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Name 'Napping Is So Wrong, But I Got Nothin'

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Help mom-to-be Teresa Strasser out with a name-me-down you no longer need!

woman having trouble picking a baby name

Teresa Strasser: I know from that stupidly catchy viral "Pregnant Women Are Smug" song that pregnant women don't usually share the names they've chosen for their babies. That may be a smug choice, sure, but I think I get it now. You let the name cat out of the bag, and everyone judges the cat, they swing the cat around by the tail, they project their own issues onto the cat, and now you want to put the whole incident in your emotional litter box and bury it so you can still like the cat as much as you used to.

And of course, there is the danger of getting name 'napped. My friends just had a baby boy and named it Laszlo, and I am madly in love with that name. It's Hungarian, as am I. Victor Laszlo is a character in the movie "Casablanca," and my surname is also featured in that film. Who doesn't remember the line, "Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects"? Okay, that Strasser dude was a Nazi, but I still enjoy the classic movie name tie-in, and when you're looking for magical name signs, anything seems to scream, "This is the one."

Still, you don't 'nap a name.

So we had to let Laszlo go, like Bogey did. And now I have four more months to come up with something.

The first dozen people we told we were thinking of the name James were dazzled. "It's classy and simple," they said. "It's not like one of these newfangled Jayden, Aiden, Caden names," they added. So James shot to the top of the list, but if you tell enough people, someone is going to hate on your name, which is what happened when a former colleague told me that anyone named James would become Jim, and there was nothing I could do about it. Jim. Jims are nice people, they coach girls' soccer without inappropriately touching anyone, they do your taxes without massaging the numbers too much, they walk your dog when you have to leave town suddenly. I like Jims. I just don't want one.

The "Jim-hater" loved our only other name option so far: Shane.

After we got pregnant, we happened to go to the cell phone store and the guy who helped us had a shiny blue nametag with that moniker. And it seemed right with my husband's crazy-long, consonant-rich Polish name. Shane would ride into kindergarten like a Polish cowboy. And all Shanes are hot. But so are Gabes. And Nates. And most Erics.

Once you rule out any names of ex-boyfriends, or names you would be 'napping from your immediate circle, or names recently used by celebrity moms, or names you associate with high-school bullies or former evil bosses, the well runs a bit dry. Trust me, when it comes to girl names, the well of adorably androgynous designations bubbles over, but this boy thing is tough.

I've been thinking that most parents have a few names in the running before choosing the one. What happens to those perfectly good runner-up names? Can I have them? If you loved your second choice but didn't use it and feel it shouldn't go to waste, or if you thought of it only after you screwed your kid with an average name, help a mom-to-be out with a name-me-down you no longer need.


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42 comments so far | Post a comment now
MarMar May 15, 2009, 3:37 PM

I was a huge ER fan and I swore that if I ever had another child, I’d name him Luka. Now that I see I probably won’t have anymore kids - and if I do, the chances of me having my boyfriend agree to that name - are slim to none. So for your consideration: Luka. (Sorry, not Hungarian - it’s Croatian, closest to the region I could come up with.)

You can also go with my daughter’s back-up name had she turned out to be a boy - Gus - or the names I liked in childhood: Benjamin, Bret, and Sebastian. Or my Russian friend’s son’s name, Oleg. But I still like Luka best. Just my $0.02.

Anonymous May 15, 2009, 3:45 PM

my fav is Ryan

Lin May 15, 2009, 4:04 PM

While I was pregnant we called our son “Justice” because we decided to keep his name a secret (because we hadn’t picked one yet). Funny thing is that I read in some parents magazine that Justice was going to be popular name this year. We started something. haha.

Cyndi  May 15, 2009, 4:05 PM

My wife and I named our son Cooper and we have only received compliments. We love it! You are welcome to it.
Good Luck!

maria May 15, 2009, 4:08 PM

I like Tristan……reminds me of Brad Pitt’s character in “Legends of the Falls”

Anonymous May 15, 2009, 4:22 PM

I like Owen and Nathaniel.

DotDotDot May 15, 2009, 4:31 PM

I liked but didn’t love the name Chance but dh said there’s not a chance in h e l l he’d name his kid that. then we thought about Dustin… but worried about the nickname Dusty but our 1st runner up was Micah. I’d like to make a strange suggestion here… no matter what name you choose yell it before you commit to it. No not for some weird spiritual connection … yell it like you would yell it at you toddler when he’s gotten into the markers and written all over your couch, sofa, walls… and yell it like you would yell at you teenager when they have smarted off to you for the last time and you need to make them fully aware that they will not talk to you that way ever again. I know it sounds strange but if you can think of being upset with your child and raise your voice at them and using that name and you still like the sound of that name then that is the name you should choose.

