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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Skinner

Diana writes:
My husband and I are due with our first baby October 15. We are not finding out the sex and have been having a lot of fun with picking out both boy and girl names. We are pretty much decided on the girl name, Jubilee Lynn Skinner. However, the boy name have proven to be quite difficult. Here are some contenders:


As you can see we really like different names. We do not want a first name that is in the top 100, or even top 1000 really. The above list are names that my husband I mostly agree on, however prior to this list I was leaning more towards cowboy/Americana names such as Waylon, Boone, Stetson, etc. I love the idea of a little boy with a rugged name that he will grow into as a man. But my hubby thinks going in this direction is too limiting, which I can kind of agree.

So I am happy with our current compilation, but none really grab me over the others. Except for maybe Tennessee. I really like Tennessee, but I don't like the idea of having a Tennessee and a Jubilee. I know this may or may not ever come up, but we are planning on having more children. I think the names rhyme too much, but my husband thinks I'm crazy. He has no problem with naming a brother and sister Tennessee and Jubilee. Your thoughts?

Another concern is that we do not want a first name that ends in "er" considering our last name is Skinner. Is Radnor pushing that with a similar sounding ending to "er"?

As for the middle, we would like to use my father's name, Thomas. An exception to this middle name is Tennessee, I'm not keen on Tennessee Thomas so we would probably go with another middle name if that we our first name choice. But generally, we are thinking ________ Thomas Skinner.

We would love your thoughts and are open to hearing new name suggestions. Please help!

Thank you!

I'm on your side and would say that Jubilee and Tennessee were too rhymey. I think it's not even the SOUND so much as the way they both end with double-E. Since you're planning on more children, and since Jubilee is your #1 girl name, let's take Tennessee off the list for now. If you were to have several boys, and then got to your last child and had another boy, perhaps it will be the perfect name for him.

I suggest the name Washington. It's a state name like Tennessee; it's not in the Top 1000; and it's good with your middle name choice and surname: Washington Thomas Skinner. I think it also has a rugged sound, without being too specific as to the type of ruggedness. It has excellent namesakes (George Washington and George Washington Carver), obvious country-related tie-ins (the capitol and a state and the first president), and is all all-around good name. (Those of us who liked Firefly have the additional positive association with the character Wash, though his name wasn't Washington.)

Another unusual, not-in-the-Top-1000 possibility is Everest. Everest Thomas Skinner.

To me, Radnor's ending does sound like the -er you're trying to avoid with Skinner. Would you like Ransom instead? Ransom Thomas Skinner. Dr. Ransom is the good guy in C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy.

Another surname possibility is Redford: Redford Thomas Skinner.

More unusual possibilities for the Skinners?

Baby Boy Yankanich

Julie writes:
My friend turned me on to your website and I am happy to see I can get an educated, thorough, outside opinion on our third child's name. My husband and I are having a tough time and Baby Boy Number Two is due October 6th.

Our last name is pronounced "Yank-An-Itch" believe it our not. Our children's names are Erin and Steven Jr. Our third is a boy and while we both agree we would like a name ending in N, we can't agree on the exact name. I like names like Justin (my number one), Kevin, Mark, and Thomas. My husband has suggested Declan, Kevin (with hesitance), Sullivan, and a million other unusual names.

Can you help? We are open to anything...even names not ending in N or names that are not "Gaelic" like our other two.
Thank you!

I like Brendan: Erin, Steven, and Brendan. They're all different enough to be distinctive and all of the kids get their own initial, but they go together and have the matching N-endings.

I also like Alan/Allen: it was one of seven finalists for my youngest (it grew on me because on the TV show Arthur, "The Brain"'s real name is Alan). But I think two brothers named Steven and Allen might bring Steve Allen too readily to mind.

It's too bad both Aaron and Darren are out: in style, they'd go very well. Eric, too, if it weren't also almost the same as Erin. And Gavin may sound too much like Steven because of the matching endings, and Evan is way too close to both names. And names like Corbin and Keegan and Lawson and Ruben, while some of my favorite N-ending boy names, don't seem close enough in style to Erin and Steven.

Owen, maybe? It's a little wordlike with your surname (oh and yank an itch) but I may be overthinking it.

Nathan! Erin, Steven, and Nathan!

Or Benjamin: Erin, Steven, and Benjamin.

