Name That Baby!!!….or maybe not.

Hi everyone…..With two members of my staff pregnant this summer (with a girl and a boy), talk of baby names has been rife in my office. Well, actually, not really baby names. The naming game is one that I am VERY familiar with. With 9 kids, we struggled through that several times, finding just the right name, and we still like the ones we chose. (My kids are all in my dedications, so you’ve probably seen their names many times before). And every time I start a book, I pore over all my old baby name books, to find just the right ones for the characters. It’s amazing how a name can sometimes portray the personality of a character. Sometimes I’ve used complicated ones, and at other times simpler ones, and often foreign ones.

Recently, all of my kids inform me that the trend now is to unusual names, the kind people used to use in order to use a family last name as a first name, or their mother’s maiden name. They always had the ring of history, and sometimes made for interesting names for children of either sex. But they can be heavy handles too, and are androgynous. Sterling, Whitman, Ellsworth and Hornby, it’s hard to turn those into cuddly names, they all sound like bankers to me, and should be born with briefcase in hand, or a loan document, or legal brief. They sound like the partners in a law firm and often were named for people who had been. They are impressive, but always sound a little serious to me. (Although I wanted to use a family last name of my husband’s family, Teal—the famous designer Teal Traina. My husband didn’t like it as a first name, I did, so we used it as a middle name for one of my daughters. And he always wanted to name a son Steel, which just sounded too hard to me). But nowadays, people seem to be using those same names, but with no family association. Bixby, Thornton, Wildman and Hartley, a multitude of last names used as first names, for boys or girls, not related to anyone the parents know or are related to, but just because they like the sound of them. They seem a little no-frills to me for a girl, and don’t make as much sense to me if they aren’t a relative’s maiden name. But that is apparently the hot name-trend today.

And then there are the ones who are really out there with flights of fancy. The trailblazers for that were in the 60’s, and I remember those names too, Bird, Chirp, Peacock, Rainbow, Waterfall, Leaf, River, Mouse, Thunder, Spring, Bluebird, Eagle——birds were a big feature then, and you could name a child pretty much anything, and still can. And that trend is going great guns again too, with names like Ocean, Firefly, Butterfly, and Tree. And Demi Moore and Bruce Willis named their daughters Rumor and Scout, which startled me when I met them with my kids, and they are both lovely girls.

I have to admit, I’m not ready for those exotic names even now. I like names that I recognize as names, not so much objects or animals that I’m fond of, like Strawberry, or Quince, Pomegranate, or Poodle. I don’t think I could face a child I had named Chihuahua, or Pineapple, Blueberry or Grapefruit. Asparagus? Artichoke? Rutabaga? They might be really mad at me one day….or Hawk, or Blue Jay. But what do I know? Maybe I’m old fashioned. Jewel names also come in and out of fashion, Pearl, Ruby, and Emerald. The possibilities are endless.

There is no moral to this story. You can name a child anything you want. But given the fact that through the generations, ‘kids’ eventually blame their parents for something, and our sins and failings come home to roost sooner or later, I wouldn’t want to face a child who was furious with me for naming them Kalamazoo, Okefenokee, or Typewriter, tempting as that may be at times.(One of the illustrious Gettys named their child Gramophone, which was certainly creative). Personally, I was named after a famous French actress my father had a crush on, and my mother threw in a second part of it that I never liked, to wind me up with Danielle-Fernande. I never liked it, and it was a big handle for a little kid. I always wished I was named Veronique/Veronica, or Alessandra. A lot of people don’t like their names, but it takes a brave kid to start out life and continue down the path as Rattlesnake, Whirlwind, Tarantula, or Pancake, because their mother was addicted to them while she was pregnant…..maybe today’s new Moms and Dads need to give a little more thought to the names they give their babies…..because one day they may have to face that child and do some serious explaining about the name they were given……in fact, to me anyway, Isabelle, Charlotte, Alexander, Simon and Sebastian are sounding better and better……but what do I know….maybe one day a whole generation of children named after cooking implements or geographical locations will think it’s fine. I’ve always loved Xenia, India (which my father almost named me until he remembered the French actress from his youth), which seem more exotic…….maybe one day I’ll have a grandchild named Vino Bianco, or Mosquito, or Stiletto……I’ll let you know when that happens.

love, danielle

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11 Comments so far
  1. Benedetta July 22, 2013 11:41 am

    names names … and what about the name danielle? thing to say about her miss steel? tell us about what movies look, which makes shopping? its birkin?? its countless jewels, and in the various photos that you can not ever see good.never brings so many bracelets?, and ‘due to a particular reason?, and his passion for watches and chocolate? should post more personal photos, Pictures of his hands inside, of her jewels, the kind that door every day and perche’porta quelli.delle his bags, his computer, his home in Paris, his door trick.
    which brands use to make up, its beauty creams, his special glasses gifts also ….. video face video for us … we want to danielle, danielle much more ..
    Inviato da iPad

  2. Charlene Oakley July 23, 2013 12:01 am

    I am laughing out loud! How would you like to be named Blanket, like Michael Jackson’s son? Then there are all the strange names that Blacks name their kids. I swear there are special books with names just for black babies.

