Saturday, August 11, 2012
The "I Lost My Kid" Test
Upon considering a name for a future kid, I said it out loud a few times and something felt off. I proceeded to do the "I lost my kid" test - practice for a time when you might be in the mall or at a playground and suddenly you turn around and your kid isn't there. (It happens. I've also done the "I lost my cat" screaming in my backyard and my neighbors look at me like I'm crazy. Of course, the cat doesn't come when you call so you end up repeating the name about ten times. I'll give you a hint, my cats name is somewhere in this article.) I'll give some examples: Say you want to name your kid something considered normal by most. James, for instance. Scream it outside in front of people and no one will cringe, you included. Something like Sunshine or Canyon and they might think you're calling for a dog. Something like Petrova (beautiful as it is) and you might get interested glances and wish you came up with a less unusual nickname. Something like Sloanna might definitely keep you from naming your kid that. Keep in mind I don't actually go around the neighborhood calling for a kid I don't have, although I plan on doing a couple different tests I mentioned here and here. I may have mentioned in one of these my other idea to introduce yourself to strangers you'll likely never meet again (like a store employee) as the name you are considering for your child. If you feel weird introducing yourself to a perfect stranger as "Starling" or "Orpheus" then chances are it's not right for your kid.
Aside from verbal name-shouting, there's the written test. Here's how to do it: imagine you're a teacher. You're very skilled with language and writing, and you deal with 20+ new names each year. At first it was names like Jessica, Cody and Bridget, which are easy to say and spell, then it moved towards Kaitlyn, Dallas and Jordyn, which are pretty straight forward, and now it's getting more "creative" with MacKenzee, Kaylani, Aidin and Shadiamond (yes, several people have named their kid Shadiamond) and it takes you three times longer to memorize how to say and spell each name. Where does the name you're considering rank? Is Coralia is the first group, Skylin in the second group, and Mylisent in the third group?
So, if the name is fairly easy to spell/wouldn't give their teacher an awful headache, doesn't make you embarrassed when you shout it in a crowd of people, would look good on a resume (remember, you're naming a future adult), and is something that looks equally good on a baby and a middle aged person, then go for it!