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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl "Drizzle"

Angie writes:
Our second child, sex unknown, will be joining our family at the end of the month. Big sister is Nora Grace and she just turned two. We are pretty settled on a boy's name, either Henry Isaac or Charles (Charlie) Isaac, but are having some serious trouble coming up with a middle name for a daughter.

We had originally picked out Penelope Jane if this child is a girl, however due to a brand new addition to the family, I am thinking that Penelope (possible nn Nell) is too close to our new niece Elle and have decided to move on. My husband thinks I am crazy, he may be right, but he's humoring me. We have really liked the name Ruth (Ruthie) through this whole pregnancy so we were more than comfortable returning to it. The problem I'm having is with the middle name. We originally decided on Ruth Allison. Then I convinced my husband to agree to Ruth Emilia. I think I am leaning towards a more contemporary name to balance out Ruth. The latest one I like (as of this morning) is Ruth Harper. Selling Harper to the hubs will be a long shot.

Do you think you and your readers could please, please help us come up with a perfect middle name for a baby girl named Ruth? Also, our last name starts with a D (it kind of sounds like "drizzle") so any names starting with I or O are out.

Out of curiosity, am I really crazy for thinking Penelope is too "close" to Elle Marie? Of those I have asked, the consensus is split.

Oh, fun. Let's definitely have a poll about the Penelope/Elle question. In my opinion, it's not too close, even if you were 100% sure you would use the nickname Nell. I suppose I wouldn't name two sisters Elle and Penelope, but cousins should be okay. ...Though if they get along, they'll probably like it and go around calling themselves "Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell! Elle and Nell!..." until you wish you'd gone with Ruth.

So let's discuss Ruth. Any middle name starting with a vowel is going to give you word-initials: RAD, RED, RID, ROD, or RUD. Okay, fine, RUD is not a word, but the other four are.

Different people have different preferences when it comes to the rhythm of a name. For a 1-syllable first name and a 2-syllable surname, I like a 4-syllable middle name with the emphasis on the second syllable (picky much?): Ruth Penelope Drizzle (RPD). Ruth Felicity Drizzle (RFD). Ruth Elizabeth Drizzle (RED). Ruth Amelia Drizzle (RAD) or Ruth Emelia Drizzle (RED). Ruth Cordelia Drizzle (RCD). Ruth Victoria Drizzle (RVD). Ruth Cecelia Drizzle (RCD). Like that.

I also like the sound of 2-syllable middle names with the emphasis on the second syllable: Ruth Nicole Drizzle (RND). Ruth Louise Drizzle (RLD). Ruth Noelle Drizzle (RND). Ruth Simone Drizzle (RSD). Ruth Marie Drizzle (RMD). Like that.

And I also like the sound of 3-syllable middle names with the emphasis on the second syllable: Ruth Clarissa Drizzle (RCD). Ruth Delaney Drizzle (RDD). Ruth Geneva Drizzle (RGD). Ruth Jacinta Drizzle (RJD). Ruth Matilda Drizzle (RMD). Ruth Mckenna Drizzle (RMD).

This is too many options for a reasonable poll, so I'll put the "Is Penelope too close to Elle?" poll over to the right [poll closed; see below], and we can put middle name suggestions/votes for Ruth in the comments section.

Poll results (271 votes total) for "Is Penelope too close to Elle for cousins?":
Yes: 44 votes, roughly 16%
No: 227 votes, roughly 84%

Name update 01-31-2009! Angie writes:
I just wanted to thank you and your readers for all of your great suggestions and helping us with our baby girl names! I did decide to put Penelope back in the hat thanks to your poll and comments, and we decided to wait to see the baby to make up our minds. After all of that, on January 23 at 1:37pm I delivered a 8lb 11 oz baby BOY and we named him Henry Isaac. He is the sweetest thing ever and we and so blessed to welcome him to our family.

Thanks again!


Meg said...

I love Ruth and Penelope! How about Ruth Penelope (lastname)?

