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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby Boy Lee

Brenda writes:
Hi! My second son is due June 8- or any minute now! I know this a little late in the game to be seeking advice, but we are a little stuck!

We have a 2-year-old named Arthur Juno. Juno is a Korean name and it is what we call him when we go to Korea to visit family. Here we call him Arthur. I am not big on nicknames and will use the full name until my son tells me otherwise!

Anyway, for our second son we would like another classic name- something that fits the genre of Arthur. Some names we have thrown around are:

August - We like it, but are not too sure about having 2 "A" names.
Louis - (Lewis, not Looey) Not sure if this one fits with Arthur. Also may become very popular now that Sandra Bullock has a Louis.
Stuart - I like the idea of Stuart, but it sounds a little too harsh or percussive. I like how gentle and flowing Arthur is. Is it too harsh?
Walter - My husband's current favorite. I like it, too, but while Arthur seems kind of cool, Walter still seems kind of "fuddy duddy" to me. Is it?
Oliver - My only concern is its popularity. My name isn't very popular with my age group (I always was the only one not only in my class, but in my school) and I loved it.
Henry - Again a popularity concern. My husband doesn't think it is a problem, but I don't want my son to have to be referred to as "Henry L.", as opposed to the "Henry S.", "Henry P." and "Henry M." also in his class.
Robin - I don't love it, but my husband seems to.
Edward - I've never read the Twilight books, but apparently there is an Edward character. Will this be a popularity concern? Also, after Arthur, is it too common?
Other names we sort-of like: Jasper, Calvin, Julian.

Names I liked, but were vetoed by my husband: Theodore, Thaddeus, Homer, George, Martin.

Our new son's middle name will be Korean. It will be a two-syllable name. We are still working on it, but some of our middle name ideas start with the letters M, J, P, Y, or H. My favorites start with M.

My son(s) and I have a hyphenated last name with my maiden name being a three syllable Polish surname and my husband's being a one syllable Korean surname. Both surnames begin with the letter L, and since we sometimes drop the Polish part to make it easier for others to record, I will just give you my husband's surname: Lee. I suppose all this means is that we will have to be careful with names starting with L and with one syllable names.

I am open to any and all ideas. We need some fresh minds with fresh ideas helping us out! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

My favorites from your list are Louis, Walter, and Calvin.

I agree with you about Henry and Oliver: those are both currently in style, and have a very different sound than Arthur.

Like you, I'm curious if/how Edward the Twilight vampire hottie will affect the name's popularity. Perhaps it will be a bigger problem ten years from now, when all the girls who are currently teenagers will be having their children? Jasper, too, is a Twilight character. The name Edmund would be a possibility, similar to Edward but with a lower vampire element (searching "Edmund vampire": one of the many search terms I wasn't expecting to use for a baby name blog).

I suggest Warren. I think it has the same gentle/strong sound as Arthur. Arthur and Warren.

I love the book Life With Father, and it always makes me wish the name Clarence would come back into style. Arthur and Clarence. (The author of the book I like is Clarence Day, and am I remembering right that Dae is a Korean name? If you like the book too, it would be a pleasing reference. Though if Dae is pronounced "day," I suppose it gives you "daily" with your surname Lee---not that that's a deal-breaker, especially with a hyphenated surname to break things up.)

After watching a few seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (WHAT?), I had the name Harvey on my list. It still sounds like a great name to me, though I wonder if Harvey Lee would bring Lee Harvey Oswald to mind? Probably not, especially since the surname is hyphenated, but it's the kind of thing I like to take into account during the naming process, as opposed to realizing it afterward. Arthur and Harvey.

I've several times pitched the name Karl/Carl without success, but I will try again! Arthur and Karl, or Arthur and Carl.

I knew such a great guy named Franklin back in school. Arthur and Franklin. (Oh---but as I'm proof-reading, I remember that there is both a children's TV show called Arthur AND a children's TV show called Franklin.)

