregnancy. “We knew that we wanted to name our daughter after a place that is beautiful, tranquil and exotic,” Hung recalls. “She has been back to the hotel recently and thinks it is hers. If we could be so lucky that she owns hotels around the world when she grows up!”

Hung would call Alila “unusual.” “But it isn’t odd like Pilot or Apple,” she says.

So where’s the line?

In America, there is none. There are laws limiting what can show up on a vanity license plate, but there are none governing a child’s moniker. The lack of legislation has yielded famous cases like the unfortunately named twins “Lemonjello and Orangejello” (although there’s some controversy about whether the ‘jello twins are an urban legend) and the ever popular Shithead (pronounced Shuh-teed).

It’s also given parents leave to play Webster, inventing words and rearranging letters to offer up an alternate spelling or a new pronunciation for the same old name. Danette Mall’s parents split their names in half and crunched them together.

“They created me, so they created a name,” the fifty-seven-year-old Upstate New York office manager says. “It’s really a curse. It’s constantly misspelled, mispronounced, and when I try to leave a message with someone, they are sure I’m saying it wrong. They call me Janet, Jeanette, Danielle, Darlene.”

The daughter of creative-minded Daniel and Antoinette, Danette was determined to be a parent at the polar opposite of the spectrum. Joseph has dropped no lower than thirteenth in the Social Security Administration‘s list of top male baby names over the past eighteen years. His brother Jonathan has enjoyed only slightly more obscurity – it’s gone as high as seventeen and as low as twenty-three on the list in the same time frame.

“I couldn’t go more common!” their mom said with a grin. “I didn’t want them to go through what I do.”

Manhattan child psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein says parents need to be more aware of the ramifications of their choice – even if they decide it’s the best one in the long run.

“Many parents choose names that are in the family, that they like, that sound good to them or are meaningful to them,” she explains. “It’s hard to consider what will happen to their children at different times of their lives. I think most families use names that are somewhat meaningful or that they like and go from there – I don’t think parents connect the fact that bullying could even be a factor.”

A 2002 study by the Families and Work Institute found that sixty percent of kids in grades five through twelve had been teased or gossiped about “in a mean way.”

“It is really a catch-22,” Hartstein says. “Having a unique and different name certainly can make a child feel special – certainly as a ‘Jennifer’ growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I had to work hard to figure out how to distinguish myself from all the other Jennifers. It can also make them feel different. That difference can sometimes cause feelings of isolation and separateness. This is especially difficult when a child just wants to be like his or her peers.”

Research points to a child’s body size or shape as the prime impetus for schoolyard bullying, but Hartstein said a unique name can certainly provide fodder for a bully. “When bullying does become a factor, I feel as though parents need to treat it as any other bullying issue,” she says. “Of course, kids may say, ‘But why did you have to name me that?’ And I think parents should have a good answer.”

The Root columnist Jimi Izrael wrote about African-American names in a July 2008 column. He took issue with “names like LeQuinta, Lexxus, Maxima or Versachi,” and says he put his foot down when his youngest son’s mother wanted to name their child after the rapper Nas. “We need to give our kids a chance,” Izrael said. “I don’t know how far you can reasonably expect a child named ‘Fuquan’ to get in life.”

What affect a markedly ethnic name – or a bizarre name of any source – can do to a child earned a whole chapter in the popular 2005 book Freakonomics. Authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner debated whether the kids can ever attain success, but fell short of proving the names had any real affect. A boy named “Loser,” for example, went on to become a sergeant in the New York Police Department. His brother, Winner, has a rap sheet a mile long. Whether their names played a role in their fates, Levitt and Dubner had no answer. The same goes for kids with what they call “black” names and those with “white” names. “The data show that, on average, a person with a distinctively black name . . . does have a worse life outcome than a woman named Molly or a man named Jake,” they said. “But it isn’t the fault of their names.”

So is the to-do over Talula overblown?

“I’m all for creativity and special naming – family names mean the world to me,” says Austin, Texas, mom Laura Beck. “But I do think parents today are putting a selfish burden on their children going with a name that seems cool and funky to them at the time, but that an individual has to carry through with them for eighty-some-odd years.”

So she’d be a “normal” namer, right? If you consider Thea Fenway Cahoon normal, then, yeah.

Beck and husband Brendon celebrated their beloved Boston Red Sox first World Series win in eighty-six years with a deal – no matter the gender of the baby, its middle name would be after the Beantown stadium. When their little girl arrived, she was named for her great-grandmother, Elthea, and the home of the Green Monster.

“Fenway was something I was comfortable with as a middle name only,” Beck admits. “We’re okay with being a little different and having people kind of double take. But I could not and would not make it her first name. That was too much.”

The “too much” category appears to be getting smaller every year. The “hottest naming trend of the twenty-first century,” according to researcher Wattenberg, is to create a truly unique name, in part because such names are easier to Google. But we better watch out that crazy names don’t become the new John and Emily. One sign that this may be in the works: “Each year,” Wattenberg says, “hundreds of American babies are named ‘Unique.’”

About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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70 thoughts on “Toeing the Line Between a Creative and Crackpot Baby Name

  1. moi says:

    As someone who grew up with an unusual name (I’m now 35) I say to all you parents that want to name your babies something really unusual, DON’T DO IT! It sucks so bad for your kids. My name isn’t even weird, it’s kinda pretty. But it still sucks. It doesn’t make me unique, it doesn’t make me stand out in a crowd, and it didn’t make me any more successful than anyone else. I get compliments, but it is a complete drag explaining it, spelling it, and repeating it over and over every damn day of my life. I would never saddle my kids with a name that will be a burden for the rest of their lives. Have a heart! If you absolutely must do it then, for the love of your child, use it as a middle name. It’s a nice compromise.

  2. EngMama says:

    I think everyone who wants a truly unusual or unique name should first talk to 2 people who grew up with one. Almost everyone I’ve met who had a very strange name hated it (like moi above). Our children are not extensions of ourself, and should not be where we express OUR originality or creativity, the focus should be raising a happy, healthy human.

