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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Sheelee

Sara writes:
We are due with a delivery surprise on March 22. We have a daughter named Audrey Caroline and a son named Oliver Andrew, and we miscarried a baby that we named Christian. Our last name is pronounced "SHE lee."

For each of our pregnancies, we have tossed around Greta or Gretchen, Rachel, and Rebekah. We don't like the nicknames for Rebekah, so it usually gets crossed off the list early. For this pregnancy, we had agreed on Greta since about 20 weeks, but now I'm having second thoughts. It has been hard to find a middle name for Greta, too. I like the flow of my daughter's name, with the longer name in the middle, and I really don't care for traditional middle names like Lynn, Leigh, Michelle, etc. My husband likes Greta Louise, but it seems a little unfair to give one daughter the middle name "Caroline" and stick the other one with "Louise."

We are much closer in style on boys' names. We both like more classic, traditional names. We are both OK with Henry and Benjamin, but it just isn't *the* name. He likes George, Jefferson, Lewis, and Franklin. I am looking for something with a little more spunk, like Levi, Eli or Elias, I like double names like John Paul or John David, too We love Alexander, but only for a middle name.

We are trying to avoid using another name that starts with a vowel, and names that start with B to avoid the initials BS. We'd like either the first or the middle name to be a Saints' name or Biblical.

Here's our no list, most because one of us doesn't like it, but some because they have been taken by family members.

Girls: Abigail, Anna, Beatrice, Beverly, Bridget, Camille, Camilla, Cecilia, Claire (although it could possible work in the middle), Colette, Cora, Delilah, Eleanor, Eliza, Eva, Felicity, Gabrielle, Gemma, Genevieve, Hannah, Joy, Julia, Leah, Lydia, Madeline, Matilda, Naomi, Sophie, Sophia, Stella, Veronica, Vivian

Brice, Cormac, Dominic, Gabriel, Hugh, Isaac, John, Jude, Leo, Lewis, Linus, Nathan, Nathaniel, Roderick, Walker, Xavier, Zachary

I think some of the problem is that my husband has an immediate reaction to a name, it is a yes or it is a no. That's why our no lists are so long. He says he doesn't want to make a list, he's only looking for one name. I need to try a name out, and think about it for awhile. I'm looking forward to your suggestions and reader ideas, too. Thanks!

Why is it that men are so often difficult about things like this? They don't want to make lists or consider or discuss or to come up with their own suggestions, they only want godlike veto power. Sigh. Well, we must work with the chromosomes to which we are yoked.

Oh, I like Greta Louise! I think Louise has sass. It's one of my mom's favorite names for the middle-name slot because it's so fun to SAY. Plus as you know there's a Saint Louise so that takes care of the Biblical/Saint requirement. I think it's GREAT. Greta Louise Sheelee. I also like:

Greta Helena Sheelee
Greta Josephine Sheelee
Greta Lucia Sheelee
Greta Naomi Sheelee
Greta Susannah Sheelee

But if you decide not to use Greta, I suggest Margaret. It's such a flexible name, with so many nicknames including Greta and Gretchen but also including Meg and Maggie and even Daisy. It's wonderful with the sibling names and with your surname. Plus, there's a Saint Margaret. I think Margaret Louise is adorable and also fun to say, and if you nickname her Daisy you have Daisy Louise which is even MORE fun to say.

Another name I like for you is Clara. Clara Sheelee. For middle names I like:

Clara Jane Sheelee
Clara Josephine Sheelee
Clara Katherine Sheelee
Clara Madeleine Sheelee
Clara Margaret Sheelee
Clara Rebekah Sheelee
Clara Rosemary Sheelee
Clara Violet Sheelee

For boys, I have an idea. Your husband likes George, but you want a little more spirit. My mom knows a George who goes by Geordie. Even the nickname Georgie gives the name a lighter touch.

Another possibility is Charles, which has the spunky nickname Charlie. Charles/Charlie Sheelee. Too close to Charlie Sheen, maybe.

With Oliver, one of my favorite names is Elliot. I think it has a similar yet distinctive sound. I know you're trying to avoid another vowel, but I really like it! Elliot Sheelee.

Another good one with Oliver is Simon. It avoids the vowel, though it gives you alliteration: Simon Sheelee. Or Silas: Silas Sheelee.

Oh, or Reuben! Reuben Sheelee.

I really like Felix: Felix Sheelee.

Ivan---once again, a vowel. Perhaps vowels are particularly nice with your surname. Ivan Sheelee.

And, er, Edmund. Vowel. But so nice! Edmund Sheelee.

Oh, here's one with no vowel initial: Quentin Sheelee.

And another: Nicholas Sheelee.

A recent favorite of mine is Frederick: Frederick Sheelee.

Name update 03-20-2010! Sara writes:
Henry Alexander was born on March 18 at 12:13 pm. He was 8 lbs, 12 oz., and 20 inches long. Big Sister Audrey and Big Brother Oliver are adjusting well. Thanks to everyone for your name suggestions!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Moseley

Sara writes:
HELP! I'm due in March but we are not finding out the sex until d-day! My husband and I can agree on a few boy names but still haven't picked one and are very welcome to more ideas. If a boy his middle name with be Thomas after both our fathers. Girl names we can't agree on at all! We don't want a super popular name but nothing too out there either. Last name is Moseley.

Names we are considering for boys:
Hudson (I LOVE this but is it getting too popular?)
Bentley (Does it sound ok with Moseley?)

Girl names:
Addallee (Add-a-lee just for clarification)
We don't have to have an A name just the only ones we like so far start with A's!

Any suggestions you can give us?

Hudson is indeed increasing in popularity (from #997 in 1995 to #176 in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration, and my guess is that it's not done increasing. BUT---I don't think it's too popular. Then again, I don't even think the Top Ten are too popular, so it might be too popular for your tastes.

I find the repeating -ley sounds of Bentley Moseley hard to say, but again, that's purely a matter of taste.

One of my favorite surname names is Archer, and I think it sounds great with your surname: Archer Thomas Moseley. I love that. Archer isn't in even the Top 1000 yet, though I've seen it on a lot of people's Names To Consider lists, so I suspect it's close to breaking in. One possible problem: the initials ATM.

Another of my favorite surname names is Wilson. Wilson Thomas Moseley. That name has been hanging around in the 400s and 500s for the last 50 years. That doesn't mean it won't suddenly start getting more popular, but it's a better bet than the names that are already swooping up.

This is a long shot, but I wonder if you'd like the name Fisher? I'd never considered it until I read a book by Joshilyn Jackson that had a child named Fisher in it, and by the end of the book it was my first choice for a middle name for my son pseudonymed Henry, if we'd used Henry for his first name as we almost did. Wouldn't that be cute? Henry Fisher! Well, but maybe it works better as a middle name than as a first name.

Miller is another good one if you like alliterative names. Miller Thomas Moseley. Miller isn't in the Top 1000 and hasn't been since 1943.

Shepherd is a name I would consider using just to get the great nickname Shep. Shepherd Thomas Moseley.

I'm surprised the name Turner isn't more popular: it seems so USABLE because of its similarity to names like Tanner and Tyler, but it's barely cracked the Top 1000. Turner Thomas Moseley.

Truman, too, seems like it's been neglected---it's another one barely in the Top 1000. Truman Thomas Moseley.

And Lawson! I love Lawson! And there it is, wasting away in the 600s/700s! Lawson Thomas Moseley.

I love the name Anderson. Anderson Thomas Moseley. It's rising in popularity, in the 300s right now. And there's the ATM problem again.

More common but still not overused (it's only in the 200s, though still rising, and the character on the TV show Lost may make it seem more common) is Sawyer. Sawyer Thomas Moseley.

If you weren't using Thomas as the middle name, I'd recommend Edison: barely in the Top 1000 (didn't even quite make it in 2008), and with the easy nicknames of Ed and Eddie.

Keaton was rising for awhile, but it's stayed in the 300s for the last dozen years. Keaton Thomas Moseley.

If you tend to like surname names, one good idea is to look back in your family trees for usable surnames. Then, even if the name does get popular, you still have strong reasons for using it---and you can say, "It's a family name," which I've found is the best name-reaction-diffusing statement of all.

Now, girl names. I think Annsley Moseley has too much of a matching-endings problem for my tastes, but that's only my tastes. Addallee Moseley, too, has matching endings, but not as much as Annsley: just the -ley sound, rather than the whole -sley sound, and a 3-syllable name makes it less noticeable than when both the first name and surname have two syllables.

Adelyn is similar to Addallee but without the double -ley problem. Adelyn Moseley.