Beverly Cleary's book Fifteen cemented the name Stanley in my mind as the ideal gentle/strong boy name. *swoon*

Arthur makes me think of the Knights of the Round Table. I'd been remembering that there was a knight named Roland, but apparently I'm thinking of something else. Still, Roland would be an excellent option. Arthur and Roland.

The nicest boy in my elementary school was Terrence, or perhaps it was spelled Terrance (it was the nickname-favoring 1970s, so he mostly went by Terry). I always wanted to be his square-dancing partner in gym class, because he was the only one who never tried to step on his partner's toes. (You know who the worst toe-steppers were? Gary and Troy.)


LoriD said...

I really like Louis, but I'm not sure about Louis Lee - it's a bit of a tongue-twister.

I'll throw out Chester and Gilbert. They both have the same kind of old-fashioned but cool vibe as Arthur.

Alison aka Baby B said...

I like Swistle's suggestions of Clarence and Warren.

I do like Walter. I don't think it's too fuddy duddy, and I think the nn Walt is great if he chooses to go by a nickname later on. I can't use Walter for any future sons, but I adore the name. I think Arthur and Walter are fantastic together too, though you might feel stuck with an -er name if you have a third son.

I'll also throw out Lawrence and Harold. Arthur and Lawrence. Arthur and Harold.

beyond said...

Walter! It's not fuddy-duddy at all. Arthur and Walter! That's my favorite, I love it. I also like Louis and Calvin.
Other suggestions, although I don't think you need them: Irving, Arthur and Irving; Graham, Walter and Graham.
Good luck!

StephLove said...

You have a great list. I like Louis the best from your choices, probably because it's my son's middle name. I don't think Louis Long Polish Name-Lee is a problem with the other name in between.

I know you were iffy about two A names, but if you decide it doesn't bother you, I like Allen for you. Arthur and Allen.

Or how about Christopher (nn Topher?) or Gabriel or James, or Paul?

Giselle said...

I like Stuart. I think it sounds great with Arthur. These are all fun names to consider though...

Meg said...

I'm going to suggest Spencer.

Spencer Min Ho Polish-name-Lee :)

M.Amanda said...

I really like Walter. It is very much in the same category as Arthur, I think.

Runner up is Julian, although I wonder if Julian Lee has a feminine sound to it, especially next to a solidly masculine name like Arthur.

Jenn said...

I really love Stewart & Louis. I also like Samuel with Arthur.
Along the same style:

heather said...

I really really like Louis... even with the L last names. I'm wondering though, if you would consider using the spelling Lewis... I know I for one, never know which way Louis is pronounced; I usually stick with "Lewis" but know a few Looeys in there too. Also, with Louis Lee, something about it makes me want to do the "Looey" pronunciation.
Lewis clears that up, leaving no guess as to the name and to me seems stronger and just as classic as the Louis spelling.
I think Arthur and Lewis are perfect together.

I also really like the suggestion of Warren!

Hope said...

I love Louis, but I'm not sure with the L last names.

I really just wanted to comment to suggest Stanley!

Rayne of Terror said...

I like Stuart the best off your list.

I also like Woodrow, Arthur and Woodrow.

I think Walter is coming back, I know of one baby Walter and it was one of my husband's top boy names.

Christine said...

I like both Walter and Stuart. And think both work with Arthur. I like Louis, but don't love Louis Lee, but with a hyphenated name, I don't mind it.

Good luck!

Erin said...

I hear you about Stuart....I'm on the fence about Walter too, but I do kind of like it. It also reminds me of the Big Lebowski. Franklin I like, and some of the above suggestions too....

but my favorite for you, and maybe even my new favorite, is Calvin. Its kingly like Arthur, known but not popular, seems to go well with the surnames...I just really really like it. Arthur and Calvin sound awesome. Especially if you don't shorten it, but of course the option is there if he so pleases (Art and Cal? awesome too).

Leah said...

How about Wilson? It's similar to Walter, but I don't this it's fuddy duddy at all. I think it would be cute on a little boy, and handsome on a grown man. It flows, and is soft like Arthur, and I think they go really well. Arthur and Wilson!

