I am due in September with our second child, a girl, and my husband and I are having great difficulty choosing a name this time around. We don't have any family name traditions, and have only a few restrictions:
a) I don't want names that people automatically shorten into cutesy nicknames (e.g. Timmy, Tommy, etc.) because then the poor child has to convince the world to call him something else when he becomes an adult. (The same would hold true for a daughter - I just can't think of an example at this moment.) I know that the parents should be able to avoid this with a bit of work, but I know my parents. And his parents. It's just easier to avoid the situation all together.
b) And of course, the initials also shouldn't spell anything crazy. This seems like a fairly standard restriction though.
c) We'd like a name that is not really in the top 20 or so of current names - in order to avoid the situation of 3 kids in one class with the same name.
d) I'm not a huge fan of the current trend of crazy spellings of normal names.
The name we chose for our son was Kieran James. No nicknames, fairly uncommon, not crazy initials. Girls names are harder as there aren't any so far that I really really love. I sort of like Jemma, but my husband does not. And Alexa, although I'm not sure if the 'x' makes the name sound a bit 'hard'.
How about Calla? Or Lyra? And predictably, I have no thoughts on middle names...
I guess the other complicating factor is that our last name is Foster. That makes names that end in 'er' impossible as they just sound ridiculous: Spencer Foster. See? Too funny.
So. Can you help me, O Wise and Wonderful Swistle?
As you know, I love the book The Baby Name Wizard with all my baby-naming heart, and so I do love when it slips onto a problem like a well-worn glove. In this case, not only does the book have entries for both Calla and Lyra, but it puts both names in the same two categories: the "Little Darlings" category (short-and-sweet names) and the "Why Not?" category (for names that are not being used much despite having so much going for them). Let's find some more choices from those two categories:
Ada (Ada Foster; Kieran and Ada)
Britta (Britta Foster; Kieran and Britta)
Eva (Eva Foster; Kieran and Eva)
Lila (Lila Foster; Kieran and Lila)
Elsa (Elsa Foster; Kieran and Elsa)
Geneva (Geneva Foster; Kieran and Geneva)
Jill (Jill Foster; Kieran and Jill)
Joy (Joy Foster; Kieran and Joy)
(It's Eve that's in the Little Darlings list, not Eva, but I think Eva has a better rhythm and fewer Adam jokes.)
The name Kieran has a strong K sound and a strong vowel sound and a strong N sound, and I found a lot of names got tangled with it when I tried to pair them as siblings. Try for example Caris, a name from the Why Not category that I think is great with your surname: Caris Foster. But now put it with Kieran: Kieran and Caris. Or try Kieran and Ellen. Kieran and Kara. Kieran and Kira.
I can't tell if the name Calla is like that or not. Is "Kieran and Calla" lovely and coordinated, or is it tangley? I like the name Calla a lot, and it's terrific with your surname, so we'll include it in the list and let everyone vote on it with the others. Let's also include Lyra--which may or may not have a vowel tangle with Kieran, I can't tell for sure.
Calla (Calla Foster; Kieran and Calla)
Lyra (Lyra Foster; Kieran and Lyra)
That gives us a nice long list. Let's put a poll over to the right and vote on it! What should Kieran Foster's sister be named?
[Poll results (207 votes total):
Ada: 21 votes, roughly 10%
Britta: 16 votes, roughly 8%
Eva: 17 votes, roughly 8%
Lila: 35 votes, roughly 17%
Elsa: 12 votes, roughly 6%
Geneva: 14 votes, roughly 7%
Jill: 15 votes, roughly 7%
Joy: 10 votes, roughly 5%
Calla: 46 votes, roughly 22%
Lyra: 21 votes, roughly 10%]
[Name update 10-10-2008! Carmen writes:
Thank you so much to you and your readers for your advice and suggestions; it certainly gave us more options to talk about. At least as much as I could convince my husband that we needed to STILL TALK about names! I had our little baby girl on Sept 29th and we named her Alexa Lenore. I agreed with your readers and really wanted Calla, but in the end my husband didn't like it as much. Lyra was also nice, although we realized later that we were pronouncing it incorrectly (like Leer-ra, rather than Lie-ra) and only really liked it that way; we didn't want her to spend her life having to tell people how to pronounce her name. So. Alexa it is. Her middle name is the same as mine, as her brother's name is the same as my husband's.
Thank you for posting my question. I'm sorry that we didn't get to use your suggestions in the end, but we're happy with Alexa and it suits her. Although you may have noticed that by using it, we didn't follow our own rules. There IS a cute nickname (Lexi) but neither of us hate it, so we overlooked that fact. Also, her initials are ALF. Presumably by the time she's in school no one will remember that stupid sitcom, right?]