  3. Jewey McJewJew says:

    ‘Mordechai’ is neither creative nor crackpot. I know a few of those baseball-related names seem really strange to the average American. But I take issue with the authors re-enforcement of Kurts veiw. Its clear that this was a list of what seemed (to these baseball loving parents) like unusual names and they decided to go even further afield However, naming your child Mordechai is not like naming him Dizzy (also perfectly fine IMO). Mordechai may sound weird to some, but it is a perfectly TRADITIONAL Jewish name. Its not even a nickname like Dizzy or Solly. The only problem is most people will not be able to pronounce it because the ch represents a sound that doesnt exist in English. Solly is probably a short form for Solomon – also a common Jewish/biblical name. The only thing this list represents is that the history of Baseball in America involved a lot of Jews. Its no different than naming a kid Jose, Carmelo or Hector.Im rather annoyed that the writer allowed such an impression to get to the final copy of this article. I’d rather not to back to a time where children named Diego, Pryia, Michel or Barak have to change or alter their names to suit the narrow and ignorant perspectives of others. The rest of this article is equally uninsightful or offensive.Even a minor amount of reading up on the subject and on Wattenbergs blog will quickly show that the names Lemonjello and Orangejello and Shithead (pronounced Shuh-teed) are urban legends. There are lots of weird names that show up in her discussion of American baby names, like ‘Lemon’, but the stories mentioned above are not true. Wattenberg also takes issue with Levitts blunt reading of so-called Black names and comes up with a much more positive view of African Americans through her more accurate, interesting and subtle review of the African American naming culture. It is absolute stupidity to think you can insulate your kid from bullying through his name. Kids are bullied and that is the problem that must be dealt with. It may be that little Lemon will bully Andrew or Olivia. While I wouldnt necessarily want to make it hard for a child, I think theres better reasons not to name your child Lemon – like a lifetime of having to introduce himself professionally as Lemon. But if you love Lemon go for it. Most people end up loving their names and it is quite common for people with all kinds of names to hate their names at some point. Personally, I love Moon Unit and Pilot Inspektor. Weird, but also attractive in their own way.I suggest everyone who reads this article read (or listen to) something by Laura Wattenberg. She does a much better job, her work is more interesting and she actually knows of what she speaks. Its ridiculous to mention a writer when you cant be bothered to actually read her work

  4. seriously says:

    If you think your unique name is a pain and don’t like it… why don’t you change it? It’s not that difficult, a friend with a weird name changed her’s shortly after turning 21 and has had no difficulties from it.Also, the parents who named their kid “Catcher”… really? They seriously don’t know what that is slang for? He’s going to be in a world of pain in JR High.

  5. joan says:

    The On Point show referenced above was fascinating. Most of the people who called in defense of “creative” naming said that they wanted their children to also be creative, and that’s why they gave them unusual names. It’s kind of funny, this idea that a name will somehow make one creative. Take, for example, the name “John,” which has represented some of the most diverse men in history, such as Kennedy, Birch, Lennon, Adams (and Quincy Adams), the Baptist, Ashcroft, Audubon, Appleseed, Belushi, Rockefeller, Locke… just off the top of my head. If you really want your kid to be a trailblazer, give him a plain name so he’ll be forced to distinguish himself.

  6. joan says:

    Anyone interested in this topic should take a look at Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing, It’s hysterical! Also very informative. For example: [quote]DAKOTA, LAKOTA, etc. I am an actual Indian, Oglala Lakota. I live in North Dakota. Stop with the so called “american indian” names, will ya? Dakota does not mean “friend”, that’s just what white folks think.I saw someone here post something to the effect of “my wife is one-eighth Sioux, so we named our son ‘Lakota’, which means ‘good earth’ in American Indian. Spot all the errors in that sentence.*If* someone is actually Siouan, they would identify themselves as Oglala, Hunkpapa, Sicangu, Nakota, Dakota, Lakota, etc., not “sioux”. If the name is a word from the Lakota language, it is not “american indian”. There is NO “american indian” language.How many of you would think ‘Pahli’, ‘Sicamna’, or ‘Sica’ were pretty and unusual “american indian” names? Know what they mean? Mucous, Stink, and Ugly.Do what you must, but leave the Dakota and Lakota Nations out of it, along with all other American Indian Nations. Find some other culture to co-opt. [/quote]

  7. Abema says:

    The idiom is ‘toeing the line’, not ‘towing the line’. As in putting your foot right up to the line, not pulling the line behind you.

  8. BBBGMOM says:

    I think if a parent says, “at first we were a little embarrassed to say his name” (a paraphrase of Catcher’s parents’ comment) then it’s safe to say, don’t do it!! Jeez. Name the kid whatever you want, but please, love the name. How odd to sign a birth certificate of your baby when you are still “a little uncomfortable” with it. Strange stuff. I didn’t read the article very carefully, but now I think I’ll go back given the treatises posted above. I agree in re not co-opting religious or cultural names when you have no idea what they really mean (or don’t mean.) Me, I stuck with what I know: Plain Jane (not really “Jane”, but close) names that are in the bible and in the American history books… just our preference.

  9. nounnamer says:

    Wow! Did this coincide with Babble blogger Rebecca’s recent baby name choice, or what? The noun as name- Apple, Pilot, Lyric, Archer, Fable- is now a trend. I don’t think it’s very original now that it’s being done so much. Fable Luella sounds like an infant girl clothing line, BTW.I have a unique name. I don’t regret my parents choice because my name has meaning not only for the reason it was chosen, but it’s literal meaning as well. I gave my children unique names (boys only slightly less unique than my girls), but all of them have meanings that my husband and I were happy with. There is a difference between unique and obscure. Unique is Suri and Shiloh, not the aforementioned noun names. Those are just obscure.

  10. J McJewJew says:

    Shiloh is not unique. It was far closer to obscure. It’s a boy-to-girl transfer. It’s like naming a girl Zeke. It’s a name with a long established history for boys that was VERY out of vogue. But an obscure name to one generation, can become a hit to another, like Olivia. There are lots of noun names that are common enough with different types of parents – Ruby, Lily, Pierre, Rose, Golda, Taylor, Skye, River, Fern, Heaven, Autumn etc… What really makes a name like Maverick different from Constance? Time and popularity. That’s all.

  11. areusure says:

    I thought that Shiloh was a Hebrew name? It’s not a made-up name like Suri, anyway.