For non-N possibilities, maybe Joshua? Erin, Steven, and Joshua. Or Matthew: Erin, Steven, and Matthew. Or David: Erin, Steven, and David. Are there any good family names, so that each boy is a namesake?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy Snykiss!

Baby Name to Consider: Rilea

Sarah writes:
My hubby and I have debated the name Rilea (RYE-Leah) Elizabeth as a name for a future daughter. Does this sound like a normal name? Obviously, she could have the ever trendy female "Riley" nickname, but do you think that name is bound to be too become too trendy in the next 10 years? We love the name, but have found many family members/friends wondering why we are "making up" a name. We are both teachers, so this is one of the few names not wrecked (or sweetened) by past students. But, being academics, we are hoping to have a name that could also sound educated without being stuffy. Does the name have too trendy of connotations? Or does the Rilea pronunciation give it (like we hope) an ability for the name to carry into adulthood?

What are your first impressions?

FYI: other kid names are already mostly decided on. We just like to have though this through and "lived" with the names for awhile first before kids come.
Others: BOY: Ethan David; Lincoln James; GIRL: Reese ________ (something biblical to be decided on)

-Sarah-- a girl with a common name, married to a guy that has that conversation "Where did you get your name from, can you repeat it again for me" every day.

I have two first impressions:

1. I would have pronounced it ry-LEE-ah on the first attempt.

2. I'd put it in the category Modern Invented Name, with names such as Kiana and Kiera, Brylee and Caleigh.

There's nothing wrong with multiple possible pronunciations OR with being a modern invented name. My name has been pronounced Kirsten and Kiersten and Kristine, even though I would have thought there was only one sensible way to pronounce the name Kristen, so there are few names that DON'T have to be corrected now and then. And every name has to be a modern invented name at SOME point in its life---and it makes sense to use one when the parents are teachers and more likely than other parents to encounter their child's name elsewhere...and elsewhere...and elsewhere....

AND, I think that if you LOVE a name, other issues are usually well worth it.

I think if you're looking for a name that sounds academic, I would recommend Leah instead. It's more common, yes, and you may have already had students with that name, but I think ROOTS are one of the things that can give a name academic heft. Modern Invented names tend to sound Trendy, because they tend to be formed from sounds and spellings that are currently trendy.

A much less common choice would be Amalia. It sounds similar to Rilea, but has ROOTS. And I'm hoping the "oh, it's a typo for Amelia" problem will be slightly lessened by a Malia living in the White House.

Or Cecilia: again, similar sound, but more academic.

I'd like to add a third impression of Rilea:

3. I spelled it differently every time I typed it in this post, and had to keep scrolling to the top to remind myself. I spelled it Rylia, then corrected it to Rylea, then corrected briefly to Rilia, then corrected to Rilea.

But of course all my impressions come from my own experiences with children and my own tastes in baby names and my own region of the country, so what we need is a much wider set of responses. Comments section, do your stuff!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baby Girl Johnson, Sister to Gabriel Lane

D. writes:
I am due with my second child on October 4th. We are having a girl who will be sister to Gabriel Lane. We have narrowed the list down to a few names and but are stuck now. We like unisex names, even if more masculine, as well as cute boyish nicknames from longer, feminine names. The middle name will be Ruth, after a deceased grandmother, or Brucie, after a deceased uncle. I know Bruce is an odd name but due to a large family here is not so uncommon for a girl so I feel ok with it as a middle name depending on first name choice. Here are our finalists:

Josephine (nn Joey or Josey)
Micah (Some people say this is ok as a girls name and know only girl Micahs, but others say no way, only boy)
Charlotte (nn Charlie-only reservation is it is very popular right now)
Sylvie (name from deceased grandmother Sylvia)

Thanks for the help! We are agonzing over this. I am open to new suggestions as well.

My favorite is Josephine: it gives you the cute boyish nicknames for a long feminine name, and I think it's cute with your surname and good with the middle name Ruth. Josephine Ruth Johnson is an excellent name.

My second favorite---nearly tied for first---is Sylvie. Sylvie Ruth Johnson is also an excellent name.

I don't even feel inclined to add more suggestions, with such good names already on your list.

Baby Girl Olson

Natalie writes:
Please help me! We are expecting our first baby, a little girl, October 1st, 2010. Naming her has been a major part of my life for the past 36 weeks. I am a self proclaimed name nerd. I have known just about every name under the sun, as well as their meanings and origins, since I was 10. Names are a giant passion of mine. This makes naming my first child a great excitement, as well as a HUGE burden. I have a very defined name style, which in my opinion is pretty much summed up by three words (although others may not completely agree): Edgy, Sophisticated, and Glamorous.