    By the way, I’ve always loved the name Danielle. I got stuck with Charlene, which nobody ever remembers.

    Keep writing. I love your stuff and have every book you’ve ever written.

  3. CAROL OLIVER July 24, 2013 6:10 pm

    Hello Danielle…
    thanks for the Blog…always love hearing about the Fashion Shows….wow….
    also….anything you say about Paris.
    This blog made me finally realize…I guess you do not have any Grandchildren yet…as you never, ever talk about them, although you may not want to…
    looking forward to reading the next new book….
    Take care…your Birthday is coming!
    Carol so. cal/by the Ocean….

  4. P.J. July 25, 2013 8:29 am

    It’s a bit selfish to hand a “goofy” name to a child who has to live with it the rest of his or her life, or spend the money to legally change it.
    A pretty name for a girl aids her throughout her life. People associate a pretty name with a pretty face. Likewise, a strong masculine name aids a boy. Why diminish their existence with a laughable name?????

  5. Andrea B July 25, 2013 1:58 pm

    Dear Danielle

    I would like to tell you Im 21 years old girl from hungary.I love your books and i try to read them at all..a bit its hard because i live in denmark and when i travel to hungary i always bring my lovely books.:) You are amazing and every people have to read your books because you can learn the people how to love and be honestly. my life is very hard , but the books give me chance to still alive… and i can understand this feeling what you wrote from your heart , the life teach you and teach me . sometimes i have this feeling this story about me, i had a big love but i broke up when i move hear. it would be a great story:)

    I wish you happy life and time to write many book what your hungarian fan can read when she feel are a great writer.sorry about my english:)

    Best wishes
    Andrea B.

  6. mike reid July 27, 2013 5:28 pm

    Hi Danielle – Names our really interesting topics. Nobody should use the name Gavin. I like the name Ruby – but not that (weasel) Gavin. Jay Carney is another (weasel). You just can’t believe Jays or Gavins. They lie to much and their names our remembered because their different. Just like Obama & Hillary – you remember their names especially when they lie to the American people on tv. I’ll never forget Hillary & the Bengazi questions. How about Obama and Mitt Romney debate. Will always remember their names. Mike

  7. Mike Reid July 27, 2013 6:35 pm

    Hi Danny – I know this probably gets the temperature rising – Danielle – haha
    It’s just easier with a shorter version – no harm intended. Anyway – getting back to lovely names & not the politicians names. I personally think the mothers should pick the names of their children – not the fathers. The fathers would have a tendency to pick names like Ceasar or Romeo or Maximillian – hahaha. Women have a more compassionate & sincere look at this new miracle that God has given them. I like the name Angel or Honey – sincerely Mike

  8. Sharon DePauw August 1, 2013 5:15 pm

    How about these baby names for your expectant staff members?…just a thought… .

    Boys: Dylan Christopher

    Girls: Marielle Cristine
    Victoria Mary Catherine
    Janessa Catherine

    That’s all. Take care, Sharon D.

  9. Jaylee September 30, 2013 5:59 am

    Hi again Danielle, Late again to read your blogs..( don’t have to responde, I know you’re enitrely Busy) But I think Fathers do a good job of naming children I was actually named because my dad Picked it. I was actually going to be Charlie but it came to my mother at 3 am the morning after i had been born and she had asked my dad what he thought and He said. “Jaylee Rose” and now I just treassure it because it was so unsual back then and I was the first person to be named Jaylee(that’s what I think anyways.) Now days I’m liking old fashioned names like Pear, Olive, Bonnie, Ruby. Names like that especially some southern ones. I think the older more beautiful they are even the boys names! Charles, Alexander,Lucas. I do think, that it has to much their persnality and honestly I love mine for a while I couldn’t stand it because i couldn’t get any jewellery with my name on it. But! I think my name is so southern/country ish because I am a huge fan of country music.

    But taste is taste people have different opions.

  10. cora paulette allen October 13, 2013 12:23 pm

    I hate my name business or work I’m Cora. Family I was always Paul for paulette. My husband went to Washington DC. An went out for a drink with his brother. A lady come up to him an ask him his name. He told her Jerry. Then ask her name. She told him it was poolette an from that day on my name has been poo. Funny how things stick.

  11. Veronique May 11, 2020 9:25 am

    This was very amusing and made me laugh, especially Vino Bianco and Mosquito 🙂 On a side note, my name is Veronica and I never really liked or disliked my name, always found it kind of … neutral, bland, uninteresting, and wished for another name. I’m considering changing my name one day (or adding a middle one), but haven’t quite found one I’d really identify myself with. Vino Bianco came very close though!