I think the -ella ending would work very well with your surname. Ooo, here's a pretty name I just found in The Baby Name Wizard the other day and have been looking for a chance to recommend: Abriella. Abriella Moseley. I love it. I don't know if it's an Abb sound or an Abe sound; you could probably take your pick. Abb would give you the nickname Abby; Abe would prevent it if you don't like that nickname and would prefer Bree or Ella.

I like Rosabella, too, and Arabella. Rosebella Moseley. Arabella Moseley. Roseabella might be too matched, with the -ose- sounds in both names---or maybe it's a very nice tied-in sound, I can't tell.

Or Ariella. Ariella Moseley.

Or Mirabella. Mirabella Moseley.

I wonder if you would like any of these names:

Abilena Moseley
Amabel Moseley
Amalia Moseley
Anya Moseley
Arianna Moseley
Aurelia Moseley
Avalon Moseley
Bronwyn Moseley
Calliope/Kalliopi Moseley
Cambria Moseley
Ellington Moseley
Emmalyn Moseley
Harper Moseley
Hollis Moseley
Isadora Moseley
Jensen Moseley
Juniper Moseley
Keelin Moseley
Kerrigan Moseley
Kianna Moseley
Lorelei Moseley
Lucianna Moseley
Verity Moseley
Willa Moseley

Friday, February 26, 2010

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy or Girl Ens!

Baby Boy Dickens

Jennifer writes:
We are expecting our second son on or around March 24th. Our first son is named Henry David Dickens. I’d like a name that “goes with” Henry but it doesn’t have to be too matchy-matchy. They’re going to be different people, after all.

We have a fairly short list of candidates, but I'm not sure we have found the perfect choice yet. I’m a little nervous about having namer’s remorse. I feel that way a little bit about my son, Henry. I think he might have made a good Linus, and I am sad that we didn't consider it when we picked his name. (Perhaps we did, and I forget.) My biggest concern is that there’s another name out there that I haven’t seen that I might think is perfect. That's why I'm coming to you!

My husband prefers fairly standard names, nothing too weird. I prefer “normal” names, but ones that are not too popular. I love Ethan and think it goes really nicely with Henry, but it’s #2 in popularity right now! I hate the recently made up slew of “-en” names (Jaylen, Braden, etc.) and I eschew tradesman names or place names with a few exceptions. I like short, consonant-heavy, old-fashioned names that are nickname proof.

Here is my list: Rudy (think hipsters from the 50s, not Guliani), Dean, Stanley, Simon, Earl, Edison (don’t like Ed but Sonny might work).
Here is my husband’s list: Ben, Sam, Owen, Nelson, Thomas, Linus, Atticus.

I’m not too worried about the middle name. We have lots of names we do like so I think finding a middle name will be a pretty easy task. I'm more concerned with the first name at this point. So, are there any other options out there that we might be overlooking that you and your good readers can think of?

Thanks so much!!

Adam Dickens, Henry and Adam
Elias Dickens, Henry and Elias
Everett Dickens, Henry and Everett
Franklin Dickens, Henry and Franklin
Isaac Dickens, Henry and Isaac
Joel Dickens, Henry and Joel
Karl Dickens, Henry and Karl
Nathaniel Dickens, Henry and Nathaniel
Rufus Dickens, Henry and Rufus
Russell Dickens, Henry and Russell
Silas Dickens, Henry and Silas
Warren Dickens, Henry and Warren

I particularly like Isaac, Elias, and Rufus.

Name update 04-30-2010! Jeni writes:
Linus Nelson Dickens
March 22, 2010 3:30 PM
7 pounds, 4 ounces
21.5 inches long

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Changing a Toddler's Middle Name

Katie writes:
I'm wondering if anyone has advice or an opinion on changing a child's name after the birth certificate has been signed. Not his first or last name, but his middle name. The child is 2 1/2 currently and it's eating at me, as silly as it sounds.

I always hated naming my children because it was like shooting skeet. I would toss up a name and hubby would shoot it down. Never did he toss up a name and it made me nuts. We ended up naming our first Gabriel after I tossed a little, checkout impulse buy baby name book at him and told him, "Pick a name!" Gabriel was the first one he came too that he liked. Naming our next three was similar. But we always tried to have some sort of family connection -- espcially in the middle name.

With our last -- number 5 -- I tossed out the name Logan thinking he'd shoot it down as being 'too soap-opera-y'. Instead he glommed onto it, with our older children standing around. I was super surprised until Gabe shouted, "It's Wolverine's real name from X-men!" As it was a favorite family movie, I knew there'd be no way I could get out of the name Logan. Plus, when he's older I thought he'd appreciate it.

Middle name suggestions at the time ranged from Ryan to Wolverine. I liked Xavier (because 1. if we were going to go the x-men route Xavier is one of the other main characters, 2. I like it, and 3. how cool would Logan X. H_____man look as a signature?) But it didn't have any sentimental value. So, obviously nixing Wolverine, we went with Ryan -- the last name of hubby's best friend and the one who brought us together. Only after the fact did I realize Logan Ryan H_____man sound way too heavy on 'n' sound at the end.

Now Logan is 2 1/2 and I'm seriously contemplating changing his middle name if it's not too outrageously expensive, difficult, or cause future problems (like with Social Security Number/IRS, etc.)

If anyone has thoughts, advice, encouragement, or warnings concerning this issue, please share!

Name update 03-05-2010! Katie writes:
Thank you all for helping us get our head on straight. You know how sometimes you need someone to mentally shake your head like an Etch-a-Sketch so you can stop dwelling on something? Well, we had Etch-a-Sketch head and you all helped clear it.

Telling the friend and taking back the honor was the main reason we really hesitated and, with the comments focusing mainly on that, we realized that, while the friend probably wouldn't care (he's pretty happy-go-lucky) his friendship and the past mean too much for us. Logan is our last baby and it's fitting that his name brings us back to our beginning.

As for the 'an' 'an' 'an' at the end of all the names that bugged me -- knowing that the commenters didn't think it sounded bad has helped me get over it. I'm used to critical people who pick apart a name so I guess I was feeling too defensive.

So -- thanks for the positive comments! Logan Ryan shall remain Logan Ryan and I'll find something more serious to worry about.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Scandinavian Names

Laura writes:
We need some help: we are stuck in that spot where no names are good enough but there are plenty of bad names to go around! We are expecting a boy-bundle, half-Norwegian and half-New Yorker. Our 3.5 year old daughter is Sofia Eloise Astri Evenson (Sofia because we did not know how damn popular it was, Eloise for Eloise at the Plaza, and Astri for her two Norwegian Great Grandmothers, who shared this name - also, SEA...why not!?). We and she call her "Fee" or "Fia", NOT Sofie.

In the boy department, we are looking for something Scandinavian, and not sure if we will do two middle names again. We plan to have at least one more child, so I guess we can break away from that tradition now or continue on. We do plan to live in Norway at some point, so the name has to have crossover potential, without making him feel like he has two separate names.

Names we have talked about (and then dismissed, for a variety of reasons) include:
Bruno (too Germanic and gruff - but both my maiden name and husband's middle name {from his mother's maiden name} are Brown/Bruun)
Axel/Aksel (too heavy)
Odin (too presumptuous: the "All Father" of Norse mythology...very anti the typical Norwegian modesty)
Finn (husband's aversion)
Dashiell/Dashel nn Dash (husband's aversion)
Aleksander (my opinion - common and not sure about the Slavic spelling)
Joakim/Joachim (Y-sounding J in Norwegian is confusing/my aversion)
Lucas (too popular here and in Norway)
Jonas (too popular - in Norway, but a family name for me, and that J!)
Kaspar/Jasper/Jesper (the friendly ghost, and confusing Y-sounding J in the final option)
Karl (lots of these in Norway)
Stellan (too Swedish...)
Johan/Johann (too Swedish)
Ole/Ola (SO Norwegian but likely to be mispronounced and assumed a girly name here)
Lars (name of my husband's ONLY uncle, who incidentally does not speak with the family)
Miles (we both love it, even though it's not Scandinavian: an outlier, because it's as popular as Sofia. I also love Mila as a girl's name, so I can let this go for now)
Espen (husband's aversion)
Carsten (husband's aversion)
Kai (too common in Norway)

Middle Names (eg names we wouldn't consider putting first):
Edward (a family name)
Jonas (family name)
Hans (family name)
Erling (pronounced OUR-ling, family name)

Any help would be appreciated - we are definitely stuck and probably going to start asking grandparents soon, which is a BIG MISTAKE!

What I know about Scandinavian names can fit in...well, in the "Nordic" section of the revised edition of The Baby Name Wizard. I can look at the list and say I like Anders and Gustav and Henrik and Leif and Linus and Mathias and Mikkel and Niels and Oscar and Soren and Torsten, but I don't know how popular those names are or which Nordic area they're most associated with. Is there a Scandinavian Namer in the house?

