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Friday, January 2, 2009

Baby Girl "Leonardo"

Catherine writes:
Our daughter is due around New Years. We've reached an impasse and need some help.

Some ground rules:
  • Our last name is 4 syllables, lovely, uncommon, starts with an L and is rather commanding; similar to Leonardo. So nothing too long (as much as we love it, no Juliana / Alexandra / etc.). Also, nothing that starts with an L (we liked Lillian / Lauren, but had to leave them out)

  • Nothing too trendy or "weird", and no "creative" spellings. We are looking for simple, elegant names with a little whimsy.

  • Must go with Benjamin Henry -- we would like to use it if we have a boy

Our favorites so far are Julie / Julia and Natalie

We keep coming back to Julie / Julia Elisabeth but can't figure out which to use. We really like Julie (we've used it since we found out it was a girl), and don't like Julia that much. I'm worried Julie will start sounding dated soon, but it's popular in Europe, so maybe? With our last name, Julie hardly sounds boring. Plus Julia, Natalie and Sophie just doesn't work as well as Julie, Natalie and Sophie. We'd like to use those if we have more girls, and I love love love "Ben & Julie". But maybe we could put Julia on the birth certificate but call her Julie, and she could choose to use Julia if she wanted. Would love some input on the status of Julie vs. Julia these days.

Natalie keeps coming up and I must admit it's growing on me a lot. But we can't agree on a middle name that we both love. I love Natalie Frances except for one thing -- the initials (NFL). Football fan I am not, and even if I were I don't think I could go through with it. Can't use Frances for a first (family reasons). I like Natalie Eleanor but my husband prefers Natalie Elisabeth. We just can't agree. See the baby name wizard's comment on Eleanor. So true for us! Natalie Therese works, and we both like it a lot, but, we just don't love it. Other middle names for Natalie?

Would love some input on all this, especially the Julie / Julia issue.

I think that if you like Julie and don't like Julia much, you should use Julie and not use Julia. I think of Julie as its own name, and don't think it needs to be a nickname for another name. The only thing I'm wondering is if the "-lee" ending sounds awkward with the "Lee-" beginning of your surname. Julie Leonardo, for example, would have a juLEE LEEonardo issue, as would Natalie Leonardo. It's a minor issue, though, and not one that would rule out the name for me.

Julie is indeed the 1960s/1970s version of the name, whereas Julia has been the version used more often in recent years. A more modern sounding version would be Jolie, but that name is strongly associated with Angelina Jolie. Pretty name, though, and in fact the name means "pretty."

You say you like the name Lillian; how about Jillian? You could call her Jilly, which is one vowel sound off from Julie. Jillian Leonardo has a pleasing repeating lee sound (because the lee is in the middle of the first name rather than at the end), has a more modern sound than Julie, and I think it's nice with Benjamin: Jillian and Benjamin, Jilly and Ben. I'd go with Jillian Frances, I think, but I also like Jillian Elisabeth.

Let's put the candidates in a poll to the right and see what everyone thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.] After you vote for a first name, come to the comment section to discuss middle name preferences: Elisabeth, Frances, Eleanor, Therese.

Poll results (227 votes total):
Julie: 46 votes, roughly 20%
Julia: 51 votes, roughly 22%
Jillian/Jilly: 106 votes, roughly 47%
Natalie: 24 votes, roughly 11%

Name update 01-03-2009! Catherine writes:
We welcomed Julia Elisabeth (with an -s-) into the world on December 30th. We'll call her Julie or Jules, but she'll have a lovely grownup name to use in the "real world." I also fell in love with the Beatles song "Julia" recently, so that helped. We are happy with our choice. My husband loves the name Elisabeth / Elizabeth, so we went with that (though I won on the -s- vs. -z- issue!). I'm still not crazy about her initials (JEL) but honestly I don't think it's that important. We're really happy with the name, and so far it seems to suit her quite nicely.


Melio said...

I don't think the NFL initials are a problem. Really, how often to initials come into play? Just don't go crazy with the monograms :) I also like Natalie and Jillian.

I sort of like the idea of naming her Julia and calling her Julie. To me, Julie is very young-sounding, and your daughter might reach a point in her life or career where she would prefer something more grown up.

What about Rebecca or Elena or Cara?

And I love the name Benjamin.

Anonymous said...

I think if you are willing to use Benjamin (a 3-syllable name) with your last name, then a longer version of Julie, like Julia or Julianne would be ok too.

With Benjamin, it's likely to have the nickname Ben for everyday use.

In the same vein, Julianne could have "Julie" as a nickname for everyday use, but she'll always have a formal full name.

