"My kid will be one of five with the same name when he starts school. Here's why I’m worried."

Naming kids is a huge deal. You spend months poring over name books, and searching for inspiration literally everywhere, in the hopes of choosing a name that meets all the criteria: looks and sounds great, nice meaning, goes well with surname, and not too common.

We liked names that were classic, legitimate names (read: not recently made up), and not something you hear every day. Of course, it’s near impossible to predict whether a name is about to take off and become really popular. I still thank my lucky stars our first child was a girl, because she would have been a now-super-common Oliver if she had been a boy.

We managed to nail the name selection with our first two, who are the only Daisy and Alfie at their school, but we ran out of luck with our third kid.

Kelly James dinner time
Image supplied.

Teddy starts school next year, and will be one of five Teddy’s at the school. There are already two there, and he’s one of three starting prep next year. In a school of around 200 pupils, this means literally like, 2.5 per cent of the student body will be named Teddy.


I’m worried, not because I care that it’s become popular, because I still think it’s a gorgeous name and I just think the parents of the other Teddys (Teddies?) have great taste, but because this particular scenario keeps playing on my mind.

Do you remember the mortifying scene in the movie Zoolander where the title character stands up as the winner of the Male Model of the Year award, when in fact the winner was his nemesis, Hansel? This is my fear.

Like most primary schools, ours has a weekly assembly where various merit certificates are handed out, and the children walk up on stage to accept them in front of the whole school. I’m worried that my Teddy will hear his name called out and stand up in front of everyone only to find out he was the wrong Teddy.

Could there be a more publicly humiliating experience? I mean, I can feel my cheeks turning red just envisioning the scene. We’ve all done embarrassing things in our lives, and that kind of thing sticks with you, replaying in your mind as you try to fall asleep 25 years after the fact (I… do it a lot). It’s only natural to want to protect your kids from making asses of themselves.

What can we do? His full name is Theodore, but he’s always just been known as Teddy, and I can’t imagine calling him anything else. His middle name is Anthony, so I jokingly suggested we could start calling him Tony, because we’d be pretty safe that he’d be the only one (aged under 50 at least). Our only strategy at this time is to really reinforce what his surname is, and remind him to listen to the full name being called out before reacting, and hopefully not give him some sort of complex.

Did you unknowingly give your child a popular name? How do you deal with it?