  12. ladybug2 says:

    areusure,Suri means ‘red rose’ and is Persian according to

  13. gawker quoter says:

    “Cruise’s spokesperson has said that the name Suri has origins in ancient Hebrew as a variation on Sarah (hence the Kabbalah explanation), but its direct Hebrew meaning is less complicated: “I really don’t know what they were thinking when they chose this name. It’s a term that denotes expulsion, like ‘Get out of here’,” said Gideon Goldenberg, a linguistics professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “It’s pretty blunt.”"

  14. J McJewJew says:

    Ladybug2, Dov means bear in Hebrew but no one names a child “Bear”. In hebrew it’s a common enough name. I’ve never heard of anyone named Bear. A name can mean something and be a recently made up name. Suri is in guides now because Tom Cruise named his daughter that. I’m fairly sure it is not a Persian name. Peter Abelard and his lover Heloise named their son Peter Astrolabe. An astrolabe is a device to measure the position of the sun and stars. A book I read likened it to naming your child Microchip or Internet. So, despite having a meaning, it is a made up name. Of course in a few generations, Suri could become a common enough name.

  15. justincase says:

    I would of loved to give my son a “different” name. However his last name is Hard, seriously, our family name is HARD. You can imagine the ribbing my husband got growing up, so we chose not to give our munchkin a difficult first name (nickname proof was he chapter we used in the baby name wizard). You don’t even want to know what my last name is.

  16. Chefswidow says:

    My son’s name is also Catcher and I was quite surprised to find that another boy out there shared his name. My husband and I are big fans of Catcher in the Rye and we had always planned on naming our little man Holden after the main character. One day we threw Catcher out there and it stuck. We absolutely love our choice and surprisingly enough we have hardly had any negative feedback. We had our daughter, Louisiana, last October. Her name was the combination my grandmother’s (woman who raised me) name Louisa and her sister Anna (who passed away while I was pregs). Her name means a lot to me and my grandfather who dearly misses his wife couldn’t have been more honored. My name is Amelia which was definitely rare growing up. I always got the Amelia Bedilia thing. However I always liked that I had a standout name and knew no other Amelia’s. I hope my kids will feel the same way.

  17. FrutiousMaximus says:

    I grew up with a unique name by American cultural standards and I am very proud of it. It is very much a part of who I am and who I have chosen to become. Yes, there were many times growing up that my name was a source of upset and still it takes people forever to figure out how to pronounce it. Unique names are not the issue. The issue here are the parents who use their childrens names to make stupid tongue in cheek hipster statements about themselves. In the process they choose Bad names not unique ones. But as for the not so common names out there, why should everyone be Jane, Mackenzie, Aiden and David and Clara?

  18. WonderingWilla says:

    I know someone who wanted to name his son Mordechai after the baseball player who had a nickname something like ‘three finger’ or some such. Anyway, I agree with JMcJJ, ain’t nothing wrong with Mordechai and yet it doesn’t exactly flow off the tongue in English. My own name (not Willa) doesn’t flow too well either, but what it would have been per my Serbian father’s wishes had I been a boy… Yikes! Luckily there is now a good tennis player and a dreamy actor on ER with it, but, boy, golly, I think I would have gotten beaten up a lot prior to these precedents on the international scene.

  19. that girl says:

    I’m with the person above who basically said ‘good’ or ‘bad’ names really shift and depend on time and culture. I also think it’s a little silly and immature to make something up – or convert a noun – simply to be trendy. I like the meaningful aspect..I tried, with both my boys, to picture it applying to a sweet baby, a young child, a teenager, and a grown man. My oldest son’s name became super popular a couple of years youngest’s name is biblical: Jeremiah. I loved the biblical character Jeremiah and my husband loves the character of Jeremiah Johnson. So far we love it – no regrets. Things shift, they change, there’s a strong chance that all of our names will go in and out of style during our lifetimes.that girl

  20. cattypex says:

    OK, first of all, the notwithoutmyhandbag site is the funniest thing I’ve ever read outside of David Sedaris.Second of all, what’s with all the girls named McKenna, Mackenzie, etc? Do their parents just not GET that “Mac” means “Son Of”?Third of all, I am also weirded out by the -adon generation. Bradon, Kadon, Jadon etc.Fourth of all, please quit with the last name as first name thing. It’s SILLY.Fifth and last, spell the damn name CORRECTLY. Names have MEANING beyond the sound of the letters tacked together. If you MUST name your daughter Mackenzie, don’t get cutesy and saddle her with Mykinzy.(My husband works with a Kenya. Only, her parents spelled it… Kyna.)

  21. J McJJ says:

    cattypex: You hate the names Courtney, Thomas, Martin and Shirley?

  22. Antoines Mama says:

    My son was born in France, so we wanted to give him a French name, with a lovely meaning. But, I absolutely hate common names! We chose Antoine, which is Anthony in French & quite well known here, but when we move back to Australia, it will be a very uncommon name there. So I feel we got the best of both worlds, classic in France & unusual in other parts of the world. It also fits in most languages around the world, Antonio, Anton, Antonije, Antony it suits my son’s mixed heritage & please the elders on both sides.Honestly, it depends on where you live that makes a name qualify as being strange. A Drazenko, Dragan & Milena in Serbia are the equivalent of James, Joe & Emma in…My Serbian grandmother thinks James is the most ridiculous weird sounding name…hahaha…You will never please everybody, just do your own thing!

  23. catmom says:

    Am I the only person who felt sort of like I was faking it with my child’s name? For the first few months of her life it just felt bizarre to call her a name that obviously had nothing to do with who she really was when she entered this world. I can see why some people leave the hospital without a name on their child’s birth certificate – she must have been at least seven months old before it felt like the name had anything to do with this unearthly little creation/miracle.Maybe this same feeling leads people to try to create names that reflect that feeling of strange wonder. But….I have to agree with seriously on Catcher. I’m so sorry. It’s the absolute first thing that sprang to mind when I read that. Maybe by the time he’s in middle school it will have lost that slang meaning – I hope so, for their sakes. There really aren’t that many names I object to, but ones that get a kid hazed are probably avoidable. I would hope for the same reason that Bon Qui Qui is also off limits now.

  24. Ladybug2 says:

    J McJewJew The woman that runs the site does a lot of research into the origins of names, so it’s a good place to look for the true meaning of a name. Please also keep in mind that different languages can have words that are similar, but mean completely different things.