Name update 05-19-2010! Laura writes:
I have been meaning to write to thank you and your posters' for helping us find a name we love for our son.

Miles Olav Edward was born on April 2. We chose to go with the name we both love and put our Norwegian nod (Olav V was a recent and well-loved Norwegian king) plus a nod to my family this time (Edward is my dad's middle name) in secondary spots.

Thanks so much for helping us!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Surprising Names

I was looking through my 2004-2005 baby name lists for a post I was writing on my main blog about choosing the twins' names, and I was surprised by some of the names that made my list:



Not because I dislike the names, but because they're not my usual style and I don't even remember considering them. Do you have names you're surprised you considered?

Baby Girl P. Michelle

Peyton writes:
So, I'm not really looking for more potential names, because we're really kind of happy with the one's we've got it narrowed down to--I'm mostly just hoping for opinions from the general populace rather than my limited circle of friends/family.

I'm due to have our first, a girl, on March 18. In a pseudo-tradition that my mother decided to make up, the first girl has the same first initial as her mother, and the middle name "Michelle," so we were looking for P names. Our short list currently consists of

Pandora, which is my husband's favorite. He likes the mythology reference, the pop-culture familiarity, that it sounds modern without actually being "popular" in real use; I'm a bit put off by the pop-culture of it--its use in Avatar and the internet radio station, among others. If there were just the mythological reference, I'd totally go for it, but the other stuff kind of annoys me. And I don't care for any of the nicknames we've come up with (except "Pan," which I could see on a teen, but not so much on a toddler). Most of our friends (who are mostly bohemian-type sci-fi/fantasy geeks, and proud of it) seem to like this one best, though.

Priscilla, which seems to be our middle ground. We both like it (it's really amazing how much the name has grown on us). But most of our friends (see previous geeky mention) think "prissy, snooty princess." There's a high likelihood that any daughter of mine will be just that (really, I'm a lot like that), so I'm not sure I mind too much. Most of our family has been voting for this one. They think Pandora is too "out there."

and Portia, which is my favorite--I think it sounds strong, but still feminine--but everyone in my husband's family reacts with "That's a car." This has resulted in a large bruise in the middle of my forehead from the number of facepalm reactions I've had. Maybe it's the rural American upbringing? Or am I really the last person outside of liberal arts academia to realize that Portia was a woman's name millennia before Henry Ford was a twinkle in his daddy's eye? I can't tell if it's just them, or if everyone is going to think the same thing (if it's everyone, I don't think I could handle that much frustration). My husband has said that with this name, she's not allowed to turn 4 until she can respond to every "Like the car?" with "No, you , like the Shakespearean heroine." He insists that we start training her at the same time we're teaching her "What does a cow say?"

My husband originally nixed Portia back in my first trimester. We ran a poll on Pandora and Priscilla on facebook, and then I resubmitted Portia for his consideration about a month ago. My husband keeps on insisting to me that Portia is the only name I'm ever going to be happy with, and so that's what we're going to name her, even though he's made it no secret that he doesn't really care for it and it would be a name he have to get used to, since Porsche is also his first thought when hearing it, and he just doesn't see it on a person. I don't really believe that he's okay with it when he constantly feels the need to remind me what a compromise it would be on his part. I really do like Priscilla, so I'm not completely sure which name I would be sorrier to not use. I could handle dropping Pandora pretty easily (DH also likes other names that end in "-dora" for possible future daughters), but every time I come across a reference to the myth, I can't help thinking, "Man, that's a great namesake."

None of these are really names that we ever thought would be on the short list, but we've come to really like them. My husband has given his input and is now insisting that it's entirely up to me. GAH!

Here is the problem: searching for inspiration while naming products, many companies turned to myths. The names are older than the products---but the products come to mind, even for those of us familiar with the myths. I knew the story of Pandora's box long before the radio station came along, and I still think of the myth when I hear the name---but the radio station has become another association.

Same with Portia: it's not (necessarily) ignorance that causes people to think of the car, and it's not that they think the car has first dibs on the name, it's that the car's existence has created an additional association---and unfortunately has caused the name to sound like a product. Mercedes, too, was an excellent girl's name, but now it's a product and it doesn't matter who used the word first. It's sad, but I don't think it's a matter of educating the public, I think it's a matter of accepting that a name comes with ALL its associations, not just the one we like.

It does sound to me like your husband doesn't want to use the name Portia---or maybe he DOES want to, but wants to pin it on you when others don't like it. If you do end up using it, I suggest coming up with an answer to the car association that's quick and kind, and something you can say a million times without wanting to fling yourself from a cliff. Something like, "Oh! No. It's P-O-R-T-I-A. Like in Shakespeare." The "Oh!" is said as if you're a little surprised by the question. The rest is said as if OF COURSE the questioner knows Shakespeare, and that clearing up the spelling will clear up the confusion.

I looked up the name Priscilla in The Baby Name Wizard and learned something new: Priscilla is the pet form of the name Prisca. Prisca reminds me of the name Portia.

Everyone else, opinions? Pandora, Priscilla, or Portia?

Name update 06-28-2010! Peyton writes:
Portia Michelle was born on March 24. Apparently while I was pushing, my mother was on the phone, telling her mom that she thought we were going to go with Priscilla. We were just really getting used to the name attached to the baby, and really thinking we were okay with the dual connotations (especially when a couple of responses from strangers were "Oh, Shakespeare would be so proud!") when my parents went car shopping and came home with a Porsche Cayenne. They got a phenomenal deal on it, but (headdesk).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Johnson

Libby writes:
I am in desperate need of baby name help. We are having baby #2 in March 2010. Our 2 year old daughter is Lucy (formal name is Lucinda) and our last name is Johnson...
I want something traditional and strong, but not too common because of our last name. We don't know the gender of the baby.
Any ideas would be great!

For a girl:

Adelaide (Addie) Johnson; Lucinda and Adelaide, Lucy and Addie
Beatrix (Bee) Johnson; Lucinda and Beatrix, Lucy and Bee
Eleanor (Ellie, Nora) Johnson; Lucinda and Eleanor, Lucy and Ellie
Florence (Florrie) Johnson; Lucinda and Florence, Lucy and Florrie
Genevieve (Evie, Genna) Johnson; Lucinda and Genevieve, Lucy and Evie
Henrietta (Hennie) Johnson; Lucinda and Henrietta, Lucy and Hennie
Josephine (Josie) Johnson; Lucinda and Josephine, Lucy and Josie
Millicent (Millie) Johnson; Lucinda and Millicent, Lucy and Millie
Rosemary (Rosie) Johnson; Lucinda and Rosemary, Lucy and Rosie
Virginia (Ginnie) Johnson; Lucinda and Virginia, Lucy and Ginnie
Winifred (Winnie) Johnson; Lucinda and Winifred, Lucy and Winnie

For a boy:

Abraham (Abe) Johnson; Lucinda and Abraham, Lucy and Abe
August (Gus) Johnson; Lucinda and August, Lucy and Gus
Charles (Charlie) Johnson; Lucinda and Charles, Lucy and Charlie
Edmund (Eddie) Johnson; Lucinda and Edmund, Lucy and Eddie
Elias (Eli) Johnson; Lucinda and Elias, Lucy and Eli
Emmett Johnson; Lucinda and Emmett, Lucy and Emmett
Everett Johnson; Lucinda and Everett, Lucy and Everett
Frederick (Freddie) Johnson; Lucinda and Frederick, Lucy and Freddie
George (Geordie) Johnson; Lucinda and George, Lucy and Geordie
Oliver (Ollie) Johnson; Lucinda and Oliver, Lucy and Ollie
Theodore (Theo) Johnson; Lucinda and Theodore, Lucy and Theo
Wesley (Wes) Johnson; Lucinda and Wesley, Lucy and Wes

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Girl _______ Elizabeth M______y

Kelsie writes:
A friend of mine forwarded me your blog when I told her how much trouble we are having with a girl's name for our little one due in March. My husband and I have pretty similar styles so it hasn't been that hard to get a meeting of the minds, the only problem is we haven't found any names that "wow" us. We have two that we are both okay with, but I really feel like my daughter's name should be something that I just love. This is both of our first child, so we have no sibling names that we have to fit with.

I like traditional names but nothing too old-fashioned like Ruth, Pearl, or Jean. I think trendy names are okay as long as they aren't too far out there. I don't want an extremely common name like Jennifer or Stephanie, but if I fell in love with a common name I would probably go with it anyways. We have already decided on the middle name (which we want to keep as a middle name). Elizabeth has been a family name on my side for centuries. So we need ___ Elizabeth. Our last name is pretty common, it starts with an M and ends with a y, two syllables.

