We've gotten a lot of questions about Callum's name. We know it's not the most common name in the US, and that a lot of people here haven't heard of it. But the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, so that's nice. And who knows? Maybe people hate it and just aren't telling us. But that's fine. It's his name, and I have no need to know if people dislike it. That's the whole point of not sharing the name until the baby is actually born.
Edited to add: His name is pronounced CAL-um. Same Cal sound as Calvin, or calorie. Just for those who were wondering! (Though the automated appointment reminder we got from the children's hospital for our lactation consultation a couple weeks ago pronounced it kah-LOOM, which was a new one.)
We picked the name by process of elimination, really. There wasn't a lightning bolt moment for us. It wasn't that we hit upon the name and knew instantly that it was THE name. It was a contender for a long time, but there were other contenders too, and nothing that was far outpacing the others.
But it was one of the only names that neither of us vetoed. One of the only names that stuck as we kept thinking about it. And when we finally decided at 30-something weeks that it was the name we were going to use, we both felt really good about it. And now that he's here, I LOVE his name. It's such a great name. And it suits him so perfectly. I love the way it sounds, the way it fits with our last name, the feeling it conveys. Everything about it is exactly right.
Our naming philosophy was basically this: there is no name that everyone will like, so let's pick something that we ourselves like. We wanted something that was at least two syllables to balance out our shorter last name. We wanted something that had nickname potential. We wanted something that sounded pleasing. We wanted something that worked on a baby or an adult. We wanted something that was a real name, not made up, but had a fresh sound to it. We wanted something that would work in both English and German.
Callum is actually a Scottish name. It is relatively uncommon in the US, but it's very popular in the UK. According to the UK government's name statistics website, Callum was the 28th most popular boy name in the UK in 2009. And in the '90s, it was even more popular in the UK: number 8 for boys overall in 1998.
In the US, on the other hand, Callum was the 864th most popular boy name in 2009. It was number 967 in 2008, and never in the top 1,000 boy names before that. So it still has a ways to go. But its popularity is definitely climbing. In fact, if you look at the Social Security Administration's non-top 1,000 forms (which I found via Swistle), which lists every name that was given to at least five babies in a given year, you can trace it back to 1983 in the US. Based on that data, I made a little chart in Excel to show how the name has changed in popularity in the US from 1983, when five babies were named Callum, to 2009, when 239 babies were named Callum.
So you can see that his name is on its way up. We don't expect it to rise quite as fast or as far as Isabella, for example, which hit the top 1,000 in the US for the first time in 1990 as number 895 and shot all the way up to number 1 less than 20 years later, in 2009. But we do expect it to become more popular, and therefore we also expect that people will become more familiar with it over time.
So hopefully he won't spend his life having people ask how to spell his name when he introduces himself. But if he does, so be it. Torsten has that issue and it doesn't bother him at all. But if it bothers Callum, he can introduce himself as Cal and be done with it. That's what's nice about a name with nickname options.
Also, you'll notice one criterion that was not on our list: meaning. In general I couldn't care less about name meanings. It seems they all mean something like "light" or "gift from god" or whatever, and I just don't care about that. But somewhere along the way I discovered that Callum means "dove," and I just LOVE that meaning. I think it is beautiful and unusual and perfect.
Just like him. And his name.
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