Namability. It’s a word I just made up that is relevant to expectant parents.
As in, how does the name that you choose for your child rank on the namability scale?
It can be one of the most important decisions that you and your spouse make and should probably be considered along with your research for safe cribs, strollers, and high-chairs.
In her Babycenter.com post, “8 Pitfalls to Watch for when Naming Your Baby,” Evonne Lack gives parents some humorous but important advice for naming their child. I’ve added a few of my own and expanded on some of Ms. Lack’s.
Always, always, always consider the playground. Which is actually a metaphor for anywhere that kids come into contact with other kids. If you can remember back to when you were a child, remember how brutal life on the playground could be? That hasn’t changed. Kids can take any name and turn it into a lame label.
Take the name Pam. Innocuous, right? When I was teaching middle school science one summer, a couple of middle boys drove one of my students to distraction by adding an addition to her name: Pam Spam. (Eyes rolling.)
Do you really want your child to be called Mikey all of his life? How seriously would you take a Mikey in the boardroom. Or how would Billy Gates have worked out? (No offense to the Mikeys and the Billys of the world, okay?)
Lack recommends that parents to try out shortened first names with their family’s last name. For example, the name Jackson Lack sounds fine unless his friends should change it to Jack Lack. (Okay, Ms. Lack didn’t come up with that one…I did.)
Similarly, try out the first and last names together. Imagine calling your child in for dinner with that first and last name. How do they sound together? When we were naming our child, we put the word “Doctor” in front to see how it would sound coming over a hospital pager. Or, how would it work on the cover of a best-selling novel?
The Monogram Moniker.
One mom in Lack’s article said that her daughter’s monogram turned out to be LSD. Not surprising, that little girl was the only one of her buddies to not have a monogramed backpack!
Some couples merge their names to invent a new name for their baby. However, be prepared for your kid to correct spellings and pronunciations for the rest of his or her life. If that doesn’t bother you, proceed.
What would You Like to be Called?
My mom was a Kindergarten teacher. Her pet peeves were difficult names and calling a child something different than his or her first name. Again, this may be a non-issue for you and your offspring. I remember that a handful of students always had to correct our professors about what they wanted to be called every single semester during roll call.
Ultimately, the decision to what you call your child is up to you and your spouse. Just remember…the namability factor is going to label your kids for a lifetime.