“That’s Not A Baby’s Name.”

What’s in a name?

That is the question that every expectant parent inevitably asks themselves.

I recently received a blog comment from someone who was clearly trying to troll me by implying I was a terrible mother for calling my child Piglet.  Because clearly Piglet is his actual name.  Yes sheeple, I wanted something unique…something with a cutesy ring to it…..something that sounds a bit like a baby pig.  Ah, PIGLET.  That’ll be it.

Obviously, he is not really called Piglet (although I’m not going to lie, I do call him that most of the time).  He does, in fact, have a name that is a recognisable and fairly (I hope) inoffensive one.  As an avid reader of God’s Own Newspaper, the Guardian (I am a lentil-weaving liberal and PROUD), I stole it from a famous actor after reading an interview with him in said newspaper.  I then waited until the Child Also Known as Piglet was born, and when confirmation came that he suited the name, lo I bestowed it upon him.  Although he didn’t really suit the name, as people don’t tend to give their babies names that make them sound about 40, hence I had to start calling him Piglet instead.

It was as simple as that.

But that’s not to say that the process is not a literal minefield.  Some months ago, we were in a restaurant for my mother’s birthday, and someone on a nearby table was heard to comment “THAT’S NOT A BABY’S NAME” in relation to Piglet (NOT THE NAME PIGLET.  Sorry, this is getting confusing).

They were right.  It isn’t a baby’s name.  He sounds like a character from Neighbours who’s in his late thirties, and that’s why I like it.  My brother has been known to all his friends solely by his surname ever since the age of seven, when he ended up as one of five identically monikered boys  in his class at primary school.  That tends to happen when you pick a name from the current top ten.

Obviously what people choose to call their children is entirely up to them (although I would ask please not Princess.  Does anyone else think it’s a bit weird and creepy having to refer to someone else’s child as Princess?  Unfortunately it says more creepy knee-rubbing uncle to me than Duchess of Cambridge.  Sorry, Princess-parents.  It’s just my opinion.  Don’t hate me).  However, there are certain sensible guidelines that should probably be followed.  Take this advice, from me to you.  You’re welcome.

1.) Is it likely to be a source of mirth in the future?

Not as easy as it sounds.  We can all avoid giving our children initials that spell out rude words (although I have known a surprising number of people whose did), but the future is not easy impossible to predict.  How do you know that a future prime minister, or international terrorist (I’m not sure which is worse) will not one day share the name you lovingly bequeathed your first born.  You don’t.  Good luck with that.

2.) Will there be an entire class full of children with the same name five, ten or fifteen years down the line?

Again, difficult to know.  My parents could have just cut their losses and not bothered giving my brother a name at all, for all the use he has got out of it, but let’s just say that it’s surprising how many of those “a little bit unusual, a little bit retro” names everyone chooses for their children turn out to be anything but.

3.) Did you invent it?  Because unless it’s Moon Unit, you probably didn’t.  Oh wait, I didn’t just invent Moon Unit.  That was Frank Zappa.  Like I said, you didn’t invent it.  Someone else has that name*

*That clearly doesn’t make it bad.  Invented names are fab.  One of my students suggested Nevaeh for Piglet before he was born, as I wrote about here (“it’s Heaven backwards Miss!”).  She didn’t invent it.  I sort of liked it though.  I also like names that are types of wine.  Don’t hate me.

4.) Is it a type of wine?

If so, I think you should definitely choose it.

5.) Do you care what anyone else thinks?

No?  Good.  Because even if it’s Moon Unit*, it will almost certainly be fine.

*And if it isn’t, they’ll make like Moon Unit and change it.  And if they can’t change it, they’ll just get everyone to call them Dave or something, and it will be FINE.

Not Princess though.

OK, even Princess.  It’s your call.

You Baby Me Mummy


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48 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post! Baby naming is just so hard 🙂 and no, my little girls real name isn’t The Zebra!!

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I think Zebra’s a great name! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Love this post. I have had people read the blog and ask me what “SB” stands for, thinking it’s “Sarah Betty” or something. Her actual name is quite an uncommon Welsh one. I grew up with a name that was very uncommon at the time (Madison – I have never met another my age!) and loved it, fingers crossed she will too.