I like Mya and Mia, but neither one work with our last name. I loved the name Madeline, but I cannot deal with the nickname Maddy which my family is sure to use. So far we are stuck on Katelyn and Payton. Like I said, we both like the names but neither one of us love them. I keep thinking that it will come to me when I least expect it, but so far I've got nothing. I'm starting to worry that we will end up with a name that is "just ok." I have searched the baby name books but they are not very helpful and too overwhelming. Can you help us??

I remember this stage of baby naming so well! Paul and I would have a short list and I'd be like, "Any of these would be FINE and I'd be happy ENOUGH, but....*SIGH*." With one of my children, we went with FINE and I ended up loving the name. With one child, we went with a name we loved and I ended up having doubts about it. With one child, a name that was "fine" early in the pregnancy was "LOVE" by the end. And with two children, we went with LOVE names. The happy news, I think, is that NOW I'm happy with ALL the names.

Have you tried The Baby Name Wizard? (I'm linking to what appears to be the first edition because Amazon says they're selling the first/second editions as the same book; I wanted to be sure of getting a second edition so I bought my copy at a Barnes & Noble store.) One of the things I like about the book is that you can look up the names you like and get suggestions for other names you might like. For example, you like Katelyn/Kaitlyn, and The Baby Name Wizard suggests Makayla, Hailey, Ashlyn, Kaylee, and Jordyn. For Peyton/Payton, it suggests Skylar, Addison, Parker, Carson, and Kendall. For Mya/Maya: Zoe, Ava, Jada, Chloe, Nadia. For Mia: Zoe, Jada, Ava, Sofia, Lily. For Madeline: Isabelle, Angelina, Caroline, Lily, Sophia.

Then if any of those suggestions seem ALMOST but NOT QUITE, you can go look up THOSE names and find suggestions. So let's say you think, "Addison! YES...well, except for the nickname Addy." Then you can go look up Addison and find the suggestions Reagan, Emerson, Parker, Aubrey, and Mckenna.

PLUS, each name is put in categories, and then you can go look up those entire categories and see if anything appeals. Kaitlyn is "Bell Tones" and "The -ens." Payton is "Last Names First" and "Androgynous" and "The -ens." Mia and Maya are both "Short and Sweet" and "Nickname-Proof," and Mia is also "Nordic." Madeline is "Antique Charm" and "Literary and Artistic." If you look up "Nordic" you'll find 57 girl names including Annika, Britt, Elsa, Karina, Linnea, Malin, Maren, Minna, Thora. If you look up "Bell Tones" you'll find 60 girl names including Braelyn, Brinley, Cadence, Jaelyn, Kiley, Laney, Paisley, Tayla. If you look up "The -ens" you'll find 68 girl names including Adelyn, Emlyn, Janson, Jillian, Keelin, Larkin, Linden, Tamsin, and Teagan. If you look up "Antique Charm" you'll find 72 girl names including Annalise, Cecily, Genevieve, Georgia, Lucy, Molly, Nora, and Sadie.

I found that as I browsed the categories I pretty quickly found that I liked practically NO names in some of them and practically ALL the names in others. Finding your own naming style categories can help eliminate some of the overwhelmingness of the choices, and can also help make sure you use a name that will go well with names you may want to use for future children.

Name update 04-01-2010! Kelsie writes:
Well, like did turn into love for us with this name. Katelyn Elizabeth was born March 24, 2010, 7lbs2oz and 19 inches long. We had a backup list of names that we took to the delivery room with us, but didn't need it. When we laid our eyes on her, we felt like she was a Katelyn. Thank you for your help and for all the suggestions!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baby Girl Price

Robyn writes:
I think we have picked our name, but wanted to write you and see what you (and your readers) think, or could possible give any other ideas for us! J

Our Son is Cameron Ashton Roland, will be 4 in February. Ashton was because we liked the name, but not enough to use it as his first name. Roland is after my dad.

We are now expecting our daughter in March and trying to decide on a name that we both like.

favorites are:
Grace (Gracie)

other ideas were:
Caitlin (originally didn't like 2 C names, now we know a little girl with this name)

Middle name will be Joanna (or Joanne) after my mom – she wants it to be Joanna. And the question lies with, do we have 2 middle names with her as well???

We really like Old traditional names that will be a strong name when they grow up. Also don’t want there to be 5 of them in the same class! Didn’t think like that with Cameron, just liked the strong sounded aspect of it...

What we can't figure out is what nicknames she might be called (we aren't ones to shorten their name) or what possible bad names could come from it once teasing starts in school.

Really looking forward to your ideas! J

About two middle names: I think it depends in part on your family plans---but that it can still go either way. If you're stopping at two children, I think it would be nice for them to both have two middle names. If you're planning on more children (or even if you're not), then I think you could say the two middle name thing was a firstborn thing, and not do it for the others. Well, OR you could keep going with two middle names. You have a nice pattern set up: one name you liked but not enough to use as a first name, and one family name. If you have enough of both kinds of names to go around, it might be fun to keep going with that. For example, this baby girl could be ____ Caitlin Joanna Price.

The four finalist names all look good to me, nickname/teasing-wise. A Charlotte could be nicknamed Char or Lottie; Charlotte was the name of the spider in Charlotte's Web, so it's possible there could be some teasing there. A Scarlett could be nicknamed Lettie; I suppose someone mean might bring up Scar or Scarlet Letter, although surely they won't think of the Letter thing until high school English. Grace could get references to how her actual gracefulness fails to meet the expectations set by her name. A Kiera could be nicknamed Kiki.

If you want old, traditional, and strong, Charlotte and Grace are the best two on your list. If you're trying to avoid common names, Grace was #21 in 2008 and Charlotte was #87; however, Grace seems to have leveled off and even seems to be slightly decreasing in commonness, whereas Charlotte is still steadily rising. (Source: Social Security Administration.)

If you don't want two C names, Grace looks to me like the best bet, and Grace Joanna Price is a beautiful name. If you don't mind having two C names, Charlotte Joanna Price is also wonderful. Or if you want to use two middle names, maybe Grace Caitlin Joanna Price or Charlotte Sidney Joanna Price. Looking at the options, I think I prefer the names with just one middle name.

Everyone else, please weigh in on your favorite options---and can you think of any more nicknames or potential teasings?

Name update 04-22-2010! Robyn writes:
Thanks again for your (and your readers!) help!

Erica Lee Joanna was born on March 22 – and did, in fact, remain nameless for about 5 days.. Once I decided on the name, I couldn’t decide on the spelling! LOL

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Lutz

Amber writes:
We are expecting our first child at the end of March. We're not finding out the sex of the baby, I think we have a boy's name decided on. It's the girl's name that is giving us problems. It's hard to find names we both agree on. For a boy we have Oliver Matthew picked out. Matthew is my husbands first name. And Oliver I just LOVE.He didn't care for it at first, but is happy with the name now. He wants to call him Olly. Not sure if I'm crazy about the nickname, but I don't have to call him that. I also love Henry William, which is a family name on his side. (His dad is Henry William 3rd) Henry is also the husband's middle name, but he hates it.

There is one girl name we agree on, which is Meredith. I really like it, but I'm having such a hard time commiting to it. I think it's because there are other names I like more. Like Charlotte, my all time favorite. I also like Eliza, but he hated that one. My list also includes: Amelia, Liselotte, Hannah (he has a cousin named Hannah), Maragret, and some others that I don't remember without going look because the husband has vetoed them. I'm not even sure what names he likes for a girl other than Meredith. He doesn't mention them anymore. But he has mentioned Megan, Monica, Lauren, and such before. But I really don't care for them. I don't want a name that is too popular, unless I LOVE it. I seem to be more fond of names that have nicknames, but that's not required. I want a name that has substance and is feminine, but not girly. A name that will work for her at all stages of her life.

As for middle names. He wants to use mine, Leigh. Which I'm okay with if it sounds right. But I would rather the middle name be after his mom. Her name is Joanie Marie. Which I have had a hard time with. Joan is an option instead of Joanie. I am not fond of Marie, but I think Mae could possibly do the trick. I also like the idea of the nickname going with the middle name, if that makes sense. Such as Charlotte Joan (or Mae) and calling her Charlie Jo (or Mae) I also like Jane as a middle name, but I don't feel as if it honors his mom as much as Joan would.

Our last name is Lutz, so I've kind of ruled out S names. Mainly because if they ever have to fill out something with First initial and Full last name, it isn't pretty. Or if the name starts with an O the middle name can't start with a S for the same reason. I'm so picky, which is probably why this is so difficult.