Patricia said...

I have three Korean American grandsons, sons of my son (adopted from Korea at age 1) and his Korean wife. Like your son, the boys -- ages 4, 2, and baby born in Seoul two months ago -- have English language first names and Korean second/middle names:

With traditional Korean naming patterns the name of each son in a family has one 'element'/syllable the same as his brothers' names. (In the past, all the names of all male cousins on the paternal side would follow this pattern too.) My grandsons' Korean names were chosen with the help of a person whose occupation it is to find the most propitious name for a baby. After the first boy was named M1ngyu, the parents specified that the part of the name they wanted to repeat was M1n. For the newest baby the parents asked about the name M1nsuh, but were told it wasn't a good one for this child and were offered three others including M1njoon.

You may want to choose your second son's Korean name in the same way. Traditionally, a brother of Juno (perhaps sometimes written in Korean to English as Joonoh?) would be called Joo--- or ---noh.

Presently my son's family is spending a year in Korea and living with his wife's parents. The oldest boy is going to preschool and uses his Korean name there. The boys' English names are D@vid, Jon@than and H&nry.

I think just about any traditional name would go well with Arthur. From your list I especially like Henry because it's the least likely to end up with a nickname. I don't think Henry's popularity is a problem. From 2008 to 2009 Henry gained only 7 places on the USA top 1000 names list, going from #78 to #71. From everything I've read, Henry's strongest appeal is mostly limited to certain segments of the population, and unless you're planning to send your son to a private prep school where there *might* be one other Henry in his class, most likely your Henry will be the only Henry in his class. IF Henry ever does make it into the Top 10, which I think is unlikely, it would be many years from now and wouldn't affect Henrys born in 2010.

I hope you'll let us know what names you choose for your new baby. Best wishes!

Patricia said...

PS I think the usual way of writing your son's Korean name may be Joon Oh or Joonoh if written together. Thus traditionally Joon-oh's brother would be Joon____ or ____Oh. Looking online I found, for example:

Some options with ___oh:

(It's harder to google ___oh, as you have to put in the first 'element' by trial and error.)

Here's an article from Chosun Ilbo regarding popular names in Korea:

I'm sure you could find other info about Korean naming traditions with an online search. There is a lot of meaning in Korean names, and you may want to follow Korean traditional naming patterns with your second son's Korean name. (I am wondering if your husband grew up in the United States and may not be familiar with this.)

Peace said...

I love love love Walter! I'm 40 and I only knew one Walter my age in high school. The name still makes me swoon a little :-)

Anonymous said...

I like Walter the best from your list. Louis vs looie would be a deal breaker for me. I like Stuart but the possible nn of Stewie would also be a deal breaker for me. Stu is not any better. Would you consider Eugene?

Rebecca said...

I knew two brothers named Arthur and Karl-- so that would be my vote too

Frazzled Mom said...

I love almost all of the names on your list. I don't find Stuart harsh at all. I suggested it for my son, but my husband vetoed it because he didn't like Stewie. He thought it was too reminiscent of “Family Guy.” I don't mind Stewie and I think it can be avoided anyway, especially if you are using the Stuart spelling, not the Stewart spelling.

Since Edward is such a familiar classic, I don't see Edward being too associated with Twilight. Jasper, on the other hand, was never very popular in the US as far as I know anyway, and I can see that name becoming associated with Twilight.

I was surprised no one suggested George, and then I re-read your post and see your husband vetoed it. Darn!

I agree with you on Robin. It has become sort of androgynous. In fact, my husband's name is Robert, and my son's middle name is Robert, but had he been a girl we were considering Robin as the middle name since my husband hates Roberta.

I think you have a great list already. Sometimes when faced with the task of committing to a name, many parents get cold feet, and I suspect that may be the case with you.

To help you, I agree with you and Swistle on Henry and Oliver. I would rule out August because of the matching initials, and I don't think the style quite works with Arthur. While Louis is one of my favorites, I would rule it out because of the Louis Lee alliteration. I would rule out Robin and Jasper for the reason's I gave above.