    Fantastic post, really great xx #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Welsh names are lovely aren’t they? I had a few on my shortlist for Piglet. To be honest it’s lucky he’s a boy, as the list of girls’ names I liked was enormous, so he would have ended up with 25 middle names or something! Thanks for commenting.

  3. laura dove says:

    Haha this really made me laugh! Baby names are such a minefield aren’t they? We chose what we believed to be lovely names, none of which were piglet…or even moon unit, and yet even then people took great offence! Thanks for sharing!! #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Yes it’s funny how whatever name you choose, people always have something to say about it don’t they? Got to see the funny side though! Thanks for commenting.

  4. Jules says:

    Great post! Hubby and I haven’t even started discussing names yet; as teachers it makes it so difficult to name your child because on top of all the factors mentioned above, we’re also thinking about the unkind child or the lazy child or the crazy child with that name!

    1. Min says:

      As a teacher myself, I feel your pain. A great many perfectly good names were ruled out for me for exactly that reason. I managed to come up with a shortlist of about six or seven names (I knew Piglet was a boy, which made things easier), none of which were the names of anyone I had ever taught. One of the things I’ve noticed as a teacher is that a lot of names go in and out of fashion very quickly, so for example when I first started teaching there were innumerable girls called Jade, and then suddenly they all disappeared (I think this may have coincided with the emergence of Jade Goody as a person of note). Likewise, there are some names that are now very popular, which weren’t at all ten years ago. It’s pretty fascinating really. Good luck with choosing a name!

  5. Brilliant! My daughter is named after a dear friend, and they are the only two people I know with the name. It was a compromise with the ex, whose other children all have names he made up/dreamed, and for whom I can’t help but feel terribly sorry. Sure, they’re the only one in the class with the name, but… Well, one of them involves two hyphens. Let’s leave it there!
    Naming a child can be a tricky business, and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. I remember being one of about a gazillion Victorias at school which was made more irritating by the fact my 5 brothers and sisters all have names that are normal but just unusual enough to have been the only one in their class! I do worry that I’ve condemned my daughter to a lifetime of “how do I spell that please” though.

    1. Min says:

      Two hyphens! That’s immense. As for the spelling thing, maybe it’s because I’m a (very cynical) adult and not a sensitive child, but even though my name is fairly easy to spell, as it’s not particularly unusual and spelt in a standard way, I really enjoy going into Starbucks and relishing the many different versions of it that I have seen on coffee cups over the years. In my (limited) experience, most people I know who have names that are difficult to spell are so used to spelling them out that they just do it automatically now, so it doesn’t bother them, and I’m sure it will be fine!

  6. Love this! I always wanted something a bit more unusual as there were loads of Jessicas in my year at school (my mum had decided on the name when she was about 12, so has always felt incredibly hard done by that it became so popular in the late 80s). So far I’ve only had nice comments about Marianna’s name, but I’m sure someone will take exception to it! 🙂 #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Marianna is such a lovely name! That was on my (admittedly absurdly long) shortlist of girls’ names. And Jessica is a nice name too, which is probably why it became so popular. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Annie says:

    Ha ha ha ha! Love your writing.
    Never, ever, ever, never tell ANYONE what you’re planning on calling your child, as some gob-shite will always make an unwelcomed remark. Conversely, it is very hard when your best friend chooses a name which sounds proper gyppy!
    Tis a strange thing, but there can be no denying that some names seem to be given to the pain in the arse kids at school. Couldn’t list them of course, as someone will be offended. But, we’ve been to a few schools and the nasty, bullying types always have the same name!

    1. Min says:

      I totally hear you on that one. I’m a teacher so there were some names that I absolutely couldn’t pick as they remind me of certain individuals, and not in a good way. That said, I admit I did sometimes look a child’s name and have a preconception which turned out to be completely wrong, so I’m always happy to stand corrected!

  8. Laura says:

    I’m still laughing that someone thought you had actually called your child Piglet! Great post though, picking a name is so tricky and when we were naming my son I remember saying to my husband – but what if it ends up being the name of a infamous murderer? Alas, not much you can do to prevent that! And hey, there’s always Deed Poll. Thanks for sharing #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Yes, that one’s just luck of the draw (or not) really! I have since discovered there is a serial killer with my son’s name-luckily only first name though so not too bad!

