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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baby Boy Lee

K. writes:
I wanted to write you months ago for help naming our second child, a boy, but I knew it wouldn't be my turn until close to my due date (9/4) and I was certain we would have a name already chosen by then. Well, we don't, so I am writing to you now. Our daughter's name is Anna. Our tentative boy name for the past several years was Spencer and we would always refer to a potential future son as Spence. When we found out we were having a boy, I thought there was probably an 80% chance that would be his name because my husband doesn't like to think too much about names (he tends to be the typical male "veto-er" of my suggestions). So I was surprised when my husband said he wasn't sure Spencer was his name, and wondered if Spence was really just a pre-birth nickname, like calling your baby "pickle" or something like that. So after I suggested a buzzillion names to hubby, his only response was "I feel like we just haven't heard the name yet." Which left me stumped, because hubby in particular doesn't like names that are "weird" so I didn't think looking for MORE unusual names was going to help. We both tend to like timeless, easily spellable/pronounceable, biblical, and not too "ethnic" sorts of names. So I left it at, "Well, here are my top choices. If you don't come up with something else, we are going to have to choose from those." My husband, bless him, has now done some thinking about it and actually LOOKED AT A BABY NAME BOOK (briefly). He suggested Jacob (he likes the biblical story of Jacob's transition from self-reliance to dependence on God) or Nathaniel. I vetoed Jacob as a first name, due to its popularity, although I like the name otherwise. So hubby decided he thought baby's name was Nathaniel, and I was/am prepared to name him that, as I like the idea of him being named by his father, and I like the name (although not quite as much as MY names). And then a few days ago, husband says, "I'm having second thoughts about Nathaniel. I'm thinking about Spencer again." Interesting. So all this is to say, we very well may not have a name picked out until after baby is born. I'm hoping that once we see him, we will both have a strong feeling about a name. Hopefully the same name! Anyway, I think the first name will be one of our top 4 choices:

Spencer: I like it for it's timeless quality and the fact that it is familiar but not too popular. I think it goes well with Anna. Spence Lee reminds me a bit of Bruce Lee, but I can live with it. Husband thinks the name is kind of geeky.

Nathaniel: I think this is still my husband's top choice. I like it, but wonder if the "L" at the end of it blends too much with the "L" at the beginning of Lee. I also like Nate, but it does sound pretty choppy with our last name.

Elliot: This may be my top choice. I have liked this name for a long time. My biggest concerns are people misspelling it, and maybe that it is becoming a girl name. Husband likes it okay, but also thinks it is geeky.

Benjamin: This is a name I really like, despite the fact that it is fairly common. I love both Benjamin (I think of a hot guy like Benjamin Bratt) and Ben (a nice guy). I love Benji but husband absolutely vetoes this nickname. He threatens to call baby "Uncle Benny" as a nickname, which I detest. Ben Lee sounds choppy do pretty much all nicknames with our last name. I guess that is the beauty of Elliot--no nickname.

I think at the end of the day, I will let my husband have the biggest say in choosing his first name. Anna was a name I loved for years and years and I just don't feel as strongly about any of our boy names. I like all of them, and I assume that any one of them would grow on me and become our son's name once we named him. I am interested in what you and your readers think is the best name for us though!

My bigger plea, however, is for first name/middle name combos. We chose Anna's middle name, Grace, a few days after she was born. We knew it didn't have the best flow (not a concern to my husband), but chose it for its meaning. I had several medical complications at the end of my pregnancy and had some scares in terms of her birth and health. When she arrived safely and perfectly healthy, we wanted to recognize the significance, and chose to name her after God's grace to us. My husband in particular is much more concerned with meaning (recognizing our Christian faith in God) than flow or how a particular name sounds. I am a bit overwhelmed with trying to come up with at least four first/middle name options (knowing husband may do his veto thing again anyway). I think I would like at least one biblical name/meaning in the combo, which means a biblical middle name for Spencer. I would love to use middle names from our top four...I am just not sure how they sound together. Two possible combos are Spencer Nathaniel and Elliot Jacob. How does Nathaniel Elliot Lee sound? Benjamin really stumps me. Other names "we" might like: Ezra, Abram, Isaac, Judah, Josiah, Jonas, Theodore, Jude, Asher, Calvin (family name), and John (family name). I love Gabriel and Luke, but they don't sound good with our last name. I also like Graham, Simon, Tate, Cole, Dane, and Franklin but hubby has vetoed. Samuel was taken by two close friends.

Thanks in advance for your help!

It's too bad your surname begins with L, because otherwise Paul (whose conversion story is one of the most dramatic in the Bible) would be a great choice for you.

