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Posts Tagged ‘Baby Names’

I have tons of friends having their 2nd wave of babies in the next few months. What’s the topic of conversation? Baby names – what is cool, not cool and what would be cute! Here are the top baby names of 2011 and their meanings. Seems like the film Twilight had quite the effect!


The list is put out by the Social Security Administration (who has to have something fun to do with all those birth records), and they have a feature which shows the change in the popularity for names, giving some limelight to those who did well for themselves without making it into the Top 10. The two with the biggest jumps were Maci and Bentley, just like the young mother and young son featured on Teen Mom, following their stint on 16 and Pregnant. Another fast-riser was Knox, the name of one of those seemingly thousands of kids in Brangelina’s family entourage. Tiana, the name of the princess in The Princess and the Frog, saw a surge, as did Kellan, a name shared by Kellan Lutz, another actor from Twilight.

Boys

  1. Jacob: Has come in and out of vogue for over 100 years. Landed at No. 1 for the first time in 1999, knocking Michael off the top after 38 years. In the Old Testament, Jacob was born holding his twin brother Esau’s heel. Namesake Jacob Grimm, the German linguist and writer, was the author of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” with his brother Wilhelm. Jacobus is the Latin form of the name.
  2. Ethan: Biblical name of the third king of Judah who reigned for 41 years. Popular among the Puritans in the 17th century. More common in the U.S. prior to the turn of the 20th century. A favorite Jewish name.
  3. Michael: Extended form of Micha, meaning “Who is like God?”. Numerous namesakes found in the Bible. The most notable is a minor prophet who predicted the fall of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. A book in the Old Testament bears his name. Late-comer to the charts in 1959, but becoming a prevalent name because of its strong Hebrew connection.
  4. Jayden: A combination of the names Jay and Aiden that’s seen a sudden burst of popularity during the past 10 years. The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who appeared with his dad in the 2006 film, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” A unisex name.
  5. William: Used as a royal name in Great Britain for nearly one thousand years starting with William the Conqueror. Had seen a steady decline until 1982 when Prince Charles and Princess Diana named their first son William. In the U.S., William has remained among the top 10 for the past 125 years. Namesakes include four United States presidents. Actor Willem Dafoe uses the Dutch form of the name.
  6. Alexander: This fun surname evokes a playful, widely liked bon vivant — he might be equally comfortable pursuing quiet, bookish activities and joking around with his pals. Shortens easily to the cute nickname Sandy.
  7. Noah: A biblical name for one of the Apostles who was also called Bartholomew. Listed among the top 100 in 1978, peaking at No. 61 in 2000 and 2001.
  8. Daniel: A form of the Hebrew name, Kohen. A new addition to the popular chart. A favorite among Jewish families.
  9. Aiden: A form of the name Aodan which  means “Fire”. Used by several early Irish saints. Irish American actor Aidan Quinn has brought attention to the name.
  10. Anthony: Derived from the old Roman family name Antonius. Associated with early saints and an Egyptian hermit who founded the monasticism. Listed among the top 100 names since 1881 and the top 50 since 1936. Influenced by the long career of Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins. Puerto Rican-American singer Marc Anthony is a famous bearer of the surname.

