Boy Names
How I Named My Baby: Koda Florian
How I Named My Baby: Koda Florian
Apr 19, 2024 4:29 AM

  Cinthia, a surgical technologist, and Benjamin Shaver, who works in warehouse maintenance, live in Seattle, Washington with their son, Koda Florian.

  Koda was born on December 8, 2022. Below, we speak with Cinthia about how she and Ben named their little boy.


Tell me Koda’s name story!

I overwhelmed myself with the baby name process. I looked at thousands of names but hated all of them! It got to the point where I wasn’t trying anymore. I told my husband, “You can choose any name for the baby because I can’t do this anymore.”

  One day we were in the car, and I randomly scrolled through the most popular names in the US. I started at 500 and kept going. I read out Koda and Ben said, “That’s the one.”

  We looked into it more. The Brother Bear connection worked out really well because Ben has always been obsessed with bears.

  As far as Koda’s middle name, Florian, I chose it to honor my mom Florina. She’s been through so much in her life and is an inspiration to me. Luckily it also honors my grandma — my dad’s mom — because she has a similar name: Flora.


How did people react to Koda's name?

The hardest part for me is that my family expected us to name Koda after my brother Omar, who passed away a few years ago. I was very close to my brother, but he hated his name! He never went by Omar, only Junior. I didn’t want to give my son a name my brother disliked and never used.

  My family is Mexican and culturally, it’s very common to name a child after their father or someone who’s deceased, but I was very anti both of those things.

  I have heard so many different family members and friends say, “I’m so excited to name my second son.” It’s not exciting to name a firstborn because of the pushback from the family.

  That’s something I felt a lot even with Koda’s name because in Spanish, coda is what you would call a woman who is frugal or cheap. It also sounds similar to codo, which is “elbow”. I got a lot of side-eye about Koda from the very beginning. My mom didn’t want to use his name! My dad called him osito, which means “little bear” for a while.

  I had a heart-to-heart with one of my cousins and she was like, “It’s your kid. You’re the one who’s going through labor. Even if I hated the name, I would never tell you not to give it to your child.” That made it okay for me to choose Koda. I knew I would have the support of at least one person in my family — someone who I respect and love.


What other names did you consider?

I really liked Simon, but Ben hated it. We were also thinking of Finneas and Alphonse. Ben and I went back and forth a lot — I don’t think there ever was a time when we were both on the same page. We didn’t really know what we were looking for!

  If Koda were a girl, he would have been Isla Florencia. It sounds like “island flower”. We had no issue coming up with a girl name! I’m a little heartbroken I didn’t get to use it.


How do you feel about your own name, and how did that influence your choice?

My name is actually misspelled — the nurse filled out the paperwork and my mom didn’t notice that she wrote “Cinthia” rather than “Cynthia”. The only reason my name is spelled differently is because of a nurse’s mistake, which I think is pretty funny. When I was trying to come up with a name for Koda, I knew I wanted to spell it a little differently.

  Whenever I introduce Koda, people try to spell it with a C. Online I see more people use the Koda spelling, but the people around me all seem to think it’s Coda!


What are the trendy names in your social circle?

One of my favorites of the names I’ve been hearing lately is Sawyer. One of my coworkers has a daughter named Sawyer, and I think that’s beautiful. I also heard someone name their child Bruce recently, as well as Vincent.

  A lot of outdoorsy people who hike in the mountains here are naming their kids things like River and Forest. One of my coworkers named her kids after mountains she’s been on — Lucia and Baker.


Did you have any big fears related to baby names?

It’s a lot harder to name a baby when you’re a part of one culture and your significant other is part of a different culture. My husband is American, so I couldn’t just give our baby a name that had a Spanish inflection or anything like that, because his family wouldn’t be able to pronounce it properly. And I didn’t want my husband to struggle saying his son’s name!


What advice would you give someone who’s just starting the baby name process?

Take your time throughout the nine months! I overdid it at the very beginning — I read way too many lists and got overwhelmed to the point where I was fine with just about anything. But I think you should actually feel passionate about what you’re naming your baby.


How do you describe your style outside of baby names?

I’m pretty minimalistic — I don’t wear crazy bright colors or have them in my house. It’s just a pop of color here and there, where I feel like it’s important. I try to keep it pretty neutral, except in the baby’s room, which is Pokémon themed.

  With the nursery, I asked Ben what he would have wanted for his room when he was five and under, and he said Pokémon! So we did up the room with different Pokéballs and have Pokémon all over the place. Luckily, there’s a lot of interest in anime around Seattle, so there’s never a lack of Pokémon plushies that can be bought.


What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in Seattle?

In Seattle, you can get an unlimited zoo membership. You can see all of the exhibits and bring up to four people. It’s nice to get out there and enjoy all the different things they have at the zoo!

  And if the weather is nice, families go outside to the lakes or hikes. With Washington weather, it’s very very dreary a chunk of the time. So parents use good weather as an opportunity to take their kids outside!

  Thank you so much, Cinthia!

  See the entire How I Named My Baby Collection here.


About the Author


Sophie Kihm

LinkSophie Kihm's Personal Website

  Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

  Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

  View all of Sophie Kihm's articlesChevron - Right

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