A followup to the recent Baby Name Pool results:
This year's champion, the only entrant to tab both the #1 and #2 hottest rising names of the year (Miley and Kingston), is Eric E.of San Diego, California. He's the father of 18-month-old Paige Sofia, but his Pool choices were based more on pop culture than the baby names he sees around him. Eric and his wife were having a friendly competition trying to come up with names to enter, and when he suggested Kingston, they both thought it sounded like a winner:
"I thought Kingston was one of those names people would gravitate toward. It's not too far out there (think Moses or Apple), but is still unique. Plus Gwen's [Stefani] got the cool, hip, mom thing people seem to love these days."
Congratulations again to Eric. And on a personal note, wish this Baby Name Wizard luck that pregnant stylemaker Gwen Stefani has her second child before my book manuscript is due!
Most parenting tasks get easier with experience. Those baby bathtubs and 100-snap pj's don't look nearly so intimidating the second time around. But one key parenting challenge actually gets harder with baby #2, and even harder with #3, 4 and beyond: choosing a name.
Perhaps you used the only two girls' names you could agree on for your daughter's first and middle names. Or your son is named Mason, ruling out Cason...and Macy. Or maybe, once you named two girls Gabriella and Isabella, you felt the need to stick to flowing, feminine names for girl #3 so she wouldn't feel too different from her sisters. Each name you choose shrinks your universe of future options.
So imagine the challenge facing the Duggar family of Arkansas, expecting their 18th child. The first 17 all have names starting with J, which defines their universe of options as J names that won't be confused with...
This seemed like a perfect challenge for my NameMatchmaker, the name-savvy program I use to help choose sibling name suggestions for the Baby Name Wizard book. Revving up the program, it quickly became clear that the Duggars' divergent approaches to boys' and girls' names would be a stumbling block. Faced with reconciling Joshua and Jeremiah with Jinger and Jessa, my NameMatchmaker got a little depressed. When I stuck to boys, though, things looked brighter. After tweaking some settings in the Matchmaker, these are the best bets:
As for girls...tough call. Ruling out names starting with Jan-, Jill-, Jess- and Jen- plus feminine versions of the boys' names limits your options, while ruling in creative spellings and neologisms makes everything more unpredictable. Here's what the Matchmaker ultimately came up with:
As I say, a tough call. And naturally, choosing names is the least of the many challenges of raising 18 children. But it's a compelling challenge for name-loving people. Can you come up with your own list of names you'd pick for 18 kids...remembering that you pick names one at a time, assuming each may be your last?
Most years, you can pull together a competive entry in the Baby Name Pool in a lot of different ways. This year, though, one name crushed all others in its mighty paw. The name Miley scored so high -- coming out of nowhere to rank #278 -- that anybody with a Miley-free ballot was out of the running. Luckily, 43 eagle-eyed name spotters did pick Miley, making this a high-scoring and competitive pool.
The top scorer had a powerful 1-2 punch of Miley and Kingston, putting him out of reach of the rest of the field. Yes that's right, him. The #1 namer of the year, "Eric," is one of our esteemed male readers. (Tell that to the men in your life, and maybe their competitive spirit will drive them to enter next year!) I'd love to tell you more about him, but he's...shy. Or enigmatic. Or maybe playing hard to get? OK, OK, he's just not answering my emails. Regardless, a big round of applause for our mystery man.
The second-place honors go a reader who blew away the field with her "falling" picks. Picking falling names is a tricky business. Unlike the fast risers, you can't count on the headlines. (Think of how the name Katrina rose after the hurricane.) You have to tease out something subtler: what people aren't talking about. Reader "Blythe" tabbed Talan and Akeelah, the #1 and #2 fastest falling names of the year -- the only one of 500 entrants to pick either of them! Another round of applause, if you please.
And now, on to 2008. I don't know about you, but I'm already looking out for this year's likeliest big movers. Any early ideas?