I am due December 3rd. We have chosen not to find out the gender ahead of time. Our 2-year-old son is Jonah Daniel, a name that we quickly agreed upon and never had a list of runner-up names. Our girl name (which we still like from last time) is Nora Josephine. We just liked Nora, and Josephine was my husband’s mother’s middle name. I like the family connection there.
I worry that I may have too many ‘rules’ – even though I can’t really figure out which ones I’d give up. My sister thought it was kind of a fun ‘word puzzle’, but I think even she has tired of it. So here it goes.
1) Our last name is an actual word, close to ‘Stark’, so let’s pretend that’s it. I’m Sara and my husband is Sean, so that’s a lot of S’s already. I’m not at all interested in any other names starting with an ‘S’. Also, if it ends with an ‘s’, it runs into the last name and sounds bad. So that knocks out a ton of good names.
2) Nothing with an ‘-ar-‘ in it because it sounds weird with the last name. Also shows up in lots of names.
3) Because our last name is short and kind of abrupt, I want at least a 2-syllable first name.
4) I also prefer names that don’t have obvious, kind of automatic nicknames, so no Benjamin, Alexander, Nicholas, etc. Although I know people can get nicknames for tons of reasons, I like the name to just be the name.
5) Not another J name.
6) I want a boy name that does not appear to be getting taken over by girls.
7) Not a name that is also an actual word. Since our last name is a word, that would be odd.
8) No ‘–son’ names.
9) Nothing totally unfamiliar or spelled ‘creatively’.
10) We’re not religious, and when Jonah is paired with some more biblically-associated names, it makes it seem like we are. Those types of names tend to be more the style I like, but it seems uncomfortable like we’re trying to pass ourselves off as something we’re not.
11) My husband and I have both been teachers for a combined 15 years or so, so a lot of names get vetoed just because of the strong associations. I can never have a Tyler, Dylan, Brandon, Levi, Dustin, Ben, Evan……..
I’ve looked at so many names and lists and haven’t had anything that jumps out at me. It makes me a little sad to think that I’ve probably already seen the name we’ll end up choosing and that we were just like “Eh… that’s ok... I guess.”
We are totally open to new suggestions! Names that we maybe kind of like include:
Aaron -probably our top option right now, but I wonder if people’s pronunciations will bother me, saying it more (to my ears) like Erin, a girl name
Adrian - another name I think I like better on paper than when I say it out loud
Julian - even though it’s a J
I’ve thought maybe Leo, Milo, Nolan, Ezra, but Sean doesn’t really like them. He likes Owen, but me, not so much. He’s also said he likes names that sound ‘smart’, for what that’s worth. Neither of us are into the ‘tough’ sounding boy names.
And then (as if this hasn’t been long enough – feel free to disregard if it has), I really like the idea of middle names as a family name spot, and my dad comes to mind as one to name after. His first name is also my brother’s name, so I kind of feel like that’s ‘his’ to use in the future if he wants. But my dad’s (and his dad’s) middle name is Orville. Yikes. I go back and forth thinking “My dad’s a good guy, and lots of people have crazy middle names.” and “How can I slap an Orville on a baby?” Thoughts on that from you or your readers?
Thank you so much for ANY help, guidance, and suggestions!!
Let's start with the Orville question, because that has grabbed my imagination. Have you already talked to your brother about the first name that belongs to him and to your dad? He might not care one whit if you use it as a middle name, even if he has the full intention of using it for a future child himself, and maybe he will even be flattered that you want to use it, especially if you spin it to include him in the namesakeness. That would solve the Orville issue in one swoop, and that would be nice because otherwise I am conflicted. I agree with you exactly: on one hand, lots of people have unusual middle names; on the other hand, Orville.
The very first name that occurs to me for the first-name slot is out: Simon. It sounds smart to me, and I like it with both Jonah and a potential future Nora. You were very clear on NO S NAMES so I shouldn't even be mentioning it---but here I am, mentioning it anyway. Cheeky!
The second name that occurs to me is ALSO out: Karl. It has the "ar" sound but otherwise would qualify, and I think the repeating "ar" is good here. I would like to take a moment to highlight the name Karl, in fact, because it is SO UNDERUSED. I was out and about and heard a mother talking to her adorable, pumpkin-sweater-wearing, rosy-cheeks-having, 1-year-old boy and calling him Karl, and I thought "!!!" It's great. Timeless! Smart! Girls are not stealing it! ALMOST NO ONE IS USING IT. It's one of the few names I thought of where I didn't think, "Oh, but they've probably had a bunch of students with that name already. Karl! Consider Karl!
Some QUALIFYING possibilities:
Caleb Stark; Jonah and Caleb
Elliot Stark; Jonah and Elliot
Emmett Stark; Jonah and Emmett
Ethan Stark; Jonah and Ethan
Henry Stark; Jonah and Henry
Ian Stark; Jonah and Ian
Malcolm Stark; Jonah and Malcolm
I also had Everett and Oliver in the list originally, but are those too much like an "ar" sound? Anyway, I like them both: Everett Stark, Oliver Stark.
Name update 12-07-2009! Sara writes:
I just wanted to let you know that we had a baby girl, Nora Josephine, on December 3 (her due date, no less!) so all my worrying about boy names and rules ended up just being for fun, I guess. :) I really appreciated all the feedback and suggestions from your readers, and we went into the birth thinking that we'd probably go with Aaron or Simon (gasp - breaking my #1 rule). We realized that if I set aside my 'no more S names,' that really was the name we liked best. And I also talked with my brother about his name, and he was totally fine with us using it if we wanted, so we had our two options for middle names there, too. But in the end, little Nora made the decision easy for us. Thanks so much!! :)