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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby Girl Ho, Sister to Clare Elizabeth

Rebecca writes:
One of my dearest friends has been following you for years and I've definitely become a loyal reader these past few months. My husband and I are expecting our 2nd daughter and we just can't seem to agree on a name. Not really, anyway. We practically chose our daughter's name when we were on our honeymoon (after a character in a book we were reading at the time, and loved) - a full 3 years in advance of her arrival! But apparently, that's all the inspiration we have. Now that we're dreaming up names for a second girl, we're stuck. It seems to be the classic problem.. I come up with a long list of lovely names and my husband vetos almost all of them.

We're due the first week of December and our first daughter is Clare Elizabeth. Our last name sounds like "Ho" (all jokes about Heidi, Thali, Randie, and Harry/Harriet have been made, I promise). My husband and his family are Chinese-Canadian.

We shy away from names that are trendy. For example, Avery was on our list until we discovered that there are 4 at our daughter's daycare centre. We seem drawn to fairly traditional names. Our top 5 so far are:

Charlotte (Charlie)
Madeline (Maddy)
Margaret (Maggie)
Catherine/Katherine (Cate/Kate)

The predicament is that I love Julia and my husband dramatically prefers Kate. Julia's at the bottom of his favs and Cate is at the bottom of mine.

The other predicament is that we have almost no plan for a middle name. My family tradition would be to choose something from the family but there are some slim pickings (Joan, Evelyn, Dorothy, Louise, Kathleen, Eva, Theresa, Cynthia for example). I would love to choose a middle name that leant itself to an initial-based nickname .. like Charlotte Joan (CJ) or AJ, JJ, JD, etc. My husband "refuses, under any circumstances to call (his) daughter by her initials." Ideally the middle name would come from the list above but feel free to offer some new suggestions for a middle name. We may just have to break with tradition this time.

Finally, I don't like aliteration and I'm not sure that I like both daughters having a hard 'C' sound at the front of their names. Hence my reservation with Cate.

Thanks so much to you and your readers!

Let's see what happens when we get rid of both Julia and Cate. That leaves Charlotte, Madeline, and Margaret. And you have GREAT family names for the middle name! Joan, Evelyn, Louise, and Eva are my favorites.

My own favorite of the three remaining names is Margaret, and I like it with any of those middle names. I particularly like it with the shorter middle names, since that gives a balanced feeling with your first daughter's name: one longer name and one shorter. Clare Elizabeth and Margaret Joan, or Clare Elizabeth and Margaret Eva.

But Madeline and Charlotte also work well with the middle names: Madeline Joan, Madeline Louise, Charlotte Joan, Charlotte Louse.

I think we'd better have a poll. I'll include all five of your finalists. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name update! Rebecca writes:
Our baby girl arrived a little bit ahead of schedule - November 28th, 2010. Your comments really helped us come to a decision on her name. In fact, your suggestion of removing both Julia and Cate from our short list helped us realize that we really didn't want Julia eliminated from contention. Sometimes being told that you can't have something only makes you want it more, doesn't it? So, that's all it took! Our 2nd daughter is Julia Louise Ho and she's truly lovely. We couldn't be happier. Thanks for all your help.


Suzanne said...

Your list all goes so well together - I actually have a friend named Kathrine with two daughters, Margaret and Charlotte. They're all so classic and elegant.

If you use Louise (or my favorite alternative, Louisa) as a middle name, you have some super cute nicknames with your top three:
Maggie Lou
Maddie Lou
Charlie Lou

Or use Joan as a middle:
Maggie Jo
Maddie Jo
Charlie Jo

Or use your family names as first and middle names:
Evelyn Louise - Evie Lou
Eva Louise

They're good middle name/first name combos without using the initials your husband hates.

Good luck! I don't think you could possibly make a BAD choice!

ahmielyn said...

I love Margaret Eva, mostly because a traditional nickname for Margaret is Daisy. Daisy and Clare!

beyond said...

