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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baby Boy ___ ___ Mc___

Megan writes:
I have been waiting to for this to work itself out but now I am scheduled for a c-section in three weeks (November 24th) and we are still stuck.

I have two boys and this third is a boy also. Our last name is a Mc- My first son is William Wilson (named for his dad and his grandfather and his great grandfather....etc.) and my second son is Thomas Charles. We like classic/traditional/biblical names. We also like the nickname thing (William is often called Will and Thomas is often called Tom).

The first option for little brother is Charles William. This is my dad's name (had I known I was going to have a third boy I might have saved Charles!) and it borrows from both of his big brothers. It also has the nickname thing going (Charles and Charlie). It wraps everything quite neatly and since this is the last child for us we wont have to worry about coming up with another name that also ties in later. My husband's concern is that maybe it is not unique enough (since he will be named after his grandfather and both his brothers) and maybe we would be better off coming up with a different name all his own? There are lots of good boy names out there! (I pointed out to him that it was sort of funny he was worried about this as our oldest son has his exact same name but he was not swayed by this reasoning.) So my first question is: Is this kind of cool or weird?

If we go with a different name then we are considering as a middle name Jesse or Robert, both family names also.

My husband's first choice for a first name is Matthew. I like it but am less crazy about Matt, which of course is what he will be called. It is ok, I just don't LOVE it, as I did the names Thomas and William. Also, I am not sure about what sounds better: Matthew Robert or Matthew Jesse.

Other names I am throwing out there are Peter, Samuel, Andrew ( I really like the name Andrew and I like the nickname Drew better than Andy but is this confusing for a kid when they hit school, when what they are called and their real name don't even start with the same letter?) and Benjamin. I am open to more suggestions!

Well, hm. I see what you mean! On one hand, I like the idea of the kids each having their own names. But as you've pointed out, they all have family names already---and I like THAT, too. In fact, I LOVE family names.

As I think on it, I think what I don't like is when one child is named, say, Kaylie Amelia, and the next child is named Amelia Rianne. That gives me the feeling that the parents had two names they liked, and that the first girl got the first- and second-choice names, and the second girl only got the second-choice name. But what you're doing solves that issue, and the fairness/evenness of it greatly appeals to me.

I think you could say that your third son was named after his grandfathers, but not call it "and after his brothers." You could just be reusing the same family names, if you see what I mean, rather than making it as if the brothers are also his namesakes.

I also think middle names are rarely-seen creatures, and that in your case the round-robin aspect makes it less yours/mine and more ours. The only issue that would still niggle at me would be if each of your first two sons still had one name that was his own, and only your third son shared both names. But your first son shares both names with his father.

In fact, that gives me a new thought. Looking just at the name-sharing situation within your household, your first son is already sharing both of his names with his father. What if you used Charles for your third son, but then gave him a different middle name? Then your first son shares two names with his father, and your second and third sons share one name with each other. That's more fair than your first son sharing two names with his father and one name with his brother, your third son sharing one name with his father and one name each with two brothers, and your second son sharing just one name with one brother.

Yes, that's what I like best. Use your father's name for the first name (it's a great name, and great with the sibling names), and give him his own middle name. I like Charles Robert a LOT, and that keeps all the names family names. You could also do Charles Matthew, which gives you and your husband both your first choices.

I will be very, very interested to hear what everyone else thinks about this. If it were me, I'd name the baby Charles Robert or Charles Matthew, depending on what my husband preferred. But what if it were you guys? Would you use Charles William? Would you not use Charles at all? I'm thinking of this as a question not so much of "Which names do you LIKE best?" but of "What do you think of the naming-after situation?" Freestyle in the comment section, but I'm also putting a poll over to the right [poll closed; see below].

[Poll results (204 votes total):
Name him Charles William: 13 votes, roughly 6%
Name him Charles, but give him his own middle name: 67 votes, roughly 33%
Don't use Charles OR William; make both names different: 124 votes, roughly 61%]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby Naming Issue: Disappointed in a Family Member's Name Choice

Robin writes:
Oh Swistle, help!