  25. JMcJJ says:

    Umm… Ladybug2 Im not sure what you comment has to do with mine. I believe you are mixing me up with Gawker Quoter. But I have to agree it is ridiculous if Cruises camp TOLD the press Suri was related to the name Sarah but it really more closely means get out of here. Oops, I guess they had to find a language where it meant something pretty. But names dont have to mean something attractive. Most names have meaning. Wattenburg pointed out Cameron means crooked nose and its a perfectly good name. That old classic Mary is derived from a Hebrew name meaning sea of bitterness. Who knows why anyone thought that would be a good name for girls? But its a quite common name in many languages with many variations on the theme, due to the religious characters who bore the name.All I meant is that picking words from other languages doesnt make it a previously established name. Just because a word has a meaning in some language, doesnt mean you didnt just make up a name. In other languages, there are lots of animal names, especially for boys. I could name about six off the top of my head, like Dov. But I can only think of one in English – Fox. However, some motifs are popular across cultures – King and Queen and other noble classes seem to be names that relate in their various languages. I can think of several royality titles that are names.As I said before, I have no objection for taking a word and making it a name. Sky is a rare but established recent creation and for that matter Summer is relatively new. ‘Suri’ could also become a common enough name in a generation. It sounds nice. But that doesnt mean its a Persian name, just because it might have a Persian root.

  26. lilacorchid says:

    To echo some of those above, I have an odd name, and I hate repeating myself ten times a day when I answer the phone at my job. Seriously though, if you are going to name your kid something common don’t be a jerk and try to make it unique by messing up the spelling just to be creative. It’s not creative, it’s annoying. If there is a reason (like it’s spelt a certain way due to culture or tradition, etc) then go for it, but if you are just doing it to make your little snowflake more unique, you might want to think twice.

  27. easy being Jean says:

    FrutiousMaximus, “Jane” is not a common name. It ranked around 430 for the past 7 years. “Jayden,” by comparison, ranked 172 last year. At this point, it seems like a kid with a normal name stands out more than all the Sailors and Borghnines and Ukes and Nahrnyaz out there. I’ve only met a handful of Jeans my age (ranked 525 when I was born, 852 now), and it’s a good, strong name that everyone except Italians can spell. They call me Gina. I don’t mind that.

  28. 1 Jennifer out of 800000 says:

    It goes either way. I am a Jennifer born in 1979 and I loathe it. I cannot believe my parents gave me such a stupid over used name. In second grade there were four of us, and my teacher randomly declared that I would be Jen. I didn’t want to be called Jen, but I didn’t get a choice. It also didn’t make any difference as to whether or not kids bullied me. I was a geeky bookworm kid, that was all the ammunition they needed, had I been named Jennifer or Protractor. My last name, on the other hand, is extremely uncommon and I really like that fact. I never for a second thought about changing it when I got married because then my whole name would be boring. I think too much value is being assigned to names, either which way. They’re just names. If people mispronouncing your name is the biggest bane of your existence you should count yourself lucky.

  29. beeker says:

    Jean: It’s interesting the way some people view ‘Jane’. Some have very vehement reactions against it. I think the impression that it is popular comes from the fact that so many famous women and characters that carry the name. Unlike Neveah,it’s a very old name. It has a pedigree. Personally, I’ve always loved ‘Jane’. It’s simple, elegant, easy to spell and feminine without being girlish. It sounds and looks attractive. It’s the little black dress of names. Suitable for all occasions. And if you hate nicknames, Jane is as good insurance as any.As to the Jennifers…. Yah, that was rough. There’s always a weird group think going on with naming children. You can take comfort in the fact that no name is as popular as Jennifer was. Ethan is similar in my neck of the woods. I know overall, it is not THAT popular. But in my area, I can’t hear about 4 boys being born without at least one of them being named Ethan. Enough! Find another name. I would much rather have my son share a popular classic, like John , than a recent fashionable one. It seems expected that someone else in your travels will be named John or Jane.

  30. chattydaddy says:

    I have a strange name, and though I found it to be liability as a child (I was teased), I have found it to be an asset as an adult (people remember it). I read once that people with strange names more often end up in therapy; I think it’s possible that such people also more often distinguish themselves. A distinctive name gives a child a little of a spotlight, which can either be intimidating or empowering depending on the child.I think it’s crazy that some people are suggesting here that everyone should be named John, Sam, Jen and Sally. This herd mentality thinking, based on fear. And a failure of imagination.

  31. easy being Jean says:

    A classic from Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing:________________***My first born has a name that no one else has, he is a first, Abeus ( Abe E us ) it is a strong name, and as for getting along with other children his age, there is not a doubt in my mind he has friends. He gets along with other children, and is not picked on because of his name.***This is one of my favorites. It has everything, nice and compact. It’s got a bad name, which sounds like a combination or fragment of a normal one, spelled strangely, and emphasized poorly.Plus, it has a mother who insists the child is unique, and then insists in a rather desperate tone that he isn’t a total social outcast, spurned by humanity and destined to live in a sewer in the bowels of Gotham City because of the badly spelled, poorly emphasized bad, bad name. Really, she acts like having friends is something you believe in, as an act of faith, as opposed to something you witness with your own eyes.All this, and there’s a good bet the kid’s no more than 10, so she’s presumably watching him with her own eyes a good deal. Is she rationalizing the time the kids locked Abeus in the composting toilet as a friendly hazing incident?(Reader Tom points out, and I can’t believe I missed it, that Abeus is an anagram of “abuse.” ) ______________________

  32. mahazaratti says:

    chattydaddy, aside from the offspring of already famous people, how many oddly-named people can you think of who’ve “distinguished” themselves? There’s Barack Obama, but it’s generally acknowledged that his name has been a liability in his career (except with babies, who prefer it because of the vowels). Aside from that, the famous and powerful tend to have very dull, normal names.

  33. distinguished with funny names says:

    Learned Hand, Strom Thurmond, Ophrah Winfrey. That’s all I’ve got.

  34. Sage says:

    I have an unusual name and have always loved it. Honestly. Always. Perhaps it’s easier for girls? It made me feel unique. People generally remember me. It’s an easy topic of conversation when you first meet someone. It’s meaningful to my family. I felt bad for the Jennifers and Jessicas I grew up with. And evidently I’m one of three people in America who approve of Apple. I think it’s a nice name.

