Predictions for the Next Wave of Popular Baby Names

Not that long ago, the name Sophia was associated with not just the Golden Girls, but with the oldest of the Golden Girls. Bea Arthur's freaking mother, played by Estelle Getty.

(RIP, Bea and Estelle, and Rue McClanahan for that matter. Only Betty White remains. Gee, whatever happened to her?) 

Now when I hear Sophia I just picture a 2-year-old. It's the fourth most popular name of the moment. 

Names skip generations, resulting in a weird convergence between nursery schools and nursing homes. So instead of Emma and Olivia watching the kids play from their wheelchairs, tiny Emma and tiny Olivia are on the playground joined by Isabella, of course.

It's true of boys, too: Max and Leo are ordering off the kids' menu now instead of getting the early bird senior special. 

You all know what that means ....


Say hello to your granddaughters Barbara, Carol, and Stacy. Whether they'll be wearing pantsuits remains to be seen. 

I've been seeing it already in my own daughter. She's been calling dolls "Wendy" lately, and when asked for suggestions for a forthcoming cousin, she suggested "Robert" for a boy and "Eileen" for a girl.

Eileen isn't a new cousin, it's an old aunt (and a lovely name, all you fine Eileens out there).

It's funny how the same name can go through the wringer and come out with a whole new set of connotations. 

My mom said that when she was young, Sarah used to be the old-ladiest of names, reserved for the plain and the tall. In my generation it sang blonde and young. Now it's somewhere in between.

Some names get to permanent old lady status that probably can't be overturned: Blanche, Marge ... but come to think of it, those sound like adorable little girls, don't they? 

It's our job as a generation to hate -- or at least reject -- our parents' stuff and embrace our grandparents'. It begins with their names. 

So your kids will look right past you to your moms and dads, aunts and uncles. 

In other words, get ready for an army of little Debbies

But until then, how about Bea? Or Estelle? Or Rue? Or Betty? 

What do you think about the "old" names being new again?

Image via RandenPedersen/Flickr

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