FWP: Unique Baby Names
PROBLEM: I want to know where The Swaddle Team falls on unique baby names. My best friend is planning on calling her baby something, shall we say, vegetable-related. She thinks it’s “earthy” and “grounded.” I wish I could share the actual word, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. So I’ll just ask — what do you think of baby names inspired by flora and fauna?
LG: I am straight up dying to know what veggie your friend is naming her baby after. Is it Celery? Or Pumpkin? Or Amaranth? It’s Amaranth, isn’t it. That’s actually kind of pretty, now that I think of it… which probably gives you a good idea of where I fall on this issue. (On a side note, as much as I want to know the actual name, good on you for sticking by one of the cardinal rules of baby naming etiquette and keeping it to yourself.)
On the spectrum of unusual baby names, this seems more Paltrow than Kardashian. So I guess be glad your friend is talking in goop-ish, rather than saying things like “directional” and “religious appropriation.” As someone who grew up with a really uncommon name, as long as the name isn’t disgusting (that vetoes Karela) or offensive in any way, and doesn’t rhyme with anything disgusting or offensive, the kid will turn out fine. Just be there as the cool aunt or uncle who can commiserate and resist the puns; no little Nimbu wants to hear about how she’s matured into a tall drink of Nimbu Pani.
SB: Ten points for originality in a time when everyone’s baby is named Aryan or Arya. But it’s a hard pass for me on the flora and fauna names… no matter how nice it sounds, in the end it’s roughage. I’m all about unique baby names with a strong meaning and multicultural roots. Now if there was a cruciferous vegetable that was also the name of a Celtic warrior and meant “one who leads” in Farsi, then I could be convinced!
MM: I agree with LG, you’ve got me all curious. I’m imagining an Aloo or a Gobi — or is it a Palak?
I think your friend might be on to something though. With every other parent scrambling to find the most unique, poetic and deeply meaningful baby name, flora and fauna actually sounds kind of refreshing. I knew a Dhania in high school, and she was a popular kid. Though if your friend is going to go with Arbi or Mooli she better gift that kid a thick skin to go with the earthy name.
KB: I mean… you’re really not going to tell us about this name? I’m dying of curiosity.
To answer your question, I do not like fruit-and-vegetable-based baby names. But come on, let’s be honest, if your friend wants to torture her little Potato for the rest of its life, that’s really her problem. And MM is right: If you can learn to defend your parents’ unusual choice of Rhubarb on the playground, you’re going to grow up to be one tough cookie. Plus, when little Pineapple grows up, she can always decide to change her name to something less… organic.
RT: I’m glad I’m not the only one who agrees with calling their kid Palak! Pallavi is way too common. Having a bizarre name myself, I am always happy when the world is expanding their baby name horizons. Flora and fauna? Why not? Name them after a suburb? You do you, boo boo. I think the less common, the better. Kids grow into it; kids are tough.