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What to Expect When You Give Your Kid a Weird Name

Photograph by Instagram

Actress Gabrielle Union recently announced that she and her NBA superstar husband, Dwyane Wade, had become parents to a baby girl via surrogacy. A few days later, she surprised the world again by announcing, in a sweet Instagram post, the name of her baby girl. That name? Kaavia James.


Just greazzzy and happy. That is all. @kaaviajames pronounced Kah-Vee-Uh James. She has 102 nicknames including but not limited to Kaav, Kaavi, Kaavi Baby, Kaavi J, Jamie, KJ, Nugget, Nug, Pooters. We wanted to include my family in her name so the "James" is from my uncle James Francis Glass who is also my godfather. Union is her middle name. I've waited this long so fo sho I was gonna get in there 🤷🏾‍♀️👶🏾☺

As Union became a mom, she also joined the "weird baby name" club, whose members include celebrity and non-celebrity moms alike. Union’s daughter’s name is so obscure she posted a tutorial on how to pronounce her baby’s name. And even though she educated the world on how to pronounce her daughter’s name, nothing will prepare her for all the comments, feedback and criticism she’ll receive for choosing a name only a mother could love (or so some may say).

I know this because I’m also a member of that club. When I named my son Balthazar, I hadn’t intended to give him a crazy name. My husband and I just liked the name. Personally, I reserve commentary on other parents' choices, like what to name their child, but when I gave my kid a unique baby name, I quickly learned I was in the minority. I realized that if you choose to give your child a name that isn’t common, you’re in for a lot of unwanted commentary.

So, if you’re thinking of naming your child Jicama, Camry, Kaavia or Balthazar, here are a few comments you should expect to hear.

Is that a family name?

Basically, expect friends to look for any reason to explain your madness. They’ll hope it’s a family name and be disappointed when you say it’s not.

How do you spell that?

Anyone that asks will have the same look on their face as if they smelled something bad and they won’t really want to know how your child’s name is spelled.

What language is that?

Your child’s strange name couldn’t possibly be English.

Are you worried your child will get teased?

Every kid will have something they get teased about. Your child’s name may be their thing. Then again, it may not.

You should give your child a simple middle name so they can use that instead of their first name.

You’ll get lots of helpful advice you didn’t ask for. Thanks for the tip, but we’re good.

Will the other kids be able to pronounce it?

Since half the kids in preschool have a lisp, stutter or speech delay, there’s a chance kids couldn't pronounce the simplest name, so why worry about it?

She can change it when she’s older.

Friends will assume that because they hate your child’s name, your child will too. Chances are, your kid will love their unique name. Mine does.

Congrats to the blissed-out new parents. Don't let the haters get you down!

Image via Instagram/Gabrielle Union

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