New Year, new baby … but how to name her?

New Year, new baby … but how to name her? | World Vision Blog

Babies of 2016. This is a seriously cute baby. And it gets seriously good news because World Vision is upping support for health care programs in this community, which is in Uganda. (Photo: ©2016 World Vision, photo by Jon Warren)

Our writer Shaun Kempston and his wife are very close to having a New Year Baby!

Hear from Shaun about this new addition-to-be for their family and how they've gone about choosing her name. And along the way, meet some of the babies we've met around the world in 2016.

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January 1st and this whole New Year business got some people thinking about the first babies of the year. Since my wife is very pregnant and everyone else is on vacation, they thought I might have something worthwhile to share. They said, “Just be yourself.” And I said, “That is probably not a good idea.” So take everything you read with a light heart.

Everybody loves babies, right?

Babies are quite the rage right now, and so my wife is currently carrying our third one and is right around 37 weeks. She’s enjoying a slew of questions like, “Oh, you haven’t had the baby yet?” “Are you still pregnant?” “You’re not 40 weeks yet?” For some reason, being pregnant means open season on comments, but she is a very gracious person and so she takes it in stride, and I learn things not to say to other people. This is one of many reasons my nickname for my wife is “Gentle Steel.”

The other question always comes down to names. “Have you decided on a name?” “Are you telling people the name?” “Can I be one of the people you are telling?” “Oh, that’s an interesting choice, why are you spelling it that way?”

New Year, new baby … but how to name her? | World Vision Blog
Babies of 2016: When my kids do something cute, I say to them, “Childhood!” kind of like you’d yell “Touchdown!” It’s my little anthem to the way things are supposed to be. And nothing says childhood more than a sweet conked-out kiddo. Six-month-old Manu is enjoying a nap in the shade of her family’s farm in India. It’s not just any farm though—it’s one that uses climate-friendly practices learned from World Vision. How cool is that? (If you’re curious, that’s a dad joke about how cool it is to nap in the shade.) (Photo: ©2016 World Vision/photo by Annila Harris)

 

One way to name a baby

Naming our kids has always gone down like this. My wife comes up with 1,000 choices and I veto all of them, only to come back a few months later and re-pick one of the names I vetoed. She also has full veto power on any name that I come up with. Then I look it up on the Social Security baby name database to make sure it isn’t too popular or obscure. It is quite the process. We should do it for other people and charge a fee.

I looked up both my name and my wife’s name, and we peaked about two years before we were born, meaning we were very trendy at the time. Trendy translated into me being one of three Shaun/Sean/Shawns in class, and I had to add in my last initial for clarity, “K,” which quickly and rather lazily turned into SHAUNK. When I was older, a niece of mine took this one step further and referred to me only as UNCLE CHUNK.

We don’t do the thing that many people do, which is to try and anticipate how other children will make fun of the name you pick. I don’t do this because I have the same brain as many of these children, and I know that you can make fun of ANY name in ANY way, so just wear your name proudly and hold your head high.

New Year, new baby … but how to name her? | World Vision Blog
Okay, so this is a baby of 2010. This is my middle child a few years ago. He was almost a new year’s baby, but he ended up coming the week before Christmas. As you can see, he is unfazed by how close his birthday is to the 25th of December. (He’s been helped by World Vision too—his dad works there.) (Photo: ©Shaun Kempston)

 

Announcing baby’s name to the world

We try to walk into the 20-week ultrasound with a boy and girl first name and middle name. Then we announce said name to the world in order to lay claim to it as soon as possible. Everyone has a different strategy but this one seems to work out okay for us.

Some people don’t like to tell anyone their baby name ahead of time because they don’t want to be given a hard time by their opinionated elders. I have always wondered about this strategy, because someday they will have to start calling their child this name, in front of said relatives.

New Year, new baby … but how to name her? | World Vision Blog
Babies of 2016: Amani and her 1-year-old Baylasan fled Syria last year and now benefit from World Vision programs in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (Photo: ©2016 World Vision, photo by Jon Warren)

 

How not to name a baby

I once gave someone a hard time for giving all of their children Gaelic names, when the parents weren’t Irish or Scottish or anything of the sort. Fast forward many years, and what have we done? We’ve given all our children Gaelic names, and we also lack much of a connection. I have learned that if I ever make fun of something, I then inherently do that very thing in the near future. I also realized that all of my children have last names for first names. These are never things you set out intentionally to do, but are interesting in hindsight.

Baby of 2017! The moment the boys find out that they are getting a baby sister. Caution: this is really really cute. (Video: ©Shaun Kempston)

 

So I read this whole thing but you didn’t tell me what you named your babies

Ah, that’s right! Well, here you go. Finn (Finnegan). Mack (Macklin). Sloane. Boy. Boy. Girl. And this girl was much hoped for and much prayed for, so here’s to a healthy birth and wonderful 2017!


The first weeks of a newborn's life are the most critical. You can help save young lives by giving a new mother the essential things like a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, a container for clean water, and soap. Donate a New Mother and Baby Kit today!

Read more on the World Vision Blog about: holidays

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