My sister and I are both a little perturbed at the name my brother and sister-in-law have chosen for their first boy. They have a little girl already, named Cora Evelyn, which I *LOVE*. Cora is a family name (paternal great-grandmother), and I think Evelyn is just so beautiful. The name they have chosen for their boy is Kevin Christopher. Nice, solid name, if a little too much "our generation" for the first name. They are honoring two good friends named Kevin with the first name, and my sister-in-law's brother with the middle name. All good. Our issue lies with the fact that my brother is named after our paternal grandfather, and that he is the only one carrying on our very uncommon family name.

Both my sister and I had really hoped that he would name his first boy after himself/our grandfather (making the boy a trey), or after my father, to carry on the family name tradition. We understand, OF COURSE, that it's not our baby to name, but we both can't help feeling quite disappointed with their name choice. I mean, c'mon, you're naming the baby after a friend, when you have a wonderful father or grandfather that you could honor? Our family is VERY close, and my sister-in-law is estranged from her own father, so I don't see any snubbing issues that could arise from naming the child after a male on our side of the family.

Ok, so not really a baby-naming question. But do you have any suggestions for how to get over our disappointment?

Oh, this is a rough situation, and I loved you dearly for having such a firm grip on what the situation IS: the disappointment in a baby's name.

And yet, your clarification of the issue also makes it tougher for me to answer. If I could lecture you sternly on everyone getting to name their own babies, about family traditions being nice but not obligatory, etc. etc. etc., I'd have a whole post right there. But because you go straight to the heart of the matter and ask how to get over the disappointment, I'm left stammering. I know what you mean! and I don't know what to tell you. And I don't know what I'd do if I were you.

It's nice that you have your sister to vent to about it. The two of you can say, "Oh, it would have been SO PERFECT!" a few times, knowing you can't say it to your brother. After that, I suggest a regimen of every time the subject comes up between you, brushing your hands briskly and saying to each other, "Well. The baby is already named." Then swig back a shot (liquor, melted chocolate, whatever helps) and say, "To Kevin!" Repeat until the disappointment is numbed.

Pretty useless advice, I realize. Perhaps some of us have had experience with this situation and can chime in. What DO you do? What DO you do, if you're disappointed by the chosen name? How do you, as Robin puts her finger right on it, "get over the disappointment"?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Renee

Gina writes:
I came across this today and am dying to see your suggestions. I'm due in mid-November with my second baby, the sex is unknown. We have one daughter named Renee Rose and we are struggling with coming up with boy or girl names this time.

Girls: We both like Camille, Jocelyn, Josephine, Katherine (Kate), Jane and Erin. I like Lynea and Lyra but he doesn't like any of them. I would like another feminine name like Renee if it is a girl and he hates harsh sounding names like Beth.

Boys: We both like Cameron, Sean, Ryan and sort of Liam but I don't really want two R names (Renee and Ryan). I like Kaleb and Julian and he hates them both. We both are drawn to the classic names like Peter, Paul and Mark but like ALL of them and not ONE of them.

I don't want anything that isn't obviously a name or anything that ends in the EEEE sound because of our last name. No places and no odd, made-up names that no one has ever heard of. Other than that, I'm fairly open (haha)!

From your girl name list, I like Camille best: Renee and Camille both have a French sound, so I like the way they go together. Renee and Jocelyn, Renee and Erin---I like those too. I'll add:

Elise; Renee and Elise
Noelle; Renee and Noelle
Celeste; Renee and Celeste
Corinne; Renee and Corinne
Nicole; Renee and Nicole

From your boy name list, my favorite is Sean. I'll add:

Dean; Renee and Dean
Joseph; Renee and Joseph
Benjamin; Renee and Benjamin
Nathaniel; Renee and Nathaniel
Nicholas; Renee and Nicholas
Stephen; Renee and Stephen

Let's make one giant poll with all the girl and boy choices. Please choose one girl name AND one boy name. [Poll closed; see below]

