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Friday, March 27, 2009

Baby Boy Not-Theodore

Maggie writes:
We really need you and your reader's help!! Our baby is arriving any day now (officially due next Friday) and my dear husband recently decided he no longer likes the boy's name we agreed on. And it took us literally the whole nine months to find one name we could both live with, so we're back at square one. We don't know baby's gender, but if it's a girl, she will be either Julia, Sophia, or Laurel. We've had these names forever, we love them all, it's just a matter of seeing which one "fits" her once she's here. Girls names are easy!

BUT if baby is a boy, we have a problem. The name we had agreed on was Theodore, intending to call him Teddy when he's little and letting him decide once he's older whether he wants to be Theo, Teddy, or Theodore. My husband has suddenly decided it's not masculine enough, although he would still consider it for a middle name. It was not my first choice, but I was happy enough with it.

My top picks for boys were Alan and Jonathan. Husband's top picks were John and Matthew. We could both live with Alan or Matthew from the other's list, but don't love them. (And Matthew sort of rhymes with the last syllable of our last name, which sounds funny to me.) As you can see, we partly agree on the John thing, but I dislike one syllable first names --- no offense to anyone -- and so even if we call him John for short, would like a longer formal first name. Are there any other longer names that have the nickname John? Husband will not consider Jonathan because we already have two immediate family members with the name, even though our son would have a different last name than the other two. The other problem is one side of the family is Greek, and would call John "Yanni" which I don't think I can handle. I really really really don't like the sound of Yanni, which makes me reluctant to use John. Our last name is long and Greek and ends with an "ew" sound, which means we want an recognizably male, simple spelling and easy pronounciation first name, nothing new-fangled or creative.

Other names we cannot use because of family: Robert, Andrew, Alexander, Stephen, David, James, Benjamin, Lucas, William, Nicholas. Names I liked but DH refused: Nathaniel, Christopher, Julius, Lawrence.

Any ideas for us? Thanks so much!

Another name that could be shortened to John is Johnson. My brother's dorm floor had a secret pet kitten, and they named him Johnson, and I thought that was the cutest name EVER---until someone explained to me that it was an, er, nickname. For something boys have and girls don't, if you follow me. And according to my brother, EVERYONE knows this, but I did not. Apparently boys know this. And also, maybe boys need a naming blog devoted to their Special Interest? Because they have an awful lot of names for It.

Johnston is slightly less risky. But it sounds like the "Yanni" thing rules out John names for you guys.

And oh dear heavens, look at all the good basic boy names you can't use for family-already-used-them reasons! No wonder you're stuck! Here's a list of some good basic boy names NOT on the veto list:

Edward (could still use Ted/Teddy, or Ned)
Edmund (could still use Ted/Teddy, or Ned)
Jacob (same J/Y problem, though?)
Joshua (same J/Y problem, though?)
Nathan (maybe too close to Nathaniel)

I'm leaning toward Evan: it's a distant relative of the name John; it has the rhythm of Alan; it's simple to spell and pronounce, etc. Evan Matthew. Evan Theodore. But I also really like Caleb. Caleb Theodore. Caleb Matthew. Caleb John.

In fact, I like lots of these. Michael Alan. Edmund Matthew. Daniel John. Edward Alan. Eric John. Ian Matthew.


Catherine said...

We used Julia for our daughter, and we might use Sophie in the future. I *love* the name Julia for our daughter -- so I would recommend it! Our potential boy names for any future boys (years away) are Benjamin, Henry and Nicholas -- so I say Henry! To me it's similar to Theodore but undeniably masculine.

One thing on the other suggestions - I am guessing that Joshua and Samuel will conflict with the "ew" at the end of the last name.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Evan is a great name choice! And for the Greek side of the family, they can easily call him Evangelos. It is the Greek version of Evan and an easy "match" for English-Greek or vice versa.

Rarely Sara said...

I love Evan Theodore! You can't go wrong with any of your girl choices! Best of luck!

Melio said...

Wow. I'm agreeing with Evan in this case. While I see how your husband might think that Theodore is not-so manly, Ted is a perfectly manly name (and OBVIOUS nickname to Theodore). A good pregnant-lady fit is in order! BUT, if you don't want to go that route, Evan Theodore GREEKNAME-EW is very nice, masculine, and traditional ... and avoids Yanni (heavens, that must be avoided!).

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, St. John is an actual first name, but it's pronounced "Sinjin". Probably too far out-there, but there's a fun fact for you!

There's always compound names, such as John-Paul or John-Alan, etc.

Tracy H said...

I also like Evan. What about Adam?

Lara Jane said...

Ack! I typed out a post and the board ate it!

Theodore is one of my all-time favorite names so it bums me out that you can't use it!

Some other sugggestions: Frederick, Arthur, Gabriel, Reuben, August...

Maybe you'll have a girl and save yourself the headache of choosing a boy name! LOL Good luck!

Anonymous said...

A couple other names to try on:


Carolyn said...

I like Ian. It's the modern Scottish form of John (according to

Frazzled Mom said...

Since Alan is my brother's name, I'm partial to it. I say - go with Alan! My brother has been served well by the name. And Alan Theodore sounds great!

When I was reading your post, a name that immediately came to mind was Timothy, nickname Tim, Probably because it begins with T, has a long and short form, but seems more masculine than Theodore. Thomas / Tom is another good one.

So, in summary, of Swistle's choices Thomas / Tom is my favorite, of your choices Alan is my favorite, and off the top of my head, I say Timothy / Tim. Any of these would go with your girl names.

Patricia said...

How about sticking with Teddy/Ted but naming your son Edward instead of Theodore. Edward is another classic, masculine name like your husband's new top picks John and Matthew. (We named our first son Edward Anthony and called him Teddy; he became "Ted" in elementary school.) How about Edward John -- a very strong name together and two classic names not yet taken within your family?

Or Matthew Alan would include a favorite from each parent. I don't think it matters that your last name ends in -ew since Matthew and your long Greek surname have a different number of syllables.

Patricia said...

Like Theodore, these names are from the Greek language and aren't on your list of names already used in your family:
Matthias (New Testament Greek form of Matthew)

Other suggestions:

Jewels said...

As a completely neutral and unbiased observer, I'm gonna jump in and say that Julia is a lovely choice for a little girl. Most people have heard it and know how to spell it but it's not so common that you run into six hundred on a daily basis. Plus it's so pretty! And you can go by Jules/Jewels! And there aren't a lot of obnoxious nicknames for it (besides that whole Julia Gulia Wedding Singer garbage which I think (hope) will continue to decrease over time). Anyhow. Julia. Two thumbs up.

Commanda Amanda said...

Of Swistle's suggestions I like Edward and Daniel. Both classic, but can be shortened.

Clare said...

I like Edward, too, and Mark, or some variation of it. If you like John, you could try Ian or Sean (Scottish and Irish versions, respectively), but that might sound odd with a Greek last name.