I was lecturing my childless sister-in-law about baby names, explaining bossily which names she may and may not use for her hypothetical future children, and then anxiously explaining that I was kidding and actually thought that people should use the names THEY want and not let other people boss them around, and then going back and saying, "But seriously, don't use _____." I was hoping she would give up the goods on her favorites, but it did not work. She holds her cards close, my sister-in-law.
At one point during the discussion, she said, laughing, "Braden is a NAME?" Well. YES. And in fact, if you were to combine all the spellings (Braden, Brayden, Braeden, Bradon, Braydon, Braedon, Bradyn, Braiden, etc.), you'd see it was in fact a fairly common name, and getting more common all the time. But it was the first my sister-in-law had heard of it.
This reminded me of the times I've heard people say, "When we used the name we didn't know ANYONE with that name. But then suddenly EVERYONE was using it." I think the trouble is that most people don't pay much attention to baby names--and don't know many babies--until they start having babies themselves. Then during pregnancy they hear a name that sounds so fresh and new--oh, BRADEN! what a great name!--and it's just the cutting-edge sound they were looking for. And then it's a surprise to find so many Bradens out there already. Even if you DO know a lot of babies, you might not know the ones being named Braden.
The other problem is that as a culture we all tend to turn toward the same names at the same time. What sounds fresh and new to one person is likely to sound fresh and new to a whole lot of other people, too. When William was in preschool, there were two Emmas, two Abigails, and two Isabellas in his class. Also: two Williams.
I am very interested in baby names, and I'm a big fan of the Social Security baby name site (you can track the rising/falling popularity of a name for each year since 1992 [edit: thanks to Lucy who pointed out it goes back way farther than that now: back to 1880. Pardon me while I go play on the site all day]), so finding a second William in William's class was no shock to me. After all, the name hit the top ten the year William was born, and had been headed steadily in that direction for years. But the mother of the other William was upset, saying that when THEY used the name there were NO Williams but NOW there were Williams EVERYWHERE. The mother of one of the Isabellas told me the same thing about Isabellas.
Here is what I'm wondering: how many people does this happen to? Did it happen to any of you? Did you choose a name thinking it was highly unusual, and then find out it was common? There's nothing wrong with common names: I like them for many reasons, and in fact I deliberately choose them (I liked the name Henry back when I was pregnant with Rob, but wanted it to be more common before I used it). But I would think that if what you wanted was something unusual, it would be upsetting to find it wasn't.
And here's my second wondering: Has it happened to any of you more than once? Or was it "once bitten, twice visiting the Social Security name site"?
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...