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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby Girl D., Sister to Beckett Finn

Amy writes:
I have been putting off writing to you because I kept thinking we would find the perfect name. This is not yet the case, and my due date (September 1, 2010) is drawing near. I need to enlist your expertise. My Husband and I have been married for 9 years now and together for around 12. I gave birth to our first child, Beckett Finn, last summer. We adore his name as it reflects our love for all things literary, our time spent working in theater, and our Irish/English roots. Further, it's a unique (unpopular) name that doesn't lend itself to a nickname and is easily spelled. We are now expecting a daughter and are really having a hard time finding a name that measures up (in our eyes) to her big brother's name. If #2 had been a boy, we had decided on Truman Tate. This obviously won't work for us now. We are leaning toward a more unisex name and perhaps another surname, however, there are a few traditionally female names that we like as well. We would really like to use Quinn for her middle name, if possible, because we LOVE it, and really like how it "matches" with Finn. We only plan on having the 2 children, but realize if we were to have another one we could use Brynn, Lynn, or Wynn to keep the theme going. FYI: When I picture my baby girl she has blonde hair, blue/green eyes, and is quite the spunky little conversationalist. She is very nurturing and loves all things pink and girly, but is also quite the little aggressor out on the soccer field and certainly isn't afraid to get dirty. We want a name that suits her whether she decides to be an artist or a Supreme Court Justice. In Laura Wattenberg's The Baby Name Wizard, she describes the name Beckett as, "a literary name with a rock star spirit." Please help us find a name with this type of "feel" for our daughter!

This is our current list:


-Harper Quinn
Literary Reference: Author Harper Lee.
I feel like this may be the best "match", but I see Harper climbing the popularity charts quickly and I don't want her to have a popular, dated, or trendy name. Also, it just doesn't seem especially pretty to me.

-London Quinn/Grace/Belle/Blue (?)
Literary Reference: Author Jack London
This is the most popular name on our list and my Husband's favorite. I hate the popularity. I love the name and it's significance to us. We both love the writer Jack London, and we spent much of our courtship eating sushi and listening to jazz in Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. My Hubby equates this name to the time in our lives when we were falling in love. I haven't found the perfect middle to pair with it as Quinn repeats the 'N' sound and I'm not sure if it sounds right. Grace is pretty but feels like a "filler" name. Belle is pretty as well, but it turns the name into a noun. Blue is a bit edgy and has literary significance as well as personal significance (we've called this little one "Blueberry" for almost 8 months now), but I'm just not sure it's a perfect fit.

-Quinn Felicity
Literary Reference: ???
I love this name combo but it simply doesn't have the literary significance of some of our other choices. This makes it less desirable to my Husband. However, I still think it's beautiful and love Quinn as a first name paired with sweet and feminine Felicity.

-Sawyer Quinn
Literary Reference: Title character in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
I keep hearing negative feedback on the name Sawyer for a girl. But WE LOVE it! However, I don't want everyone to always automatically assume that she's a boy before they meet her. Also, one of our best friends of over 15 years has this surname and it would be a nice tribute to him.

Distinctly Feminine...

-Beatrix Belle/Blue
Literary Reference: Author Beatrix Potter
This is a great classic underused name with a saucy edge (love the unexpected "X"). Although I don't typically like nicknames, I think a little Bea would be darling and very unique. Not sure if the style pairs well with Beckett, and if we do happen to have more children, this limits us to 'B' names. Had to convince my Husband this was a real name, but now it has really grown on him.

-Felicity Belle
Literary Reference: ???
This was the name I chose for my fake I.D. in high school. I think it's beautiful, however, it lacks literary significance and a 4-syllable first name would surely be shortened to an undesirable nickname.

-Phoebe Quinn/Jane
Literary Reference: Holden Caulfield's sister in Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Found in Greek myths and Shakespeare as well.
Phoebe has been my favorite name for a girl since I was a teenager. However, it's not overtly literary like some of our other picks. Quinn makes it feel more modern while Jane makes it feel more classic. Also, not sure if the style pairs well with Beckett...but we both love this name.

-Violet Quinn
Literary Reference: Character in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Beautiful, charming and sweet little vintage name that has unfortunately been climbing the charts at an alarming rate. Violet Quinn is adorable to me in every way. But again, I'm not sure if the style matches up with Beckett or if it's "literary enough". I'm also worried about both names ending in a 'T' sound...oh, and the initials V. D.