Our first choice for a name for our baby has been Sophia Natalia Olson. Sophia after my great-grandmother (and the gorgeous Sophia Loren), and Natalia is my favorite version of my name, Natalie (I don't want to use Natalie, though). DH and I really like this name, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. While Sophia is sophisticated and glamorous, it is not edgy... in fact it is losing it's luster a little considering how common it has become. Or am I imagining this? I also think it's important to have back up names in case she doesn't look like Sophia when she is born. Don't get me wrong, I still really like this name....

Other names we like are (we would use either Natalia or Sophia for a middle name):

Eva - pronounced EY-va, we really don't like EE-va. This is also sophisticated but very common, and not very edgy.

Eve - a little more edgy, but not very glamorous. I adore the nickname Evie. Unfortunately, when Eve is said with Olson it sounds like "evil son"

Zoa - I think I like this a lot, but I'm not sold on it. I normally really dislike Zoe because it seems too "out there" for my taste, but Zoa seems a little classier and cooler.

Elle - I really like this, but it sounds odd with Olson. Due to a family feud, I can't use Ella, and I can't stand the thought of people calling her Ellie, but I love Elle.

Shiloh - I think this is adorable for a girl. Unfortunately, I got ahead of myself and named our male dog this two years ago. Plus, my sister-in-law claimed it for her daughter someday despite it being our dogs name.

Noa - I love how fresh this name is. It has been the Number 1 girl name in Israel for a long time. Don't confuse it with the boy name Noah, they are two completely different names with different origins and meanings. Too bad she would be confused for a boy her whole life in America :(

Arabella - I was set on naming her this a few months ago, but I quickly grew tired of how frilly it sounds. Plus Bella is super common again.

I really appreciate your expertise and advice. I need all the help I can get, plus I'm running out of time!!

Normally I think changing a spelling doesn't help much to make a name fresh (Madysyn, for example, is if anything LESS fresh than Madison), but there are respellings and then there are alternate spellings, and in the case of Sophia I think the alternate spelling Sofia puts edge back into it---mostly because of Sofia Coppola. A downside is that it is then no longer your great-grandmother's spelling.

The name Eva---are you saying you'd like people to pronounce it the same as Ava? I think it would be possible, but extremely wearying: either people will say it EE-va or they will spell it Ava, and there will be a steady stream of new people to explain it to. Especially since you actively dislike the usual pronunciation EE-va, I suggest using the usual spelling Ava, or else taking this one off the list.

Another I'd take off the list is Elle: it has a family feud closely associated with it, and it would be hard to avoid the nickname Ellie: even if you talked everyone else out of using it, she might choose to use it herself.

If you like Evie but feel reluctant to use Eve, I suggest Genevieve with the nickname Evie.

So! Hm, is it "helpful" per se to have me shooting down one option after another?

I'd say the best candidate from your list is your first choice, and I'd be torn about which spelling to use: Sofia seems like much more what you're looking for, but I'm super-hesitant to lose the family spelling. Since it's a great-grandmother, I think I would change the spelling: Sofia Natalia Olson looks and sounds wonderful to me.

Second choice: Genevieve Natalia Olson, with the nickname Evie.

For more options, I think I would look for names of glamorous actresses from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s:


Or you could use Harlow, which evokes Jean Harlow while giving you the sound of Shiloh. Downside: Harlow Olson might be hard to say (I mean that it is for me, but I'm not sure if others would have the same trouble).

Harlow makes me think or Marlowe/Marlo, but that might have the same pronunciation problem as Harlow.

Or Lydia? Lydia Natalia Olson.

Or Lena, or Lila.

Or Stella: Stella Natalia Olson.

Ooo, or Nora! Nora Sophia Olson.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baby Girl Bruna, Sister to Charlotte Sunny Louise

Louise writes:
We are expecting our second daughter on October 1st and are getting to the final stages of trying to name her! We have decided to continue a few trends we began with our first, who is Charlotte Sunny Louise. She goes only by Sunny. We wanted her to have a 'sensible' first name to fall back on if she found Sunny too silly/childish/ridiculous later on in life. For now, Sunny suits her to a tee. It suits us too as Charlotte is so popular. Her second name is my name. For our next child we would also like to give two middle names (a family tradition), one being a more unusual name that we would use as a nickname. At the moment we have Ava Scout _______. I know Ava is super popular, but we both like it (a feat in itself) and we would call our little girl 'Scout' anyway.