Briellis May 15, 2009, 4:53 PM

If we ever have a boy, we’re naming him Ari Sebastian.
My husband’s name is Trendon, which we both think is very cool.

Sarah-Jane May 15, 2009, 5:10 PM

You liked Laszio. Try Lachlan. It’s Scottish. (My Hubbie’s British/Scottish) More names we considered: Trevor, Stuart, Nigel, Curtis. But finally, we settled on John. And we’ve had NO problem with people calling him Johnny. Because youngsters today do not subscribe to assigned nicknames circa 1950’s, which is probably where the James ‘hater’ was coming from. On the contrary, youngsters are fine with full names, as well as cool creative nicknames they themselves like to make up. Like ‘J’ for any name beginning with that letter.

Anonymous May 15, 2009, 6:07 PM

Cute story, and I know EXACTLY how you feel. We ended up going w/ Colton but runner ups were Liam, Landon, Asher, Bryce… Hope you find a name and let us know what you decide!! Oh and my son’s middle name is Shane :o)

Daryl May 15, 2009, 8:24 PM

We’re naming our son Dylan but were also considering Jakob. We named our daughter Skylar (making it a little more girlie), but Skyler is more commonly a boy’s name.

kelly May 15, 2009, 10:04 PM

I know exactly what you mean. When I got pregnant I had so many girl names picked out that she was going to have the world’s record on longest name. But the boy name thing is harder, to me at least. My hubby doesn’t want trendy or an overly popular name, so I decided to go to the SSA.gov website to see the most popular name last year. Even my hubby’s name, Micah (which you almost never hear), makes the top 100! Plus I have so many friends and family having boys this year that they are taking all of the names! 8 weeks to go and I have nothing. Maybe I will just name him Buddy, because that’s what I refer to him now, Little Buddy in my Tummy.

fan 1 May 15, 2009, 10:29 PM

I just had a boy and named him Dylan. I really wanted Donovan but my husband did not. I love it.. I know a Donovan and no one has ever called him “Don” ever.. I also like Gavin a lot too.. Good luck T..

robin May 15, 2009, 10:37 PM

how about Noah or Avi (good Jewish name) - neither are too complicated to go with your husband’s long last name.

Ron May 15, 2009, 10:58 PM

T- I’ve got your name. Trust me on this- we had our “Gabe” about 20 months ago, and it fits him like a glove- but a STRONG second, and the one that I still have a tinge of regret about not using: Roland. I’m Polish, and it usually goes great with those uhh.. challenging last names. It’s uncommon enough, but still regal AND cool.

Feel it out, and thank me on the next Carolla podcast.

Colette May 15, 2009, 11:06 PM

We had girls, but my boy names were Ethan (always smoking hot), Evan, and Ian (cool customer, tough and likes rugby).

ame i. May 15, 2009, 11:08 PM

It’s a good thing I had 2 girls because my late-husband and I could not agree on a boy’s name. I liked Seth, Corbin, Caleb, Mikah (hub said that name reminded him of the word formica, duh.)
After I was born, my name was ‘napped a few times. My Samantha is the only Samantha at her school. There are a couple of female Skylar’s younger than my Skylar, but I don’t think anyone ‘napped the different spelling of her middle name. Living in the south, I just couldn’t spell her name as Schuylar because I knew people would call her Shoe-ler the first time they read her name.

Anonymous May 15, 2009, 11:16 PM

My favorite boy name is Gabriel. If I ever have a son I will name him Gabriel Burke.

I also love the names Carson and Micheal.

Erin May 15, 2009, 11:28 PM

James is an awesome name, but Jim is terrible. In the same way, Maggie is awesome but Margaret is terrible. I can’t tell you my future baby names, cuz I can’t have you nappin’ them….But Patrick and Liam are pretty sweet.

Eric O'Connor May 16, 2009, 12:42 AM


Well…. You did say most Eric’s are handsome. :-)

Since Jacamo is probably not an option for you. Some of the guys I work with are

Stephane, Derrel, Jess, Jerry, Olivier, Greg, Matt, Doug, Mark, Andy, Martin, Phil, Walt, Lou, Scott, Norm, Adrian, Fred, Arthur, and about 300 other guy names but many that you wouldn’t be able to pronounce or spell.

I’d go with Oscar myself. :-)


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