If you're like most parents, when choosing a name for your baby, you tend to think short-term. Are you going to feel comfortable calling a tiny infant Oscar or Josephine? Will your friends find Max horrifyingly trendy? How do your name choices sound with your last name, and how do they look written out on a birth announcement?
But a name is forever. Only over time will you discover its real effects, not merely on you but on your growing child. Is it cool or nerdy? Pleasantly unusual, or weird and confusing? And how will the name you choose play out with the mean girls in high school or the admissions director at Yale?
Here, a peek into how some of today's major naming trends might influence a child's future:
The trend: Naming your child after the city where he was conceived, the country your great-grandparents came from, or just some random place you like the sound of
Examples: Brooklyn, Paris, Dakota, Kenya
Baby-name fortune teller predicts: Your child's future will be plagued by "Who's on First"-style misunderstandings. For instance: "What's your baby's name?" "Brooklyn." "Oh, that's nice, but I asked what his name was." "I said Brooklyn." "Right, you live in Brooklyn, but his name..." Later, friends, relatives, and total strangers will offer jokes about the Brooklyn Bridge or the Eiffel Tower, or worse.
How to deal: If you pick a name this far off the map (see, it's irresistible), you have to be prepared for some teasing. Okay, lots of teasing. More important, you'll have to help your child handle the jokes that are sure to be a fact of life for her, as well as help her appreciate the good points of having a name everyone will notice and remember.