[Poll Results:

Girl names (243 votes total):
Camille: 92 votes, roughly 38% of girl name vote
Jocelyn: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Josephine: 10 votes, roughly 4%
Katherine (Kate): 14 votes, roughly 6%
Jane: 3 votes, roughly 1%
Erin: 10 votes, roughly 4%
Elise: 25 votes, roughly 10%
Noelle: 21 votes, roughly 9%
Celeste: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Corinne: 28 votes, roughly 12%
Nicole: 10 votes, roughly 4%

Boy names (235 votes total):
Sean: 35 votes, roughly 15%
Cameron: 24 votes, roughly 10%
Ryan: 6 votes, roughly 3%
Liam: 34 votes, roughly 14%
Dean: 12 votes, roughly 5%
Joseph: 15 votes, roughly 6%
Benjamin: 22 votes, roughly 9%
Nathaniel: 32 votes, roughly 14%
Nicholas: 38 votes, roughly 16%
Stephen: 17 votes, roughly 7%]

[Update! 11-21-2008 Gina writes:
thanks so much! a little boy, cameron paul was born on 11/13. it was so fun to see what people voted for! thanks!]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Middle Name Challenge: Baby Girl Audrey ___ B.

I've been emailing back and forth with a blogger who's expecting in November, and we want to post her question here without compromising anonymity or blowing the surprise on her own blog. So here's the basic question, boiled down to the bare essentials: What's a good middle name for Audrey?

The surname is two syllables starting with B.

The parents like:
  • less-common names
  • traditional spellings for names
  • older names (Eleanor, Pearl, Beatrix)
  • movie names
  • British/Irish names

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Naming Issue: In-Law Influence

My mother-in-law has been visiting for the last 10 days, 4 hours, and 49 minutes, so I have been short on posting time. But a question occurred to me just now, and so I've crept away for a minute to ask you: How much input/influence did the in-laws have (or TRY to have) on your baby name choices?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Name Update!

Update to Baby Girl, Sister to Harley Jane! Claire writes:
Thanks to everyone for the help and all the great suggestions! We were really torn between Emerson and Merrit (although the hubby kept trying for Kennedy!).

However, we are pleased to announce that Emerson Diane was born on Friday, October 3! Mother and baby are both doing extremely well. We love her name and love her even more! Thank you!

Name Update!

Update to Baby Girl, Sister to Abigail! Melissa writes:
Thanks to everyone for input on daughter #2's name. Caroline Amelia was born on October 3rd, healthy and gorgeous, and her name suits her perfectly! The middle name was up in the air until the last minute, but Amelia finally won out over Elizabeth. Her big sister is very proud of "her baby Caroline" and so are we! Thanks again!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Boy Bewick

Jennifer writes:
Everyone I know seems to struggle with baby names, despite reading books and scouring websites. I'm no different. We're expecting our second child, a boy, in November. Our 20 month old daughter is named Madeleine Lise. Lise is my mom's name and she's French Canadian. We always loved the name Madeleine but when we found out that the name was becoming common we decided to ditch it. We spent months arguing over other names until finally coming back to what we originally adored. Our Madeleine is everything to us and she couldn't have been named anything else.

We have a few names that we like for our son. At the top of the list is Owen. My husband wants to be done with that - he thinks it's perfect. I like the name but I'm not sure it's IT. I really like Hayden, but my husband isn't sold. I also like Emmett, which my husband does like but not as much as Owen. The names that appeal to me for girls are all traditional - Amelia, Charlotte, Lily, Jocelyn... you get my drift. For boys, I'm into masculine names - Kyle, Mason, Evan, Eamon and obviously the above mentioned. I'd love to hear what you suggest. We're going with Charles for the middle name, after my father-in-law. Our last name isn't tough but it does have that strong "u" sound, so the first name may be better with two syllables. I'm not into Michael, David, John, James, etc., mostly because my name is Jennifer and I grew up with at least 5 Jennifer's in every class, and at least a couple Mike's, Dave's, John' know, all those names from the 70's that haven't gone anywhere. My husband doesn't like names that sound too preppy - Brody, Gavin (which I like), Cooper. He could be happy with a plain name like Michael (no offense to anyone with a Michael - just not my cup of tea).