Oh, I LOVE the name Meredith! I've had that on my girl name list with each pregnancy. Meredith Leigh is great, and so is Meredith Joan. With Lutz, I prefer Joan; you could call her Merrie Jo. I think Jane and Mae are too far from your mother-in-law's name for her to think of them as honoring her, but I like both of them as middle names if you decide not to go with the namesake idea.

You could also use Meredith Charlotte Lutz, but your husband may change his mind on Charlotte later on so probably you will want to save it: my husband disliked a name with my first pregnancy, and it was his first choice for the second pregnancy. If he comes around to Charlotte THIS pregnancy, I like Charlotte Joan Lutz best.

More possibilities to consider:

Anastasia (Anna Jo)
Cordelia (Corrie Jo, Delia Jo)
Eleanor (Ellie Jo, Nellie Jo, Nora Jo)
Francesca (Frannie Leigh, Frannie Jo, Chessie Jo)
Genevieve (Evie Jo, Genna Leigh)
Penelope (Nellie Jo, Penny Jo)
Virginia (Ginny Jo)
Winifred (Winnie Jo)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Niles

Annie writes:
The babe is expected to arrive March 4. Since we didn't find out if we're having a boy or a girl, our list of potential names is pretty long. Our last name, while spelled differently, is pronounced Niles. We both tend to like somewhat uncommon names, but nothing too crazy.

Currently, our top boy contender is Oliver James (which I just saw another mom-to-be mention on the site TODAY). My husband's father's name is James and his own middle name is James and I just like it. Oliver is my husband's best friend's middle name. And I've always loved it. Some of the other boy names we like but have ruled out (for the most part): Mason, Elliot, Finn, Leif, Isaiah, Asher. Mostly we're pretty solid on Oliver James, but still open to discussion.

Now, the girls names are a bit more up in the air. I'd like to use the middle name Lee--it's my mother's middle name and we are super close. But most of the names I choose with Lee as the middle name end up making the name sound like an adjective. For example, my favorite girls name at the moment is Hazel. But Hazel Lee sounds like "Hazily," and I am not sure what that even means. Some other names we love: Amelia (Amelia Lee?), Mabel (Mabel Lee sounds like Maybeline), Sloane, Violet (we've canceled this one for it's growing popularity, but I still love it), Wren, Pearl, Evangeline, Olive, and Harlow. My newest favorite name is Maizey. Some middle names I like in general are: Rose, Grace, Eden. His mother and sister's middle names are Marie, which I like, but I'm not very close to them so that feels weird to me.

Some names my husband likes that I've canceled for various reasons: Zoe, Piper, Lily, and Matilda.

I can't wait to hear your suggestions!

I am totally on board with Oliver James for a boy. It's a great name and would be on my own list too.

When I look at your girl name list, I'm looking for names that go well with Oliver: a name you've settled on is a good measure of your naming style, but also if you have a girl this time you might later have a boy and want to name him Oliver. The name Olive brings you to a decision: which do you like better, Oliver or Olive?

I see what you mean about the Lee issue, but I think it's okay: people are so accustomed to Lee as a middle name, there's a natural pause. The only name it would rule out for me is Mabel, because I agree with you about Maybelline. Another issue with the middle name Lee is that it gives you a triple L sound: almost all your girl name possibilities have an L in them, and your surname has an L, too. Does your mom's first name or maiden name have any middle-name-slot potential?

I looked up the name Hazel in The Baby Name Wizard, and I see that four of the five sister names are already on your list: Pearl, Violet, Mazie, Olive. The fifth is one you may want to consider: Millicent. I completely agree with The Baby Name Wizard's assessment: "It's hard to picture a Millicent in little girl's pigtails instead of white hair...but if you manage, it's a surprisingly adorable image." YES. I can picture it! A sweet little Milly!

More possibilities:


Name update 04-14-2010! Annie writes:
I've been meaning to write you an update for Baby Nihls (Baby Niles on your site)--Amelia Lee was born on March 3 at home! She's actually 6 weeks today and doing great!! (And we call her Millie.)

Thanks again for your help with the naming...I am definitely keeping Oliver James in mind for the next go-round (in the way future).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby Girl, Sister to Alyssa Semiya

B. writes:
Please help! My husband and I are expecting baby #2 and daughter #2 in early March and cannot decide on a name. Our 1st daughter is Alyssa Semiya (Sa-mee-yah). It was very easy naming our 1st, we had always liked the name Alyssa and once we found out the baby was a girl, it was automatic. The middle name Semiya means “Incomparable” and had to be chosen after she was born and had to be an Indian name since that is our culture. It will be the same for this baby regarding the middle name. But we still need a first name. Our only criteria are: we don’t want a popular, overused name and it has to be something that goes with Alyssa but not rhymey.

Names that we like and are considering but don’t love:

Melina – this is our top choice at the moment
Elena / Alayna / Elayna – not sure which spelling we should go with
Aleina / Aleena / Eleena – same thing here, not sure of the spelling
Lauryn – I like but hubby doesn’t

Can you help with any other suggestions?

Thank you so much!

My favorites from your list are Melina and Melayna. Alyssa and Alayna seem too similar to me, as do Alyssa and Aleena.

Other possibilities:


Names that would be on my list if I didn't think they might be too common:


Monday, February 8, 2010

Baby Boy Edison, Brother to Soren and Richard

Oh, how fun, a repeat customer! Christy writes:
I didn't expect to be back again so soon, but here I am, due in early March with my 3rd boy (big brother Richard was featured sometime before his birth in August 08).

Big brothers are Soren Kyle (Soren is, according to my husband, the greatest philosopher as well as the greatest name on earth; Kyle after my brother and so that Soren would have a K initial to match said great philosopher) and Richard Alan, named for a great-grandfather who died during my pregnancy.

We've had a TERRIBLE time trying to come up with a name that "fits" with our first sons' names, which are light-years apart stylistically. Here's what we've thought of and why we can't decide on either:

Judah, probably nicknamed Jude, middle name unknown:

* We were scanning a baby name book the night after the big ultrasound, saw it at the same time, looked at each other and said "I like Judah" This is definitely the most we've ever both liked something immediately, and it's fun that we chose it together.
* It's uncommon, but it has a history.
* I think that Jude is a really cool, tough nickname.
* I'm not sure why, but it seems to me like it doesn't make either Soren or Richard too much of the odd one out, namewise.


* It doesn't flow well with our last name, which is very much like "Edison"
* I'm guessing that while people who are familiar with the Old Testament know Judah, many more people are familiar with the New Testament Judas, who wasn't so great.
* The "a" ending could make it seem feminine? I don't worry so much about this because of other Old Testament names, like Isaiah, Noah, Jonah, Jeremiah, etc, which share the same ending and are more familiar, but it crosses my mind when I'm feeling nervous about choosing Judah.
* Though I've sworn never to reveal a name before the birth after the horrible experience I had with Soren, my husband has mentioned it three times in different groups and it has received a cold reception (polite smiles, no comment, expressions of disgust) each time. This does not sway him, as he is the big fan of unusual names, but I think that it is nice for people to like a child's name.
* I really like not having to spell or repeat or explain Richard's name. I spell Soren's name constantly. My husband's name was #1 for the decade in which he was born, so he does not understand how annoying this can be.
* We cannot come up with a middle name to go with Judah.

Our other candidate right now is William George, after my husband's other grandfather:


* It is a very nice name, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, clearly well-liked
* At least two people would cry at the announcement.
* It has meaning for us. We've considered names like Joshua, Daniel, Jonathan, Timothy, Seth, etc. which are much more common than our first two choices, but since our first two son's names had significance to us, it seems odd to choose a common name just because "it's a nice name".


* It makes Soren the odd one out, both because he doesn't have a grandfather's name and because he doesn't have a British monarch's name
* That's two of my husband's grandfathers honored with namesakes, neither of mine. It doesn't bother me, but might offend my family?
* William is quite common, which doesn't bother me except that I am used to uncommon. It probably bothers my husband, who likes uncommon.

I'm dying for the opinions of people whose faces I don't have to see after the kid is born and named. I'm open to other suggestions too, if someone can come up with a semi-uncommon name that goes with Soren & Richard and magically appeals to my husband. (I'd be paging frantically through The Baby Name Wizard myself right now if I wasn't away from home and my copy of the book.)

I have carefully read all the pros and cons (I especially like the pro about making at least two people cry---I consider that a big pro too!), and I have come through it thinking Judah is the best choice for your family. You're right: somehow it aligns itself neither with Soren nor with Richard, and in fact seems to be the magical middle ground that brings the names closer together.

