Don’t Steal My Baby Name! Move Along and Choose Another

stealing baby namesDon’t name your daughter Sienna. Just don’t do it, okay? Please?

I’m super territorial over my first daughter’s name. I love that I’ve never met another Sienna in my life besides the one I birthed. My husband and I came up with the idea for it while travelling in Italy. On a day trip to Siena, I mentally added it to my list of favourite names that I’ve been keeping since 1992. (No, really, I found the list that I made when I was 10: 1. Summer. 2. Shannon. 3. Aleah. It’s changed a lot over the years.)

When I was pregnant two years after our Italy trip, Sienna was the one name we both agreed upon. (We slightly Americanized the spelling.) Eli nixed anything in the Top 100, based on the government website that tracks name popularity. In 2011, Sienna sat at 225; in 2012, it fell a little to 241, which pleased me.

The name Rachel was very common when I was growing up—No. 21 in 1982, the year I was born—but it felt even more so. In my first-grade class of about 25 kids, there were three Rachels. We even rhymed: Rachel B. (that’s me), Rachel C. and Rachel T. It sucked.

Last month I saw on (where else?) Facebook that a childhood acquaintance had named her newborn daughter Siena. Mind you, I haven’t spoken to this girl since primary school and we live on different coasts. Hours after the Facebook birth announcement post, my phone rang. My sister, seething. We knew it was irrational and immature and petty, but, God bless her, my little sister was just as pissed off as I was. I received a similar phone call in 2012 from my friend Lindsay. Tori Spelling had just named her son Finn—the name of Lindsay’s then-3-month-old son. “That ho-bag,” Lindsay said. I understood. (That said, I just teared up when I read this blog post Tori wrote on Finn’s first birthday. Her first words to him got me.)

Why does this bug me so much? I guess I worry that the name Sienna is about to become crazy popular, even though the statistics indicate otherwise. What if naming a kid Sienna in 2011 is like naming a kid Isabella in 2004, the year before “Twilight” came out? And so what? My daughter wouldn’t be any less special if other kids were also named Sienna—though she might get her macaroni-art mixed up with the two other Siennas in first grade and never know whom the teacher is calling for.

About those Rachels: Rachel C. posted her congratulations on my Facebook wall after I had my baby in July 2011. She also pointed out a strange coincidence: she had also named her first daughter Sienna.