Great list! I especially like Margaret for you. Clare and Maggie.
Another possibility might be Adele. Adele Kathleen, Clare and Adele.
Or Elsa! Elsa Joan, Clare and Elsa. I like it!
I think you have a pretty awesome selection of family names to choose from for a mn. We should all be so lucky...
Louise is one of my all-time favorite names, and I wish I could convince you to use it as a first name... (Clare and Louise. SWOON.)
Good Luck!

kanah said...

I once knew a baby girl named Charlie Kate. You could definitely do Charlotte Kate/Katherine/Cate/Catherine. Margaret Joan with nn Maggie Jo is precious, too! For what it counts, my middle name is Louise, and I've always hated it, especially when I was growing up. Best of luck!

Catherine said...

We have a Julia so I would love to convince you to use it - I truly love it - but unfortunately I can't. Since your husband isn't on board I suggest Margaret from the other choices. I'm a big fan of the name by itself as well as the nicknames.

Patricia said...

I like Julia best with Clare. They're both short and sweet, but also sophisticated, no-nickname names. I love Cate/Kate but think it's too similar to Clare. How about Julia Katherine? I think it goes well with Clare Elizabeth. And the name would include both your husband's favorite and yours. (I noted that while Julia is not at the top of your husband's list, it's still ON his list.)

I like the the other names on your list with Julia too:
Julia Madeline
Julia Margaret
Julia Charlotte

Is Elizabeth a family name? If so, you might want to give this baby a family mn too, perhaps Julia Kathleen instead of Julia Katherine.

My second favorite from your list is Margaret "Maggie".

Best wishes!

Megz said...

I like Julia best from your list. Charlotte and Madeline seem quite trendy if that is what you're wanting to avoid. And I'm not sure I like the sound of Cate Ho, it sounds like Cato to me and I'd be wondering if that was the first name or the surname.

I'd pick either Julia Margaret or Julia Kathleen.

Good luck.

StephLove said...

I should say first I like ALL the names on your list so it's hard to choose. Going just on the names, it would be a toss-up for me between Julia and Margaret, but Margaret sounds like it might be better middle ground for you.

I liked the idea of Margaret Joan (Maggie Jo) or Margaret Louise (Maggie Lou). I think Margaret Joan is my pick.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Margaret, but when I said Margaret Ho--it made me think of the comedienne Margaret Cho, who is fantastic, but may be not to your liking?

Kendra said...

I just have to echo the first commenter, since they beat me to it! I know someone with the middle name Louise and being called "Lou" was a term of endearment for her. Would -Lou make you like any of your names more? Frankly I like all 3 when you include -Lou
Maggie Lou
Maddy Lou
Charlie Lou

The same with Jo! I think my faves are Maggie Lou and Charlie Jo.

Carolyn said...

I like Charlie pronounced with a soft /sh/ sound. (think Sharly) as a nn for Charlotte.

The other idea I had was combining Kate and Julia, to get Katya.

M.Amanda said...

From the list, I like Maggie and Charlie. Apart from the list, a common nickname for Cecilia is Cece or C.C. You'd have an older name, no hard c, and initials-type nickname without really using initials. Plus, it sounds cute with Clare - Clare and Cecilia, Clare and Cece.

Susan said...

Your list looks wonderful, and I think all of your choices sound great with Clare. Another name I think goes wonderfully well with Clare is Audrey.

I can't agree with you that you have "slim pickings" for middle names. Like your first-name list, your middle-name list if full of riches! I think "Louise" is possibly the best-ever middle name, because of how fun it is to say it and how perky it sounds with almost any first name. "Come over here, please, Ms Audrey Louise!" Or Ms Maggie Louise, or Ms Charlotte Louise. LOVE those names!

Patricia said...

I love the name you chose! Julia Louise is a wonderful name and it goes so well with your older daughter's name too.

Claie Elizabeth
Julia Louise

Absolutely perfect!

Congratulations to all of your family.