Where is ‘Sandy’ on the list of most popular baby names?

Between Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook school shootings, most parents likely would show more taste than to name any child the unisex Sandy this coming year.

Still, parents have done worse things.

babyhashtagTake baby Hashtag, please. Possibly the most retweeted newborn name of the year (parents, how could you?), I’m hoping her middle name is not Sandy. The Twitterverse has seen enough Hashtag Sandys to last a lifetime.

The BabyCenter, which polls parents worldwide and tracks baby name trends, shows in its new list that Sandy doesn’t even make its top 100 list — for either girl or boy. Worldwide in 2012, it ranked at No. 2,020 for girls, and peaked in the U.S. at No. 126 in 1960. Other girl names of color — Amber, Blanche, Ebony, Ginger, Hazel, Rose and Violet — have typically out-ranked it. For boys, Sandy is more clearly a vintage name; it peaked in 1886 at No. 329 in the U.S., and ranked at No. 3,137 worldwide in 2012.

For the full list of the 100 top names of 2012, click here.

The baby-naming site Nameberry notes that “Sandy” rarely stands on its own; rather, it’s a diminutive for Sandra or Alexander/Alexandra/Alessandra. The site offers various alternative spellings: Sandee, Sandi, Sandie, Sandye, Sanndi.

(Personal note: Our youngest’s daughter’s name is Cassandra, but we never considered nicknaming her Sandy. We nearly named our older daughter Alexandra instead of Micaela, in fact — how odd it would have been if both girls could have had the nickname “Sandy.” Neither Cassandra nor Micaela made this year’s top 100, although cousin-form Makayla comes in at No. 45, and Sydney, our granddaughter born in January 2012, ranks at No. 67. “Maya” — Spanish for “May” but which was associated with a near-disaster this month — placed at No. 48.)

grease_sandy_1If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t stop singing Sandy from Grease! during coverage of the devastation from the so-called Frankenstorm. That created definite dissonance, although there was something frighteningly bipolar about that sweet-turned-siren Olivia Newton-John character.

Some people do indeed name their children after hurricanes — especially if they were hunkered down during one and gave birth roughly nine months later.

In today’s popular culture, many younger people think of Sandy as the squirrel friend of SpongeBob Squarepants — out of her element but in full protective gear to survive underwater. I knew a male Sandy as a kid. He was one of fraternal twins. He drowned in our neighborhood swimming pool when we were 10.

Avielle Richman, 6, was one of 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This Richman family photo was provided to the Associated Press

Avielle Richman, 6, was one of 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This Richman family photo was provided to the Associated Press.

Some baby-naming trend watchers are predicting that the names of the fallen children in the Sandy Hook massacre may rise in popularity in 2013 — such unusual names as Avielle, in tribute to 6-year-old Avielle Richman.

Ironically, “Sandy,” of Greek origin, means “protector” or “defender of men.”

Unhappy old year, everyone.

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