It is spelled T-O-B-E-Y.

When thinking about naming your baby, there are many things to think about.  My name is Tobey.  I now love my name and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Perhaps the irritation and embarrassment during my formative years made me a stronger person, but you really never know.

Per www.babycenter.com, there are 8 pitfalls to watch when you name your baby.

  1. The nickname trap
  2. Embarrassing initials
  3. A lifetime of corrections
  4. Overpopularity
  5. Problematic name pairings
  6. Humiliating email handles
  7. Names not to live up to
  8. So-so meanings

The one I am specifially referring to is #3, the constant spelling and explaining your name.  This is a daily occurrence for me:

It is spelled T-O-B-E-Y.

Yes it is a girls name.

No it isn’t short for anything.

You really don’t realize how many times you have to state your name, but it happens often.  I also know that Toby is a very common cat or dog name, since many people feel compelled to mention that after I tell them my name.  Thankfully for them, I like animals.

How rare is my name?  In 2011, per www.babycenter.com, there were 3 girls named Tobey out of 1 million babies born.  That is pretty unique.  Spelled as Toby (traditionally the “boy” spelling), there were 3 other girls given this name.  Now what about a more common name, Jennifer?  In 2012, 50 babies out of 1 million were named Jennifer.  Sound too low?  Well, that is because that is for the boys named Jennifer.  So people name their boys Jennifer almost 17x more than people name girls with my name, Tobey.  Seriously.

On the site www.babynames.com, the top 10 name list for boys and girls (20 total names) really contains 28 total names, with all of the different spellings.  For example, Aiden is a popular boys name, but it can be spelled 3 different ways.

Poor Ayden will be really screwed and will probably hate his parents for some time during his childhood.  If Ayden is a super-cool popular kid, he may surpass the teasing, but that is not likely.  Every kid gets teased and you will not avoid that, but putting the errant “y” in names is simply annoying in my opinion.

Thankfully, I was not a heavy girl, or else I would have been nicknamed, “Tubby” until the end of time.  My parents didn’t know this.  They also didn’t know about the TV mini-series, “Roots” that plagued me annually, in which a slave said his name was Toby (as he was being whipped and asked, “What is your name?”).  Perhaps they did not cross paths with any of the countless cat ladies that named their beloved tabby cat, Toby.

I don’t blame them for not knowing any of these things, especially since the speed at which they obtained information in 1971 was a little slow; I mean they only had 3 TV channels to watch.  Also, they were young and relatively inexperienced with the ways of the world.  That all being said, I think they did a tremendous job.

However, YOU have 100’s of TV channels, the internet, with Facebook, Twitter, etc., at your disposal for research and consultation.  You had better make sure your kid is going to be OK living with an odd/different name.  Here is how I would go about it:

  1. Mention it to a few people first.
  2. See what their reaction is.
  3. Assess that reaction.

If they say, “What?”, or “How do you spell that?”, you may want to reconsider naming your beautiful baby boy Kayden (that errant “y” and Kardashian “K” is just way too much).  Stop the madness, please!

P.S., As an added blog bonus, you have to go to www.babynames.com/Jennifer-Moss/  and read the letters to the Founder and CEO of BabyNames.com, where she “answers your questions about names and naming”.    They are hilarious.  Some are a little pathetic, e.g., “I am not a mother yet, but plan on being one in a few years….”.  She goes on to explain her “problem” with liking ethnic names but not looking “ethnic”.  Seriously?

Or how about this one, “I am 3 months along and trying to pick out baby names… If it’s a girl I like Emmalin…Do you think this is an appropriate name or too out there? Also, would I spell it Emmalin, Emmalynn, Emmalyn or otherwise?”.  Wow.

And by the way, do you notice her name?  “Jennifer” is your expert on naming babies.  How is she qualified to answer questions on “Emmalyn or Emmalin?”  By the way, the expert answer was “How about Emmaline or Emmalina (to rhyme with [the mother’s] name)?”.  Jesus.  All that woman needs is another 2 choices.

OK I am done, although I could read those letters all day.  What an added bonus!