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Monday, January 08, 2007

A Baby by Any Other Name

Whether you're expecting a new addition to the family, or you've purchased a nameless parakeet, looking for a name can be pretty time-consuming but a whole lot of fun. There are lots of ways to get some good ideas, and the internet certainly has opened up a lot of avenues for the big search.

One website I used often was This one is lots of fun. For kids you've already birthed, they're sure to enjoy seeing how their name stacks up with others in popularity. Just plunk the name in question in the box, and you can see how popular it's been since the 1880's. What a great little history lesson!

If you're here in the States, you can check your state's social security webpage. Most have a baby name page that will tell you just how often a name was registered with their office for newborns receiving their social security numbers. My state shows the top ten names for previous years - very helpful if you don't want your child to end up in class with three other Billy's or Suzy's!

For a low-tech approach, and something that could fit in the "freebie" category, there's that oft-forgotten building, the library. I brought home stacks of baby name books from the library when I was pregnant. It sure beats forking over the money for new books that probably won't get much use after baby is born.

If the library is too much of a drive or you're just plain allergic to old-book dust, the phone book is free too, and it's already in your house. Believe it or don't, I used to proofread phone books. (That can go in the boring jobs archives for sure.) I and my coworkers would keep lists of interesting names - names for future kids, names no one should burden a small child with. Reading the phone book will definitely drive home the point that the first name should sound good with the last name. (For example, Mona Bologna is not a good idea. Real name. Sorry to point you out, Mona darling.)

Finding the perfect name for your baby can be so much fun. It helps you to dream and visualize who this little person may turn out to be. Deciding on a name just brings you one step closer to getting to know the newest member of the family. If you're going through this process right now, I wish you all the best.

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