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Girls

  1. Isabella: The Portuguese and Spanish form of Elizabeth. A literary name for the heroine in the Henry James novel “Portrait of a Lady” published in 1881 and adapted into a film in 1996. The name has been in popular use since before the turn of the 20th century and hit its peak in 2003 at No. 83.
  2. Sophia: Derived from the Greek word that grew in popularity during the 17th and 18th century in England, most likely influenced by the heroine in Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel “Tom Jones.” Italian actress and academy award winner, Sophia Loren, brought attention to the name during the 1960s. Sophie is the French form of the name.
  3. Emma: Possibly the Latin feminine form of Aemilius or a combination of Emelia and Amalia. The name has been used for the title character in the novel “Amelia” by Henry Fielding and for a character in the book “Vanity Fair.” Associated with Amelia Bloomer a 19th century women’s rights and temperance advocate and famed aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. Olivia: Lavinia may mean a “woman of Rome” but the name carries the alluring, exotic beauty of an Eastern European supermodel. She’s also a gentle but tragic character in Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” With a similar sonance, this name could be an alternative to uber-popular Olivia.
  5. Ava: Of uncertain origin, its possibly a variation of the medieval names Avis or Aveline, a phonetic variation of Eva and Evelyn, or a form of the Hebrew Chava. Actress Ava Gardner whose film career started in 1941 largely influenced the name. Numerous celebrities have chosen this name for their daughters, including Reese Witherspoon, Heather Locklear, Kevin Dillon, Jason Priestley, and Mia Hamm.
  6. Emily: The feminine form of Aemilius that’s sometimes confused with the similar sounding Amelia. The name has been in popular use for over a century and is currently among the top 500.
  7. Abigail: The name of the third wife of King David in the Old Testament who referred to herself as David’s “handmaid” which paved the way for its use in literature for a lady’s servant. The name has steadily climbed in popularity since the 1940s, breaking into the top 100 in 1989. First lady and wife of former president John Adams is a namesake. Known today as the pen name for advice columnist Abigail Van Buren.
  8. Madison: The name was derived from an English surname associated with former president James Madison and his wife Dolley. It was influenced by actress Daryl Hannah in the 1984 film, “Splash,” whose character adopted the name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York. It debuted on the popularity chart in 1985.
  9. Chloe: A variation of Channah which is the Hebrew form of Hannah favored among Jewish families; The feminine form of Chayim derived from the Hebrew word “chai” that carries a prophetic meaning for a newborn child.
  10. Mia: Associated with the Roman goddess of spring who gave her name to the fifth calendar month of the year. In Greek mythology she was the mother of the god Hermes. Popular use of the name began in 1996.

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Picking a name you absolutely love is definitely difficult when your husband might love one name and you love another. Many times people fantasize about what to name their babies for years before they get pregnant, but the reality can be somewhat less fantastic because you want to pick a name you feel really great about — a name that fits the kind of boy or girl you imagine you might have. You could also take the route of “you name this baby, and I’ll take the next one,” but that assumes you’ll have more than one child and requires one partner to have enough patience to wait until the next! I have definitely heard mothers who say, “Well I am having the baby so I get to name it!” but it is important that it is a joint decision between you and your partner.

As pregnancy progresses, I bet you are bombarded by friends and family members with opinions, as well as your own inner dialogue about the baby: names that are so in they’re over, names about to be so in they will be over, names that were never in for good reason, and so on.

Sometimes a good solution is combining names. For example, use the last letter of a name that you love. Combine your favorites! For example if you like Lilliane and he likes Ella, you can put them together as Elliana. Think of it like Brad Pitt and Angelie Jolie and calling them Brangelina!

It’s always a nice tribute to name a child after a beloved grandpop or great-aunt, but while some old-fashioned names are back in style, others can seem dorky and not that great. Fortunately, you can honor a relative by using your relative’s name as a middle name, or consider names that are similar.

My best advice is to give yourself some factors: first initials, ending sounds, unique spellings, names that connect to experiences you’ve shared with your loved one, to one of your families or pasts, etc. Prioritizing will bring the list to a manageable length. Also, always remember to say the full name aloud as well as look at it written down. Lastly, another thing you can do is stop talking to people about the name choice. If YOU like it, you can use it.

It’s quite possible that your feelings about “getting the right name” might not make you feel less anxious as soon as the certificate is signed. It is completely normal for a name to feel “weird” or “wrong” for a while after the baby is born about his or her name. You will have plenty of times to hear people say it and you to say it, but it will become more clear as your baby develops. But once it ‘clicks’ and you have a good feeling, there’s a pretty good chance that whatever name you pick is going to feel very right.

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Brooklyn Alizabeth (3-months-old) is not only captivating but she is also a very special baby. She is the first girl in 13 grandchildren on her daddy’s side and the first grandchild on her mommy’s side. Wow! She seems to be taking it all in stride. Congratulations to our Darling of the Day, Brookyn!!!

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No, I did not say that!

Mommy, was Lady Gaga called “Baby Gaga” when she was a baby?”

–Miranda, 6 years old

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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Cherubic doll, June Rose, enjoys the sunshine in her rabbit moon fleur-de-lys stripe tiered dress and hat. Simply beautiful!