I would describe my style as a mixture of vintage, hippy and literature derived names. Names like:
Audrey (a family name)

My dear husband Jacob is a little more traditional and likes Ashley, Abigail, Laura and Eleanor. He would name our child 'Laura Ashley" if given half the chance!

I suppose what I am hoping for is suggestions for the second middle name and even possibly suggestions of the first name (instead of Ava) as I'm still not 100% on it. Our last name is a but tricky to work with due to its strong 'ooo' sound and 'ah' ending which unfortunately has put me right off Tallulah and Juniper. With the two shorter first names I think a three syllable second middle name sounds best to my ear. I'm not a huge fan of alliteration in names which has deterred me from using a second middle name which begins with an S or B sound or that uses V (because of the V already in Ava).

As you can see, I am over-thinking things and I would absolutely love a fresh perspective! Any help or suggestions you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

Since your first girl's second middle name is a family name, perhaps you could continue that as well. Are there any good girl names on either side of the family tree? Grandmothers, aunts? Or you could give all the girls your name as the second middle name. Normally I think baby name enthusiasts recoil at the idea of duplicating names, since it means fewer fun choices to make---but in this case, where she'll have two middle names, it seems like a shared second middle name is itself a fun choice.

If not, your husband's choice Eleanor would be nice there: Ava Scout Eleanor.

If you want something very similar to Ava but less popular, there's Eva. Eva Scout Eleanor. But other parents are also noticing the Ava/Eva thing, so Eva may soon be just as common. And Eva Bruna may be too close to Eva Braun. Ada, Ida?

For something completely different than Ava: Josephine. I like that name so much with Charlotte, and with Bruna. Josephine Scout Louise Bruna.

It sounds like the Scout part is decided on, but if not, here are a few more possibilities: Birdy, Daisy, Dolly, Pippa, Poppy, Romy, Tilly. Josephine Poppy Louise Bruna?

Name update! Louise writes:
Just letting you know that our little girl finally decided to show her pretty face on October 10th! We named her Ava Scout Evangeline and have already started calling her Scout, which seems to suit her well. Thank you so much for your input, we loved hearing your insights and getting feedback from other readers. Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baby Girl M., Sister to Clayborne

Josie writes:
I am due October 1st with a girl. We already have a son, Clay. Our last name begins with M and is common enough that we don't have to worry about anything clashing with it. however, we would like to avoid names that begin w C, K or M. (We're not fans of alliteration. clay and chloe. clay and kristen. Meredith M_______.) The middle name will most likely be Brooks (family name.) so we want a first name that is more than one syllable.
However, my husband and I have completely different ideas about what the name should be. He likes very popular names (Abigail, Charlotte, Sophia, etc.) I really don't want a name that is too popular or too common. I like unisex names that still can be girly. There are only a few names that are on the "possible" list and we're not sure if we love any of them.

Avery (too popular?)
Lainey (nickname but we can't figure out what the "official" name would be)
Harper (but way too popular)
Quinn (but only one syllable)


If Harper is way too popular at #174, then yes, Avery is too popular: Avery is #32. And Skyler might be too popular for you, too: that spelling is at #419, but the spelling Skylar is #185; if we combine the 755 girls named Skyler in 2009 with the 1,749 girls named Skylar in 2009, the rank of the two names together is #129---also more popular than Harper. (Source: Social Security Administration.)

I love Lainey. I would use Elaine as the full name, but Delaney is another possibility. Or plain Laine, if you changed your mind about Brooks. Or Helene or Helena (though it will sometimes be pronounced heh-LEEN/heh-LEEN-ah, so it depends on your tolerance for gentle correcting). The sounds of cLAY and LAIney are very similar; I'm not sure if it's too similar or if it ties the names together perfectly.

More possibilities (taken largely from the "Last Names First" section of The Baby Name Wizard):


Name Update!

Update to Baby Boy Adcock!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baby Name to Consider: Brynter

It's been so long since we've done a Name to Consider post, you may have forgotten we've ever done one. Previous posts include Brando, Schroeder, and Abelson. Remember that the point of a "name to consider" is not so much "Do I personally like the name and would I personally use it?" (though of course that's always an interesting issue), but rather, "Does this seem like A NAME? Can I picture SOMEONE---perhaps someone in search of a more unusual style than I myself would consider---using this for a baby?"