I think using Jude as the full name rather than as the nickname would fix many of the cons you've got for Judah: it's farther from Judas, it would receive a better public reaction, it's easier to spell, and it flows better with your surname.

Another possibility is Judd. Judd Edison. Maybe Judd Henry Edison.

If you use Judah, I suggest William as the middle name: Judah William Edison. Con: it uses up William, if you wanted to use it for another boy later. Do either of your own grandfathers have names that you don't want to use as first names? Daniel has a nice rhythm too: Judah Daniel Edison.

If you use Jude, I suggest Isaac as the middle name if you still like it from last time: Jude Isaac Edison.

What do the rest of you think about Judah vs. William vs. third possibility, and do you have any third possibility ideas? Any more middle name suggestions for either Judah or Jude?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Celtic/Gaelic Names

Siobhan writes:
I'm pregnant with baby number three, a boy. I'm due to be induced February 25th. I'm so upset about the whole naming thing that I've actually broken down in tears a couple times which is really unlike me. I'm the third born in my family and I have an unusual Gaelic name. Because of this I would like our third born to have a Gaelic name as well. When I was first pregnant I was set on the Kieran for a boy. When we found out that we were having a boy I discovered that my husband wasn't too fond of it. He didn't hate it exactly but he "pretends" that he can't say it. He always pronounces it like "Karen" and he's concerned that it sounds too much like a girl's name. After a lot of discussion we had finally settled on the name Connor. It felt like a nice compromise because it was an Irish name but wasn't too "weird" for my husband. I really liked it but still had a few reservations about how popular it might be. I tend to prefer names that are outside the top 100. Then on Christmas we discovered that my husband's sister-in-law's brother had recently had a baby boy and named him Connor. It didn't bother me much cause these aren't people that we see more than once a year, if that. The only real issue would be my neices and newphew having two cousins named Connor. But for some reason it has really soured my husband on the name so I feel like we're back to square one.

The only thing we know for sure is the middle name has to be Leo or Clayton after my late grandfather. Both my other kids have family names from my dad's side and my husband's side so we want this baby to have a name from my mother. Naming the baby after her father is very important to me.
My two children are Seth (4) and Rose (2)

The other names I love are:

Patrick -worried that this one may be too common though

I don't want anything popular so I'm against: Aiden, Liam, Collin, Brayden, etc.

Our last name is two syllables and starts with a "D" and ends with an "N" so while I love the names Declan and Desmond something like that just wouldn't work cause it's to cutesy.

I would so love any help or suggestions you could give. My first two children were so easy and their names are just perfect. I want to feel that way with this baby but right now it seems impossible.

Oh dear! Baby naming can be so fun, but it can also be so stressful! I THINK of it as one of my favorite parts of pregnancy, but then when I'm actually trying to CHOOSE I find I want it to be OVER.

It makes it harder when the name needs to satisfy a number of requirements: in this case, it needs to be Gaelic, it shouldn't be common, it needs to work with Leo or Clayton, it needs to work with Seth and Rose, it needs to work with your D______n surname.

I THINK I might have the perfect name for you: Finn. It's Gaelic; it was #368 in 2008 (source: Social Security Administration); it works fine with either Leo or Clayton (I prefer it with Leo); it's great with Seth and Rose (one syllable, four letters); and I believe it works with your surname.

I find myself very tempted to find names that are the same one-syllable four-letter as Seth and Rose:


Though if you're considering more children, you may not want to paint yourself into a corner. And besides, Sean and Shea might be too close to Seth, and Reid and Rhys might be too close to Rose. Cael is good but doesn't go very well with either Leo or Clayton.

Other possibilities, all picked from the Celtic section of The Baby Name Wizard:


I like Tiernan because it's similar to Kieran but perhaps your husband would find himself able to pronounce it with that extra N in there. Keegan, too, might please both of you.

Cormac and Lachlan and Lorcan remind me of Declan, but without the D. D. problem.

Angus and Fergus both give you the cute nickname Gus.

Carrick is good because it's so unusual and yet it's almost Eric, which keeps it familiar. Same with Brogan and Rogan, which are similar to the more familiar Logan.

Niall and Lyle seem similar in style to Seth. Ian and Ewan, too.

Name update 03-28-2010! Siobhan writes:
I just wanted to give you the update that our baby boy Callum Leo was born on March 1st. 8 lbs, 14 oz and 20.5 inches. So many of your suggestions were great and we talked it over quite a bit before deciding. The last couple weeks I just fell in love with Callum and when he was born with his auburn hair and blue eyes it just fit him perfectly. Most people have taken to calling him Cal for short which is just adorable. Thanks again for your help, it was really appreciated!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Dealing With the Family's Reaction

Rachael writes:
We decided that no matter what we name our baby, we weren't going to tell anyone the name until the kid was born. My family has a habit of ruining names for mommies in the family, and our name choices, while not the most unusual, were not very common either. I wasn't sure if they'd like the names or not, and inevitably there would always be someone who said, "Really? You're naming your baby ______? Why not _______?" So we just wanted to avoid it altogether. So, since we weren't spilling the name, we went ahead and found out the gender, just to give everyone something to get excited about, and we found out it's a GIRL! Yes, everyone is very excited. I get emails periodically from my mom and my aunts that say things like, "I know you already have a name, but here's my list, just in case," - which is fine, I don't mind that at all. My question for you is - do you really think that waiting until the baby is born will help ease the shock of a "non-traditional" name? All this time I've been telling myself that no one will care what the name is when they're holding that beautiful baby, but now that we're closer to "go time," I'm not so sure! And how do you deal with a family who has made trips to the hospital for the sole purpose of getting one of their own to change a baby's name? I'm just wondering what you and your readers would do with this situation. I mean, we have to tell them the name eventually.....right?

Oh dear. It's true that not every family will respond well to the Surprise Name Reveal, even if they have the darling baby in their arms when they hear it. Some families are opinionated, and outspoken, and aren't as easily squelched as others.

One option would be to get it over with ahead of time in the hopes that you wouldn't have to deal with it in the hospital. I mean, I know this leaves you without a reveal of any kind, but perhaps that would be better.

Sometimes cheery frankness can help. "Okay, guys, at this point we're NOT going to change her name! Enough! Now hold her so I can drink this beer." "Now DON'T come all the way down here just to try to change my mind like you did when Michelle had her baby! The name is SET IN STONE. But do feel free to come all the way down here to bring me doughnuts." "If you think you have something negative to say about the name, do please remember that I will resent you FOR ALL TIME, and still the name will be unchanged, and when she is older I will tell her you don't like her name and she will resent you too." "Uh-uh-uh! I sense you are about to say something unpleasant about the non-returnable name. Here, put a doughnut in there instead." "*clap clap* All right! It is time to move on to the acceptance stage!"

Everyone share stories: How did you brace for possible Name Complaints from friends and family? Did your ideas work or not? And what did you do if they didn't work?

Baby Boy or Girl Torode

Cassie writes:

We are expecting on February 24, 2010 and haven't landed on any names. To make matters more complicated, we don't know if we are having a boy or a girl.

Our surname is Torode (pronounced tur-ode) and the family name I would like to use is Tait. Just wondering if that is too much alliteration. I like the name Tait for a boy -and perhaps a girl.

My maiden name is Campbell which I also like as a unisex first name.

Options for middle names (also family names) are Jane and David.

Lastly, a few girls names I like are Stella, Reina, Gabriella, Isla (a few friends have named their baby this recently) and Chloe (maybe too popular)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

When I experimented saying Tait Torode out loud, I got "Tater Road." I think the problem is that T at the end of Tait---the alliteration of, say, Taylor Torode is fine. In the middle name slot it would be less of a problem: Campbell Tait Torode, Stella Tait Torode. But I'm so keen on family names, I think I'd go ahead and use it as a first name and just get used to enunciating clearly with a nice pause between names.

A middle name for Tait is tricky. Tait David works fine, I think, but Tait Jane is too abrupt. I'd want to use a middle name that was as obviously feminine as David is obviously masculine, so maybe something like Elizabeth or Gabriella. Tait Elizabeth Torode.

I used to think of Campbell as mostly masculine until I realized the nicknames are feminine: Cammie, Bella. Campbell Jane Torode. And it still works for boys: Campbell David Torode. (Campbell Tait would work, too, but I prefer to pair an androgynous names with a name that is strongly masculine or feminine.)

I also like the names Jane and David for the first-name slot: Jane Campbell Torode is wonderful, and so is David Campbell Torode.

If you like Isla but don't want to use it after friends did, you might like Lila. Lila Tait Torode is so pretty.

If you like Chloe but it's a little too popular, you might like Cleo: same sounds in a different order and yet it's not even in the top 1000. Cleo Tait Torode.

