When my nine-year-old daughter came home last week, she said we needed to buy a baby gift for a teacher at her school.
“His name is Ikea,” Daisy said excitedly.
“Whose name is Ikea?”
I asked, not knowing if she was referring to the teacher or the infant.
“Mr. Verstraete’s baby,” she said. “He’s a boy!” “Ikea?” I asked. “Are you sure his name’s Ikea?”
“Yes, of course,” she responded, as though I was nuts for asking.
But I guess anything goes nowadays when it comes to names. I shouldn’t have been surprised about a child sharing the same moniker as a Swedish store, particularly after reading in the news that someone named their baby Hashtag, inspired by a commonly-used social-media symbol.
And who am I to judge? Once upon a time, I was considered weird for the name I had chosen for my firstborn.
“Buster is a dog’s name,” I was scolded countless times during my pregnancy when I made the mistake of sharing the name I’d picked out. So what, I thought. It was also the name of a famous actor and an even more famous shoe.
I absolutely loved the name Buster. It was fun and strong and it had character. I wasn’t about to let the opinions of others change my mind. Except there was one opinion that kind of mattered: that of Buster’s dear old dad.
“Let’s think of a few other options and pick one once he’s born,” Paul reasoned. Fine, I thought. He’ll fall in love with the name by then, for sure.
But when our beautiful baby boy arrived with his spiky, blonde hair, he didn’t look like a Buster to either of us. He looked like a Sam, so that’s what we called him.
“Buster would have been fine,” my friend, who’s a teacher, said about my original choice. “It’s all the purposely misspelled and hard-to-pronounce names that drive me crazy.”
My daughter and I recently saw the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild with Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest Oscar-nominated actor in history, and we immediately nicknamed her Q. It just seemed easier.
If anyone’s to blame for names getting stranger as the years go by, let’s blame the celebrities.
Who named their kids anything all that bizarre before Frank Zappa introduced his children Dweezil, Moon Unit, Ahmet and Diva Thin Muffin to the world?
At the time, people were horrified. Since then, many celebrities have followed suit and it’s become the norm in Hollywood. Names like Alcamy, Apple, Banjo, Bingham, Blue Angel, Blue Ivy, Destry, Exton, FifiTrixibelle, Jermajesty, Kal-El, Kyd, Maddox, Memphis Eve, Moses, Ocean, Pilot Inspektor, Rocket, Rumer, Seargeoh and the list goes on. Heck, actor Rob Morrow named his child Tu. How would you like to be called Tu Morrow?
With websites out there dedicated to listing all the strange names that babies are getting saddled with these days, it’s easy to see that this trend is growing. Am I complaining? Nah. Why not get creative and unique when naming our offspring?
Naming our children is a big responsibility, and everyone’s not going to like what we choose. But as long as we’re picking names we truly love, we should be OK.
If the kid ends up hating their name, which some do, “normal” or not, they can always change it to something else later.