Father-to-Be Creates Online Petition to Settle Baby Name Dispute

Jennifer O'Neill
·Writer
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Nicholas Soukeras is arguing with his wife Kseniya over naming their firstborn son Spyridon. He created an online petition asking the Internet to weigh in on the baby name battle that he tells Yahoo Parenting makes his “blood boil.” (Photo: Nicholas Soukeras)

Some parents-to-be poll their friends and family about what to name their unborn child. Nicholas Soukeras has bigger ideas. He and wife Kseniya Soukeras don’t know the gender of their baby (due in August) but if it’s a boy, the Astoria, N.Y., man is trying to convince her to name him Spyridon, after Nicholas’ father — and he’s asking the Internet to back him up.

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The 37-year-old created a petition titled “Godly Right to Name First-Born Son Spyridon” on ipetitions.com in the hopes of gathering 100,000 endorsements for his chosen moniker. (As of Tuesday, he’s garnered just 2,200 votes.) If he hits his target, Kseniya has agreed to accept the name, even though the one she prefers is Michael, the name of her own father. 

(Photo: Nicholas Soukeras)

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“All the coverage of our story makes it easier to laugh about,” Nicholas tells Yahoo Parenting, referring to the media attention the couple’s debate has received, first in the New York Post on Sunday and in outlets as far away as China. “It’s still a serious issue between us, though. It’s actually a real fight. My blood boils when we discuss it and one of us will usually end up walking out of the room. It’s very juvenile, I know, but it’s my sore spot.” 

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(Photo: Nicholas Soukeras)

They’re not alone. One survey of 3,000 parents from the UK’s Bounty Parenting Club found that a third of couples fought over baby names during pregnancy, and 4 out of 10 fathers were actually “forced to back down” and accept the mother’s pick. 

Kseniya, 33 — who tells the Post “I don’t want to call my son something I can’t even pronounce” — argues that Spyridon is “archaic, base, bereft of elegance and unsuitable for a child living in 21st century America.” (If the couple has a girl, they agree to the name “Elena,” in honor of Kseniya’s mother.)

“It’s a real tradition to name the firstborn son after the grandfather,” protests Nicolas. “I don’t understand why people think it’s such an archaic name. It’s a pretty standard name but the reaction we’re getting is that it’s offbeat.” 

Spyridon (patron saint of Corfu, the second largest of the Ionian Islands in Greece, reveals Nameberry) won’t be noted as out of place in their predominantly Greek neighborhood, he adds. “He’ll have a lot easier time than if we lived in Nebraska. All of our friends and family are Greek. Maybe later in life and business he may come across raised eyebrows but that’s not an issue with the name now.” 

And the assumption that anyone would have an issue with his son’s name is inconsequential to the soon-to-be father. “Why do we have to replace an ethnic name with an Anglo-Saxon name?” he asks. “Americans honestly should make more of an effort to pronounce names not necessarily American sounding.” Spyridon, he insists, “Is part of his heritage and I think, a beautiful name.” Michael is “beautiful too,” he adds, “but every third or fourth guy is named Michael.” 

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(Photo: Nicholas Soukeras)

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