Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Baby Namin' 

Charles Kuffner, Texas blogger extraordinaire and father of a 6-week-old daughter, is feeling namer's remorse:
We picked the name Olivia partly because we liked how it sounded, partly because we didn't know any other Olivias, and partly because it wasn't an excessively popular name. It turns out we were wrong about that last reason - "Olivia" was #10 on the list of popular baby names for girls in 2002, and has climbed steadily in popularity since 1990. It's even more popular now. When we read the SSA press release which announced that "Olivia" was the #5 most popular girl's name for 2003, we cringed but consoled ourselves that at least we didn't know any other Olivias.

Tonight we attended an orientation for the day care center where Olivia will stay when Tiffany goes back to work in September. All the other parents there had infants, and two of them had Olivias. That was the only repeat name among the incoming children. sigh

Oh, well. At least we still like the way it sounds.
I'm the father of an almost-5-month-old daughter named Lucy (whose webpage needs a serious update). When we were trying to decide on a name, we looked at all those SSA lists and matched our name candidates to see how they ranked. We were hoping to find a name that wasn't really really common but wasn't weird, either. Olivia, which was definitely on our list as well, got knocked out of contention by that process.

But now that I think about it a little more, with the exception of "Jennifer," which was far and away the most common name for kids in my age group (I'm 31 now), there was absolutely nothing wrong, and many things right, about growing up with a name shared with a classmate. I myself was one of three Daniels at my elementary school, which doesn't sound so impressive until you realize that there were only about 20 kids in the only Jewish day school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those other Daniels were instant friends and allies.

Olivia is a great name. One of my favorite couples in the world just named their newborn daughter Olivia, and whether or not Olivia is the new "Jennifer" (I'm guessing it's more like the new "Sarah", with one or two per classroom rather than 4 or 5) I think they made a good choice.

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