Names to Consider are names I FEEL as if I made up out of my own head---but I assume that if I"m "making up" a name, that means many, many others have already made up the same name (see also The Baby Name Wizard's section on the name Keaton, pages 3-4 in the second edition).

Today's candidate I thought of because of a misunderstanding: my mom was talking about a doll she referred to as Miss Winter, and I thought she said Brynter. My immediately reaction was positive: it combines Bryn (which can seem too short) with Winter (which can seem too nouny). It has the popular occupational sound.

I think it could work. What do you think?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: Evelyn, and How to Tell if a Name Will Get Popular

Kate writes:
I am due with a baby at the end of September. My question is a little different since I think my husband and I have settled on names. (We don't know the sex of the baby so we have a boy and girl name picked.) I am curious if you have any thoughts or insight on "up and coming" baby names. You know the ones - they are out of the top 100 for years and then suddenly from no where start making huge jumps in popularity. The reason I'm asking is that we've basically decided on Evelyn if our baby is a girl. I love this name and loved that it was familiar but not common. Well, when looking at the past few years it's really jumped up the list! The social security website shows that it is #39 in popularity, but less than 1% of the total babies born. So how "popular" does it really make that name? Do you think a name that is trending up in popularity, like Evelyn, will likely make it to the top ten? Like I said, this isn't your typical question, but I thought it was something interesting to talk about. I'm sure this is something you've thought about, and I'd be interested in hearing your take on it.

I think there are some things to watch for:

1. The first is the most obvious: big leaps on the chart. Like, not just a steady increase in popularity (#100, then #95, then #90) but from not even on the chart to #800, then the next year to #400, then the next year to #200. FAST increases mean that most people don't know yet that the name is rising. I think of the name Isabella as the classic example:

It wasn't even in the Top 1000 from 1949 until 1990, and THEN look at it go! (Information and screen shot from the Social Security Administration.) We have friends who named their daughter Isabella in 2001, thinking it was a highly unusual choice---because in 2001, only hospital/daycare workers and SSA site fans knew how common it was.

2. Feeling like the name is a discovery. If the name feels like a dusty treasure, other people are probably feeling the same way. This happens especially with names that have been out of style for awhile---but WERE in style before: Henry, Oliver, Emma.

3. A smack of freshness. If the name has the feeling of surprise---but PLEASANT surprise---it's feeling that way to a lot of other people too. This happens especially with names that haven't been in style before, or have been in style for the other sex: Avery, Emerson, Cadence, Juniper, Braden.

4. A pleasing tie-in. I've mentioned before how people credit Charlotte's Web for their choice of Charlotte for a baby girl---but my guess is that most people thought of the name first and the tie-in second (otherwise I'd expect to see Fern and Wilbur likewise increasing in popularity). The tie-in is what pushed them from "What a great name!" to "Let's use it!" This is also what makes great-grandparent names appealing: the name is already coming back into style, and so it catches people's attention when they see in their family trees (and, as with Charlotte's Web, the names in the family tree that are NOT yet coming back into style go unnoticed).

Numbers 2 and 3 are very similar and have some overlap. One reason I separate them is that I think it's far safer to use dusty treasures than to use fresh smacks: if you were to use the name Henry and then it got to the top ten, it almost wouldn't matter because the name Henry has come and gone many times and is always a sturdy choice even if it's not in fashion. Whereas if you choose Madison or Caden, it could be a different story depending on what the name does in the future. This is the difference between a name that "gets popular" and a name that "gets trendy."

I SUSPECT that the reason Evelyn is coming into style is all the parents looking for alternatives to Ava and Eva and Ella and Emma, combined with Evelyn having a rhythm that happens to match other favorites Isabelle, Abigail, Emily, Madison, and so on. BUT, The Baby Name Wizard has talked extensively about "the 100-year cycle" (which is why great-grandparent names like Emma and Henry are so appealing while parent names like Barbara and Jerry aren't---until our grandchildren are choosing baby names), and although Evelyn has never gone totally out of style, it was last in the top ten in 1915. It's Evelyn's time again.

Considering Evelyn's enduring popularity (it hasn't even slipped out of the 200s since 1915), combined with it getting toward its 100-year mark, combined with what we can see it doing on the charts (not leaps, no, but a pretty fast upward climb after 50 years of not even being in the top 100)---I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the top ten soon.

