Name That Baby

Are You Not Entertained?

Are you not entertained?

LeBron James had his second son born last week. Yet another thing that you can do when you are an NBA superstar: name your newborn Bryce Maximus James. It turns out “Gladiator” is James’ favorite movie, so he named his son after the main character, played by Russell Crowe, a general turned gladiator who restores the Roman Republic. No pressure Maximus, er, Bryce. Good luck living up to that name.

The art of naming babies, has, in fact, become more complicated than anyone could have imagined. According to a recent article, parents hire out consultants to help them pick their children’s names, taking into account factors such as positive association and even check search engine rankings:

When [Abigail] Wilson, now 32, was pregnant with her first child, she ran every baby name she and her husband, Justin, considered through Google to make sure her baby wouldn’t be born unsearchable. Her top choice: Kohler, an old family name that had the key, rare distinction of being uncommon on the Web when paired with Wilson. “Justin and I wanted our son’s name to be as special as he is,” she explains.

Well, at least Maximus probably has not been taken. My parents pretty much found a way to the opposite of what parents are doing now – I don’t even think they had agreed on a name for me and my twin brother when we were born (we were Baby A and Baby B). When they did finally settle on a name, they gave my brother and I the same initials, plus refused to give us a middle name, even though they have middle names and my other siblings do. I can’t begin to explain how confusing this is when pretty much your intials are all you use growing up in school. But I guess I can’t expect much from someone who, after naming my oldest brother Patrick, decided that since they were giving their firstborn an Irish name, they might as well go all the way and give him the middle name Oliver, since the middle initial O leading into our last name would accentuate the “Irishness” even more. For the record, we have zero Irish heritage.

National Geographic published a recent list of the top baby names in each state in 2005, as well as the top baby names by decade. In Connecticut, the top baby names are Olivia and Ryan, in DC it is Sophia and William. Interestingly enough, most states shared the same top baby names – Emma was the top name in 18 of the states, Jacob in 19 of the states. Texas’ most popular boy’s name is Jose, clearly an indication of the growing Hispanic community. Eight states had Madison as the top name, which I found interesting considering I have yet to meet one Madison in my life. Come to think of it, I have not met an Emma yet either.

The top baby names in 2005:

Jacob 1 Emily
Micheal 2 Emma
Joshua 3 Madison
Matthew 4 Abigail
Ethan 5 Olivia
Andrew 6 Isabella
Daniel 7 Hannah
Anthony 8 Samantha
Christopher 9 Ava
Joseph 10 Ashley

The top baby names by decade are:

Michael 1995 Jessica
Michael 1985 Jessica
Michael 1975 Jennifer
Michael 1965 Lisa
Michael 1955 Mary
James 1945 Jessica
Robert 1935 Mary
Robert 1925 Mary
James 1915 Linda
John 1905 Mary

Popular names are becoming less popular, the article points out. Nearly 4.5 % of girls born in 1945 were Marys, while in 2005, Emilys only accounted for 1.2 % of the baby pool. Maybe one day Maximus will be on this list.

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