  9. Life as Mum says:

    It’s hard choosing a baby name! I love Welsh names.
    I need to think of a new baby name by July this year and I haven’t even thought of one yet! Maybe my brain will get into gear once I know the sex

    Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    1. Min says:

      Oh you’ve got ages yet. Best of luck choosing a name! x

  10. I think choosing a name is probably 1 of the most difficult choices to make. Your decision will potentionally afrect your childs life. You dont want your child to be teased. I wanted some thing different but not too different. Something that would suit my son as an adult and as a child. I also chose his name to go with his surname (which has now changed but i still like it). I recall literally everyone i know asking what i was going to call my son and having an opinion on it majority positive. My mum was one of few who wasnt keen but now she likes it. 1 of my sisters has voiced her disapproval at the shortebning of his name as it apparently soundsblike an old man name :p

    I’m one of those people that watches movie credits for name inspiration. When my son was about 3 months old we watched a film and my ex and my sons name were the main characters which was strange as theyre both not common names.

    1. Min says:

      It is difficult isn’t it, as you’ve got to think about the rest of their lives. Very few decisions we make are that long term! Thanks for commenting.

  11. Love this post! Choosing a name is so hard but it’s our own choice as they are our children. Let people judge I say. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    1. Min says:

      Thank you for commenting! x

  12. Some people need to just get a life don’t they?! Trolls gonna troll. I have people saying that I can’t call my daughter Baby as she isn’t a baby anymore, but it is a nickname and we call her it. I never get why people but into things that don’t concern or affect them. Fab post. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    1. Min says:

      I seem to remember it worked perfectly well for Baby from Dirty Dancing, and she was definitely not a baby! But yes, everyone has something to say about parenting choices, don’t they?

  13. There is nothing wrong with Piglet. I think it is cute! Not like the Thais’ nick name is just plain bizarre. Thai people always have a really name and a nickname. In majority, we call ourselves after fruits! (Well, our parents named us.) I am Apple. Haha I have been know as ‘Pun’ to the English speakers as they could not pronounce ‘Ple’ short for Apple in Thai accent. I know. Now, I am Su – short for Suphawadee – my Thai real name. It does kind of makes it easier for both me and others I have to say. Love your post – very well written. Thank you again for linking up with #FabFridayPost xx

    1. Min says:

      Ooh I love the idea of a nickname that’s a fruit. Very cute! Thank you for commenting. x

  14. We went uber traditional with our names and we STILL get comments. People are never happy but as long as you are then that is all that matters. After all – they are your baby!

    1. Min says:

      Absolutely, and as a teacher I’ve seen my fair share of names which could at best be diplomatically described as interesting, but the kids never care.

  15. Briony says:

    Brilliant post! Picking a name is so tough. We had a few but waited to meet the little man before finally deciding. The only trouble with this is that being exhausted from having given birth, emotional and bloody starving because they decided after I had been there all night getting a tiny human out of me that I needed surgery and as such couldn’t eat, choosing a name from the shortlist was kinda hard. It’s a miracle he didn’t get called toast as that was what was mainly on my mind. #TheBabyFormula

    1. Min says:

      Oh no! I guess you don’t have to pick straight away though. It is fab picking a name. I used to spend ages thinking about it when I was a kid, and then I finally got to do it, which was very satisfying!

  16. Hahahaha yes! Names are SO hard to choose. We tried a few for a few days after H was born, and then told everyone our choice. I think we made the right decision and I love her name, there’s no way she suited the others we liked, I had a feeling about it from the start. Oh this is hard when I just call her ‘H’ online!!

    I agree with Princess though!! Very odd (but only my opinion)!

    Thanks for sharing #TheBabyFormula

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for hosting. I think I made the right choice about Piglet’s name too. Bit late to change now anyway!

  17. Sarah says:

    My boys initials are RC which I thought was fairly innocuous. Now say them fast. They really suit his default mode, maybe that’s why!!

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I would never have thought of that! In fact Piglet is JRC so he similarly blessed.

