Here's the critical data: The baby is a boy. He is our second and last child. Our daughter is named Madeleine Louise Anelda after both of our mothers. In my husband's family, it's traditional for the son to get the father's first name as a middle name. Therefore, the boy's middle name will be Gerald. Our hypothetical last name is Henderson. Got all that?
Here's the list of names that we've agreed on thus far:
Dexter – Dex
Malcolm – Mal
Oliver – Ollie
Samuel – Sam
Phineas – Fin
Our three top contenders are Samuel, Xavier and Dexter. I also like Jasper, but that name requires the addition of a second middle name to break up the J and G sounds, so we can skip it.
Just to give you some more insight into my naming preferences, names on my list that didn't make the cut were:
We had pretty much decided on Dexter as the front-runner. Maddie latched onto it and calls her baby brother Dexter exclusively. (That's going to be fun if we chose another name.) Dexter was my idea, and at first, I loved it. However, as time as passed, I feel less and less sure that our son will be a Dexter. I'm also feeling unsure about ALL the names on my list. I think that there's this magical, perfect name for him out there but I just can't find it.
Does this just make me a normal pregnant woman or should I continue scouring the internet and emailing friends (ahem!) to ask for advice?
OH SO NORMAL! I mean, I've heard there ARE women who are just like, "Hm, what should we name the baby? How about Paul? Yes, that's a nice name." My own mother-in-law was that way. But if we are measuring normal by what I'M like (and why shouldn't we?), then you are VERY VERY NORMAL.
With two of my children, we had a list of finalists and then I thought of the magical perfect name---a name that we hadn't ever considered before, which became The Name within 24 hours of us thinking of it. With the other three, we had a list of finalists and gradually one became the winner---but without ever seeming like the Lightning Bolt Choice. In all five cases, I had SERIOUS DOUBTS about the name that only increased as delivery approached. I would lie awake thinking, "IS this the name? DO I like it more than the others? Is this a GOOD name for the child, or will it seem crazy as soon as I put it on an actual baby? What if it's too popular? What if it's not popular enough and no one likes it? Fret fret fret fret fret!"
So let's fret together for awhile about your baby boy's name. I see your point about Jasper Gerald, so I tried to think of names that were similar to Jasper but didn't have that problem. The first one I thought of was Asher, Asher Gerald Henderson---but I know your actual surname, and I don't think Asher is good with it, do you?
The more I think of it, the more I think Jasper Gerald is fine. Gerald is a family name and everyone will know it, and it's rare that the first and middle are both used. If you want to strike it, I'll understand (I like a good flow, too), but if you want to use Jasper I don't think it's out of the question. I even kind of like the double J sound, as I did when one of my friends in high school was Jennifer Jean.
Well, but let's find more names, because what you need is MORE names to fret about, right? And because sometimes introducing new options can bring out your loyalties to one or another of the original contenders.
Dexter makes me think of Baxter. Declan makes me think of Duncan and Deacon.
Rowan makes me think of Ruben. When I first heard that name a couple of years ago, I thought "!!!!!!!!!"---and then put it with my surname and cringed. But it's really good with yours! Ruben Gerald Henderson.
Another name that gave me that sudden rush of appeal is Miller. It's a bit of a reach, but so familiar as a surname I think it brings it into the realm of reason. Miller Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Miller.
I like Emmett for you: Emmett Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Emmett.
I also like Carter for you: Carter Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Carter.
I LOVE Archer for you: Archer Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Archie. OMG LOVE. I don't know why I think it's good with your surname when I don't like Asher with it, but there it is.
And it's not perfect with the middle name, but I like Grady anyway: Grady Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Grady.
Corbin is a teeny bit rhymey with your surname but I like it anyway: Corbin Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Corbin.
I think the name Keegan is wonderful: Keegan Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Keegan.
On a different track, I like Louis: Louis Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Louis. I think Louis sounds like a sweet little boy and a dignified adult in the style of Oliver and Theodore.
From your list of finalists, my favorite is Samuel. Sam Henderson; Maddy and Sam.
A note to readers: I KNOW Erica, so I've found it particularly difficult to choose names for her to consider. I'm BEGGING you to help with this one!