Mediation: Name That Baby!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I played high school basketball with a guy named Manjuan. Seriously. Manjuan. While he simply went by "Juan", we all knew he had the word "Man" in his name as well. Most of the guys on the basketball team ended up being doctors, engineers, shipping managers, and food storage/weapons/ammunition/survivalist supply brokers. But one of us turned out to play pro football.

Guess who?

Manjuan, of course.

I am almost positive that Juan's biceps ended up bigger than my thighs because of his "Man"-ly name. It also increased his vertical by 9 inches, decreased his 40 time by .2 seconds and made it completely impossible for him to watch romantic comedies.

One of the most important decisions we make as parents is the name we slap on our kids. It stays with them forever, unless they pull a Homer Simpson and change it to Max Power or Hercules Q. Powerful as an adult. Sometimes we give them names with a meaning, like Christian or Chastity, and hope it influences their behavior. You know, like how Christian Bale shows patience, forgiveness and love for his fellowmen while filming his movies.

Sometimes we pick a baby name because we just like it. For example, Kobe Bryant's dad picked out his name because his favorite meal was kobe steak. It would have been wonderful if Kobe's dad was addicted to ham hocks or pork loin instead of kobe. I can just imagine Marv Albert announcing Game 7 of the NBA Finals with the Lakers down one on their final possession.

"Odom inbounds to Fisher at the top of the key. Gasol sets a pick for Bryant who pops to the wing. Fisher gets the ball to Pork Loin Bryant. Pork Loin drives baseline. Pork Loin pulls up from fifteen...hand in his face...the fade away jumper is up...IT'S GOOOOD! Pork Loin brings home the bacon!"

The topic of naming babies is a very important one in the LDS world because we have to do it so many more times throughout the courses of our lives than the general population. In fact, I have blogged extensively about this subject and even developed a point-based system to help prevent LDS parents from having to explain to their son why they named him Mahonri Moriancumer Johnson. You can read the Baby Name Manifesto and the Baby Name Scoring Test from March 2008 if you need a refresher.

Baby naming can be so hard that even the NMW and I could not agree on the spelling of our second child's name and we agree on almost everything (except for pronouncing the word "coupon" and eating wheat pasta.) The NMW and I are not the only ones who have struggled picking baby names. A reader of the NMH blog called Runningfam responded to the mediation post with the following plea for help:

"My husband and I are expecting our fourth child, a girl, after having three boys. He loves a certain girl name that I hate, but he has his heart set on using it. I think if both parents don't love a name, it's out. He thinks that because he loves it so much, I should give in because 'the name will grow on me.' We've been debating about this for almost 11 years. Help!"

After swapping a few emails with Runningfam I received her permission to list the names they are considering for their baby. They have been very good sports about the whole thing and consented to letting the names be voted on by you, the NMH community. Little did Runningfam know that by allowing me to put the poll on my blog they are now legally obligated to use the name with the most votes. Ha ha, suckers! Next time read the fine print! They originally sent the following seven possibilities (their last name is pronounced "Bart-uhl", not "Bar-tell"):

Shyloh Rebekah Bartle
Lindsey Nicole Bartle
Alexis Paige Bartle
Kyra Michelle Bartle
Autumn Taylor Bartle
Sarah Kate Bartle
Allison Kennedy Bartle

Since seven names are too many for a poll, I am claiming the executive privilege of paring the list down to five. Based upon my personal preferences the name Shyloh Rebekah was immediately axed because the poor girl would spend her entire life saying, "My first name is spelled S-H-Y-L-O-H and my middle name is with a "-kah", not a "-cca". That would get annoying pretty fast. The second name I eliminated is Kyra Michelle. I don't have anything in particular against either of those names but I am pretty sure there will be a cheesy female superhero named "Kyra" who appears in a lame movie in 3-5 years. I am expecting a thank you email from the Bartle's in 2014.

As for my vote, I'm going with Alexis Paige.

So, everybody, a child's future hangs in the balance. Please choose wisely. Your vote may put this little girl in the White House or the Big House.

Or in the NFL. That would be awesome.

I wonder if the Bartles ever considered naming her Womanjuan?

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Amy said...