On the other hand, I also wouldn't be surprised to NOT see it in the top ten. Because plenty of names go up, up, up---and then stop: maybe in the 40s, maybe in the 20s, but never getting to the top ten. The names find their exact balance of being popular enough to be familiar and well-liked by the general population, but not so popular to discourage people from using it.

In any case, I feel about Evelyn the way I do about the name Henry: if it DOES go top ten, you'll still have made a solid choice, not a trendy one.

Now, as to how popular a #39 name really is. If a name were evenly distributed across the entire United States, this would be pretty easy to figure out. At #39, the name Evelyn was given to approximately .28% of all baby girls, which means there are approximately 28 Evelyns per 10,000 girls born in that year. If a classroom has 30 children in it, and half are girls, there will be approximately 1 girl named Evelyn per 24 classrooms. Well, goodness, that's not bad at all! That's positively RARE. And yet, doing that same math tells us there's only 1 Isabella per 6-7 classrooms, and GOODNESS it feels more popular than that---not only because of all the Isabelles and Isabels we've failed to take into account, but also because of regional popularity differences: if some regions barely use the name at all for whatever reason, this makes for many more Isabellas in the other areas. And it'll be the same with Evelyns.

One of my sons has a name that was approximately as popular as the name Evelyn, the year he was born. But if I'd consulted the by state information, I would have seen it was in the top ten in our state. Evelyn is #100 in New Mexico, #98 in South Carolina, #96 in Rhode Island, #89 in Connecticut, #88 in South Dakota, #86 in Oklahoma, #83 in Florida, #81 in Pennsylvania---but #27 in Texas, #25 in California and Oregon, #24 in Illinois and Vermont, #23 in Colorado, #21 in Minnesota in Washington, #20 in D.C., #18 in Wisconsin. And in Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and West Virginia, it's not even in the top 100. So of course it depends too on where you live---and where you might move, and where SHE might move as an adult! (Do you feel like running screaming into the sea yet?)

There can also be odd little quirks: the name Noah was #24 in 1999 (approximately .73%) when my first son was born, which SHOULD mean there'd be about one Noah per 9 classrooms. And yet TWO school years, he's had two Noahs in his class, and I think only one school year had no Noahs. It's the SAME Noahs: the statistics show a nice even distribution, but it happens that there are two Noahs in his grade instead of the expected less-than-one Noah, and it happens he's been put into a classroom with one or both of them almost every year. The same could happen with Evelyns.

Er, I seem to have gotten a little carried away, but you've brought up one of my totally favorite subjects, and one I never get tired of talking about because there IS no way to predict these things, and isn't that WEIRD that there isn't??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby Girl Will-hell-mee

Lindsay writes:
This has been such a headache, and I have been browsing your archives for inspiration, thinking I'd see something that would tickle my fancy. But since we're having such a rough time thinking up and narrowing down names for our baby girl, I thought it best just to write and get your/your readers' advice and suggestions!

Our last name is (phonetically) Will-HELL-mee. Our first child - a baby girl - is due in late September / early October, and our finalist names are currently: Sophie, Jamison ("Jamie"), Rowan, Nola, and Riley. Sophie (my parnter's grandma's name) is the current front-runner, but we want some others in our back pocket, and also are concerned that Sophie might be a little too "girly." Our possible middle names include Ellen (my grandma's name), Nelle (Ellen backwards), Kate, and Nola (it's both a first name and middle name finalist).

We definitely like gender-neutral names, and tend towards the classic as opposed to the trendy. Celtic/Gaelic names are always welcome for consideration, but we don't like spellings that are too outlandish or impossible to pronounce (like Siobhan or Roisin). We tend to prefer names under three syllables, but if it's a really good one, it can be considered (which is why Jamison is still hanging by a thread on our list).

We've rejected many "-yn" names (think Jadyn, Kalyn, Kamryn, etc.). Other names that one or both of us liked but ultimately rejected include: Sadie, Carlie, Avery, Madison ("Maddy"), Grace, Charlotte ("Charlie"), Josie, Tegan, Ryan, Posey, Presley, Maisie, and Mina.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide! We really like Sophie, but want to decide on some alternatives we like just as much to have in our back pocket when our little girl arrives!