I think the list you've come up with is good, and that Owen Charles Bewick is a wonderful name. And so I'm turning this one over to the readers: What would you choose? What would you add to the list of choices?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Naming Etiquette: Is It Okay to Use the Middle Name?

Christina writes:
I have 3 girls, and our "baby" is about to turn 1 year old!! Her name is Amelia Joy, but for various reasons we have been calling her by her middle name "Joy", since about 4 weeks of life. We don't call either of our other 2 girls by their middle names, and with 3 girls I'm wondering how much sibling rivalry it will cause when girl #3 grows up only to realize we have been calling her by her middle name all this time!! Amelia is a perfectly beautiful name, but our sweet pea is always so happy these days, Joy just seems to fit! Further to add to the confusion, she is beginning to walk and talk and ANSWERS only to Joy. So my question is at what point do we settle on a name?? Is it quite normal for a child to be fully called by their nickname, even though they have a beautiful given name? Could we call her "Amelia Joy" or do I really need to settle on one or the other??

In my opinion, it is okay to do this any way that feels right to you: call her Joy, call her Amelia, call her Amelia Joy, call her a combination---you're right no matter what. Both "Amelia" and "Joy" belong to her, and it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would cause sibling problems.

I'm interested to hear what other people think. Is it a problem to use a middle name, if the middle name fits the child better? Is it a problem to sometimes use the first name and sometimes use the middle? Is it important to choose just one?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Baby Girl Hutchins

Bella writes:

I need a baby name & I have NO ideas.

We just found out that this kiddo is a (sqeeeeeeeeeee) GIRL! Yeah!

The downside ~ I used my bestest girl name for the first baby girl almost 2 years ago & now the creative well is dry.

The problem is that I want a girly name that has a boy-ish nickname and I would like to make a cute monogram. But I'm not picky at all.

Since I know you won't post my identity or my blog on your site ~ my daughter's real name is Samantha Elysabeth (lets say) Hutchins. Her nickname is Sammi & she has sHe for a monogram (very cute on baby bags!) I want something equally cute for my second kiddo (cHa, aHh, aHa ... etc) We're southerners, monograms are put on everything & I love cute ones! I like the boyish nickname theme & that's the more important of the two to keep.

Elysabeth is 1/2 my middle name (Elyssa) and 1/2 my cousin's name (Elizabeth). I don't have any family preferences to use this time, my SIL with 5 kids used all the good ones already!

I have no clue what to use as names & my blog has managed to stay fairly anonymous so far & I would like to keep it that way ~ so I can't ask for help over there!

Any help is appreciated ... we're tapped out over here!

The first name that pops into my head is Alexandra. It's a long girly name like Samantha, with a short boyish nickname like Sam (Alex or Al), and it gives you the start of the monogram "aH", so you can have aHa or aHh if we think of an A/H middle name. I'm finding A-names easier to come up with than H-names: Alexandra Amelia Hutchins. Alexandra Abigail Hutchins. Alexandra Alyssabeth Hutchins.

Another one I like in this category is Cassandra, shortened to Cass. Cass isn't as boyish as Sam or Alex, but it's sassy. Samantha and Cassandra are nice together, and so are Sam and Cass, and I think Cassandra Hutchins sounds great. You mention cHa on your list of cute monograms, and so we'd just need an A middle name.

Another C name is Christianna, shortened to Chris. Samantha and Christianna. Sam and Chris. Christianna Hutchins.

Josephine shortened to Jo would probably be my own first choice. Samantha and Josephine. Sam and Jo is DARLING. But---monogram trouble. We've got "jH" and that doesn't go anywhere. Doing a J middle name would look cute, but it wouldn't spell anything: jHj. An O middle name would give you jHo, which could be pronounced "joe" like her nickname. kind of gives you "Ho," which we may wish to avoid, and it's reminiscent of JLo.