More suggestions for Cassie?

Name Update!

Update on Baby Naming Issue: Is Keely a Bad Name?!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Baby Boy Hilton

Natalie writes:
I need help! We are expecting our first child, a boy, Feb. 27, and we are nowhere near choosing the name. I've given my husband several choices, but he doesn't really like any of them. I thought we had our list narrowed down to three, but I asked him about the names the other day, and he didn't really seem too excited about any of them. First, a couple rules:
- No names that begin with N. Both our first names start with N, and I don't want to be stuck using that letter with all our kids.
- Our last name is Hilton, so I don't want any names that end with -ten, -tan, -ton. Nothing rhymey.
- Names I like but we won't use for various reasons: Noah, Eli, Luke/Lucas, Max, Sam, Jack.

One problem I seem to keep having is I like the name until I say it with our last name. I don't like the way anything sounds with Hilton! One day I thought, "I really like the name Harris Hilton." But I couldn't figure out why it sounded so familiar. Then I remembered Paris...

We had my list of names narrowed down to:
Oliver James or Oliver Hays
Sawyer James
Levi James

James does not have to be the middle name, but it is a family name that seems to go well with everything. Hays is my maiden name, so I've considered using that too. My husband wants to use Jaxon as a middle name (I don't).

I had decided I liked Levi best of those names, but my husband tells me last night he doesn't think it sounds like our baby's name (with no other explanation). The only name he has suggested is Malachi. I like Malachi, but I think it's too different for us.

Other names I've suggested, but he says no (or "I'll think about it") to:
Trace (I really like the way Trace Hilton sounds)

The thing with all these names is that I don't know anyone named them, so I have a hard time imagining what the name will look like on an adult. Please help us, we are both so indecisive and hate making big decisions. I just feel like I need someone else's opinion. Thanks!

If you both like Malachi but it seems too different to use, I wonder if you'd like Micah or Malcolm?

I like S-sound-ending names with Hilton: Bryce Hilton, Charles Hilton, Marcus Hilton, Miles Hilton, Rhys Hilton, Ross Hilton. But I'm worried that some of them sound a bit uppercrust.

Some more possibilities:

Dane Hilton
Gage Hilton
Joel Hilton
Reid Hilton
Seth Hilton
Wade Hilton
Wesley Hilton

I think my favorites are Charles (Charlie) Hilton, Wesley (Wes) Hilton, Joel Hilton, Ross Hilton, and Seth Hilton.

Name Update!

Update on Baby Naming Issue: Dutch Names!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Baby Girl Foedell

Kelly writes:
I am due with a baby girl in February (around 2/20/10) and we are having a heck of a time naming her! We seem to like a bunch of names but haven’t fallen in love with any. We already have one son, named Aiden Michael. I love the name Aiden but back then, I didn’t really understand how popular the name had become. Though I still love his name, I regret that it is so very common now. I don’t like really unusual or made-up names, but we are hoping to avoid a super-duper popular name for our baby girl. Hmm, what else? Our last name sounds like Foe-dell. Ideally, I would like to use the middle name “Anne” or “Anna” to honor our mothers, since they both share that middle name.

Some of our favorite names so far include:

Delaney (nickname Laney)

We also like:

Charlotte (nn Charlie)
Emerson (nn Emmy)
Aubrey (nn Bree)
Brianne (but my husband had an ex named Brianna… so… we’re not so sure about this)

I like the names Avery, Mia, Paige, and Harper, but my husband isn’t too crazy about those. We’d appreciate any ideas or advice!


Natalie is a popular name (#13 in 2008), and Lila/Lilah is shooting up so fast I would bet on it hitting the top ten before long. Charlotte, Leah, Emerson, Reese, Gianna, Aubrey, Avery, Mia, Harper---all rising in popularity. And it's so hard to know which ones will just become pleasantly popular (i.e., everyone will know the name and not think it's weird) and which ones will become regrettably popular.

There are a few on your list, though, that don't follow the trends: Delaney had a surge in the early 1990s but now seems to have leveled off and may even be decreasing in popularity. Brianne is heading straight down, and Jenna and Paige seem to be going down in popularity as well. (Source for all the names up/down info: the Social Security Administration.)

From your list, I think your best bet is Delaney. It's not super-popular but it's not weird either, and it has a great nickname. It's terrific as a sibling name for Aiden, and it's great with your surname and with the middle name Anne. Delaney Anne Foedell---that's my first choice.

Another possibility, similar to Jenna and Brianne, is Brenna. Brenna Anne Foedell is pretty, I think, and the name Brenna feels familiar but is not very common and seems to be decreasing in popularity.

Name update 05-10-2010! Kelly writes:
Our sweet girl was born February 20th and we just adore her. It took us 24 hours to finally settle on her name, but in the end, we just thought she was a Lilah, through and through! Lilah Anne was 8 pounds and 18 inches long, and she’s doing great! Thanks so much for the help and name suggestions.

Baby Naming Issue: Nicknames for a Fourth (IV)

Gwen writes:
Here is my predicament… I’ve been backed into a corner with carrying on my husband’s name (neither he or I feel one way or the other about) but feel obligated to at least give it a try. The name is Thomas Kirkpatrick IV. This little guy would/could be a 4th generation. My husband goes by T. Kirk or Kirk, his father goes by Tom and most recently TK. I don’t want two Kirk’s in the house… are there general 4th generation names like there are for 3rd generations?

Any ideas that are new and different from the above. Thanks!

Ooo, we had a good talk about this awhile back: Nicknames for the Fourth (IV). The comments section came up with some really good ideas.

It's too bad your father-in-law is taking Tom and also TK, because TK would be a great nickname for your little guy and an excellent resolution to the problem. Here's my new rule: men who are part of a naming tradition may only use ONE of the limited available nicknames for the shared name.

Well, since TK is indeed taken, my first suggestion is that you use Thomas. Little boys named Thomas used to go by Tom, but now they tend to go by Thomas.

He could also go by Tom, like his grandpa: that would be a little confusing at occasional times, but not too bad.

He could also go by Patrick, the second half of Kirkpatrick since the first half is already taken.

He could also go by T.: my brother has a friend who goes by T., and it's a natural and easy nickname that's cute on a little boy and cool on an older boy. Again, it's too bad your husband is using two of the available nicknames, but if YOU call your husband Kirk, then T. would work for your son. It's mostly the household that needs separate names for each other.

Any other suggestions for Gwen?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Ens

Carla writes:
I never in a million years thought I'd have trouble coming up with names for my children but here I am, wanting the perfect name for our second child and not feeling anywhere close. I am due February 19 and feeling the crunch. My husband is very opinionated and I'm to the point where I don't even know what to suggest for fear of his veto.

Our first child is a girl we named Sierra Mary. The name Sierra we simply just loved, and the name Mary was after several grandmothers. Ens is our very short, harsh German last name and a difficult name to compliment in my opinion.I recognize the flow of her name isn't great but people almost never use their middle name anyway.

Baby number two is of the unknown gender. Our boys option for Sierra was Caleb Henry but I was never in love with it and Caleb is growing too much in popularity for our taste. We have since come up with Sawyer Henry if this one is a boy. Henry is, again, a family name that my husband insists on.

We have some names for a girl and currently like 'Faith' for the middle name...what do you think and what would you add? We tend to like softer, slightly different names, definitely not traditional for the most part.

Hailey (very common)
Kaitlyn (very common)
Mikayla (quite common)
Annika (I like it my husband, not really)
Acacia (my husband likes this one, to me it's a little too different or something)


Do you know, my favorite from your list is Acacia. I wouldn't have thought of the name myself, but when I read it on your list I thought with pleasant surprise, "Hey! That's a good name!" It's very unusual but not hard to say, and the sounds are familiar. I think it's a great sister name with Sierra, and I like the way the AY sound in it coordinates with the AY sound of Faith. Acacia Faith, very nice.

Because Acacia is a botanical name, it brings to mind another possibility: Juniper. Juniper Faith. Juniper Ens.

Which makes me think of Brierly, a very pretty name I think goes well with Sierra. Sierra and Brierly. Brierly Faith. Brierly Ens.

Or Willow. Willow Faith. Willow Ens.

Moving away from the botanical: Paisley. Paisley Faith. Paisley Ens. Adorable.

Braelyn. Braelyn Faith. Braelyn Ens. Sierra and Braelyn. Nice.

Keely. Keely Faith, Keely Ens, Sierra and Keely. Pretty.

Name update 02-26-2010! Carla writes:
Carla Ens here. I thought I'd let you know that I had a son February 23 and we named him Sawyer Henry as planned. I loved and appreciated everyone's suggestions. Had Sawyer been a girl the name would be Kiana Faith. Although I really liked the ideas of Braelyn and Briarly my husband once again vetoed those! Thanks again.