I think it would be worthwhile to revisit the idea of Jacob. Your husband likes the story; you both like the name; it's great with your surname; and even though it's the #1 most popular boy name in the United States, not even 1% of boys were given the name in 2009---and there's been a small but steady decrease in that percentage since 1998, when it was #2 but 1.78% (source: Social Security Administration). At its current percentage, that's roughly 1 in 100 boys---or a rough average of one Jacob per six or seven 30-kid classrooms (assuming approximately half the children are boys). I like Jacob Nathaniel Lee, or Jacob Spencer Lee, or Jacob Calvin Lee, Jacob Benjamin Lee, or maybe one of the names you like but your husband doesn't: Jacob Graham Lee, Jacob Franklin Lee, etc.

If Nathaniel has an L problem and Nate is too short, maybe Nathan? He was the guy in the Bible who called King David out for stealing someone else's wife, and that takes guts. Plus, his name means "God-given." I like Nathan Elliot Lee and Nathan Benjamin Lee.

If you do use Nathaniel, I like Nathaniel Benjamin Lee best. I also like Nathaniel Jacob Lee. I think Nathaniel Elliot Lee has a lot of L in it, but on the other hand I think the repeating L-sounds tie the name together.

If you use Benjamin, I like Benjamin Elliot Lee or Benjamin Jacob Lee. I think Benjamin Nathaniel Lee works too.

I like Spencer Elliot Lee, Spencer Benjamin Lee, AND Spencer Nathaniel Lee.

All right, everyone! Make some combinations!

Name update 09-04-2010! K. writes:
Nathaniel John is here! We weren't any more decided after he was born, so we eventually just had to make a decision. I was tempted by the suggestion of James for a middle name, but we were most swayed by the meaning of the names. Nathaniel means "given by God" or "gift of God" and John means "God is gracious". And that pretty much sums up how we feel. Our beautiful son was a gift from our gracious God! Thanks for the help.


Patricia said...

How about James instead of Jacob? James and Jacob come from the same source.

Penguin Dictionary of First Names (UK): "James - Biblical name derived from the Latin Iacomus or Jacomus, itself a derivative of Iacobus or Jacobus, thus sharing the same roots as Jacob. It appears in the Bible as the name of two of Jesus' disciples."

Although a popular name too, James ranked only 18 last year, while Jacob has been in the #1 position since 1999. (My grandson James is in 2nd grade and has never had another James in his preschool or school grade or summer day camp. The name James also ranked #18 when he was born in 2003.)

I really like James with Anna, and checking BNW noticed that Wattenberg suggests James as a sibling name for Anna too.

Lastly, James is often being used now without a nickname, whereas nearly all Jacobs are called "Jake" eventually. I think James Lee flows better than Jake Lee.

I think James Nathaniel Lee would be a fine name for your son.

Anna Grace & James Nathaniel

Anna and James

Hope T. said...

I like Spencer Jacob or Nathaniel James. My son is named Nathaniel (spelled the other way, though) and often people shorten his name to Nathan. Several of his schoolmates are Nathaniel but ALWAYS called Nathan. My son prefers to go by his full name but if you wanted the formal name on the birth certificate, you give him the full name and then shorten it how you wish.

StephLove said...

I think Spencer Nathaniel and Elliot Jacob are great choices. You could stop there, but I will give you middles for the other two of your top four.

Benjamin Paul
Nathaniel Micah

I want to work Samuel in there somewhere, too, because I was going to suggest it until you mentioned two friends using it. Maybe Elliot Samuel? One more idea for a middle: Shane. It's not Biblical but I think it might be a variant of John, which is. I like Nathaniel Shane Lee.

The Mrs. said...

Peter gave the sermon on the day of Pentacost that began the christian church...

Peter Samuel Lee

Philip was a very evangelistic apostle who converted the Ethiopian in the chariot...

Philip Benjamin Lee

Simon was another apostle who was zealous and convicted, following Christ faithfully...

Simon Jacob Lee

Anna & Peter Lee
Anna & Philip Lee
Anna & Simon Lee

Wishing you all the best during this exciting time!

Anonymous said...

Spencer Joshua
Spencer Isaac
Spencer Isaiah
Spencer Noah
Spencer Matthew

beyond said...

I see you have Theodore on your list. I love it for you. Theodore Lee. Anna and Theo. Perfect. Theodore Spencer Lee; Theodore Elliot Lee...
Good luck!

Frazzled Mom said...

It sounds like you want to give your husband the final say in his son's names, but he is having commitment issues. This is understandable because you will be saying this name everyday as long as your son lives under the same roof with you.

And you are already referring to this baby as Spence. I say the baby is practically named Spencer/Spence, and you should trust your instincts. I really like Spencer Elliot.

I also like the suggestions of James, Simon, and Peter.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Spencer/Spence goes as well with Anna as another biblical name would. If it feels like Spencer should be included in his name, you could use it as the middle name with a biblical first name. James seems especially compatible with Anna, so maybe James Spencer Lee?