Francesca shortened to Frank or Frankie would be cute. Samantha and Francesca. Sam and Frankie. Francesca Hutchins. But again: monogram problems.

Or, perhaps we could do Stephanie shortened to Stevie, with an E middle name to give you the same monogram. Stephanie Elise Hutchins. Samantha and Stephanie. Sam and Stevie.

Let's take a vote (poll is over to the right) [poll closed; see below], but I'm also hoping the rest of you have more suggestions.

[Poll results (231 votes total):
Alexandra (Al, Alex): 83 votes, roughly 36%
Cassandra (Cass): 49 votes, roughly 21%
Christianna (Chris): 3 votes, roughly 1%
Josephine (Jo): 59 votes, roughly 26%
Francesca (Frank, Frankie): 37 votes, roughly 16%]

Name Update!

Update to Baby Girl Foster! 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?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Baby Naming Issue: Name Meanings

R writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first child November 2nd. We don't know yet if it will be a boy or a girl, but we have names picked out. We recently looked up the girl name in one of those baby name books, and it essentially means unlucky girl. This doesn't bother me because I think name definitions are kind of silly, but it does bother my husband. What do you think? Does the definition of a name matter?

Hm. This is tricky. But overall, I'm with you on this and think it doesn't much matter.

For one thing, many definitions aren't "real," per se. That is, some names don't actually mean anything; someone at some point just made up a definition for it. Many names appearing in the Bible have meanings based on Biblical stories---but what did the names mean before the Bible stories? Other names come from another language and do in fact mean their meanings---but only in that other language. Other names are words from our own language and come with the meanings of that word: Grace, Patience, Peace, Ireland, Ivy, Rose, Hunter, Mason, Tanner, Archer, Piper, Ruby. Chastity. Moon Unit.

Different baby name resources can list completely different meanings: one of my books says the name Hannah means "he has favored me," and another says it means "gracious." We've had the issue raised a couple of times on this blog that Hannah is "the same name" as Grace, because it means gracious. I don't think sharing similar meanings (if they even DO share a meaning) makes two names "the same name," but plenty of people do.

I remember in elementary school standing around looking up the meanings of our names---but I was the one who brought in the baby name book, and almost no one in the class knew their meaning already. And even being a huge baby-name fan, I don't know the meanings of my kids' names without looking them up.

The names Mary and Maria and Miriam all mean "bitter," but there are nevertheless hundreds of thousands of Marys/Marias/Miriams. Elizabeth means "pledged to God," but it doesn't mean she has to be given up to the local nunnery. Delia means "born on the island of Delos," but she doesn't have to be. The name Dawson means "son of David," but his daddy's name doesn't actually need to be David. The name Melissa means "bee," but she needn't buzz or make honey.

In fact, sometimes with things like this, I like to ask myself the question bluntly: "Do I believe that using a name that means 'unlucky girl' will have an actual effect on my daughter's actual luckiness?" And in my case, I answer that question no. In my opinion, baby name meanings are only for fun. If I found a name I loved and it meant something negative, I don't think it would bother me. ...Much. I guess I wouldn't use a name that meant something like "unwanted child" or whatever, but that would be because I wouldn't want my child to wonder about it.

But we're all likely to be at different points on the spectrum on this issue: some of you will agree with me; some of you will go even further ("Names have meanings?"); some of you will be way at the other end, choosing the meaning before you choose the name; and most of you will be somewhere in between. Where are you on the spectrum?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Baby Boy Walker

Cindy writes:
I ran across your website a few months ago, while doing yet another internet search for baby naming philosophies, and have become a little bit addicted, I must admit! I wasn't planning on writing in myself, because I thought that my husband and I had pretty much settled on a name for our first child, a son due at the end of October. But as the date gets closer, I am starting to panic a little bit that the name we picked may not "fit" once the baby is born, and that we might need a backup. I thought maybe the Swistle team might be able to help!

