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Thursday
Jul052012

Baby Name Trends

Baby names trends are so interesting.  The names that parents choose to bestow on their children reflect much more than the creativity of the two people (and sometimes one person too).  Paying attention to baby names can reveal cultural trends and societal values at a given time.

For instance, about two years ago the names Bella and Jake dominated the top rankings.  These “Twilight” names illustrate just how much influence popular culture has on people’s everyday life’s and how much people today want their kids to be cool and hip.  It is almost as if people pick their children’s names based on what name could become a celebrity or reality star, or better yet, based on a fictional character that has already taken over the walls of teenage girls across the country.

Not that I do not love the name Bella, because as anyone close to me can attest to, I-loved-that-name-since-I-was-in-high-school-in-the-90s-and-stupid-Twilight-came-along-and-now-everywhere-I-turn-there-is-a-Bella-ugh!  And Jake is a great name, just watch Freakonomics and you will see why (a few years ago I would have said “just read,” but everyone knows moms have no time to read.  In fact, I cannot believe you are even reading this right now!)

Today’s baby name trend of last names for first names is one of my personal favorites.  In fact, I unintentionally participated in the trend this past year when I named my son Grayson.  Throughout my pregnancy, my husband and I could not settle on a baby name.  We finally decided to stick with a short list of names that we both liked, and then wait to see what our little boy looked like before picking the winner.  I mean, what if we picked Asher and our son had dark brown hair?

A few weeks before our son was born, another friend who was due after me went into labor early and named her son Parker.  That was one of the names on our short list for a middle name.  My second day of irregular contractions, when my husband and I walked the track around my building so many times I think the door staff were about to award me with a marathon ribbon, my husband decided our son needed to be named Harrison. 

The only problem was that another friend who just so happens to be the other Founding MomMe had her son three days earlier and named him Harrison.  Plus she had his initials monogrammed onto everything including the nursery wall. So she definitely had dibs on that name. 

One of my favorite silly shows, Drop Dead Diva, was back on for the summer, and the super-cute and very intelligent lawyer on the show is named Grayson.  Unintentionally or not, my response to my husband was that we could name our son Grayson instead of Harrison.  We decided to add the name to the no-longer-so-short-list.

When our son was born, he looked nothing like our top three baby names.  The bracelet on his arm bore the name baby Pitzel.  The social worker on our floor stopped by to fill out his paperwork, and we told her to come back the next day.  I swear she shot me my first questioning parent look.

Somehow in that daze that is the first few days in the hospital with a newborn, we settled on the name Grayson for our baby with a full head of dark hair and the most beautiful steely blue-gray eyes I have ever seen. 

And so I unwittingly became a part of the last name for first name baby name trend.  Apparently, so did a lot of my friends!  Along with other names like Bennett, Parker, Lucas, Carter, Hunter, Carson, Blake, and Xavier which are all in the top 100 boy names of 2011 according to Babycenter.com.

Not only did I play into this trend, but somehow I picked a seemingly lesser known name that ended the year at number 48 on the Babycenter list for 2011.  Okay my blood is now boiling, because as of December 2011 this name was #76, and it somehow etched up 28 slots in the matter of weeks.  At least he will enter school as one of the only Graysons, though he may not leave as the only one.