  35. creative autie with a normal nam says:

    I grew up with a fairly average but nice-sounding name I love, and have to point out that even in cases like that, kids develop personalized variants or nicknames from their family members and friends… I think those are the true expression of “who” a person is, something those close to them can use; the formal name is a kind of launching pad. All kids are individuals, they don’t need a fancy name for that; the ones that are truly unique are that way from personality and parenting.If you wish your kid to be truly creative, give them access to age-appropriate art materials early on, read to them a great deal, make up stories and dance together, encourage and praise their work; creativity is a state of mind that takes work to maintain, not a title. Obviously bullying doesn’t require having an odd name, and I’m a strong believer in anti-bullying measures… Problem is, a name is a particularly personal thing, so it can hurt a lot more to have a bully target that than many other common targets.Perhaps future parents that like creative names could have a childbirth/adoption ritual of changing their own name to reflect the shift in their identity… They could then follow one culture’s approach for their child, by giving a simple name for the pre-adolescent years, then allowing him/her to choose a grown-up name as part of a maturation ritual on their thirteenth birthday. I’ve heard that it benefits a child a great deal in behavior & attitude when there are firm thresholds like that anyway.

  36. chattydaddy says:

    Mahazaratti — the screen names that celebrities pick, that stick in people’s mind, are general not “john smith” … they are usually atypical names, that their fame makes typical. Madonna would be one of innumerable examples. Thirty years ago a very small subset of the population were given strange names, and i am going to guess that a slightly higher percentage of them have outperformed. Today, a much larger percentage of kids — particularly in highly competitive places like Manhattan — are being given distinctive names … I wouldn’t be surprised if kids named “John” start feeling insecure about the plainness of their names in coming decades.I think “Mahazaratti” has a nice name to it, but I am not sure i would give it to my son — quite a few syllables!

  37. beg to differ says:

    Madonna is actually the birth name of Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie, not a stage name. Prince likewise is a given name. However, screen celebrities usually pick pretty bland screen names — specifically non-ethnic or non-weird ones, like Natalie Portman, born Natalie Hershlag; Winona Ryder, born Winona Laura Horowitz; Martin Sheen, born Ramon Est’vez; John Wayne, born Marion Morrison. Musical celebrities tend to choose tough or kookie names (Bono, Slash, Sid Vicious). But distinguishing oneself doesn’t mean being famous for acting or rocking out — a quick glance at the Forbes most powerful women list, for example, reveals only one funny name in the top 25 — Condoleezza Rice.

  38. anon says:

    Funny, but sort of nice, I think. I read somewhere that her parents loved music, and they were trying to give a rough English approximation of the Italian instructions that you sometimes see in sheet music, in this case meaning (play) sweetly or (play) gently.

  39. there you go says:

    Well, that just goes to show that names don’t determine your life path, because Condi plays neither sweetly nor gently.

  40. Not Amanda or Amelia just A M says:

    Some thoughts:* How the heck did Nevaeh become SOOOOOOO popular? Was it the name of a pop culture character? (Yes, I know it’s Heaven spelled backwards, but there couldn’t suddenly be thousands of parents who spontaneously got the idea…)* Oprah got her name because her parents mis-spelled the name Orpah (from the biblical story of Naomi and Ruth) on her birth certificate.* Growing up with the common, simple name Amy, I got (and still get) asked constantly how to spell it. Same with my last name, which is one of those great English colour names! (Green, Black, White….) So please don’t think those requests to spell your name are based on it’s uniqueness. They’re based on people’s desire not to make assumptions (or their own cluelessness).* Some professionals I worked with had ongoing conversation about the fact that it was the children at school with unusual names based on things like soap opera characters (“Cricket” from Y&R, among others) who tended to be more likely to end up involved with Child Protective Services. A testament to the kids? No, but perhaps to the general cluelessness of their parents’ choice-making and inability to assess potential impacts of their actions on their offspring?* I grew up in a small town with a ‘normal’ but not overused first name and common last name, which was probably the most appropriate thing in that circumstance. But now I live in a large, ethnically diverse city, and having a highly unique middle name has served me VERY well, both personally and professionally. *** I think my parents hit the winning combination with “normal but not overused first name/unique middle name/common last name”, and I think my brother would agree, because he has that pattern too, and repeated that pattern with his son. *** His wife also legally changed her name from a “common/less common/unusual” one, to “common/unique/common”. I think it’s a pattern worth considering! Yes, there was a period of about three years as a little girl when I wished my middle name was Ann, Sue, Ellen, Marie, or Jane, like my classmates. But I grew out of that!!!As for the actual middle names, our parents drew on family surnames from a number of generations ago in our families, so our names are not unheard-of, but definitely unique as anything but surnames (mine is a Scottish clan name, his reflects our Danish roots), and we both love them.

  41. Papa of Catcher says:

    Greetings,I am the guy who named his kid Catcher. First, I think the article’s author did a fine job connecting the stream of information that covers a topic that could easily be expanded into book form.For those interested in names and naming, Steven Pinker covers this quite well in his book, “The Stuff of Thought.” Chapter 6 covers the topic almost exclusively, including discussion about the fluctuating popularity of names, and the phenomenon that leads many parents to pick names they think are unique, only to find several other children with the same name at pre-school.He also addresses the reality that names of people and things have continuously been invented over time. Thus, while social norms may allow for more invention today than in the past, it is not a new phenomenon, in and of itself.(The rest of this may come across as defensive, but I suppose that is what it is…)Second, I am slightly amazed at the assumptions made by some posters in response to parts of the article. Jewey McJewJew’s response about Mordechai is quite interesting, since his depiction of myself and/or the reporter as thinking it to be creative or crackpot is most off-base. The bottom line is that it is currently very much “out of fashion,” as were the other old-school baseball names I threw at my wife that day. Pinker’s book discusses the trends of this at length. Perhaps it is insensitive to joke about names that are out of fashion, but we struggled to find a name that we could both agree upon, and levity was needed in our discussions. The names mentioned in the quote include only those from the one discussion that led to the actual naming of our child. In other words, it’s wise to understand that periodical writers can’t offer total context for every statement from every individual they quote. They are moving the general information of the story along. That’s their job. It’s the reader’s job to understand that a newspaper, magazine or online piece is not going to be fully contextualized. Space disallows that.Abema’s comment about us being embarrassed to say his name is a result of generalizing from a specific comment. It was simply a bit odd to say his name at baseball games at first. That’s it. We love his name. We loved it from the moment we connected to it. Yes, we did try to come up with something we liked more, simply because we wanted something more common. Or thought we did. But we have never been embarrassed by his name. Not even close.The comments about the possibility of a boy named Catcher being “hazed” with outdated homophobic slurs are what they are. I’ve worked with kids my entire life, and hazing based on names is quite minor compared to hazing based on perceived social status. As a parent, I want to try to focus on what’s most important. It’s too easy to get distracted by every minor worry that comes about.Further, such hazing is also referred to as bullying. If kids with uncommon names are so harmed by their names, then it would seem likely that the psychological effects might lead to a higher percentage of them becoming the bullies who actually perform such hazing. I’ve yet to see any evidence of this in mental health literature.As for “Not Amanda’s” comment about some “professionals” claiming that more kids with odd names end up being referred to CPS, I have never heard such a comment in all my years working with kids, many of whom are involved in the CPS system. I have never come across a lick of actual research that indicates such a trend. Thus, her comment about parents who do not go with more common names being clueless is without basis. It’s simply an opinion that she has pulled out of thin air.So, yeah, I know this does come across as defensive. On the other hand, the comments I am responding to seem overbearing and judgmental without an evidence base for the judgments made.Chefswidow: I love both the names you’ve chosen for your kids. We connected even more to the name Catcher because we love the connection to the Catcher in the Rye story within the novel, as well as to dream catchers. All right, I’m done being defensive. I hope I haven’t really hurt anyone’s feelings.Cheers.