Good call on getting rid of Shyloh Rebekah. That poor girl would be getting her name spelled wrong by everyone for the rest of her life! (unless she moved to israel perhaps? But even they might mess up the Shyloh). Plus she'd be getting jokes about being "shy".

I know 3 little girls under the age of three who are all named Alexis Paige! Why is this name combo so popular all of a sudden?

8:21 AM
mama cow said...

My husband is praying the next one is a boy so he can name him William Robert. But in our house he will be called Billy Bob. Nice huh.

8:28 AM
Heidi said...

My vote is for Lindsey.

8:47 AM
jennie w. said...

Well, as a woman who has six kids and 13 baby name books on her bookshelf, I like to think that I have a good grip on the subject matter.

I say no to Alexis. The Alexis/Alexi/Lexi names are pretty tired at this point. Names like those start upscale and slide down the economic spectrum fast. Alexis is, uh, down at the bottom.

Lindsay was really popular 15-20 years ago so you'll run into tons of teenage Lindsays.

Sarah and Allison. Nice but boring.

Autumn is wonderful. Unsual, but not made up or weird. You won't ever have to spell it (unless the person doesn't speak English) or have anyone confused about what you're saying (it doesn't sound like any other name. Unlike poor Hailey, Bailey and Kaylie).

Autumn is a great name. (Taylor, though?) How about Autumn Kate?

8:54 AM
Tom said...

In terms of terrible names, just ask a teacher. Some of the worst I've seen are as follows:
Girls -
Ruby Darling

Boys -
Prince Unique

There was a twin set named Prince and Princess. My favorite one of all time, though, was a student who was 16 when she had her first child. By the time I met her she was 18 and working on her third child. Her first child's name was Maintain. Fantastic!

9:06 AM
Erika said...

Ok, but I really liked Kyra Michelle! Not that my vote matters but that's what I would have voted for...

I'll have to keep in mind letting the blogging public vote on names if I ever have the need to name children. won't ever be able to decide...too many first graders with names I'd associate with them!

Just please don't name them Zelaznog (Gonzalez backwards and yes that was the poor childs last name) or Leirbag (Gabriel backwards and older brother of Zelaznog)... yes these are names of real children!

10:11 AM

I actually really like Shyloh. But only if they spell it with an "i". I don't understand the allure of the "y". It's like people are trying to validate it as a letter since it's not used often and sometimes has a complex: Is it a vowel or a consonant? Idk, screw the other vowels; let's use the "y" in children's names! So different! And Mormon edgy! (This tirade comes from many friends who insisted on using the "y" in names like Landyn, Austyn, and Maycey.)

But I like Autumn too.

10:39 AM

My vote- to mix it up a bit- would be Autumn Paige. I LOVE the name Paige (it's my sisters name) but I agree, Alexis is so overused. And Autumn is really pretty. So yeah, Autumn Paige.

10:47 AM
carmar76 said...

Oooh, Autumn Paige! That gets my vote, even tho I already voted for the original Autumn. : )

11:38 AM
Col.Smeag said...

I thought your name was "Normal"?

12:19 PM
elesa said...

Hey! I was gonna vote for Shyloh!

12:21 PM
Angi said...

I was reading to my husband off of your blog today and read that you went to Hunter Jr. and Hunter High. You must be around his same age because he also went to Hunter Jr. but graduated from Cyprus in 1994. He is dying trying to figure out what famous mormon blogger his wife thinks is funnier than him.
If you're not opposed to unveiling yourself, please email me back at

Thanks for the laughs!

1:01 PM
Sarah Jensen said...

I like Autumn Kate or Autumn Paige. One of my companions was named Paige, and I loved her.
Autumn is a beautiful name.

1:02 PM
jeans said...

I agree Autumn's a hit, although isn't she going to be born in not-Autumn? Any read hair in the family, that would help.

Second choice is Lindsey. Everyone will have forgotten about Lindsay Lohan by the time this Lindsey grows up, and since it was popular 15 years ago, she's off-cycle and it is an unusual name now.

Shiloh is a dog name, no matter how you spell it. Didn't they make a movie about a boy who saved a hunting coon dog named Shiloh? Also, it's kind of tasteless to name a child after a Civil War battlefield. And Brangelina used that name already, so yet another reason to steer clear.

1:06 PM
M-O-R-G-A-N-'S said...