Other Names that were seriously considered but ultimately ruled out:
Adelaide - Hubby suggested. I think there are too many girls nicknamed "Addy" already, and it feels very German to me;
Arden Quinn - Hubby thought it sounded too harsh...but I still like it;
Auden - Liked the literary aspect, not the "odd" sound;
Bronte Quinn - I thought it sounded too pretentious and didn't want to put an umlaut over the "E," I dislike any punctuation in a name;
Boston Blue/Belle - Lacking literary substance, but feels very "cool" to me;
Campbell Grace - Hubby couldn't stop thinking of soup and I didn't like the nickname options;
Eliot Quinn - An inevitable nickname, I prefer the Elliott spelling, which takes away the literary significance (T. S. Eliot);
Emerson - I don't like "son" as part of a girl's name;
Harlow Reese/Jane - Lacking literary substance;
Juliet - Too frilly for me;
Maisie - So cute, but ultimately ruled out nickname names;
Miller - Love the playwright and the nickname (Millie), but Hubby tends to think of the beer; and
Story - Seems a bit trendy, but love the way it sounds and how unique it is.

We would love your help to narrow down our list or even suggest something completely different if you think it would be a better match. I know I've given you a lot of information (maybe too much?) but I'm hoping it will help you have a better idea of what we're searching for. We do not have any family names that we want to use nor do we want to purposely chose blatantly Biblical names. We want our children to have their very own unique names that are simply meaningful to us.

Thank You!

My favorite from your list is Beatrix Blue, although I think I like Beatrix Quinn even more. I think it goes well with Beckett, and that only two B names wouldn't be enough to force you into using a third if you had another child.

Another favorite is Phoebe Quinn. If that's been your favorite girl name since high school, and if your husband loves it too, it seems like a good choice. I think it goes well with Beckett.

Another possible choice is Flannery. VERY unusual, very literary, very pretty, excellent with Beckett, great with Quinn. Flannery Quinn.

Name update 10-18-2010! Amy writes:
After much deliberation, we named our sweet baby girl Phoebe Quinn. When she first arrived, I immediately thought she was a Phoebe, but my husband thought she was a London. Shortly after that, we both thought that maybe she was a Harper...but was it pretty enough for our little princess? Over the next 24 hours we "tried on" all of the names from our list as well as all of the suggestions from you and your readers. The birth certificate lady came by several different times, but we still weren't ready to commit to a name. It took the hospital threatening to write "Baby Girl" on her birth certificate to help us make that final decision. Almost 24 hours after her birth, my husband announced that she was Phoebe Quinn -- and she was. I'm not sure why it took us so long to see it, but Phoebe just fits her perfectly. Thank you to you and your readers for all of your help!


Suzanne said...

After you said your boy name would have been Truman my first thought was a friend who recently had boy/girl twins. The boy was Truman and the girl is Sawyer - but you already thought of that name! I love it, especially with Beckett!

I also like Violet. For the record, if you're looking for a literary reference, Violet is one of the Boxcar Children, a much nicer character than the brat from Charlie et al. AND she's the girl from A Series of Unfortunate Events, which is wonderful.

If you like Blue as a mn, would you consider Tru/True? Or is that too close to Truman for a possible future boy? I know a 3 year old with Tru as a mn and it's adorable.

Kit said...

I like London, Phoebe and Violet from your list. I kind of hope Sawyer doesn't become a girls' name - it's so cute for a boy.

What about Marley? I think it has the same literary/rock star vibe as Beckett and Marley Quinn D__ is really cute!

KB said...

This is a great list of names. I LOVE the suggestion of Flannery.It really jumped out at me. Harlow, Violet and Beatrix are also nice. Perhaps Darcy?

Katie said...

OOh! Our boy name would have been Beckett if our daughter had been a boy (we didn't find out beforehand), so may I suggest our girl name, which is Kiernan? It's a Gaelic surname, though sometimes used as a first name (mostly for boys) in England and Ireland. It's not precisely literary, although I did first read it in a romance novel, whatever that counts for. Ours is K. Colleen, but I like both K. Quinn, and K. Quinlan. My husband also gunned hard for K. Cameron.

heather said...