  42. Papa of Catcher says:

    One other item of note: A friend of ours informed us that the name Catcher was used for a main character in a romantic comedy made in the early 2000s. I don’t remember the name of the movie, as we never saw it.We also compared the name Catcher to names like Hunter and Fisher, neither of which would be considered odd by most people, I believe. Oh, I forgot to add that “odd” is the 11th most popular boy’s name in Norway. And, yes, I think that’s wonderful. Apparently “even” is also a popular Norwegian name.And to add to the discussion above, here are a few other famous/successful people given “odd” names at birth (and, yeah, let’s start with baseball):Kenesaw Mountain Landis, American jurist and baseball commissioner, named after Kennesaw Mountain near Atlanta, Georgia.Milton Bradley, an outfielder for the Texas RangersArmand Hammer, who was named after the “Arm and Hammer” symbol of the Socialist Labor Party.American McGee, video game designer (Quake, American McGee’s Alice) famous for having an unusual name.Peerless Price, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills.Condoleezza Rice, current US Secretary of State. Name is based on a misspelling of the Italian musical term ‘con dolcezza’ which means ‘[to be played] with sweetness’.Amor De Cosmos, the second premier of British Columbia, Canada. His name in Portuguese (and Spanish) actually means “Love Of Cosmos”.All right. I’m done. For now.Cheers.

  43. J McJewJew says:

    To all others- I’m sorry for the long post. Please, pass by this long post. Mr. Kremmerer, What I object to is the fact that most people will not know that Mordechai is a traditional Jewish/Hebrew name with biblical roots. It was really Ms. Sanger’s job to provide that context, not the reader’s. How is a reader to provide context if they lack the knowledge. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. It was her job to do the research, not ours and not mine. At the Jewish religious school my sisters family attends there are several Sollys. Their full names are ‘Solomon’ and they go by ‘Solly’, just as a ‘Madison’ might known as ‘Maddie’. As I said above, the only thing that list proves is that the history of American baseball involved a lot of Jews. Of course I dont mean that you should have named your son Mordechai. I dont care what you named your son. What I object to is the blanket idea that the name is silly or even out of fashion (which btw was not the impression I got from this article. I got the impression that it was out of fashion because it was silly.) I read the article a few times, but even after that, it still seemed to me that we were supposed to find the name Mordechai hilarious. I don’t. I hear it as a normal Jewish name. No Jew I know would blink if I told them I was naming my son ‘Mordechai’. It is not out of fashion as you claim. It was used moderately when I was young and still is used today. It has never been the most popular English/Legal name amongst assimilated Jews. But, some segments of the American Jewish population feel less need to conform their traditional ways to mainstream America. (After this article, that path is looking just a bit rosier to me). It seems obvious that you will find few assimilated Jews unwilling to give their child a name most of the American population cannot pronounce. (Its not a fault, but a fact. Just like, my inability to roll my rs.) The ch represents a sound that English does not have. That alone makes it unlikely to burst into the mainstream, as Asher has.That ch sound is why you get a great many Rachels and Leahs but not a great number of Chiyas. But that doesnt make the latter ridiculous. I know at least three little girls whose Hebrew names are Chiya, while their English names might be mainstream ones like Olivia or Lucy. I have known enough Mordechais over my life to know it is not as rare as you assume. Amongst assimilated Jewish parents, it would be more often used as a HEBREW name while the English names might be ones like Morris or Max and a generation or two ago they might have been Milton or Morton. Being a Jew, I probably know more Jews than you do. I also know the Hebrew names of many my friends and family. When I was a child I knew the Hebrew names of children in my Hebrew classes and my synagogue. Priya or Krishna also doesnt appear on any popularity lists, but I have known several Pryias and Krishnas. I wouldnt call them crackpot names because they are uncommon in mainstream America. They are simply names used by a specific minority with little crossover appeal. I dont lack a sense of humour. I joked about naming with my brother recently. I suggested both Bootsey (for a girl) and Buck (for a boy) because they seemed so unlikely to suit any future child he might have. (Perhaps I should have suggested Catcher instead) However, I wouldnt write an article giving the impression that giving that the name Krishan or Pooja were so hilarious without pointing out that they are Indian/Hindu/(please include the many languages of South East Asia here) and I am not of South East Asian heritage. I admire Mahatma Ghandi, but Im not about to honour him by naming my child Mahatma’, despite the fact that in my circles it would be an unsual name. That fact doesnt make it silly. I see no reason to laugh at an ethnic name that happens to be uncommon in mainstream America. I thought we were past doing that or at least past doing it in print. Perhaps you should stick to laughing at perfectly good Jewish/Hebrews names in private.Why is that your Jewishphobic joke is acceptable while you decry the mere mention of gay slang meaning as homophobic? What if your son is gay? Ever think about how awkward such a name might be for him if he ends up travelling in queer circles? Its hard to be taken seriously with a name like Catcher when the slang meaning is the first thing that comes to mind. Id take Mordechai any day of the week.

