We’re still a day away from our first actual baby-focused medical appointment, but even with an unspecified kumquat-sized squatter in E’s belly we have already begun the great name debate.
Apparently in Iceland there is a list of approved baby names, and if you name your child from off the list they wind up as an unnamed ronin baby who is questioned by every teacher and bank official about how their irresponsible parent could possible give them an unofficial name – because obviously everyone has all 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules committed to memory.
While I don’t necessarily think it’s a terrible idea to have some basic pronunciation and grammar rules around the naming conventions of a living thing, that also means everyone’s name in Iceland can only be so unique. Measurably so, actually. Some kid has the LEAST POPULAR name in all of Iceland, and they probably know it!
E and I don’t have especially common names. I mean, mine is biblical and all, but it was only #55 the year I was born, and on its way down. Hers was #394 in her birth year, with only a TENTH as many babies calling it their own as had mine. As recently as two years ago we’re barely even in the top 200 – neck and neck at #193 and #196.
The relative lack of other Peters in my life was definitely a major factor in my personality. People had heard my name before, but I was always unique. I never even knew another Peter my age until college, and I just started working with one for the first time in 2012. I never had to be called by my last name, or have nicknames. I was always just me. Compare that to my office, where my single department has four each of “Chris” and “Karen.”
Thus, when it comes to our own baby name picking, I’m pretty adamant – nothing in the top 50, and nothing that is trending upward based on the past few years of data. I don’t need to come up with a non-name like “Apple” or something off-the-wall like “Hashtag” – but, why pick one of the most common names on the list? It’s dooming a kid to being “Chris Number Three” for half of her or his life!
Note: This post was embargoed until we reached 20 weeks; it was made public on 3/20/2013.