Name Game

Last Saturday, my friends asked me about possible names for our baby. Hmmm....

I actually have a couple in mind.

What I've been telling Jed is that I'd prefer a one name child. No second or middle name. My maiden name and our surname are long enough for the poor child to write.

Jed and I both have two names but people call us by our second name, not the first. So what's the point of having two names, right?

During my first year at the Canadian Embassy, I put my complete in my business card because I know my mother would love to see my entire name on it. Big mistake as Canadians kept on using and calling me by my first name. Before that, no one calls me by my first name. And I learned about the Western culture. After that, I asked for new business cards bearing only "Irma" in the first name slot. Since then, I only use my complete name for legal transactions.

Back to the names I was thinking for our unborn child, I am gearing towards the name Jacob for a boy, and Emma for a girl - for now. Short and simple. Of course, I need to discuss these choices with Jed.

And then I read an article on the paper by Associated Press about the top baby names in the US. Guess what they are:

Barack, Miley move up; baby names Emma, Jacob rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack and Miley move up, but the classics still rule. Emma is the top baby name for girls, Jacob for boys.

Emma ended Emily's 12-year reign as the No. 1 baby name for girls in 2008, the Social Security Administration announced Friday. Jacob was at the top for the 10th straight year.

Barack may have been the man of the year in 2008 as Obama won the presidency, but he's still behind Elvis. Barack didn't crack the top 1,000, though he did move up a record 10,126 spots, to No. 2,409. Elvis is still in the building, but he fell from 673 to 713.

Miley, as in popular teen singer Miley Cyrus, moved up 152 spots to No. 127. But her stage name, Hannah — as in Hannah Montana — fell from No. 9 to No. 17.

Biblical names dominate the top choices for boys while popular culture appears to have influenced some of the girls' names.

Emma debuted in the top 10 in 2002, the same year that Jennifer Aniston's character on "Friends" gave the name to her TV show baby. In the latest lineup, Emma was followed by Isabella, Emily, Madison and Ava.

"People are also so keyed into TV," said Maryanna Korwitts, author of "Name Power 101" and founder of BabyNamingCentral.com. "It's not the best practice but it's what happens."

The top five boys names remained unchanged from 2007. Jacob was followed by Michael, Ethan, Joshua and Daniel.

Little else changed among the top 10 for either sex. Alexander joined the top 10 at No. 6, while Andrew dropped out. Among the girls, Chloe inched her way up to No. 10.

"There's something about naming a child that's a very existential statement," said Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. "As you read through this you see the influence of recent immigration, religion, popular culture. Sometimes, it's just people who are admired."

The Social Security Administration started compiling name lists in 1997. The agency offers lists of baby names dating to 1880.

New girl names in the top 1,000 included Isla (623), Mareli (718), Milagros (731), Dayami (750) and Nylah (821).

Debuting among the boys were Aaden (343), Chace (655), Marley (764) Kash (779) and Kymani (836). Beckham debuted at 893, perhaps a nod to the British soccer star, David Beckham, who now plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

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