  44. Papa of Catcher says:

    J McJewJew,I’m sorry, but many names have biblical roots, and even then they have gone in and out of fashion. Mordechai is certainly one that currently out of fashion. And, to the modern ear, it probably does seem silly. Again, read Pinker’s chapter on names and naming history. I suspect that someone who seems to have very focused world-view, such as yourself, might find it interesting.Cheers.

  45. Papa of Catcher says:

    J McJewJew,I’m sorry, but many names have biblical roots, and even then they have gone in and out of fashion. Mordechai is certainly one that currently out of fashion. And, to the modern ear, it probably does seem silly. Again, read Pinker’s chapter on names and naming history. I suspect that someone who seems to have a very focused world-view, such as yourself, might find it interesting.I also find it interesting that you choose to believe bringing up old-school is “Jewphobic,” and use that excuse to attack my kid’s name with continued nonsense. If that is the first thing that comes to mind, your mind is in a very bizarre place.Cheers.

  46. J McJewJew says:

    Yes, many names have biblical roots. But some names are more popular amongst Jews and others have a broader mainstream appeal. But why would you assume the names enjoyed by the Jewish community would be exactly the same ones as enjoyed by the mainstream? I don’t see a great number of white anglo saxons naming their sons ‘Miguel’. It’s natural that this version of ‘Michael’ would be popular amongst people of Spanish speaking backgrounds. The reason ‘Mordechai’ is unpopular in America (as I wrote before) is because it has no anglo version, was never popular with non-Jews and assmilated Jews, who assume their child will have to live and work in an English speaking world, know most people will not be able to pronounce it. I also know Jews aren’t immune to fashion. A few generations ago, Milton was wildly popular in the Jewish community. The reality is, that you don’t move in circles where ‘Mordechai’ may have staying power and you don’t know the Hebrew names of many Jewish boys or men. Also, just because there was one Jewish baseball player named Mordechai, doesn’t mean it was ever wildly popular. You percieve it as old-fashioned because you associate it with a baseball player from the beginning of the century. But you really don’t know how popular it was or is amongst Jews as a subcommunity. You assume that because there was a player named Mordechai, it was common at the time he was born and is now out of fashion. You have nothing to back up that assumption. It could just as easily have a steady rate of popularity. I just looked it up. 2003 was the ONLY year where it ranked in the top 1000 at 925. It’s likely that it shows up because we have such a greater diversity of male names today. Rarer names make the list as fewer people use previously common names like ‘John’ and others seek out creative spellings. It doesn’t prove ‘Mordechai’ was previously fashionable and is now out of fashion. And it doesn’t mean it was ever rare in the Jewish community. There is a middle ground – names that aren’t wildly popular but are steadily used over long periods of time. Pinker’s theory is interesting, but hardly the last word on the matter. There are others with equally interesting perspectives on naming. I’m not going to justify my right to an opinion. There’s a comment space and I may be ignorant, but I’m going to use it. I feel this article needs a balanced perspective on the name ‘Mordechai’. It is not like naming your child ‘Dweezil’ or ‘Apple’. Mr. Kremmerer, you don’t know anything about me. That is obvious as I’m someone on the internet who is talking about one subject. Hardly a diverse view. I’ll let you guess… Am I voting for McCain or Obama? It’s hard to tell by just asking my opinion on this one article by Ms. Sanger. You know I have a brother and a sister. I’m Jewish. And that you offended me. (I’m assuming you think I’m uber-religious. I’m not. So, now you know another thing about me.) I’m not sure what else a “focused world-view” could mean. For the record, I am an assimilated Jew. Pinker is not going to have the whole picture on Jewish naming traditions. Statistics don’t count the number of parents using Mordechai as a Hebrew name. That might not matter to you, but it does to many Jews. Many view it as an important part of their Jewish identity.Over the years I have known many Jews (young and old) with names that would seem unsual or “old-school” to the average American without much experience in the Jewish community. But, such names won’t necessarily strike a Jewish person the same way. Perhaps I will start suggesting ‘Catcher’ to lighten the mood. (Or would that offend you!) It’s not because I have a narrow world view. It is just common sense that a Jew might meet more Jews. Unless you happen to send your kids to Hebrew classes, belong to a synagogue or work with Jewish organizations and charities. Unless, by ‘old-school’, you mean names favoured by the mainstream (ie Christians) over time. I’m not really much concerned with what you think of our names.As to my mind being a bizarre place, perhaps it is. But, I didn’t make the connection to the slang meaning for ‘catcher’. Someone else did. I just think it is interesting and a completely valid point. Why throw rocks, when your house is made of glass?You are the one who said:”Dizzy, Babe, Mordechai, Mookie, Boog and Solly are a few that I threw out, thinking I was being funny and lightening up the mood.”Why can you not accept that Jews would probably not see it as a funny name? That is bizzare.Stick to what you know.

  47. speaking of names says:

    I think it’s funny that anyone would attempt a serious discussion with someone identified as “Jewey McJewJew.”

  48. ernest says:

    I don’t believe that any reasonable person really thinks that a name determines one’s life path. As mentioned before, boys named John have grown up to be presidents, serial killers, revolutionaries, ground-breaking artists and musicians, and so on. And there’s absolutely no evidence that funny names change the way one turns out either. I work at an historical association, and you would be amazed at the crazy names people have given their kids throughout American history, and the crazy spellings they’ve come up with. “Creative” naming is nothing new. What is new, however is the annoying smugness that goes along with the choosing of a “creative” name. The simple act of calling it a creative or unique name is annoying, and something that wouldn’t have happened in the early 1800s when people were naming their kids Nob and Rust and Zupha and Rebbeckaah just for the hell of it. If you want to name your kid Uke or Chud or Nharnyah or Lentily, go for it, but don’t act like you’re doing something super awesome and creative and different. If you want to be creative, paint a picture. If you want to name a kid, name a kid.

