What’s in a Name? Everything.

These are the top ten names we have for Baby Boy Fisher:

1. Commercial Fisher
2. Charter Fisher
3. Hunter (Gatherer) Fisher
4. Finn Fisher
5. Compliment Fisher
6. Fly Fisher
7. Marlon Fisher
8. Sustainable Fisher
9. Fisher Fisher
10. Offshore Fisher

Let’s just hope it’s a girl! This happened last time too. We wanted a girl so badly that we had only joke names for a boy. We’re still leaning toward girl, but this proves we’re just bad at picking boy names.

Most kidding aside, naming a kid is a huge responsibility. Names are so important. Ask my mother-in-law. Her maiden name was Smelley. When she married Matt’s dad, she became a Smelley-Fisher. Maybe that’s why we poke so much fun. Seriously, your kid’s name will be his or her calling card. The name every teacher will have to learn. The first line of the resume. The first shot at acceptance or rejection by potential dates, employers and, most importantly, kids in the schoolyard.

The trend now for boys leans toward “unusual” names. I meet a new “Aidan” or “Jayden” every week. Let’s stop right there. If you want your kid’s name to stand out, try to stretch a little further than the ones that make the top 20 name lists. When I was a kid, we’d have to call kids “John A.” or “John F.” or “John S.” because we’d have three “Johns” in our class. Same story with Mikes. When parents began to get more creative, I thought the three Johns phenomenon would become an old-fashioned memory. But it’s not. Especially if your kid’s name is Aiden.

Girls name are trending toward the traditional, but the “unique” ones still enjoy some popularity. I picked “Rose” ten years before I married Matt. I loved the name since I was in my 20s and vowed to use it one day. I didn’t know it would be Grandma’s middle name. That was just a bonus. Truth be told, I probably got it from “The Golden Girls” but what the hell, I love it. It was really popular throughout the 19th Century all the way to the 1960s, when its use sharply declined, probably in favor of “Hayfever” or “Wheatgrass.” But every time I introduce her, someone says “Oh, that’s Sailor’s middle name!” or “My sister’s godson’s cousin is named Rose.” It kind of makes me freak. I thought it might be really popular and my kid would have to be “Rose F.” through school. I’m glad I just looked it up. It’s not even in the top 50, according to Babynology.com. It’s not that I’m on the “unusual” bandwagon, I just don’t want my poor kid to have to distinguish herself from others at every introduction.

Which brings up another pitfall. I see a lot of variations on traditional names and there’s nothing wrong with them, you just have to be careful which ones you use. My boss’ stepson will spend his life clarifying, “No, it’s Al-EC!” Don’t impose that on your kid. I hate it when people get my name wrong and mine isn’t even hard. For the record, it’s Maria, not Marie. I used to have to say, “Maria, like West Side Story.” I’ve made enough corrections to know how much it would suck to do it at every introduction. Your name is the first thing you tell people. Having to clarify and correct each time makes for an awkward first interaction and potential bad impression.

And then there are those people who ruined it for everyone at reception desks and switchboards everywhere. If you want to call your kid “Amy,” go ahead. But do not fool yourself that changing the spelling will make the name unique. The only thing you accomplish by spelling it “Amyee” will be to force your daughter to spell her name to every receptionist and secretary, thereby wasting months of her life and reinforcing the resentment she has toward you for doing it in the first place. People ask ME how to spell my name, thanks to some idiot whose mom thought it would be cute to call her daughter “Maryeiah” or “Mahreea.”

One more thing: Your child’s name should grow with her. We had an 80-year-old family friend named “Sally.” Sally sounds good for an 11-year-old, but once that kid clears 17, she’s outgrown her name. When she’s 80, it’s just ridiculous. For boys, I like to imagine my kid introducing himself when he’s 17, after his voice has changed. “Hi, I’m Dylan” doesn’t cut it unless the kid’s a professional gunslinger. My best friend likes to imagine her son introducing himself as a lawyer, “I’m Corey Rabinowitz,” just doesn’t flow with “Good to meet you, Counselor.”

Throughout all the name searching, I’ve realized I’m pretty traditional when it comes to names. I don’t have anything against the latest “unusual” names, they’re just not right for my kids. We don’t know the baby’s gender, but we’re set on “Jackie” for a girl. My top picks for a boy are “Charlie,” “Sam,” and “Ozzy.” I know “Ozzy” is weird but I just like the way it sounds with “Fisher.” My husband hates “Ozzy.” It’s just as well. I think the Nobel selection committee would dismiss anyone named “Ozzy” right out of the gate.

Once we know the gender, we can either stop the boy name search or it will begin in earnest. It won’t be “Commercial” or “Hunter” or even “Ozzy” (sigh), but when we do agree on a name, it won’t be in the top 20, we’ll spell it correctly and our son can use it his whole life.

5 comments on “What’s in a Name? Everything.

  1. I almost named my son Joshua. I really liked the name. But my brother, whose name is Scott, said not to name him Josh – “everybody and his brother is being named Josh these days. I hated it when the teacher would call on Scott and 3 kids would answer.” We actually had a Scott Hay, Scott Hayse and Scott Hazen in our high school. Along with several other Scotts. Because of my brother’s input, I didn’t name my kid Joshua. I named him Zachary. I wanted something out of the ordinary, but not weird. It’s a good thing I didn’t name him Josh. When he was in elementary school in a special ed class with about 10 students, there were three (seriously 3) Joshuas, but only one Zac.

    P.S. If it’s a boy, my vote is for “Sam”.

  2. You should do another name lottery.


    “JB” for a boy or a girl. No one has to know what the initials stand for. 😉

    Those that know you, will already know. LOL.

  3. Hey Maria,

    I don’t get here regularly, but when I do…you really make me laugh! I really like your writing. Your so right about names. Our first boy was easy…long before we were engaged, my husband said that he wanted to name a son after his father (Jim) I said fine, but he will be James…and I want to name him after my father, too…but his last name, (since my brother doesn’t have any kids)…so James Fitzgerald Trites was easy! Then we found out we were having another boy. We knew 1 person who lives in Michigan, who had a son named Aidan…and we loved the name! After losing 3 pregnancies, we figured a kid with a name that meant “fiery spirit” was just right…and not too common a name….at that time. Little did we know…right after he was born and his name on the birth certificate and SS form…EVERYBODY had named their son Aidan…or Aiden…and now we’ve put our kid in the very same position you were talking about! Just as well we didn’t have a girl…at the same time we picked James, we picked Emily….

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