09 May 2011

What's in a NAME?

There are a lot of things to consider before naming your baby.
These are the things we chose to think about when considering our selection of a name, in no particular order...
How easy is the name for pronouncing and spelling??
Is it a name where people will constantly ask you to please spell it? If so, you should probably pick another name unless you are just SOLD on the name, BUT you really need to consider this. Replacing an "I" with a "Y" doesn't really change the name does it?? Like naming your child Jennyfer just to make it appear to be different. P.S. the name is STILL jennifer no matter how you spell it,

A shop in DUBAI MALL!
Most people know the traditional spelling of most names, so if you deviate from the "norm" , you might just find yourself spelling out the name OVER and OVER since nobody will get it right.
Or take a name like Raily.. is it pronounced Raleigh? or RayLeigh? or RyLeigh? or WHAT?? You have to be aware that not everyone knows how to pronounce a name BEFORE you pick it. Sure you can make your child unique by giving her a name that is "different" but by changing the spelling, you are merely making it a PITA for the child every year on the first day of school and for the rest of the child's life. People will either butcher the pronunciation or the spelling, so you have to think about it, because this child will grow into an adult and all phone calls, roll calls, job interviews, etc etc. will be marked by telling the person how to pronounce the name... The things i will say that WE THINK ARE OK exceptions are Gaelic spellings like siobahn (read SHA-VONNE). People can get over that because it comes with tradition and such. 
How does the name flow with the last name? 
This is very important. If you name you child Mary that is nice, but what if your last name is Christmas, as a friend in college Jeff Christmas used to joke - he was looking for a wife named Mary. Do you REALLY want to do that to your child? I knew someone named Jenna Taylor, and if you can't figure that one out that's ok. Someone had to explain it to me, but it really comes out with a nice southern accent. There is a realtor in town named Mike Hunt. Not michael, but Mike. Yup. And then there is Richard Head. Seriously People?! What are you thinking?! It would be like us naming our daughter Honey, Honey Beeman... really? Can i get some Honey Nut Cheerios bc that is what i think of immediately. Or Bumble, not really much of a name, but stranger things have happened. Gotta stay away from Adjectives b/c our last name is sort of a noun. "Bee Man"... Lovely Bee Man. Happy Bee Man.   You get the idea. 
So with our name, we have to think the first AND last name through - because even if you throw some middle names in there for effect, NOBODY uses their middle name past the age of one, and then you're stuck with a kid that sounds like a mascot for a box of cereal, or worse, a body part or an infectious disease.
How popular is the name? 
I grew up with the most popular name for TWO DECADES!! And i don't think that Jennifer broke away from top 10 for quite some time after that. EVERYONE had my name
In second grade i was Jenny, but then came third grade and Jenny Parker (P. comes before S.) so i defaulted back to Jennifer and it stuck. By the time I got to high school there was Jennifer Anderson, Camerotti, Gessimondo, Huff, Lowe, Parker, Sloan, and that's just the ones that i can remember off the top of my head from the class of 1998. Add in other classes and you have Etskin, Pettit, Bennett, Jennings, Smith, Mann, Burns, Vaughn, and i KNOW there were more, but i'm already exhausted. I HATED my name purely for the fact that i HAD to go by a last initial as well or some variation, so if you think the last name doesn't matter, try having another one of you in you class and sure enough, I was Jennifer S. Then i get to college, and on my college soccer team alone, there were THREE JENNIFERS all with initials JLS. I kid you not! Jennifer Leigh Sloan, Jennifer Lynn S, and Jennifer Leanne S. Of course you can't even go by Jenn at that point so i became a last name and it stuck. Even before college, people called me Sloan and i LOVED it. BY my junior and senior year, underclassmen would come to me and ask, Sloan, what is your last name? Sloan. Oh, so you're Sloan Sloan. Yup, genius. But i'm getting ahead of myself.

Now don't get me wrong, i'm glad i wasn't named OLGA or BERTHA (no offense to those of you with these names), in those respects, Jennifer is quite the lovely name and some names are classic, like Elizabeth or Catherine, but they are still not chart toppers so they are safe if we were to go that route.
Our goal in naming our daughter is to pick a name that isn't super wacky, BUT that is unique and not in the top 100. (a current trend is naming baby girls Heaven or Nevaeh - which is Heaven backwards). Or naming her UNIQUE. I kid you not!
I have checked the baby naming polls, some do not even have the name we picked, and some have it closer to the 1000 mark making it a safe choice for our child. NOW don't get me wrong, if the name spikes in the next few years she could be screwed and that's the breaks, but unless a celebrity has a baby girl and chooses the same name, I think we are going to be ok. We have picked a name that means something to us, and both sides of our families LOVE the name. And how often can you please both YOUR parents and HIS parents???

Which leads me to
What did we decide ??
This all goes back to my college years. I LOVED my nickname in college and I always said, if i have a daughter I would give her the name. I have a LOT of cousins, but only 5 of us were born to the same last name. I do have a cousin who hinted that she would use this name if she were to have a daughter and my sister said something similar. So for the past four years, I have suffered and prayed through FIVE births hoping they would all be boys so that I could keep my wishes and use this special name... (i would refuse to use the same first name as a cousin or sibling). But sure enough, they all had boys!! And then comes the time i found out i was pregnant. Based on timing - I was fairly certain that we would have a girl, but really didn't want to get my hopes up so i convinced myself it was a boy. I sure am glad I was wrong! We are very excited for

to join us this summer!!

Now i am quite certain the name we have picked will be HER name and will not change, after all, i already purchased wooden letters for her nursery!  Sometimes, you WILL see Sloan spelled with an "e", such as Ferris Bueller's Girlfriend, Sloane Peterson... (one of my FAVORITE movies!) But it is a family name, it's not hard to pronounce, AND it's NOT very common. Plus if you have been to London and know anything about the posh area around Sloane Square (a big hang out spot for the late Lady Di) you will know, only the super wealthy can afford to add the "E" and we don't want our daughter taking life for granted.
People do tell me NOT to share my baby name because you will catch criticism IF you share the name BEFORE you have the baby, but if you wait until after the baby is born what really is there to say? I DARE anyone criticise a newborn babys name!! And I think Sloan Violet Beeman is a beautiful name, even if i am a bit biased

Also, some people say the baby sort of named itself, like you pick a name and then the baby comes out looking like a "Ralph" or a "Agatha" or something,  rather than the name you have selected.... BUT  that leads me to my final conclusion,


  1. I love your name! We named our firstborn Palmer, which was my maiden name. So, obviously, I am a fan of that tradition. Actually, both of our kids have last names as first names. We liked that Palmer is not a very common name, yet it's a name that people know and can spell and won't mess up. Everyone knows who Palmer is, and everyone will know who Sloan is, too! We haven't come across too many kids named Palmer, and you will probably have the same experience with Sloan. Good choice! I like. :)

  2. Haha - I loved this post! And I LOVE the name Sloan. When you mentioned that was your nickname, I even thought, "Ooh, that would be the perfect name for her baby girl!"

    Maybe you could still call her "Honey" as a nickname though. :)

    And I am totally with you about popular names. Being a Jennifer is no fun when there are TONS of others around! It is always so confusing...