Jenni said...

Penelope can also be Penny. I actually like that and I know a two different Penny's and they are great people!

Karen said...

I really like Penelope Jane and I don't think it is too close to Elle. Not by a long shot. More importantly, I think you and your husband really like Penelope Jane.

Ruth Allison and Ruth Emilia are also both nice choices.

I don't think you need to "balance out" Ruth with a more contemporary middle name. Nora Grace, Charles Isaac, Henry Isaac, Penelope Jane, and Ruth Allison are all consistently classic. Contemporary just isn't "you."

If a more contemporary flavour is important to you, maybe you could go for one of the recently popular old-fashioned names, like you did with Nora Grace or Ruth Emilia. Wow, the vowel thing cuts out a lot of possibilities: Olivia, Abigail, Isabella ...

Some other ideas (using Swistle's second syllable stress suggestion):
Ruth Sophia
Ruth Cecilia
Ruth Daniella
Ruth Fiona

Joanne said...

I really love Penelope Jane a lot and no I don't think Nell and Elle are too close, for cousins. I agree that maybe if they were sisters, or twins, or something, it would be a bit much. But maybe not! Anyway. I like Ruth Marie, Ruth Catherine, Ruth Elizabeth, Ruth Cecilia, and Ruth Vivian.

Frazzled Mom said...

Penelope is very lovely. I wouldn't rule it out if I were you. With Penelope you can be creative with nicknames. In addition to Penny, I think you can get away with Poppy or Polly which I both like.

I'll admit, Ruth is not really my style. I love all of the middle name suggestions for Ruth better than Ruth. However I think Penelope Ruth (or Ruth Penelope) might be a great way to get both names in.

My favorite is your original suggestion, Penelope Jane. I encourage you to stick with that. I would probably steer clear of the nickname Nell, though and would use either Penny, Polly or Poppy.

Tracy H said...

Go with Penelope Jane.

Anonymous said...

I'd stick with your original choice of Penelope Jane, it has loads of personality, wheras Ruth is more 'plain'. If you do decide to go with Ruth, what about a variation of your name for a middle name(assuming your name is angela).. perhaps Ruth Angelica or Ruth Angelina or Ruth Evangeline

Linda said...

I like Penelope best, but my MIL's name is Ruth Ellen. I've always thought it went well together.

Anonymous said...

Ruth is such an old, biblical name, that to me, it doesn't fit with a name popular in the 80's (Allison). But that's probably because I grew up with a million Allisons and zero Ruths and just cannot reconcile the two names together.

I like Ruth Ann, Ruth Elizabeth, or Ruth Felicity.

Rebecca said...

I don't like Penelope as much as Ruthie (Ruth). I like Ruth Noelle best, or Ruth Emelia.

Anonymous said...

I am loving Penelope, especially because of the character on Lost :) No, seriously, seeing an actual character being called Penelope, or Pen for a nn, with a real personality, really made the name come alive for me.

I love the nn's Poppy and Polly, and Penny is such a cute throwback to the 1930's, I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Allie Maloney said...

Well, I"m an Allison Ruth, and I'm a fan of my name. I'm also a word initial girl: ARM (and I love it), so RAD appeals to me as well. Penelope is lovely, Penny Polly and Nell are all great and give lots of choices when the young 'un grows up and wants to declare her own identity in a loveable angsty teenage way.

Anonymous said...

I like Penelope (nn Nelly sounds fun and feisty). Nora and Penelope works better than Nora and Ruth, I think. Nora, Penelope and Henry (should there be three). Good one.

Kristen said...

I truly LOVE Penelope Ruth. I also like Ruth Penelope. I think that Penny or Nelly is cute and not close to Elle.

Jan said...

In contrast to the above poster, I think that a short name like Ruth fits with Nora better than a longer name like Penelope. Also, I like that it is less trendy than Penelope.