Since you liked Tate for part of the boy name, what about Tate for a girl? Or Tatum and Tate for short?
Tatum Quinn is great!

Patricia said...

I love Phoebe Jane; Phoebe Quinn is nice too if you want to match 'Finn'. I think Phoebe fits the description you have for your little girl in every way. Beckett and Phoebe sound distinctive together. No reason not to choose your favorite name, which your husband loves too: Phoebe!

Missy ~ said...

What about the name Ayla (I believe from The Clan of the Cave Bear series)? My cousin named their baby this last year and it was the first time I had ever heard it used so I don't believe it is very popular. Ayla Quinn sounds great!

Patti said...

I also thought of Tatum Quinn when reading your e-mail.

I think you have a great list of names and particularly like Beatrix Quinn & Sawyer Quinn.

Good Luck!

StephLove said...

For you I like Harper, London, Phoebe and Violet. I wouldn't normally choose London but the story is so romantic, I'm swayed toward it. Still, I'm always in favor of going with a name you've loved a long time, and Phoebe fits that bill. Phoebe Quinn sounds great.

My favorite female author is Margaret Atwood, so I'll throw Margaret into the mix.

The Mrs. said...

Phoebe is a strong and ultra-feminine character in Louisa May Alcott's 'Eight Cousins' & ' Rose in Bloom'. Phoebe is also a highly sought (and adamantly unattainable) character in Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'.

And, perhaps it doesn't matter, but the Pheobe bird is both musical and charming.

Beckett and Phoebe are INCREDIBLY balanced. I'm impressed by your choice! The "matching" Finn & Quinn is subtle and clever. Nice.

Best of wishes!

Jen said...

This is a great list already. Beatrix is my favorite from it. A name that came to mind is Sylvia. Friends of ours used this recently and there's a literary reference too.

Alison aka Baby B said...

Ahh! My comment got eaten!

Long story short: LOVE Beatrix! If your husband doesn't love the x, Beatrice was a character in Much Ado About Nothing.

There are a lot of other literary B names out there, if another little one does happen to be in the future. I wouldn't worry about that. Or, you could just break the B trend with something that goes well with the first two names.

Hope T. said...

Another vote for Phoebe. Love it!

christine said...

I love both Beatrix and Phoebe, but I usually don't like using names that start with the same letter, so I lean towards Phoebe.

Don't know if you care for him or not, but maybe Marlowe, for Christopher. Great literary connotation, and I think it is very cute on a girl. Marlowe Quinn.

Or there is Meredith for George Meredith. If you don't hate two middle names Jane Austen Quinn _____ could be fun, but perhaps is then too literary?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Love Beatrix and Flannery. I knew a little girl named Flannery when I worked at summer camp...its the only time I've heard the name and it was adorable on a girl but I think it will grow up well too! Seems to fit all the criteria perfectly.

beyond said...

One of my favorite writers is Eudora (Welty). I think you have a great list, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyways...
I love Phoebe Quinn best from your list. Beckett and Phoebe. Swoon.
I also like Beatrix a lot but I like it less with Beckett.
Then I like Violet for the same reason that you don't: I like the repeated T ending for both children.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I love Pheobe Quinn!! The fact that it's been your favourite
name since high school makes me like it even better!! I do like Beatrix, but I agree with you that if you had a third child they may feel a bit left out if they are the only one without a B name! Good luck! It's nice to see a list of names that have so much meaning and so much thought has gone into!

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I would assume Sawyer Quinn and Eliot Quinn were boys. I like London and Phoebe best.

the post girl in dc said...

I love the idea you're running with, so here are my (maybe wacky) ideas. I LOVE Flannery, since O'Connor is one of my favorite authors.
Flannery Quinn, great as Swistle suggested. Flannery Blue I also like. Go full literary with Flannery Prynne (Hester Prynne).
I'm also drawn to Jamaica Kincaid's name. Kincaid has an interesting consonance. Beckett and Kincaid. No obvious nicknames either.

Anonymous said...

What about Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird)? Beck and Scout and cute together!!

Anonymous said...

