Pregnant or not, I can talk about baby names for hours. I’m one of those people who had their favourite baby names scribbled in the back of their school homework diary (complete with Fit Bloke From Year 10’s surname, natch) and I’ve fallen for every name trend out there over the last twenty years or so of playing “imaginary children”.
I’ve had babies named after Shakespeare characters (I still think Benvolio is a great name), babies named after Heartbreak High characters (please, meet little baby Drazik) and of course every pop star going has at one point featured in my make-believe nursery.
Turns out that it’s a *bit* different when it comes to naming a real baby though. Two babies? Hah! Even harder.
We know the genders of the twins now which means our planning can become that bit more concrete, but of the three possible gender combos we could have had we’ve ended up with the one where we’re really struggling to decide on the names. I’m not struggling personally, I could have told you the names four years ago, but of course it’s not just up to me (dammit!) and we’re struggling to agree.
We’ve ended up in a bit of a merry dance where ST and I are both convinced that every name we put forward is a joke. I feel like I can’t share the names from the reject list due to fear of offending people who did opt for such monikers, but let’s just say the suggestion list has spiralled out of control and is beginning to look like something found backstage at The Jerry Springer Show. It is BEYOND ridiculous.
We’re trying to come up with names that work well together, but also allow them to be individuals, and then of course we’re trying to tick all the usual baby name boxes: works for a child but also works for an adult, non-offensive initials, not already in use by close friends/family, doesn’t come with a comedy backstory of “well ACTUALLY you spell it like this, pronounce it like this and the T is silent”. Oh and of course the names can’t remind us of people we’ve disliked over the years which is seemingly the hardest part of all. Why does every good name also belong to an ex-colleague with personal space issues?!
So as a press release landed in my inbox with the official mid-year baby name charts from BabyCentre, I was seriously over-excited. I’ve always loved a baby name chart and I used to write a fair bit about name trends back in my MSN days, but now this stuff REALLY matters. What if the “unusual and cooky” name I’m after is now number one most common? What if there’s a name I hadn’t previously considered which now has to be a serious contender? THE ANTICIPATION!
Well it turns out that the UK’s favourite names have remained relatively stable with vintage and flower-inspired names still dominating the top spots, but the baby name choices outside the top 20 often reveal up-and-coming trends as well as more unusual picks. Corbyn has made an appearance for the first time (amazing) and presidential names are on the rise too with Franklin, Theodore, Lincoln and Carter all on the up and up. (Apparently Donald has not had a similar resurgence, which I’m sure will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one). First Ladies of previous administrations are also providing inspiration for parents, with Nancy and Michelle becoming increasing popular. I absolutely *love* the name Nancy.
Another key trend spotted this year is names with deeper meanings: Faith, Hope, Joy and Grace have all been registered by BabyCentre parents in 2017. Colours are also becoming increasingly popular as an unusual and distinctive name choice for baby girls. While parents may not be brave enough to go for Blue after Beyoncé’s little girl or Grey, the middle name choice for Cheryl Cole’s baby boy, a colourful influence can be found in 2017’s name picks with Scarlett, Olive, Sienna, Amber, Violet and Ruby all appearing outside the top 20.
Old British faves are back for baby boys too, with 70s classics such as Michael, Peter, David, Andrew, John and Adrian all featuring. I was to be a Michael myself if I was a boy.
It still baffles me that Poppy is in the top 20. I didn’t meet another Poppy until I was 18 and even then she wasn’t born Poppy but had changed her name. On the flipside, names that were really popular in my school now seem to have almost disappeared entirely. When did you last see a baby Tracy? Or baby Katie? Or baby Scott?
Anyway, here’s the top 20 names for boys and girls so far this year:
We’re still no closer to being sure about our baby names. Maybe it won’t be til we meet them that we’ll be able to commit for certain. But if we *do* settle on the two names which I like the most then I can say that one of them is currently a top 10 name. Having grown up with an “unusual name” I’m not entirely sure how I feel about choosing something where there may be three of them in a class but if you love it you love it, ya know?!
Here’s to another four months of arguing about it!