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May 28 2014

My Daughter’s Name is Creeping Up the Popularity List–and I Don’t Like It

By at 11:42 am

charlotte-in-shades

Oy vey! Charlotte just inched up another spot on the list of most popular baby names.

When we were thinking up names for our unborn child, we set on Charlotte, if it was a girl, about half way through the second trimester. My bubbie’s name was Cynthia, and we wanted to honor her memory with a “C”or “S” name. When we vetted the name to my parents over dinner one evening, months before my due date, my dad said he knew my Bubbie would have liked the name Charlotte, which sealed the deal.

Of course we had spent ample time reading through name books and looking online. Pre-smart phone, I wish I’d had an app for that (like the new Kveller Jewish Baby Names app!). I had always thought if I had a daughter I would like to name her Zaina (also after my Bubbie, whose Yiddish nickname was Shanie). I also liked Sima and Samara, but Charlotte had a nice ring to it, classy and timeless. And it was ranked as #46 most popular girl’s name according to the US Census Records in 2011. Now it’s #11.

I’ll be honest, when I hear a mom shout out Charlotte to another under 3-year-old girl on the playground, I roll my eyes to myself and think, “Ugh, that’s MY daughter’s name.” I thought we were being sort of original. Not so original that folks would never have heard the name before or not know how to spell it or pronounce it, but not so common that it would be, “Oh, another Charlotte.”

So why is this a big deal? I guess as someone with a not-totally-common name, I didn’t want my daughter to be one of six Charlottes in her kindergarten class. My sister, whose name is Rachel, tells a funny story about when she was at her first year of university at Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She went to a Shabbat lunch and 11 out of the 12 women in attendance were named Rachel.

Sure, there are a lot of nicknames for Charlotte–Lottie, Chacha, Charlie, and Lola–but we don’t really want to call her any of those, so she might end up being Charlotte G. Maybe her friends at summer camp can call her C-berg.

I know Charlotte Kort Greenberg will be a credit to her name and that she is, in fact, the only Charlotte Kort Greenberg on the planet.

But if and when we have a second child, let me tell you, the first name on my short list doesn’t even make the top 1000 for the past 14 years. And no, I will not tell you what it is.

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