I agree with those who think that Ruth Allison seems to be putting together two disparate naming styles. Nora Grace is so classic and elegant. I like your idea of Ruth Harper. Out of Swistle's suggestions I like Ruth Louise. May I also suggest Ruth Justine, Ruth Pauline, or Ruth Susanna?

Carolyn said...

I don't think that Penelope is too similar in a way that looks bad, but I think you may find people calling them the wrong name. My cousins have names that almost rhyme and we were always having trouble, even though we of course knew their names.
A girl in my daughter's class is named Ruth, called Ruthie, and I love it.

Hannah said...

I'd stick with Penelope Jane. It's not too close, IMO, and I think it's so much prettier than Ruth. (Plus, it has more nickname options - Penny, Nell, Nellie, etc.)

KMW said...

I'll echo those who love Penelope Jane and don't think it's too close to Elle. Also Nora and Nell?? Way cute!

But if you go with Ruth, I like Ruth Penelope, Ruth Louisa, Ruth Elizabeth, and Ruth Alice.

Great name choices. I LOVE Nora Grace and Henry/Charles Isaac.

Bethtastic said...

I really like Nora and Ruth together. And, I really like the middle name Anne(e) with Ruth.

Nora Grace and Ruth Ann. I like those.

I also like fun initials - RAD. Love it.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Penelope Jane sounds NOTHING like Elle Marie. The "nel" bit in the long form of Penelope hardly lends itself to rhyming with her cousin.

So, I say you go with Penelope Jane; and when you first introduce your baby, no one is going to hear "Elle" in that name, they are going to hear "Penelope".

Then you nickname however you want. Cousins aren't in the same house, and if you need to revert to long-form Penelope during holiday events or anything, you absolutely have that option.

Nell and Nellie are cute nicknames. Just go for it, choose the name you love. It's a separate name from "Elle" for sure, and people will remember that you named your daughter her full, non-rhyming name before caring that her nickname rhymes with their daughter. :-)

Reneva said...

I don't think Penelope is too close to Elle, but I really like Ruth Emilia. I think it sounds classic and beautiful.

Rachel said...

I never really thought of Nell being a nickname for Penelope before. Now I wonder if Nell Carter was really Penelope Carter!

If it was me, I'd name her Penelope and then call her Penelope, it is a pretty & somewhat unusual name where as Nell is sort of plain.

I do think that Nell and Elle are pretty close sounding but they are only cousins so unless they are constantly together or might be in the same class at school I can't imagine it would be an issue. She might eventually have an Elle or a Belle in her class and I am sure you wouldn't want to change her nickname then and she'd be around a classmate more than cousin, presumably.

Lara Jane said...

I feel like, if you're naming her Penelope, you almost must call her by a nickname so as not to sound so discordant with Nora. Nora & Nell sound super cute together! BUT... too cute? Maybe Polly or Penny would be better, as some have suggested.

On the other hand, Nora and Ruth! Wow! Precious! I love those names together!

I have an almost-9-year old Henry. Talk about a rad name! :)

bellaf said...

I find Ruth a little too stern. My own name is also on the stern side and I hated it as a child. It made me feel old and drab.

Penelope is fun. Nell and Elle are indeed very similar, but there are lots of other nickname options for Penelope. I would go for it.

Heather S. said...

I LOVE Penelope! I don't think Nell and Elle are too close for cousins!! I also love Penelope Ruth!! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter named Penelope, who is mostly called Penny, among other nicknames (never Nell though). She has a cousin named Ella (often just called "Elle"), and it's never gotten confusing - though they are 3+ years apart. The irony for us is that our son, who was born before both girls mentioned above, if he had been a girl, would have been named Eleanor, and would have been nicknamed "Ella". I doubt we would have used Penelope with Eleanor (Ella), and I'm sure we would not have a niece named Ella.

Anonymous said...

My 2 year old is named Ruth Marie. The name may sound stern/old-fashioned in theory, but it becomes less so when attached to a joyful young toddler!

Good luck to you.