I love that your reader Jeans made the connection to Brangelina on the Shyloh (Shilo) name. I don't like it either. I also agree that since it belongs to them it’s nixed automatically. Lol I agree as well that Alexis is played out. I'm not a fan of the name Lindsey either. I have a cousin named Autumn, and she is the only one I know. I like Nicole as that is my daughter’s middle name.

So basically I like the names: Autumn Paige, even though it’s not a choice. I also like the name Allison Nicole. (As that is my cousin’s first and middle name.) Allison Kennedy would be my second choice. I would have to say that Taylor is played out as well, even though I almost named my daughter that.

Sarah Kate doesn’t sound good to me. Sarah is also played out as well.

Well there you have it, that’s my vote.

1:27 PM

I really liked Kyra myself but alas, you eliminated it. You were right on with Shyloh however, but not for the spelling but for the meaning. Shiloh is a Biblical place name meaning "he who is to be sent," which has associations with the Messiah. Not a great girl name. Then there is that Neil Diamond song called Shiloh:

Young child with dreams
Dream, ev'ry dream on your own
When children play
Seems like you end up alone

Papa says he'd love to be with you
If he had the time
So you turn to the only friend you can find
There in your mind

Shilo, when i was young
I used to call your name
When no one else would come
Shile, you always came
And we'd play

Young girl with fire
Something said she understood
I wanted to fly
She made me feel like i could
Held out my hand, and i let her take me

Blind as a child
All i saw was the way that she made me smile
She made me smile

Shilo, when i was young
I used to call your name
When no one else would come
Shile, you always came
And you'd stay

Had a dream, and it filled me with wonder
She had other plans
"got to go, and i know you'll understand"
I understand

Shilo, when i was young
I used to call your name
When no one else would come
Shilo, you always came
Come today

2:42 PM
Morris Mama said...

Why not Paige for a first name? I think it's darling. If not, my vote is for Autumn.

5:14 PM
Maren Hansen said...

I like Shiloh too, though not the funky spelling.

5:59 PM
Olivia said...

Sounds like Autumn will be the next "it" name in mormon cultre--everyone loves it, no one's using it so it's virtually guaranteed to be played out very soon. Of course, you can't really avoid that unless you pick something REALLY unusual for our times, like my mom did when I was born in the early eighties. Olivia was practically un-heard of until I started having kids. Now there's a ton of them that are MY kids' ae running around. I love that though! Anyway, I vote for Autumn as well. It really is a beautiful name, even if it will be very popular soon (which it will be, mark my words!) And I really like the name Allison too, but that will also have spelling issues (which is why we didn't choose it for our daughter). People will be asking "Is it spelled Alison, Allyson, Allisyn, Alisyn?"

Oh, and there is a kid in my son's class name Quartz Stone. No Joke. He's probably gonna be in the NFL too.

6:13 PM
Sandy said...

How about Kennedy Alexis?(I know that's not one of the choices...but that's a combo of the choices...)

6:43 PM
Alyssa said...

I like Alexis, but I don't like Paige. It is so 90's to me. It just seems like an attempt to be "cute" and not actually name with substance. Like on those cake shows where they make "cakes" out of foam, pipes, and fandant so they look really good, but are not actually edible.

8:05 PM
Kristy E.B. said...

I also love Autumn, but I'm not sure I like it with Taylor. Maybe Autumn Paige? Good luck--agreeing on names is sooo hard!!!

9:42 PM
Megan said...

Big fans of Kate in this house!

My general rule is that a name has to pass the back door test... Can you yell it several times out the back door at the top of your lungs and still like it? You know that's what you'll be doing in a few years! :)

11:00 PM
girlygirl said...

I agree - I know from experience. I have one of 'those' names that is misspelled and falsely said on a daily basis. It's torture - I have finally surrendered to being called anything that remotely resembles it. :)

2:32 PM
Robin said...

Of all the names, I like Paige !!! It is sweet sounding and not as common as the rest. I realize it wasn't a first name choice but...

4:46 PM
Anonymous said...

My 21 yr old niece (from Florida) is Autumn Paige.

It's a beautiful name

7:39 PM
Churndash said...

When the voting is over, can we find out which one of the names the husband had his heart set on? I wouldn't want to sway the voting, of course, but I'm curious.

