What’s in a Unique (baby) Name?

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Naming your baby is huge.  I don’t know about you, but I have been working on my baby name lists since elementary school.  The front runners have changed over the years, which is probably for the best, but the qualifiers for consideration and selection have stayed pretty much the same:

  • Timeless over trendy
  • Meaningful
  • Unique without being U-neekp (the “p” is silent)

We named our first baby “Lyla” 5 years ago.  At the time, we didn’t know any Lylas, but now it’s relatively common.  Still, it hasn’t broken the top 100, so I’m happy with it.   Most recently, we went a bit further off the beaten path, and named our son “Karrick”.  I love the name.  It means rock, and it’s a nod to my dad’s name (He’s a “Rick”).  During pregnancy, I heard over and over again how unusual it was, but it didn’t prepare me for the reality of naming my baby something that doesn’t even break the top 1,000 on Nameberry.

I knew going in that he would never find his name on a bicycle license plate, and I’m okay with that.  What I do feel a little bit bad about is how much trouble others seem to have when reading or repeating his name the first time they hear it.  About 6 weeks after he was born, we all ventured out to my daughter’s Mommy and Me music class.  We were halfway through when I realized the teacher had been calling him Keurig the whole time.  Yes.  Like the coffee machine.  A more common response has been a polite but concerned look as the new acquaintance clarifies, “Oh…His name is carrot?  How…U-neekp…”.   Oy.  It turns out,  my little man’s name is hard to decipher even in print.  When his name is being called at the doctors office, the nurses aren’t sure.  Is it “Car-ick”?…. “Curick?”….Is it a typo?

Because of these encounters, I have begun enunciating every syllable of his name as clearly as possible.  As soon as I get the “Awww, what’s his name?” question, I begin speaking like a slow motion robot, emphasizing every letter sound as carefully as I can.  I’ve found that it’s easier to just automatically follow up with, “Like Eric- with a ‘K’!”.

I know by the time my little guy hits kindergarten, he will probably be used to it.  Even though it seems to be a little trickier than I had originally thought, I hope he grows to love it as much as I do. Because even now, I wouldn’t change his name.  It suits him, and I just can’t imagine him as anything else.

Did you give your baby a unique name?  Do you have a unique name yourself?  Share away! 

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7 Responses to What’s in a Unique (baby) Name?

  1. Karin April 4, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    For the record your name is totally phonetic, I’m sure you are aware! If people can’t read it that is because they are struggling with the English language, through no fault of your own!

    I know a Kallen, (Allen with a K, obvi) and his mom gets the same mispronounciations and repeats and nasties. People are ridic.

  2. Kendra April 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    I have a Jacoby and there always seem to be problems. Even with spelling. I have to say for spelling purposes, it’s Jacob with a Y. The most common mispronunciation is Jack-o-bee. I just want to shake people! I had no idea it would be so difficult.

  3. Meredeth Duncan July 25, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    Our son’s name is Moses. Not a new name, but people definitely give us weird looks! He gets called Noah a lot, which is not even close!

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 25, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

      I love Moses! That’s kind of hilarious that some people find it interchangeable with Noah! Oh, just one of those Bible men!

      What in the world!?

  4. Sams_Mom July 25, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

    First, I want to say that I have worked at an elementary school, and volunteered in a lot of places with children and I have learned that even a name that is spelled “normally” is not always pronounced “normally”, so I just don’t assume. Those little ones are very quick to tell you that you’ve said their name wrong.

    Second, when we started having children we looked on the Social Security baby name page because we didn’t want ours to have a top ten name and have every child on the playground with the same name as ours. We didn’t go out on a limb with “weird” names (I also want to say one of mine goes to school with a girl who is actually named Unique and loves it). We just didn’t want anything too common either (we both have pretty common names).

    Now we had our first child already and had a nice name that people didn’t have too much problem with, and we’ve run into a few people with that name, but not many. All good. Then we had our second child and my DH was really set on a name that was VERY common (Mackenzie), but we went with a spelling we’d never seen before (no, I’m not going to tell you that – not wanting people to steal it – Ha!). The good thing was that it was easy to tell what the name was and we’ve never had a problem with people mispronouncing it and most tell us how much they like it (even though I’ve never been really reconciled to it since it is one that you say it and half the playground turns around, but it’s still all good). The only issue we ever had was when we called my MIL to tell her about the baby and the name we’d chosen (we didn’t tell anyone ahead of time). I spelled it for her and she said “oh great! She’ll never learn how to spell that!” As if my child would be born knowing how to spell any name no matter what the spelling. Ugh.

    • Becky Walker
      Becky Walker July 25, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

      You are so right…and to your last point, I never understood why people kept their baby names a secret until we started telling our family what name we had picked for my oldest! It shocked me when we got negative feedback! Good vibes only, please!

  5. Kendra June 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    I never went to school with another Kendra, but my ex has a very common name and was always Joe B. Sometimes the whole name because there was another Joe B. All our kids have none top 1,000 names. Our oldest son didn’t have much trouble (Baylor), youngest not as much (Bronson – sometimes gets called Branson). But our girl Brynlea gets called everything but. Bryn- lee. The school robocall calls her Brine Lee Ah. A small much as I love the -lea it would have been easier with lee.

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