So this post earlier this week stirred up quite a bit of discussion - thanks for joining in ya'll - and reminded me that there can be A LOT of drama surrounding the naming of a new baby. Since I'm all about helping resolve drama in the world, I thought I'd put together a few basic rules of Baby Name Etiquette for you today. But first, a little personal anecdote...
When we first found out we were having a boy, I wanted to name him "Max." I loved the name - still do. (Seriously, how awesome is Max Chapman?) But, Jeff's dad said it sounded like a dog name, and Jeff just couldn't handle that so... We moved on. Fast forward about eight months and my friend Pryor, her husband, and their two dogs (one of which is actually named Max) are in town to visit and meet our new baby - Sam. In casual conversation, I mention that I really wanted to name Sam "Max." Pryor and Gregg give each other a look. Then, she explains... Apparently, they had originally named their Max "Sam." But, after a couple of months of discussion and debate, they decided they really liked the name too much and wanted to save it for a future baby. So... they changed his name to "Max" - problem solved. Until... two weeks later, I (totally oblivious to all of this) sent out an email announcing that we had decided on a name for our baby boy... SAM.
Did you follow that story at all? If so, then you get my gist here... Is "Sam" off limits for my friends now? Even though, clearly, they loved it before I "claimed" it.
It's touchy really. But, here are a few basics I'm feeling:
1. You should NOT give your child the same name as anyone in the same generation that you see/interact with more than once every two months and/or of which you share more than 25% of the same social group. (Fair?)
2. A name is officially "claimed" upon its announcement - NOT once the child is born. *For the love, do NOT pop your baby out first and steal it from right under their noses. It's a race to the announcement people. And, if you choose to keep your name a secret, you just run that risk. I'm sorry.
NOTE: This does not apply to the naming of "maybe babies." A baby must be in utero before the name becomes "off limits" for those falling into either of the categories mentioned in point #1. Fantasy names (you know, the ones we jot down in notebooks from the time we are 12) are fair game. One must carefully consider the pros ("claiming" a name early and hoping that people will respect it as yours) and cons (throwing your name out there for all the world to see - and use) before discussing fantasy names with others.
3. The more creative and personal a name is, the more one should steer away from "copying" or "stealing" it. (This even applies to "maybe baby" names in certain situations.)
4. IF someone does steal your baby name - and you legitimately had it first - consider it a "compliment." (Yea right, I know.) Seriously though, everyone that knows you both knows you had it first. And, everyone that doesn't know you both doesn't care. Besides, chances are one of you will move (or unfriend each other) before the kids enter Kindergarten. However, in the unlikely event that said same-name kids do end up in the same class one day, it is the responsibility of the SECOND named (see #2) to adopt a nickname pronto.
5. In the end, remember that it really is just a name. Sure, names are important; but, ultimately, it will be your child's character, quirks, and personality that define them and set them apart. (Not to get too sentimental or anything.) If you really have your heart set on a name and someone else uses it first - just be honest about it, have a good laugh with your friend, and then - for goodness sake - give your kid that name. Now it will be up to them to make it mean something.
Now tell me, what "rules" would you add to this list?
P.S. Pryor and Gregg, I've talked it over with Sam Sr., and we've decided that we are fine with you using the name "Sam" for a child of yours one day. The only condition is that you give him the name "Chapman Junior" for a middle name. Fair enough?