  49. Lindsay says:

    Just because a name is common (like mine, Lindsay) does not mean you won’t constantly be spelling it for people (and correcting them on the pronunciation: LYNN-zee, not LYNN-say). I have had people spell my name every way from Lindsey (common) to Linsey to Lynzee. Because there are unusual spellings for common names out there, regardless of whether or not the child’s name is spelled “correctly” means the child will be spending the greater part of their lives correcting the spelling of their name. I doubt I’ve had any less trouble with my own name than my sister, whose name is Kaleigh (an obviously more unusual form of Kaylee).As far as a child with an unusual name wishing for a more common name, I spent most of my childhood (until quite recently) wishing I had a more unusual name (I was one of three Lindsay’s in my very small 3rd grade class). Everyone goes through a period of self loathing, especially in school when bullying is prevalent. One’s name really has no bearing on one’s future.

  50. mchaos says:

    I’m not big on telling other people what to name their kids. I personally prefer more traditional names. It annoys me when people say names like John or Mary (or whatever other common name) is stifling though. As my grandfather George says, there are millions of ways to be a George. Just like you can also be unique and interesting if you choose to keep your brown hair brown and not dye it some wilder shade. Just like you can be a married mother of two and not be just like every other married mother of two. A unique name is just that, a name – not a life.

  51. Goodface says:

    I, like the Oglala Lakota guy quoted above, hate when people give their kids an ‘Indian name’! First of all, there is no ‘American Indian’ language. For example, my hubby and I are both Native American but I speak Lakota and he speaks Navajo. Two VERY different languages and there are hundreds more. If you go on any baby naming site they have a ton of Lakota and Navajo names misspelled, mispronounced, and misinterpreted. Chayton is actually spelled Cetan. We had a good laugh one day when we saw the word Bilaganaa, which means white person, given as a boy name on a website. Really?! Just name your white kid a white kid name and leave our names alone.

  52. myanna says:

    wow…you wouldn’t believe the trouble I got for naming my daughter….wait for it…Mary. People told me it was too old fashioned, it was for an old lady. Drove me crazy. I think the best advice I got from anyone was when my granddad (named Vernon) told me if I wanted my kids to learn foreign languages I should give them a name that was likely to translate easily. Among the languages spoken in the Americas and Europe, traditional names like John, Andrew, Mark, Michael, Alexander, James, Mary, Jane, Susan, Samuel, Daniel, Danielle, Paul, etc. seem to do pretty well.

  53. Chris says:

    I have one of the many female ‘Chris…’ names. I am called everything from Christine, Crysti, Kristal, Kristin, etc. etc…..
    I put a lot of thought into my kids names. I wanted them to have normal uncommon names – I wanted their names to be easy to pronounce and spell – not common but not weird. I named one of my children Elise – she has the best name of them all – It’s a old, classic name, Everyone has heard of it, I met a few Elise’s through the years – but not many… Most people can pronounce it, and she has yet to run into another child with her name. It really gets me that there are 3 Madison’s in her class, There are 2 Jackson’s, and a wide variety of Jayden, Caden, Ethan, Ashton, etc…. People try to be unique and end up with a VERY common trendy name…. The classic names are the unique ones now. 2 of my kids have ‘unique’ names which are common — the other 2 have more classic names I have yet to hear anyone else use…

  54. Julia Saenz says:

    My son is 18 months old. His name is Zennan – as in rhymes with Brennan- and guess what my little darling boy is so sweet, charming, intelligent, and charismatic that he will approach people and just talk, giggle, sing, and charm the pants off of them. Then they ask his name and I proudly say Zennan. Then they say wow (in amazement) because he is so awesomely unique that they immediately love him and his name. Actually my darling and I went to the doctors for an allergy test and a nurse excitedly came up to us talking in a gush. She said omg I’ve never met another Zennan before, I can’t belive it. I grinned proudly and said, “How old is your Zennan.” And she said, “58″. Completely awesome. I work with him every single day. He is my everything. He is incredibly smart and way ahead of his peers. When we went to his new doctor’s office a month ago the waiting room was full of kids and parents. My darling went up to each and every single child and handed them a car, book, or toy. He talked to every single child in that filled room. When he finally got to see the doctor, the doctor said, ” Wow, he is unbelievably social. He must live with a big family. I said, “Nope its just me, him, and his daddy.” The doctor said that, that was amazing. I told him my secret. That ever since my son was 6 months old I had taken him 3 times a week to the park, to playland, to the mall, or to any social outing with other peers. My Zennan isnt a ron, or a john or a chris or a joe. He is unique and special. He is Zennan. (:

  55. John Bucco says:

    My wifes name is Rhindy. It rhymes with Cindy. But it is unusual and sexy!

  56. Joobug Goobug says:

    Here is some more weirdest and/or coolest baby names ever? if you guys want.


    and for boy names:


    Anyway take care :) _

  57. Joobug Goobug says:

    oops sry for the last comment it didn’t get ‘organized’ the way I wanted it to be. Anyway take care again.

  58. Ashley says:

    I think I got a taste of both sides growing up. I have a very popular first name; I was always one of two or three Ashleys in my class growing up. At the same time, I had an unusual last name that was constantly misspelled and mispronounced. If I had to choose the lesser of two evils, I’d say it’s better to have a very common name than a very unusual name, though there were certainly times growing up when I wished for a first name that was all my own and not shared by anyone else. But I can’t tell you how releived I was to take my husband’s (much easier to decipher) last name when we got married.

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  69. Lyla says:

    Here are few names I have heard from working at several different After School programs.

    Girl: Isla, Aasha, Tess, Daley, Alora, Amya, Myra, Shia, Bridget, Abrey, Marley, Lyla, Joelle, Ivory, Misha, Anya, Symone, Mallory, Beverly, Faye, Tasha, Rosalyn, Estella, Daphne, Eliza, Cassidy, Sylvia, Carly, Camille, Eden, and Leona.

    Boy or Girl: Carmen, Tatum, Ashton, and Sasha,

    Boy: Damien, Devon, Emijah, Omari/Amari, Zahari, Jaylen, Tate, Drake, Clarence, Micah, Clyde, Simon, Nigel, Alistar, Archie, Tre’, Malik, Emil, Leland, Elias, Leon, Wade, Ivon/Ivan, Tobias, Ezra, and Roman.

  70. Sonya Cates says:

    I believe that children are one of a kind and need a unique name that seperates them from the average. I also agree that you don’t want a name that is over the top for the kids sake. I named one of my son’s Carlisle which is unique but not over the top. Over the years I have been making up creative names and collecting them. I just published that list in an ebook. Some of the names on it are Anajacaela, Aracaera, Macassen, Mc Kaiden. They are unique but not wierd. .

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