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Ari at her Baby Naming Ceremony

This past Sunday I attended a Baby Naming for a very special little girl named Ari.  I have only attended a few Baby Namings and Bris parties/ceremonies in my life and they are always fun and joyous!  It is always amazes me the joy a newborn baby brings to anyone’s home.  The birth of a child is one of the most life-changing and amazing events in our lives.  A baby touches everyone in a family, from parents and siblings to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  Everyone wants to be involved in some way or another, whether it is a mom flying in from out of town or friends sending new baby baskets of gifts.

Embarrassingly, after all of these ceremonies I have attended, I don’t know the history behind the tradition of a Jewish Baby Naming or Bris and I decided to do a bit of research. Our world is one big melting pot and I love learning about all religions and the meanings of various ceremonies (I think this is the Berkeley hippie child in me where I grew up!).

In Jewish traditions and all religions alike, naming children is serious business. We often go to great lengths to find the “perfect” name—just the right mix of meaning, tradition and beauty. It might be the name of a loved one, or someone we highly respect, or a word that brings back a beautiful personal memory.

While there are no hard rules to picking names in the Jewish tradition, there are some customs that Jews generally follow. For example, it is customary for Ashkenazi Jews (descendents of Eastern Europe, Germany, Poland , Russia ) to name their babies after a deceased relative. However, for Sephardic Jews (of Spanish and Portuguese descent), it is acceptable and an honor to name a child after a living relative (of course one would ask permission first). Either way, it is not necessary to use the exact name, a first initial will do.  In this case, Ari was named after her great grandmother, Ann, and they both have the same first initial.

Ari and Bari doing some push-ups!

Here is a picture of both Ari, and one with Ari and her cousin Bari.  Bari had her baby naming a week ago too – they are cousins, Mazel Tov!

In addition to a child’s English name, Jewish babies are also given a Hebrew name. Certain ceremonies—including Bris, Baby Naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and ketubah-signing – require a Hebrew name. The Hebrew name can be a close translation from the baby’s actual name. It could also just share the first letter. However, some parents may choose a Hebrew name that sounds beautiful, has a beautiful translation, or reminds them of something meaningful in their own lives.

Over the past 30 years or so in America, when welcoming a baby girl, it has become customary for Jewish parents to hold a special ceremony for their newborn daughters. While boys are given their Hebrew names at their Bris, girls receive their Hebrew names at a baby naming ceremony, or “brit bat,” which is typically held during the course of a regular service when the Torah scroll is open. It includes a special blessing giving thanks for a healthy delivery and for the health of the mother. There are no strict rules for these ceremonies. The brit bat is scheduled at the convenience of the parents, whether it’s eight days or six months after the birth.

It is customary to serve refreshments or a meal following the ceremony, beginning with the ha-motzi, a prayer over the bread.

Here are some terms to know for a Baby Naming that I wish I knew before!

  1. brit bat (the covenant of a daughter)
  2. simchat bat (celebration of a daughter)
  3. hakhnasat bat l’brit (the entering of a daughter into the covenant)

For boys, this tradition is called a “Bris”. That means eight days after the birth, a bris, or circumcision ceremony, will take place. Friends and family are usually present at a bris because it is a time to celebrate.

I have learned from Jewish moms that a bris can be both joyous and stressful.  I have been told that it is great to bring home a healthy boy and be surrounded by your friends and family, but as a mom, it can be difficult to see your baby being circumcised.  However, knowing that generations of baby boys have survived this moment, can be comforting.

Following the ceremony, which only takes a few minutes, food is served—most typically bagels and lox, baked goods such as rugelach, black and white cookies, babka and more. The bris is usually held at someone’s home or in the synagogue and usually begins with the ha-motzi (prayer over the bread, which is called challah).

The bris is perhaps the most observed tradition in the Jewish religion. While some think circumcision is a matter of hygiene, it is actually a biblical commandment.  The circumcision is performed by a mohel, an observant Jew who is formally trained as a ritual circumciser as well as in the laws and traditions of Judaism.

MAZEL TOV TO ARI AND BARI!

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Congratulations to cycling legend Lance Armstrong who announced this morning via Twitter that he will be expecting his 5th child with girlfriend Anna Hansen. His tweets let us Live Strong fans know that the baby will be due this October and will be named Jack or Olivia.


Photo Courtesy of: Leigh Vogel/WireImage (People.com)

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