Choosing a name for your child can be stressful, causing friction within the family as you debate the best options and try, where possible, to keep relatives happy too.
But I do wonder what consideration today's parents give on the long-term impact on their child, especially when they choose an obscure name. Children can be so cruel to one another and with a strange name, they may be setting their child up to become a victim of merciless teasing.
I am raising this question because I read recently that some parents have named their poor child "Hashtag." I ask you, what sort of name is that for a child? I just hope it doesn't catch on, but you never know, such is the power of social media. What's next? Twitter?
At the risk of aging myself, my parents chose to call me Anne as I was born around the era of Princess Anne. It was also a name that couldn't be abbreviated -- although some people over the years have ventured to call me Annie, but picking up on my reaction, have only done it once. And then there's Cora Tsouflidou of Cora's Breakfast and Lunch who calls me Anna, but somehow that has a nice Francophone ring to it, plus I wouldn't dream of correcting her.
When we were naming our daughters, I wanted to honour my Scottish roots, hence the name Lindsay, but we struggled with her middle name as we both liked Sarah but then realized that her initials would have been LSD, so that was out.
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My second daughter had bright red hair when she was born, so for three days was nameless as we searched for a red-headed name -- we came up with Megan. As for boys' names, let's just say it is just as well we never had a son, as we couldn't agree at all.
It is very personal and some names got eliminated from the mix because we didn't like someone else who had that name or in the case of the name Emma, it was my husband's dog's name and so was promptly ruled out.
Some parents go to great lengths to find the perfect name, looking up the meaning of the name and good for them. Although I remember meeting a really chunky, clumsy child named Grace who couldn't have been further from the image of her name. You could only hope as she grew up that she became more graceful.
Yet, others seem more influenced by current trends -- such as naming their child after popular celebrities or TV shows such as Dallas which brings me to another trend, naming children after cities, such as Paris, London and the like.
Taking a more biblical approach is one option, and consistently for the last 10 years Jacob has been one of the most popular names for boys, while for girls it's been Hannah or Abigail. Nothing is really safe or sacred -- take Apple, daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow.
And then, there's how you spell the more popular names. No longer is it just Alison -- it could be Allyson. Or with Christina you could be looking at Kristena, Kristina or Christena. Sometimes as adults, the spelling can change to a more sexier version, like one young woman I know who went from Erica to Erika. Whatever.
All I have to say is with each generation the names seem to get odder, and right now Hashtag sure takes the prize.
However, with the way trends have of going full circle -- who knows -- plain Jane may soon be back in style. One can only hope.