Baby Naming Issue: Choosing a Middle Name for a Toddler

R. writes:
I've been reading your blog for months now and just got up the courage to e-mail you about our daughter's name. We don't so much have a baby naming problem as a toddler naming problem at the moment (she is currently 13 months). My husband and I couldn't agree on a baby name before she was born, and it took us almost 48 hours (and the extreme kindness of the hospital discharge nurse in 'misplacing' our paperwork for a few hours) to come up with her first name: Talia (like TALL-yah). Her last name is a very common Chinese last name, think something like Lee.

So we're looking for a good middle name for: Talia ____ Lee

We'd like to avoid any name which is really popular at the moment, and anything which ends in a vowel.

Names we have considered and discarded: Adele, Miriam, Kestrell.

We'd love your help! Thanks.

I found it useful when naming my children to look at the family tree. It's a handy way to narrow down the field of possibilities when you don't have a strong opinion about a middle name. Also, it's been such a pleasing thing to have those family names used again: I find I think of it often, and gladly. Of course I don't have access to your family tree, but are there any siblings or parents or grandparents you'd like to honor? Any family surnames---perhaps maiden names that have been lost? Anyone, er, DIE recently?

I know you said you don't want any popular names, but another good use for the middle name slot is any name that you really liked but was too popular/trendy for you to want to use it for a first name.

Would your own first name make a good middle name? It's common for children to have a middle name after their fathers, less common for it to be after their mothers.

Do the two of you have an author you both love, or a place you both love? Sometimes those can make nice middle names.

Some other possibilities:

Talia Arabelle Lee
Talia Avril Lee
Talia Beatrix Lee
Talia Emerin Lee
Talia Gretchen Lee
Talia Haven Lee
Talia Irene Lee
Talia Isadore Lee
Talia Jassamine Lee
Talia Juniper Lee
Talia Maribel Lee
Talia Olive Lee
Talia Patience Lee
Talia Rosabel Lee
Talia Tamsin Lee

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Shepherd, Sibling to Olyvia Ruth

Lyndsay writes:
Hi Swistle!
I'm hoping you and your readers can help us.. Our daughter's name is Olyvia Ruth. Ruth is a family name that we were set on using. We rarely call her Olyvia, and use Lyv or Lyvie. I don't 'regret' naming her Olyvia but I do wish I hadn't sometimes. We didn't know the sex and had 20 names for girls and 20 for boys (I made the list while in labor!) when she was born, we choose in the hospital the day she was born. Olivia was the only name on our list that was 'popular' and it made the list because I had loved that name ever since I saw Olivia Newton John in Greece when I was little! I really like just LYV or LIV but my husband wanted a 'full' name so we ended up throwing a 'y' in there to make it more unique. Plus Lyv Ruth sounds horrible together. My name is Lyndsay with two y's so we thought having a y would be kind of a connection.

This time we have no middle name that we're set on. My husband liked our method before and doesn't want to even talk about names, whereas I would like to think it out a little more and at least have three to choose from or something so I don't end up with a crazy 'y' to make a popular name seem less popular! Since we do have the 'y' going now we were thinking we should find a name with a y for a girl at least. Once again, we don't know boy or girl. Due very soon so I'm getting nervous! Our last name is Shepherd. We're Catholic and would like a Saints name for at least the first or middle name.

Some of the girl names I like are Carys or Cerys and Adelaide or Adelayde (is this a legitimate spelling?). I like Carys/Cerys because it has a lovely meaning and a legitimate 'y'. We're not sure if Carys Shephard has too much 's' in it. Adelaide/Adelayde we thought we could use with the nn Ady which we think would be cute with Lyv. Adelaide was on our list when our daughter was born (in 2008) but we were talked out of it in the hospital by family! Our friends and family that we've asked all seem to think that Carys/Cerys is weird and Adelaide/Adelayde is too heavy.

My husband isn't hot on either Carys or Adelaide and likes Lucy or Lucia which are both too popular for me, especially in our neighborhood where typically there's three Lucy's on the playground at once. He also likes Abigail but we nixed because it's been taken in our family (plus the whole popularity thing). We also both kind of like Avery but it seems trendy. I was thinking that Lucia or Lucy would be a cute middle name. I personally like Eliza but my husband doesn't and we wouldn't want to end up with a Liz and Lyv. Other name options we've discussed are Jane, Calla, and Clara, but none of them seem right, maybe as middle names.

For boys, I like Rhys but we have good friends with a girl Reese and that might be too close. I also like Asher, Liam, and Eli which all seem to be rising in the popularity ranks. My husband doesn't love any of those but doesn't hate them. He likes Ethan and Luke, once again I think they're too popular. I suggested Luca as an alternative and he thought that sounded girly. I also like Callum but my husband can't stand it.

Any chance you can help? I think I'm the more 'adventurous' namer of the two of us and we'd love to find something we can agree on that is mainstream enough for him but unique enough for me.

I suggest Adelyn. Adelyn Shepherd. It's lighter than Adelaide, it has a legitimate Y, and I think it's good with Olyvia.

My second suggestion is Gwendolyn. It's a beautiful name, unusual while still being familiar, with a legitimate Y. Gwendolyn Shepherd.

Ellery is reminiscent of Avery, but much less common. Ellery Shepherd.

Oh, or how about Emlyn or Emryn? Emlyn Shepherd, Emryn Shepherd.

Since you like Asher for a boy, perhaps Ashby for a girl? Ashby Shepherd.

Or Felicity, which I think goes particularly nicely with Olyvia. Felicity Shepherd.

I looked up the Saints section in The Baby Name Wizard and there are a lot of good ones. A few that pair nicely with the first name suggestions:

Adelyn Louisa Shepherd
Gwendolyn Daria Shepherd
Ellery Beatrix Shepherd
Emlyn Matilda Shepherd
Emryn Anastasia Shepherd
Ashby Josephine Shepherd

Felicity is already a saint's name but would be nice with Lucia:

Felicity Lucia Shepherd.

Now, for a boy, do you like Calvin? The beginning is the same as Callum, but perhaps your husband would like it better with the -vin. Calvin Shepherd is great; I love it.

I think Rhys is a very good choice, but if you decide not to use it maybe you'd like Reid instead. Reid Shepherd.

Liam is popular; I wonder why Leon isn't? It has such a similar sound. Leon Shepherd.

While I was in the R section for Rhys, I saw Rufus. Talk about underused, I never hear this name but I can't think of any reason why not. Rufus Shepherd.

Eamon is another good name hardly anyone is using. Maybe it's because it's a little tricky to learn to pronounce? (It's like AY-mon.) Eamon Shepherd.

I love Edmund, and it's easier to pronounce. Edmund Shepherd.

Both Evan and Ethan are common, but Ivan much less so. Ivan Shepherd.

Back to The Baby Name Wizard to find saint names to use as middles:

Calvin Oliver Shepherd
Reid Xavier Shepherd
Leon Elias Shepherd
Rufus Quentin Shepherd
Eamon Brice Shepherd

Edmund and Ivan are already saint names, but I like:

Edmund Silas Shepherd
Ivan Darius Shepherd

Name update! Lyndsay writes:
We actually ended up naming her (another girl! I was pretty happy about this!) Carys Lucy. My husband looked at her and said Carys, so away we went! I do love Adelay, I have suggested it to other friends who are looking for an 'A' name!

Carys fits her perfectly, she's the most affectionate little girl around!

Thanks again for all the great suggestions!

Baby Naming Issue: Two Grandfathers to Honor

Kristina writes:
My first baby is due February 21 and we just found out it's a boy. My husband and I have agreed on the first name being Zackary. My husbands father passed away a few years ago and so he really wants to have the middle name be Dennis which was his fathers middle name. My father was a jr. and he only had my sister and I. I really want to carry on his name also so I'm trying to convince my husband to name our son Zackary Dennis James Riley. I think it sounds good just wanted some other input. Let me know what you think.

I think it sounds wonderful.

If you plan to have more children in the future, you could consider saving one name for a future child, to spread out the honor in two ways: so that each father has his turn, and also so that each child carries an honored family name. I would suggest first naming after your father, since he's alive to receive the honor and since a Sr./Jr. naming tradition goes to the first son. Then I would use Dennis as the middle name for the second child, boy or girl.

Your current plan, however, is least risky: it guarantees using both fathers' names, no matter what happens with your family plans.

One more possibility is to name the child James Dennis Riley. Not only is that a truly great name, it gives your dad a first-name namesake as he would have had if he'd had a son. But of course it means giving up or postponing the name Zackary.