What’s with the weird baby names celebrities and nobodies are giving their kids lately? Are people pushing the envelope a little too much on creativity? Beyonce calls her infant Blue Ivy or Ivy Blue (I can’t remember), and her girlfriend Gwyneth (Paltrow, that is) named her toddler Apple. What’s to stop the bagger at your favorite grocery store from saddling her child with the name Mahogany or, worse, Velvet?
I’m already imagining what these children will have to cope with when they go to school. Because whether the educational venue is private and costs $40,000 a year or public and costs as much as your property tax assessment, kids can be nasty when they want to ruin another child’s day. I remember when a couple of lovely prepubescents decided my maiden name of “Moster” was better if they added a letter and made it “Monster.” And that was a surname. First names are way worse when it comes to kiddy torture. When I taught third grade, I had a little eight-year-old whose parents, in their woeful ignorance, christened their baby Irving. Every time I called on Irving the class would explode in uproarious laughter and I, as the only alpha adult in the room, would have to maintain a poker face.
What if the pendulum doesn’t swing again the other way and this ridiculous trend that is self-serving to parents and injurious to kids continues for another 25 years? Think of it this way. Would you want your grandmother to be called Nanna Pomegranate? As comedian Judy Tenuta might say, “It could happen.”
So to motivate expectant parents in a more positive direction, I have a few recommendations for those nights when you’re too drunk to think rationally and you decide this is a good time to commit to a name for your little bun or bump or whatever they’re calling it these days. Instead of playing the name game, choose from the following:
1. Add up the cost of baby powder for a year, factor in doctors’ visits, the cost of psychiatric services, then multiply by the number of years you expect to live and that will be the future cost of your loved one. Too much? Start cashing in those Internet coupons.
2. Practice saying no–no, you already have too many toys; no, you can’t have the keys to the car; no, you can’t take a road trip to Mexico with your BFF…. you get the idea.
3. Stand alongside your significant other and/or the baby’s sperm/egg donor. Take a good look in a full length mirror (naked is better, but that’s optional) and discuss how the baby might take after your first cousin who won the Miss Cigar Beauty Pageant at the age of three. Or, on the other hand, the baby could have Uncle Sy’s nose–how much are rhinoplasties running?
4. Worry obsessively. Use your iphone or ipad constructively and brainstorm as many anxious thoughts about baby as you can. Start with genetic abnormalities, progress to infectious diseases and then move on to braces, acne and SATs. The more you worry, the more you will rid yourself of the ugly tendency to look through biographical dictionaries for the most obscure and androgynous baby names possible.
5. Imagine your child as President of the United States (would you want people to sing “Hail to the Chief” to someone named Drexel or Dudley?) Or better yet, what if your little girl should become so famous in the medical community that people want to trade the Susan B. Komen brand for your child’s brand. How does the Sparklett Cysteen Race for the Cure sound?
What’s in a name? Plenty.