I have recently realized that my husband and I have had a repeating problem with names. We have three children, Aidan (b. 1995), Ava (b. 1996), and Jasper (b. (2004). When Aidan was born, the name was number 461 on the SSA. My son has never met another Aidan in his life, and he has certainly never had to use his last initial in school. But my younger son started kindergarten this past year, and there were three Aidan's in his class. And four Ava's!! Four! (let me mention that when Ava was born, the name was number 2657 on the SSA. Nowhere near the top 1000. But now that I look, it is number 18!!!). Right now, Jasper is still in the 300s, but it has risen over 200 since my son's birth, and I suspect it will continue to rise.
Anyway, the point of all that, is that I am due with my last child (a girl) on July 25th, and I am refusing to let that happen again. I know that my kids don't necessarily have others with the same name in their classes at school, but as a whole, the names now sound very bland and ordinary, and we were going for the opposite when we named them. So I need your expertise in helping us find some alternate names that will not rise ridiculous amounts in popularity. To give you an idea, some names we like are Lucy, Maeve, Lydia, Violet, Juliet, Lila, Lea, and Rowan. Half of these names are already in the 100s on the SSA, and the others are a bit less popular, but not outrageously. What we are worried about is choosing Lea, which right now is number 671, and having it skyrocket so in the next few years, it becomes number 8 or something crazy like that.
We're not sure how to approach this, because this has happened consistently with every name we've picked, so we don't trust ourselves on our own to choose a name that this will not happen with. So we need your expertise, Swistle. Please help us to find a name similar to the kind of names I've listed (we aren't really considering any of those names, too afraid of the popularity thing, but those are the kind of names we like). It frustrates me so much that Aidan and Ava, who's names I used to get compliments on in the 90s, are the names of every other toddler in the US. I was at Barnes & Noble the other day looking at some pregnancy books, and I saw a baby name book called "Beyond Ava & Aiden", for crying out loud! It made me so upset! Their names are now the staple for a common name, and I don't want that to be the case with our newest addition.
Oh, and let me make sure I say, we don't like unusual names… these, along with our kids names, are (were) all so-called "common names", or so the public thinks. But we want the sort of names that are familiar to the ear but no so familiar that every parent will be choosing them. (even in the future)
Please help! I honestly don't know what to do! I don't trust myself with names anymore. (Oh and none of our kids have middle names - a family tradition - so that isn't an issue, thank God.)
Thank you thank you thank you
PS our last name starts with a C and is one syllable and fairly common.
Oh dear! Here is the trouble: you guys are natural trend frontrunners. I don't know if there's any way around this problem. My mom is the same: she liked the names Lucy and Owen back when my reaction to both names could be described as "WHAT??" If she'd used either of those names for a baby, I would have said she was COMPLETELY SAFE in not choosing a trendy name. And yet, look at them now! And now of course I love those names too, just like almost everyone else.
There's no way to completely prevent choosing a name that will get very very popular, but sometimes there are indicators (and sometimes not). I'm looking at the charts and I think I have a different chart: I'm using the Social Security Administration baby names site, which says the name Ava was #739 in 1996, and was #5 in 2009; it had risen 200 places in the ten years before you chose it, which might have made us suspicious if we'd seen it, but there was no way to know it was going to go up SEVEN HUNDRED places in the next 10 years. The name Aidan, on the other hand, was #281 in 1995---but had gone up more than 600 places in the five years before that. So if you'd been looking at that chart, it would have been clear SOMETHING was up with that name. Jasper---probably no way to call that one: you named him a year before Twilight came out.
The main issue here, I think, is that the kind of names that get popular are the kind of names you LIKE. We can't help our tastes in names, and you happen to be on the front edge of the crowd. You like Lea, which was #671 in 2009---but the spelling Leah was #28. And Lila! If you were LOOKING for the next big trendy hit, that's what I would suggest for you. It's gone from not even in the Top 1000 in 1997 to #168 in 2009. If I were going to make a prediction, I'd predict we'll see Lila in the Top Ten within the next 5 years---or certainly within the next 10. And frankly, it's perfect with your other kids' names: Aidan, Ava, Jasper, and Lila is WONDERFUL.
And Lucy! Not rising quite as fast, but steadily: high 400s in the mid-'90s, low 200s in the early '00s, and #101 last year. And again, WONDERFUL with your other kids' names: Aidan, Ava, Jasper, and Lucy.
Lydia: gliding upwards gracefully. Juliet: upwards faster, in bigger leaps. Rowan: big leaps after total obscurity. Maeve: same as Rowan. Violet: same as Rowan and Maeve. I say you have a knack, and I say EMBRACE IT.
If you'd rather not embrace, we need to look in a completely different category. The names you like are the ones that sound fresh to the ears, little surprises as we hear names we haven't heard used before---or not for a long time. It's that "Whoa. WHOA." reaction to a name that suddenly sounds....FRESH! Cadence, Braden, Caitlin, Noah, Isabella---these are all names that GRABBED ATTENTION and then LEAPED UP. Some of them were new inventions, some were revivals, but they all had that sudden rise from nearly nowhere. It's because that same freshness hits nearly EVERYONE. All the names you like have that smack of freshness, or at least the lingering remains of it.
What you say you'd like is a common, non-unusual name that isn't going to get wildly popular; in that case, you need to avoid that fresh sound. If you get the "Whoa. WHOA. THAT'S fresh and new!" reaction, STEP AWAY FROM THE NAME. You need a name that has lost that freshness, but without wilting: a great name, but familiar enough to be unlikely to ignite the sudden interest of large crowds. A name that at first seems a little...meh...just because it lacks that element of surprise, but then grows on you until you can't believe you ever thought it was meh. Bethany. Bridget. Clarissa. Holly. Jocelyn. Kara. Laurel. Marissa. Meredith. Sabrina. Tessa. These are all from The Baby Name Wizard's list of "New Classics," which she calls "trend-proof." Or maybe "trend-resistant" would be a better term: it's hard to know when some circumstance (an actor, a novel) will kick a name to the head of the line.
Best of luck, and I don't think you'll go wrong: you have marvelous and consistent taste that everyone loves! Choose what YOU love, and I don't think you'll be unhappy with the name---even if you're unhappy with its popularity.
Name update 07-25-2010! Tricia writes:
Wow! Thank you so much for the advice and all the reader advice too! It gave us a lot of help.
Anyway, our baby girl was born last Saturday, healthy and beautiful, and we're very happy with the name we chose.
Her name is Liza! (L-eye-zah, because I've seen Lee-za) Liza isn't a name that's even on the top 1000 (!!) but it feels simliar in style to names like Lila, don't you think.
So Aidan, Ava, Jasper, and Liza. We really love it. What do you think?
Well, thanks so much!