Hi, my name is…

As tempting as it is to answer that sentence with Slim Shady, I have an even stronger urge to set my child up for success as best I can. Which means taking a bit more of a thoughtful approach to picking out a potential name.

This has actually been a much more difficult task than I previously anticipated. And made even difficult by the fact that we don’t yet know if we’re having a girl or a boy.

For what it’s worth, our thought process is as follows (in terms of picking criteria):

1) Look through lists of popular names and pick out ones that “sound good”. I’ve put a list of websites for popular names at the bottom of this post.
2) Come up with additional names that have family or sentimental meaning.
3) Avoid names of exes or those of people we strongly disliked in our lives.
4) Avoid names that easily lend themselves to annoying nicknames.
5) Finally, find that nice balance between a name that is unique but not weird.

With that, here is my top 10 for each gender. I just sent this list to my wife, so am waiting to see which of my names are on the approved list and which get cut.

Abigail (an old, classic name – I love the nickname Aby; meaning is “father’s joy”)
Mara (unique – connotations of down to earth, hardworking, but classy; gaelic word for “sea” (my wife is from Vancouver and loves the ocean))
Sinead (not a big fan but we are considering based on a story with personal meaning from my wife)
Ariana (Italian origin meaning “very holy”)
Brianna (Celtic name meaning “strong”)
Cora (Greek name meaning “filled heart”)
Dannica (Slavic name meaning morning star)
Evelyn (another old, classic name – I love the nickname Evy)
Kamila (Arabic / Slavic name meaning “perfect”)
Matilda (German origin meaning “strength in battle”)

Emmett (sounds down to earth, hardworking and honest – true to my Calgary roots; meaning is “powerful”)
Owen (names of one of my favourite public figures – connotations of hardworking, ambitious; meaning is “young warrior”)
Quinn (name of a spy character in Homeland TV show – sounds intelligent, clever, and ambitious; meaning “counsel, wisdom”)
Anders (after famous researcher; name means “strong, manly”)
Carter (Irish/Scottish/English origin, means “transports good by cart”)
Everett (derived from old English Eoforheard – brave as a wild boar)
Leo (meaning “lion”, which is our little one’s zodiac sign; also a homage to my late uncle “Leos”)
Paxton (I like the sound of Paxton; old English/Latin origin meaning “peace town”)
Erik (Old Norse or German meaning eternal ruler or honorable king)
Joseph (after my grandfather)

For the names where we both agree (not a long list), we are using the “coffee shop” test to determine if it’s a real keeper. The coffee shop test is when my wife and I go to a local coffee shop and use the potential name as our name. Then, when the barista calls the name out, we can see how it sounds to hear it said in public, and watch how people reach to the name. How does the name feel? This one little game has been invaluable to us in narrowing down the list – lots of names sound great between the two of us, but sound ridiculous when said aloud in public.

As promised at the start of the post, here is the list of websites I found helpful in generating good names: