The Central Statistics Office last week announced that ‘Jack’ remains the most popular name for baby boys in Waterford, while Ava is amongst the favourites for little girls. So, in four years time, teachers in the locality will also be meeting a lot of little Jamies and Seans, Aoifes and Emmas.
My significant other and I are currently in the process of considering names for an impending arrival, something that we don’t take at all lightly. After all, this is a handle the wee babby will be stuck with for the rest of his or her life. Of major contemplation in our house is what god-awful playground nicknames could be carved from our choice. And we also have to bear in mind what the name says about us – about our aspirations for little offspring.
The question is often posed: ‘What does your name say about you?’. But a name usually says a lot more about the parents than the child – about their cultural background and even about their hopes and dreams for their child’s future. Indeed the names on the Ireland Top 100 list are indicative of the country’s increasingly multi-cultural status, with the prevalence of Jakub, Kacper, Filip and Patryk in the top 100 for boys and Maja, Natalia and Zuzanna in the girls’ list.
A child’s name gives them their first real sense of identity. So much has been written about the meaning of names and there’s no denying that some people subconsciously interpret your name and can even automatically assign you certain traits when they hear it. Imagine what that poor ‘Boy named Sue’ had to put up with!
A big decision for parents these days is whether to go for the more ‘prevalent’ names or opt for something a little bit different. While such favourites as Jack do have a huge appeal, you have to ask yourself do you want him to be one of the eight little Jacks in his class. There were four Fionas in my class at school and it often made for great confusion. And then we pregnant ladies have to be careful not to let the hormones have too much influence: what if I decide to ‘do as the celebrity does’? I can’t see little Bluebell Madonna, Moon Unit, Memphis Eve, Lark Song, Heaven or even Jazz Domino thanking me for it in years to come.
I came across a rather novel way of choosing a baby’s name online recently, on the parenting website mumsnet. It allows you to select certain details about the adult that you hope your little bean will grow up to be: choosing for them a job (options include pest control officer/ DJ/librarian/reiki healer), where they will most likely buy clothes (Next, Dolce and Gabbana, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Oxfam), where they’ll buy their food (Aldi, Tesco, Fortnam and Mason, M&S) and finally, and most importantly, their biscuit of choice (chocolate Hobnobs, Fox’s Party Rings, jaffa cakes, custard creams). Then the search engine picks you out a name.
Apparently, your young Monsoon-wearing interior designer who goes to M&S for her Garabaldi’s would best be suited to the names Freya, Harriet or Clover, while a tax inspector who shops at Next and Tesco and enjoys nothing more than some Rich Tea would go by the moniker of, wait for it, Michelle. News to me.
The computer programme is based on the answers provided by Mumsnetters to an array of questions and although it’s only intended for a laugh, it would give you a few ideas. But before you make that choice, please do consider what it will sound like being hollered in the finest Waterford accent across that playground.