Our last name is Walker. We both love the name Finn (despite it's rising popularity) and have two choices for middle names - Michael or Ryan, my father's first & last name. Right now, the name we are semi-settled on is Finn Michael Walker. Which I really do love. However, on Finn, I get caught up in two areas:

1) I rather like the idea of names that are longer but can be shortened into a nickname. I think it gives the child options as they get older, plus I just think that plain "Finn" is a little too curt. In this instance, the only long version of Finn I really like is Finnian. My husband is not so sure if having the longer name is necessary. Thoughts?

2) The meaning of "Finn" is "fair" (as in light skinned or fair haired). While both my husband and I are pale skinned, and he is very fair - reddish blonde hair w/blue eyes & lots of freckles, my family is a bit darker in the genetic background - my mom is French & Porteguese and my whole immediate family has red/brown hair (me) to dark brown hair. So there is a chance this kid is going to show up and not be fair haired at all.

This is where the backup plan comes in. Here are some of the "rules" we've kept in mind picking out a name, and I would love your help in coming up with another option in case he arrives and is just not a Finn.

1) Our last name (Walker) is extremely common, so we are trying to pick a name that is not completely bizarre, but also not too common (James, Michael, Peter, etc.) so that he doesn't have to share his name with a bunch of other folks out there.

2) We are partial to names of Irish descent, and while the meanings aren't dealbreakers, I try to stay away from ones that mean something dark or ominous (for instance, I liked Cillian until I found out it meant "war.")

3) The "er" at the end of our name sort of precludes us from using any first names that end in "er"

4) Must work with middle name of either "Michael" or "Ryan."

Thanks in advance for your help!

I think it's normal to panic a little about the chosen name as the due date approaches---or at least, I always do. If you both love the name Finn, I think you should use it.

One of my children has a one-syllable name, and what I've found is that we naturally lengthen it in other ways: for example, if we'd had a baby named Finn, we would have called him Baby Finn, Finny-Finny-Finn-Mo-Finn, Finneroo, Sweetie-Finn, Finn-a-linn, Finn Michael, Finley, Finnsums, etc. And now that we're used to it, we also use it on its own and it no longer seems "too short" to me as I'd feared it would. (People do occasionally assume it's short for something, but not often.)

I think it's okay that the meaning is "fair" and the baby might not in fact be blond. I don't know what the name's original meaning had in mind, but the word "fair" can also mean good-looking ("Monday's child is fair of face"), or light-skinned (without being light-haired), or smooth-skinned. Or, of course, and this is REALLY stretching it, it can refer to justice, or to moderation. Or, um, to a carnival.

So in short, I think you should stick with what you've got. Finn Michael Walker is a terrific name and you both love it---what could be better?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Name Update!

Update to Bursing With Naming Issues. Katie writes:
We named him Andrew afterall. Andrew Wesley. Thanks to all your readers who assured me it wouldn't be weird to be named after the place your parents met. And sure enough, my perception of the name has changed favorably to my sweet newborn and not the snotty kid down the street! Thanks Swistle fans!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Two Name Updates

Update to Orenstein Twins! Hannah writes:
Thank you to all your readers for your help! Rosabel Olivia Orenstein and Eleanor Veronica Orenstein were born on October 2, 2008. They're both healthy, beautiful girls and their names suit them perfectly!

Update to Baby Boy, Brother to Alexandra! Britta writes:
We went with your advice and welcomed Luke Timothy into our family on October 1. Big Sister Alexandra is learning to say "Luke."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Baby Girl Schiff

Jess writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first baby, a girl, on October 9th, so time is running out to find this kid the perfect name.

Well, actually, we need to find the 2nd most perfect name. I already have a girl's name that I just love and adore beyond all reason but I can't use it, and it's all my husbands fault!

