When I was growing up, for whatever reason, my first name was incredibly popular with Korean-American girls. That, coupled with the finite number of Korean last names, meant I knew several girls with the same first and last name as me, and sometimes even our Korean middle names were the same. To say that it annoyed me was an understatement (I wanted to be unique!) and it is absolutely the reason why I became slightly obsessed with names from a young age.
While I longed for my name to be something totally 80s fabulous like Jessica or Michelle, I also loved coming up with names for my future children. The earliest gems I remember were names for twin girls: Summer and Autumn (what can I say, I was 9!). As I got older, I was drawn to names from my favorite children’s books. I’ve always loved reading and children’s books have always had a special place in my heart. My favorite literary names were Lilly (from Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse), Ella (from Ella Enchanted) and Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web). I also fell in love with jazz in college and came up with a list of names from jazz artists: Ella, Billie, Miles, Charlie, and Coltrane.
Sadly, most of my then-unique names began quickly rising in popularity and by the time I was ready to have kids, many of them were in the Top 10 for popularity on the SSA list! One of my main criteria when choosing a name for my child was that it not be too popular — at least out of the Top 50 on the SSA list, and preferably closer to being out of the Top 100 names. The other big criteria was that the name be fairly unique but not too unique or unheard of so as not to cause unnecessary confusion with spelling or pronunciation.
When we received our referral for Lil’ CB, Mr. Cowboy and I went back and forth a lot (read: lots of disagreements!) about his potential name. Mr. Cowboy pressed hard for a biblical name, like Joshua or Nathan, and while I really did love those names, they were too popular for my taste and I knew at least one child that would have the same first and last name as Lil’ CB had we gone with one of those names.
We finally settled on a name we both agreed on (read: I fought hard for the name I wanted! ;) ) and I was thrilled with it. It was fairly unique but not unheard of and it was in the 80s for popularity on the SSA list. So imagine my annoyance when it started popping up in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog embroidered on just about everything! It was a little surprising to see my kiddo’s name plastered all over the pages of the PBK catalog and although I know that I have no actual claim to the name, I was a little (okay, a lot) miffed! And, yes, I totally realize I sound like a crazy person!
I eventually forgot about the PBK name incident…until it came time to pick Lil’ CG’s name. Two years ago, when we first told Lil’ CB he was going to have a sister, he immediately started calling her a particular name. A name that wasn’t really familiar to us through anyone we knew or anything read about or watched. But, Lil’ CB insisted that was her name and after looking up the meaning (Beautiful) and popularity (down in the 200s), we decided to go for it, rather tickled by the fact that Lil’ CB had chosen a rather perfect name.
And then…PBK was at it again! They started carrying a line of towels with this name and even had other items in the regular Pottery Barn catalog that had this name in it. And then J. Crew joined the party and named a sandal with this name. And to top it all off, Disney Junior came out with a cartoon calico cat sheriff named with the same name of our own Cowgirl.
I know I sound like a raving lunatic being a little (okay, a lot) possessive about my children’s names…and perhaps the growing popularity of my Cowboy and Cowgirl names means that I have good taste in names (haha), but I just hope neither of them will have to grow up being identified by both their first and last name and a qualifying characteristic for other people to understand that they are being referred to, much like I did. But even if they do, I hope they’ll grow up loving their names, just as I do and always will.
Are you possessive about your LOs names?