That leaves us with: Stuart, Walter, Edward, Calvin, and Julian. All of them seem like great names to me. Good luck.

Adey said...

What about Callahan or Callen (nn Cal)

Or what about Alexander? (nn Alex or Xander)

Or Jeremiah?

I also like Warren and Wyatt... Not a big fan of Walter but it's not bad and does go with Arthur!

Tracy H. said...

Gordon or Spencer?

Dallas said...

Great suggestions - also William, Garrett, Lionel?

Anonymous said...

I have an English friend with young sons named Freddie (Frederick), Henry, Arthur and Joseph. I think Arthur and Henry go well together -- both being regal names in Britain.

Lara Jane said...

Balls. I was thinking George or Theodore until I read the entire post!

I absolutely adore the name Arthur, and not just because Arthur was my high school crush. (sighhhh. Arthur...)

From your list, I really like Walter and Edward. Stuart is good. Louis is a fab name but I'm not too keen on Louis Lee.

Other faves:
Percy (does Percy Lee sound too cheesy?)

I literally LOLed when I got to the part about Henry. We chose our son's name specifically to avoid the last initial thing. Funny how the tides change. Lucky for us, nobody was choosing the name 10 years ago!

Good luck. You have fantastic taste!

Emily S. said...

Ya know... Henry was number 71 last year... It's not like it's in the top 20, but I do think it is rising. I still don't think your son would be Henry L in school though.

I like Henry, Calvin, and someone else's suggestion of Wilson the best. Those are fairly nickname proof too. Walter will probably turn into Wally pretty quickly to some people. And Edward will turn into Ed or Eddy. I think Louis L.- Lee is a little too much alliteration, too.
Congratulations and best of luck!

Brenda said...

Thank you all for your suggestions!

FrazzledMom: I believe you are right when you said, "Sometimes when faced with the task of committing to a name, many parents get cold feet, and I suspect that may be the case with you." Naming a child is such a huge responsibility and sometimes it feels so overwhelming. Sometimes the old adage "it takes a village" really seems to ring true. Even if it just takes a village to give advice.

I feel happy and reassured- it is nice to hear other's opinions! My husband and I are narrowing it down. We will be making a list of a few names and taking them to the hospital with us. With Arthur, we read off a list of names and my husband claims our son looked at him and smiled when he read Arthur, so that became his name.

Baby boy Lee is still resting comfortably (for him) in the womb. My first was late by a few days, so I'm thinking this little guy will be, too.

Patricia: Congratulations on your new grandson! I hope you get to go to Seoul to visit him soon. My husband did grow up in Korea, and his entire family is still there. He asked his father what the common syllable for Arthur's generation is. Our choices were either "noh" or "seop/seob". We obviously picked "noh" for our first, but now my husband is lamenting that choice because we are having a hard time finding another "noh" name we both like (he wants English-speaking people to be able to pronounce it correctly. Along with that, I just want it to sound good). He is getting to the point where he wants to stray from the tradition and forgo "noh" altogether. I'm trying to keep him on track. It is strange, but sometimes I think his Korean traditions are more important to me than to him! :)

Swistle: THANK YOU so much for your insight. You always seem to have some great names that no one thinks of, and some great ideas about them. And it is a good thing that I don't really like the names Gary or Troy. I'd hate for my son to be remembered as a toe-stepping, square dancing bully thirty years down the road! :) I'd rather people *swoon* over him like several people did in the comments!

Thanks again everyone! I like coming back and finding more opinions. I will definitely post an update of our final pick when the little guy makes his grand entrance!

Patricia said...