YES!!! One of my favourite posts lately!!!!
AMAZING choices :) Phoebe is adorable! all of them are amazing. I am just going to throw out the literary unique names I know:
Anastasia, Arabella,Cecelia, Flora, Georgiana, Cressida, Desdemona, Imogen

i LOVE the name Imogen... Imogen quinn i think its cute :)

All the best


Megz said...

I like London Grace and Beatrix Belle from your list. Shame you don't like Bronte as I think it has the perfect match and rock star style of Beckett.

A couple of others you might consider (or may be good middle names):
Joyce (for James Joyce, Irish poet, both literary and honoring your Irish roots)
Shelley (for Mary or Percy Shelley)

London Joyce could work, or Shelley Quinn, or Phoebe Joyce (lol, just realised I know a Phoebe Joyce).


Mrs. Dennis said...

I love Sawyer Quinn, it goes nicely with Beckett Finn. Sawyer and Beckett!

Only thing that comes to mind as a con is the character "Sawyer" from LOST-- that name has a male connotation for me, but it may work very well, especially with the androgynous nature of Beckett.

Speaking of TV characters, the female lead cop from "Castle" is Beckett. So I guess you can't win!


Megan said...

Someone beat me to it, but my suggestion is Tatum for a girl. I also LOVE Flannery and tried very hard to talk my husband into that one! My BF just had a little boy and named him Beckett. I wonder why this name is all the sudden being used more?

Frazzled Mom said...

I also immediately thought of Tatum Quinn. I was almost expecting to see it on your discard pile for some reason because it seems so obvious. I sense Phoebe is an up-and-coming name that will get popular, for what it's worth.

When you described how you imagined your daughter, I though of a little girl in my daughter's preschool class named Greenly. It sounds like a name you might like based on what you said; it's unusual, and somewhat unisex, and seems spunky to me. The girl I know named Greenly is cute and blonde. Truthfully, I don’t think it’s a name just any kid could pull off, but she makes the name appealing. This is coming from someone who likes somewhat unusual names, but is not a fan of surnames-as-first names and prefers distinctly feminine girls’ names.

Anonymous said...

Love Beatrix Blue!

Tabitha, Emerette, Miranda, Imogen, Deirdre are some other ides :)

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria, The Awesome said...

I love love love the name Violet. I think it is so pretty. :). I also agree with other posts, too, about the name Phoebe. If you've loved it since high school, then why not? I think it goes well with the name Beckett.

P.S. Am I the only one that noticed how the middles names are Finn and Quinn and immediately thought of Glee??? :)

Abby@AppMtn said...

Have you considered Hadley Quinn? Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, known as Hadley, was Ernest Hemingway's first wife, before he hit it big.

It gives Hadley a literary air, even if she was the wife-of, not the writer. But she was part of that same circle, and I've always thought she was an interesting figure.

Michele said...

ooh ooh ooh! I have the perfect name!

FABLE. Obviously literary, but not in a 'named after' kind of way. Also completely underutilized.

Love it.

Amy said...

Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful comments! We're currently leaning towards Phoebe, London, Harper, or Sawyer -- although it continues to change daily. I loved the suggestions of Flannery and Tatum and have officially added them to the list :) We did consider Hadley early on, but it just didn't stick (because I think it sounds too much like Hailey and most people don't recognize the literary association.) We also quite liked Marlowe, but one of our friends recently named her daughter that. I do like the name Greenly, but it reminds me of a soap opera character and doesn't seem very literary. One poster mentioned she liked our discarded name, Bronte. Anyone else think that should still be a contender? Even if we don't put the umlaut over the e? I thought we had ruled it out, but perhaps we should reconsider? Thank you again for all of your comments and suggestions, please keep them coming!!!

PS. We're still really stuggling with a middle name for London. London Quinn? London Blue? What do you think?

Allie said...

Don't reconsider Bronte. Without the umlaut I think it would get mispronounced, and I also think it sounds unpleasant. For rock star literary little girls, Phoebe and Flannery get my vote. But why haven't you considered Quinn as a first name? It's lovely!

Patricia said...

So happy for you that you went with your first love, Phoebe! Phoebe Quinn is lovely and seems to have everything you were looking for in your daughter's name. Congratulations!

Lisa said...

Congrats on Phoebe Quinn! Sometimes it takes a while for the husbands to come around! :)