baby_names.jpgThe happy news that Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo are expecting a bouncing baby boy hit the airwaves last week when Ryan shared his news with his Eat, Bulaga! co-hosts and audience.

This Spot.PH article reports that Ryan has nicknamed the baby “Buchochoy,” although he and Juday are still in the process of picking out a name for him. 

Are you expecting yourself and going through those baby name books? Or maybe you’re hoping to be “in the family way” sometime soon and want to get a head start on choosing your children’s names. Check out these 10 tips to help you narrow down your options.


SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD

Pick a name people can pronounce. For example, if the local accent massacres "Tiffany" into "Tepaneh," scratch that off your list of girls’ names. You may also want to avoid foreign names that are easily mispronounced. Consider eliminating the Irish Siobhan (pronounced “she-vorn”) or the French Francois (“frahn-swah”) for example.

It’s also a good idea to say your child’s full name out loud. Does it roll on your tongue, or do you find yourself stammering over some of it? If it’s difficult for you to pronounce, it will be hard for others too!


THINK AHEAD

Think about nicknames in advance, use them, and encourage friends and family to use them as well. Note too that relatives may not like the nickname you’ve chosen and may insist on something else, in which case, it’s up to you whether to (1) change it while it’s early, (2) insist that your choice be respected, or (3) let them have their own way.

Basically, remember this: children can be cruel, so it’s not a good idea to give your baby a name other kids may make fun of in the future (we’re a little worried about what will happen if the Buchochoy nickname survives into elementary school years).


BE SENSIBLE ABOUT NAMESAKES

Sure, you want to name your son after the husband you love so much, but being married to Stephen Go, then bearing Stephen Andrew Go, Stephen Edward Go, and Stephen James Go might be taking spousal devotion a little too far, don’t you think?

Also, when dealing with namesakes, choose someone you respect and admire rather than someone famous (or worse, notorious). Your son might be honored to be named after Barack Obama or Noynoy Aquino, but Saddam Hussein? Maybe not so much.

CULTURE COUNTS


Consider pop culture when naming your baby. Post-Lord of the Rings, the name "Precious" is full of Gollumizing potential. Also, trends come and go, so avoid naming your child after movie characters (unless you really like the name) and pick something that will withstand the test of time. So no matter how much you may have loved Avatar, you should still think twice before naming your daughter "Neytiri."

You should also pick something culture-appropriate. Catholic priests can delay baptism if they don’t think the child will be raised in a suitably Christian atmosphere. Therefore naming a child “Lucifer” or “Judas” might not be a good idea.


RARE IS DISTINCTIVE

John Smith is a much-joked about name because of how common it is, and we have our own local versions. For example, if your family name is dela Cruz, don’t name your child "Juan." Consider this: common names make it harder to get an NBI clearance. A unique name also has a better chance of being remembered, which can have many benefits for your child later in life.


THE BURDEN OF STRANGENESS

Still, don’t go overboard on the uniqueness factor. A boy named Jhayzonn will have to spend his whole life telling people how to spell his name—and still have it misspelled half the time. This can be particularly harrowing in terms of bureaucracy; one absent-minded clerk or typist could cost you precious time and money in official corrections.


BAPTISM IS NO LAUGHING MATTER

It’s great that you have a sense of humor, but you may want to offer your child a chance at dignity in the future, so give serious thought to the name you’re giving him or her and how it might be received. You don’t want to see your child’s name in a spam e-mail or hear it as an anecdote, ala Edgar Allan Pe.


GIVE CHANCE TO OTHERS

Avoid names that are too long. Consider that your child will eventually have to fill it out in test papers, in forms with one-letter-per-box formats, etc. If you’ve got your heart set on four names, maybe consider saving two of them for the next baby. Remember, your maiden name and married name go into your child’s name as well, and that may be quite a mouthful already!


THEMES REQUIRE THOUGHT

If you’re planning to name your children according to a theme, make sure there are enough names for as many children as you’re likely to have and names for each gender. Biblical names (Mary, Joseph, James, etc.) are in plentiful supply, for example, but fruit themes (Apple, Cherry, etc.) may not suit many boys’ names, and titles may be cooler for boys’ names (Earl, Duke, King, etc.) than girls’ (Princess, Queenie).


PLAY THE GENDER GAME

Just because you wanted a girl is no reason to name your little boy with a girl’s name—and vice versa. As much as we would like to say that gender is just a box to tick on application forms, this is not true. Of course, in recent years, many names like Jordan, Ashley, and Taylor have become unisex.


The most important things about naming your baby are: (1) give it a lot of thought, (2) decide on your first and second choices, and (3) consider how your children will be living with the name. And in the end, just make sure that you don’t end up leaving “Baby Girl” or “Baby Boy” in that birth certificate just because you couldn’t make up your mind about what to call your child.


(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)
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