Called to be Mom said...

I think Julianne is a great suggestion, but I really love Jillian. Jillian Frances is lovely! Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

How about Juliet? Juliet and Benjamin. Juliet and Sophie. MMmm, like it, and it is ageless-er in my mind than Julie.

Anonymous said...

I meant 'timeless' (above). OOps!

Jan said...

I was just going to comment that I know a Juliet/Julie and see that someone already suggested it! If you have been calling her Julie, it's going to be hard to change that I think. And I think it might be confusing to go with Julia/Julie though Julie as a nickname for Julianne/Juliet would be okay to me. I think both sound less "70s/80s" as well.

Regarding middle names, if you go with Julie I might not use Elisabeth as the middle because of the repeating ending/beginning sound. Juliet Frances is my favorite I think. Natalie Eleanor is nice, too.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I like Julia and call her Julie!

And I think Elisabeth is the most beautiful middle name with a great choice of spelling!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Well, Natalie and Sophie are both two of my most favourite girls names. So I'm leaning towards Natalie, but you can also save it for a possible second future girl if you have one, if you really seem to like Julia or Julie instead.

But Julia is ANOTHER favourite name of mine (you and I have very similar taste in names).

I sort of like Julia with the nn Julie, just to have the Julia option for when she's an adult. I also love the suggestion of Julianne... but Julianne and Benjamin have something similar-but-different about them that is bothering me... I feel that Julia and Benjamin go together a little nicer. And Julie and Ben are cute nicknames. And I think Julia and Natalie go great together Julie and Natalie are quite matchy (Not that it's such a bad thing), but maybe it's nice if at least for formal names, you have that slight difference that you get using "Julia and Natalie".

So. Just go for it with the Julia/Julie thing, and whether you choose Julie for the birth certificate or Julia, I think both are great names. I think Julie fits in fine with today's naming trends, I wouldn't worry about it being "outdated". Just go for it!

I love Elisabeth for a middle name.

Verity said...

Jillian/Jilly is appealing, but my favorite suggestion is Juliet.

While I know plenty of parents put Gracie, Jenny and Sadie on the birth certificate, personally I find it limiting. My sisters and I all had short, perky names - and as adults, we've all struggled with them. They don't suit us well, and because they're already nicknames, we don't have any options. It's frustrating.

Julie is okay, but Juliet gives her a more formal option - and it fits your criteria perfectly.

Best wishes!

Frazzled Mom said...

If you are already calling her Julie, I say that is the name she is meant to have. And while Julie happened to be popular in the 70's, I don't consider Julie dated, but rather timeless. Julie is very similar to Sophie which is being rediscovered now, and beginning to sound modern again. Soon enough Julie will get rediscovered too.

However, I think either Julia or Juliet nicknamed Julie are also fine options. You can't go wrong with any of the poll names really. But I agree that Natalie doesn't really go with any of your middle names.

I think I like the flow of either Julia Frances or Juliet Frances the best.

Kimberly said...

I like Julia Frances, with the nn's really the best of both worlds and Julia Leonardo flows better, in my opinion.

Good luck!

Susan said...

I think Juliet or Juliette (nn Julie) is the perfect solution. Juliet Leonardo. The "t" at the end of Juliet gives it a stronger sound, so it's more able to stand up to a strong last name. It's also an exceptionally-nice name, regardless of the last name!

Patricia said...

Catherine, it sounds like Julie is the name you really want to call -- and already are calling -- your daughter. I don't see any reason to change the name, but a more formal first name might be nice too.

When my husband and I were naming our second daughter, Julie was the name that seemed 'perfect' for her. But since our two older children had more formal given names with nicknames, I wanted to follow that pattern. We considered both Julia and Juliana, but the family middle name we wanted to use also ended in 'a' -- so we named her Julianne. As an adult, she's still "Julie", but uses Julianne professionally.

As others have said, Julianne and Benjamin go well together, as do Julie and Ben. Or if you prefer Julia for the given name, that would give her a currently popular alternative if she eventually prefers that. Julia/Julie would also pair well with Sophia/Sophie if you have a second daughter. (I have a granddaughter named Sophia -- mostly called Sophie -- and love the name either way.)

Patricia said...

As for middle names, I think Julia Elisabeth is stunning and would pair very well with Benjamin Henry (or, perhaps, Sophia Eleanor). All very substantial names.

Anonymous said...

I think Julie is a great name, and it is a good thing if she is the only one in her class with that name.

(But I LOVE Jillian!)

Frema said...