I was very interested in reading a little about your husband's Korean background and his thoughts on choosing a Korean name for this child. I don't think it matters whether non-Korean speakers can pronounce your sons' Korean names, as you plan to call them by their English names in this country. With our grandsons, my husband says he's not going to try to keep their similar sounding -- to him -- Korean names straight and will only use their English names. But I love it that the three boys are named in the traditional Korean generational way and find it just as easy to call them by their Korean names as by their American names. My son told me that his wife was most interested in the Korean names during the naming process, and that's understandable. When we were talking via Skype recently, she was using the baby's English name H&nry for me (though that wasn't necessary), although I'm sure she calls him M1njoon all the time, when mid-sentence, she couldn't recall his American name, and mumbled, "what's his name?". I found that very endearing.

Why don't you have your parents-in-law consult one of the professional 'namers' in Korea? The Korean halmoni of my two oldest grandsons went to one of these people to find the best Korean names for them. Usually this is done after the baby is born, but it can be done beforehand too, especially when the baby is being born in another country. The meaning of the Korean name is very important in that tradition and the Chinese characters that express it of prime importance. Best wishes!
It seems to me that if you're able to follow that tradition, your second son's Korean name will be more meaningful. I think a 'namer' can help you do this.

Patricia said...

("Best Wishes" was supposed to go at the end of my last post.)

I'm wondering if your husband's father has suggested -- or could suggest -- some names with Noh as the second element. Then you could have him or your husband's mother consult a 'namer' about those '-Noh' names you already like. Meaning is important, as are other factors. It seems to me that a naming expert would be needed to 'get it right'.

Patricia said...

Another thought: I was surprised to read that there are 2 generational names for your sons' generation. Does this reflect just the paternal side? I think with some families (ALL that follow the traditional naming practices?), the generational names alternate between generations. But still, how can there be 2 for one generation?

As my son's parents (my husband and I) aren't Korean, there is no paternal generational name for his sons to use. So the name consultant gave them 3 names, using 6 elements, to choose from for their first son's name. As their second and third sons came along, my son and his wife chose the element 'Min" from their oldest son's name for his younger brothers' names.

I'm wondering if your son "Joo-Noh" has paternal first cousins in Korea who also have ___-Noh names? But if not (if your husband has no brothers?), then maybe you could still follow Korean tradition by giving your second son a Joo-___ name, citing his growing up in America of mixed background as reason not to use the generational -Noh, but instead to start a new generational name for your sons: Joo-___. It seems that Joo- might be easier to work with and preferable for your second son than a Korean name that shares no elements with his hyun -- older brother's -- name. This might be another thing to ask a Korean name consultant.

Anonymous said...

My favorites are Stanley and Louis. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Stanley again because it just goes so nicely with Arthur in my opinion! I don't think that alliteration with Louis Lee would be a negative thing; it would just add something even more unique to his name! Now that I think about it though, Stanley Lee might not work because of the two 'lee' sounds :/

Susanica said...

I think that Arthur is a very classic name and so the best suggestion I've seen here is Woodrow for your second son. I also like Wyatt, but it brings up a cowboy connotation (oh, I guess the nickname Woody would too!) But Arthur is very Camelot so you could consider Lancelot (Lance) or Merlin if you wanted to get really mystical!

Anonymous said...

i'll vote stuart! warren, calvin or callum would work too

Anonymous said...

I wonder what name you chose? My little boy is Walter, he's 3 months now - and while he's having a nap I am wasting some time and googling his name - so found this old thread.

We LOVE the name, and although it took us 3 1/2 weeks to commit to it, we are so glad we chose it.

Arthur was also on our shortlist, but in the hospital we asked the midwife the names of some of the boys she'd delivered recently and Arthur was one of the most also liked Oscar (Ozzie) but decided against due to the 2012 Olympics, Oscar Petorious (sic?) Basically we didn't want him to be a 'you must've been born in 2012' baby, or one of 3 in his class at school (we live in the UK).

We are so happy we chose Walter and we call him Wally or Wal, but I expect we'll switch to Walt or Walter when he's a bit bigger. I did watch a lot of the TV series Breaking Bad in the last few weeks of my pregnancy - where the teenage son hates his name, Walt Jnr! But our Wally can always use his more 'normal' middle names if he hates it too.

All our family and friends love the name Walter/Wally as well!!