2008 is the year to break with tradition when it comes to baby names, says Suelain Moy, author of Names to Grow On. That means if you love Irish names -- but don't have an ounce of Celtic blood in you -- go with Aiden anyway. "Parents are also really starting to play around with language," says Moy, creating Nevaeh" from "Heaven" spelled backward or the funky "Semaj" from the traditional "James," for example. Miss your maiden name? Consider turning a surname, like Addison, Miller, or Carver, into a totally unique first or middle moniker for your kid.
Trend Tip: Road-test an offbeat name by using it to make restaurant reservations.
And here's my trend tip: road test offbeat names by writing them down on a piece of paper, then set that paper on fire and compost the ashes and never ponder a "unique" name again - because tens of thousands of other parents are making the same "unique" choices you are. This is how we got a generation of now-mortified ten-year-old girls named Britney. Still feeling good about that pick, moms?
After you've disposed of the trendy and shallow and the stripper names, go three generations back in your families and find out what names worked for them. If you're lucky enough to have a great-grandparent-to-be still alive, you'll both honor and delight them by using their name (or their spouse's). By way of example, the Noodle is named after her late great-grandmother, who died suddenly shortly before the Noodle was born. And to this day her great-grandfather keeps pictures of his two favorite girls by his bedside and gives them both a kiss before tucking in for the night.