No matter how nice the name Julia is, if you don't like it, you shouldn't use it. I would hate to think my parents gave me a name they didn't like, just for the sake of formality. Plus, I don't really see Julia as a more formal version of Julie. They've always been two different names for me.

That said, I really like Julianne Leonardo. You could pull Julie as a nickname from that. Julianne and Benjamin sound great together.

Anonymous said...

Go for Julie. Julie is a nice, underused name. I don't think Julie is dated. Nor do I think that Julie is a nickname, kinda like Natalie is not a nickname for Natalia or Carrie for Cara or Mary for Maria. Julie and Julia are just different versions of one name. There's no need to formalise with Julia, especially if you don't love it.

On the other hand, I do also like the suggestion of Juliet. Jillian is another nice option.

Diane said...

I love all the Julia/Julie/Julianne/Juliet names. However, as the official name on the birth certificate, the "LEE LEE" of Julie Leonardo would be a deal breaker for me. I could see it as a nickname, however, just not the official name. I also see Julia, Juliet, etc., as more refined than Julie, but love Julie on a little girl.

I'm not a fan of Jillian myself. Jilly makes me think of a mix between silly and jelly. To each his own, though.

Good luck!

Jill said...

When I was pregnant w/my first child, we did not know if it was a boy or girl, if it was a girl she would be Julie. When I was about 6 months along I told my husband that I would like to call her Julia, he did not like the name. I said you never have to say it it just gives her an option when she is older.

Short Story Long - Julia Leigh was born and she has never been called Julie.

I vote for Julia Francis


Patricia said...

There has been concern about the double "lee" of Julie Leonardo. But remember, Catherine didn't say that Leonardo is their last name, only that "our last name is 4 syllables, lovely, uncommon, starts with an L and is rather commanding; similar to Leonardo." I have a feeling their similar last name does not have "lee" as the first syllable.

I too am not a fan of Jilly, and while that name seems to be 'winning' in the poll, it's only slightly ahead of the combined "Julie" options.

Frazzled Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frazzled Mom said...

About Jillian - I love Jillian and think it is a clever suggestion due to the similarity to Lillian. I'm not too keen on Jilly, even though I understand Swistle suggested it due to the similarity to Julie. I'm not sure why I love Julie, but not Jilly since they do sound similar. It's just a matter of personal tastes I guess.

Something else to consider with Jillian is that Jill may come about as a nickname beyond the parent's control, maybe even by the daughter’s choice. Since Jill is derived from Jillian there is really no logical argument the parents could pose against it. (Personally, I love Jillian as is, and would prefer it without a nickname.)

This is something else to consider with Julia, Juliet, Julianne, and Juliana - the daughter may decide she prefers the full name over the nickname Julie or some less formal nickname like Jules. Therefore, if I were Catherine, I would decide how I feel about the full name and any potentially more common nicknames before committing.

And yes, I realize the parent never has complete control over the name, and at any time the child could decide to go by their middle name or some organic nickname maybe derived from the surname, but I would still try to maintain some reasonable control. I'm just a control freak that way : )

Frazzled Mom said...

I should clarify my following statement above:
Since Jill is derived from Jillian there is really no logical argument the parents could pose against it.

In this statement I'm referring to the daughter deciding she like's Jill as a nickname. In that situation, the only weapon the Mom has is persuasion, and the most powerful weapon of persuasion - reason - she cannot use in this situation. There is no logical reason Jill cannot be a nickname for Jillian.

On the other hand, if some annoying relative decided to call the daughter Jill against the parent‘s wishes, the parent is within her right to correct the relative, and should not feel compelled to defend or debate with reasons.

Patricia said...

Catherine, after rereading your letter to Swistle, I think Julie as her given name may be the best name for your daughter. Julie is the name you've been calling your daughter. None of the longer forms of Julie appeal to you or work with your surname. You've considered Julia, but don't especially like it, and anyway, you don't want a trendy name in the US (Julia was #34 in 2007).On the other hand, you mentioned that Julie is currently popular in Europe. In 2006 (most recent stats I found) Julie was #3 in Norway, #4 in Belgium, #10 in Denmark, and #17 in France. You seem to like French names for girls -- Julie, Natalie, Sophie -- and it appears those names would go well with your surname which may be from one of the romance languages. So why not Julie as the given name?

Julie Elisabeth (Elisabeth can be pronounced as uh-LIZ-a-beth)

Julie Frances

Julie Eleanor

Julie Catherine

Lots of possible middle names.

(I named my daughter Julianne Patricia, but a cousin, also named Patricia, went with Julie Patricia several years later.)