  18. Mmt says:

    I have found myself wondering what is Piglets real name. Or H’s. Or Baby’s.
    Tigs name was stolen by a celebrity the week before her birth but we still used it and faced a load of cynicism.
    I’m yet to come across another dangermouse… Her real name obv, not the penfold partner pseudonym 😉

    1. Min says:

      Ah now I’m guessing what Tigs’ real name is! xx

  19. I’m waiting for someone to comment on the fact that I call my youngest Mini Assassin!! It suits him though, and we do call him The Assassin a lot! I’ve always thought Piglet was very cute and inoffensive! For someone to comment ‘that’s not a name for a baby’ loud enough for you to hear, is so rude, and must’ve been quite upsetting. When I went back to work after I’d had my first, someone asked me what I’d called the baby, and when I proudly told them they remarked ‘oh the poor sod, what the hell did you do that for?’ I can still remember how stung I felt. It’s a fairly unusual, simple, but not in the least bit offensive/bully worthy name that I have always loved. I always said if I had a boy, they would have this name. Names are so personal, and making negative comments about someone’s name choice is just so unnecessary and hurtful-they obviously love it or they wouldn’t have chosen it!

    1. Min says:

      Oh it wasn’t the name Piglet, but his real name that they were saying wasn’t a baby’s name-I didn’t take it offensively though as I don’t think it was meant that way (and also I suspect they thought they were out of earshot!) I think their point was that I had chosen a name which reached its peak of popularity in the 1970s and 80s, so it sounded like a name that wasn’t normally heard on a baby. That was the way I took it anyway! A bit like calling a baby Brian, or Roger. What an awful comment that “poor sod” one was though! Some people might have negative connotations with a particular name, but that’s no excuse for projecting that on to others.

  20. You will always find someone with something to say, it’s the world we live in. I don’t particularly ‘like’ some of the names I hear but who am I to comment as someone might not like my name or my daughters (who has an incredibly traditional name of Bethany, nothing fancy). Each to their own, if it makes them happy and it’s the right choice for them good on them! I do think piglet is an incredibly cute choice even if it’s not this real name haha! #fridsyfrolic

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes, I like it. I think it’s cute-although I imagine that when he is a teenager he will prefer to be known by his real, non-animal name!

  21. I think all babies take a while to grow into their names. It is a gamble though. My first born was named after my late grandfather. Something I have wanted to do since I was about 10. Turns out it was the most popular name the year my son was born :/ With number two we picked a name that no one else we knew had. Guess what. Most popular for his year of birth too! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    1. Min says:

      It’s so funny how that always happens. One of my friends chose a lovely name for her daughter; an old fashioned one that I hadn’t heard of for a baby before. By the time the year was out babies with the same name were springing up all over the place. It hasn’t happened with Piglet’s name yet, so I’m keeping fingers crossed it remains relatively unpopular.

  22. I hate PRINCESS with a passion! I had family members that kept calling my daughters it and I had to tell them to stop in the end. It was making me feel sick everytime they did it. Nearly caused a family fall out. In other news Youngest’s nickname is Boo (long story) but Oldest has taked to calling her Booby. Youngest not impressed by this has taken to calling Oldest – Willy. The tuts and looks we get when they are shouting “BOOBY you don’t go UP the slide” and “WILLY, you are not my boss” #FridayFrolics

    1. Min says:

      I love it. I hope they are still calling each other Willy and Booby when they’re adults!

  23. Silly Mummy says:

    Wait! He’s not called Piglet?! 😀 I agree about Princess – it is a bad name! My youngest has a fairly rare name. Not a strange name, just an old and not very used name (more common in France & Germany), but it happens to have the exact same letters but in a different order to a name that has become very popular lately. EVERYONE who sees it written down just switches the letters in their head & call her by the currently popular name.

    Love the tips on name choosing. &, as it fits the topic, I will share that the other day in the supermarket, I heard a woman calling her daughter a name that she was pronouncing as ‘ay-oh-ee-fee’. Possibly this was exactly the name she intended & is just a name I am unfamiliar with. But I couldn’t shake the suspicion that she had called the child ‘Aoife’ and not checked the pronunciation….

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time!

    1. Min says:

      Brilliant! I bet that happens quite a lot. I have also seen a fair few incorrect spellings of names in my time as a teacher that definitely look as though the parent didn’t set out to deliberately misspell as well!

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