It's not that he hates my perfect name, oh no, he actually likes it a lot. It's just that his perfect girl's name, which he's had in mind for his future daughter since he was a little kid, is Summer... &, well, I get ragey feelings of HATE whenever I hear it. Now don't get me wrong, Summer is a perfectly nice name... for someone else's daughter. Everything about it just rubs me the wrong way (I'm sure the fact that I knew a Summer back in grad school who was horrible, mean and really gross doesn't help). But hubby was relentless & fought so hard for and was so upset by my rejection of his dream name, that eventually I agreed that we could use Summer as a (never used) middle name. This concession came about before I stumbled upon the name at the top of my list, however. And that name? Arabella. I love it. The flow, the sound, the fact that it's unusual yet familiar at the same time...everything about it is fantastic.

And like I said, even hubby likes it! BUT! He will not give up on using Summer as her middle name. And this is bad because our last name is Schiff. If we give our daughter the name Arabella Summer, her initials will be ASS! And I just cannot do that to my baby.

It's been suggested that we use Summer Arabella, and just always call her by her middle name but...& this might be totally irrational, but I hate the name Summer so much that even the thought of using it as her first name (even if we never call her by it, you know that someone will use it eventually) makes me sick to my stomach.

So! Do you know of any names (besides Isabella, because that's just way to popular right now & we'd like to stay away from names in the top 50-100 if possible) that has a similar style to the name I love so much, but won't give us horrible initials when paired with Summer? Something unique-ish but still familiar sounding, & girly is good. But really, I'm open to all suggestions! There must be another name out there just waiting for us to fall in love with it.

So you see, we really need your help!

Oh, dear. This IS a pickle. I think you're right not to go the "Summer Arabella but never call her Summer" route. It's tricky to pull it off, it leads to a lifetime of confusion and corrections, and you'd be giving your daughter a name you hate---which she could START USING. Well, I mean, she could call herself Midnight Thorn, too, but what I'm saying here is that it would be hard to roll your eyes at her for using her own legal first name. Also, I feel defensive of your bargaining position: you've already given up a big piece of territory (the middle name position), and I don't want to see you lose all ground.

In fact, what I'd like to see here is a renegotiation. You hate the name Summer, it makes you sick to your stomach, and you are never going to use it. There is therefore no gain to your husband to get his way on putting the name Summer in the middle name slot, and the resulting loss of the name Arabella is a loss to him as well as to you. It seems like it would make more sense for the two of you to make the first name---the name you are going to USE---a priority. Perhaps you can find...some other way to make it up to him?

So my first solution is to use Arabella and think of a different middle name. Perhaps something from his side of the family, or another name he likes, or perhaps even another name you both agree on and like.

I know, however, how these naming things go, and I realize this may not be a possible solution at this point, so let's find you some more options to consider:

Clarabella Summer Schiff (CSS)
Clarissa Summer Schiff (CSS)
Emmeline Summer Schiff (ESS)
Gabriella Summer Schiff (GSS)
Lissandra Summer Schiff (LSS)
Maribel Summer Schiff (MSS)
Mirabella Summer Schiff (MSS)
Noella Summer Schiff (NSS)
Rosabel Summer Schiff (RSS)

Notice that the name Clarabella is Arabella with a Cl at the beginning. Also, it can be shortened to Clara if the whole thing is a little Much.

Maribel/Mirabella are also "almost Arabella"---but with an M.

Many of the -el/-ella options can be tweaked by making the endings -el or -elle or -ella: for example, Rosabel/Rosabelle/Rosabella, or Clarabel/Clarabelle/Clarabella.

What do you all think? What's best? What are some other options? What would you do if this were you?

Let's put a poll for the names over to the right. [poll closed; see below]

[Poll results (214 votes total):
Arabella (not using Summer): 56 votes, roughly 26%
Clarabella: 27 votes, roughly 13%
Clarissa: 14 votes, roughly 7%
Emmeline: 31 votes, roughly 14%
Gabriella: 25 votes, roughly 12%
Lissandra: 6 votes, roughly 3%
Maribel: 16 votes, roughly 7%
Mirabella: 20 votes, roughly 9%
Noella: 9 votes, roughly 4%
Rosabel: 10 votes, roughly 5%]