The Dilemma of Picking the Perfect Baby Name

Some parents give their children family names, some spend months considering hundreds of different possibilities, some stick with a theme, and some apparently embark on a spiritual journey to discover their child's name with the help of a large amount of illegal psychoactive substances. Me, I picked my kid's name out of a baby name book.

That's how I landed on our first son's name, anyway. I was flipping through the R section of a book of names and Riley just jumped off the page at me. My husband liked it too, and thus it became our top choice for a boy.

It was ridiculously easy choosing a name for our first child, but by the time Baby #2 was on his way, settling on a name was much, much harder.


We actually had a girl's name all picked out when I was pregnant the first time: Madeline. I still liked it, but for some reason I felt we couldn't use it. It seemed like Madeline was the right name for that particular baby if it turned out to be a girl, but the second baby was a different baby, and if it was a girl, we'd need a different name.

(I realize that makes no sense whatsoever, by the way.)

So we chose Audrey for our second child in the event it turned out to be a girl, but we could not agree on a boy's name. All the boy names we considered were too common, too weird, belonged to someone we knew (don't you hate that, when you glom onto the perfect name but it also belongs to, like, your coworker?), too gender-ambiguous (I was a little sensitive to this having chosen Riley's name without a clue that it was becoming a very popular girl's name as well), or too slushy-sounding when paired with our last name.

We considered and mostly discarded the following:

Ethan (loved it, was totally a coworker's name)

Jake or Jack (loved them both, but felt they were too popular)

Dexter (too serial-killer-y)

Cody (cute, but maybe too trendy/precious, especially when combined with Riley)

Garrett (husband's choice which I did not like)

Calvin (my choice which my husband did not like)

Casey (too girly thanks to Casey Mullins, also wasn't sure about another name ending in an “ee” sound)

We finally agreed on Dylan, which I'd been initially resistant to because I would rather listen to a set of silverware falling down a flight of stairs than Bob Dylan's music, and as soon as we started saying it ... Dylan seemed utterly perfect. And when he was born a few months later, he looked like a Dylan. Funny how that works. (Of course, I could have called him Vermixy or Red-n-Squashed or Hiccups Von NeverSleep and they would have been equally appropriate names, but whatever.)

How about you? How did you pick your baby names?

Image via Amazon

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