7:21 AM
Quixotic Healer said...

Has anyone sent you to the Utah Baby Namer Website?

If not, here's the link:

That is one of my favorite websites of all time. Use it well.

11:23 AM
Jennifer said...

I like Kyra. One of the characters in the movie Push is names Kira. Yes, she does have super powers. I still like it.

I must say that I gave in on the name for my son, Theron. I hated telling people we were naming him that because I was constantly spelling it. No one had ever heard it because only dead people have that name. My husband loved it so much though. He wanted it since high school. Anyway, I did get used to it and it's my son's name now, so I love it.

12:51 PM
Anonymous said...

My wife and I just lost our newborn daughter. Her name was Alexis... so I overwhelmingly had to vote for that one. I hope Baby Bartle is as adorable as our little Alexis was.

1:12 PM
Andrea said...

I think there are some cute names in there, but I'm not a huge fan of the combinations. I do like Paige. Not loving Autumn, guess it's one of those name association things.

Good luck!

9:47 PM
Anonymous said...

I disagree... my name is Rebekah and I LOVE it. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I am SO glad my parents chose it and not the more common -cca variety.

10:13 PM
Amy's Paradigm said...

I have to say Lindsey is my favorite of the choices. Autumn is a great name if your parents are famous Hollywood stars (you could also choose fruit names if that was the case), but since this baby is probably not famous, nor to be born in October, I would stick to Lindsey.

I do really like the name Shyloh----for a pet. So maybe Baby Lindsey could have a dog named Shyloh. I have only known dogs with that name and I would have to say, there have been several. I can see the little girl in kindergarten tell the child next to her "My name is Shyloh--with a y," and the kid next to her bursts out laughing, "That's my dog's name!" Just something to think about.

8:57 AM
Emily said...

Read "Freakonomics" before you pick your name! They devote several chapters to baby-names and the influence of one's name on their personality, social status, general success in life!

It will have you "freaking" out... so much pressure!

BTW - my uncle is Robert William (flip-side of William Robert). He is a Stake Patriarch and his son Robert William Jr. is a Bishop and successful attorney. Its a good name!

My vote is for Allison. My sister is Alyson... if you'd like to go with the "y" substitution!

10:50 AM
Aunt Julie said...

Lindsey Nicole Bartle. That's my pick. Not that I like Lindsey so much, but I like all the names together. It flows.

6:21 PM
Brian said...

Why are we even considering middle names here? What exactly is the relevance? I think I've used my middle name once in my life...and I'm almost 30. My wife doesn't even have one.

I propose a revote so that we're not unduly swayed by an irrelevant middle name (assuming that people considered the middle name in their voting...unlike me)!

My wife and I are so indecisive at choosing names that it took everything out of us to come up with a first name; we didn't bother with the middle.

10:29 PM
Brian said...

Dude, what's up with your 95% women following in your man-blog? I honestly don't know how you could make your blog any more man oriented. I guess blogging is not part of the Y chromosome.

10:32 PM
Janet said...

Oh, please go with Sarah. With all the little girls with their odd trendy names surrounding her, she will be the one that stands out in a crowd. Sarah. Nobody ever wrote a song about Lindsey, Autumn, or Alexis' smiles. Go with Sarah.

12:35 PM
Lindsay said...

Being that my name is Lindsay, I can honestly say no one will ever be able to spell it the way you want. I've seen Lindsey, Lyndsie, Lyndsy, Lindsy--all manner of chaos. But with Sarah, there's a 50/50 chance the spelling will be correct. I'm just saying.

And there are way too many Lexi's out there right now!

12:40 PM
Amy K said...

I was laughing hysterically at your post (and I don't even know you) I think I am what they call a "blog stocker." Sorry, but I couldn't resist when I saw the title of your blog on my cousin's site (Lorna's Lollygag). I personally love the name Alexis Paige. Really anything with Paige is a great name, in my opionion. Why not Paige as the first name. Love it!

6:50 PM
Nelson said...

I voted for Autumn but I agree that Taylor is not the best middle name. Keep Autum but try a different middle name. That's my two bits.

2:49 PM
nikkicrumpet said...

LOL you crack me up...and I have a million things I should be doing right now...and none of them are reading your blog. STOP with the entertainment so I can actually get on with my day!

8:21 AM