Baby Boy B_____ema

Brittany writes:
We are having our first baby, due September 27th and we are thrilled! My husband and I know we are very picky and view naming our child as a huge responsibility (and one we're so happy to have). We quietly turn up our noses at pretty much every suggestion we've received from friends & family. That said, at least we're sort of on the same page about what we're looking for. I'm sure you've heard this before, but we want something on the less common side that isn't too far 'out there'. Even if I like a name on the top 10 list, I can't stand the thought of naming my child the same name as his future classmates. Maybe this is because I have a very trendy name from back in my day. Even though we're both picky, I seem to be the one suggesting name options and my husband is the one giving the veto vote. Our last name is a long dutch name that starts with a B and ends with -ema. We both really like the name Jack (my husbands favorite author is Jack Kerouac) and I find it adorable for all ages. Although it doesn't meet our criteria for uncommon, and my husband would prefer it as a middle. But we find it timeless. We've seemed to have been drawn to Irish/Gaelic names such as Kaelan ( I love names with consecutive vowels) but due to the unsettling trend of the name being given to GIRLS these days, we've decided a strong 'no' against it. Side note: for a girl possibly someday, Eowyn, Aeris or Charlotte. Here is the short list of the few we've tossed around:
Kaelan (the girly issue)
Jasper/Jesper (vintage, but I'm worried about a strong Twilight association)
Grayson (my husband's one suggestion that I find utterly boring! "son of gray haired man")
Jax (I LOVE this name, but my husband give it a huge "no way")
Callen (soft 'a' sound... we both got kind of bored with it after a while)
Easton (hubby gave a big veto)
Alistar/Alistair or some variation (we're really drawn to it for some reason, but it's a little too..'much' to feel okay using)
Kai (recently found out an acquaintance is using this name, due within the same week)
Alec (hubby vetoed)
Kael (too much like Kale greens?)
Jude/Judah (hubby vetoed)
Kellen (hubby vetoed)
Fin(n)ley/Fin(n)lay/Finn (the one name we both agree on, but can't seem to nail down what we really want out of it. I usually think one should be given the name that will be used, even if it is considered a "nickname", but I do like Finley as well as Finn so I think I could easily stand to use the full version and nickname in this situation. The issue then would be spelling. We considered whether or not we like just Finn by itself, but were never quite sure. So if he'll be called Finn much of the time should we spell the full version with one N or two? And Finley happens to be more popular in the US as a girls name, which bothers me because I want a strong masculine name. Although maybe I should just forget it because it seems to be strongly masculine in it's Irish origin. And what about the spelling Fin(n)lay. I've read that it's pronounced the same as Finley, but will it be forever mispronounced? And is that even true? And the biggest question of all, is do we even love it, or is it the 'best of the blah'?

As you can see we're pretty far from naming our son, despite being weeks from his due date! We're completely open to new suggestions beyond what we've listed!

At one point we thought meaning would be important to us, but I think we're past that due to the extreme difficulty we've had finding ANYthing decent.

And "no" to the name Jackson (even though it has Jack in it)

Can you help us?! And is there any hope?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Baby Naming Issue: If Parents and One Child Have Same Initial, Should Other Child Have Same Initial?

Madeline writes:
Help! We're due with both our 1st & our 2nd baby (boy/girl twins) September 30th and we CANNOT agree on names!

Well, that's not entirely true. We can agree on a girl name (mostly). But! We even have a few issues with that.

The girl name that we both love is Mirabelle (love the sound/style, love the meaning {wonderful}, and love the nickname Mira) but my own name is Madeline & Hubby's name is Matthew, so if we give baby girl an M name do we have to give baby boy an M name too? These 2 will likely be our only children, so if we DON'T give our boy an M name, will he feel left out? But if we DO give him an M name is that just too many M's all in one family? And though we don't plan on having more children what if someday we DO ("surprise" pregnancies seem to happen quite frequently in my family) have another? Will we have to think up YET ANOTHER M name? Maybe we should scrap Mirabelle altogether just to avoid the headache of to M or not M?

Yet when I think of the name Mirabelle I see my daughter. That IS her name as far as I'm concerned, & I really can't bear to give it up.

So, here's the real problem. What to name Mirabelle's brother?

If we go with an M name...Well, I honestly can't think of ANY boy names starting with M that I like. Actually, I can hardly think of boy M names at all! We can't go with Matthew as we don't want him to be a Junior and I detest the name Mark in all it's variations...So what else is there? Why is naming a boy so much harder than naming a girl?!?!

We want something at least a bit unusual, but still familiar, you know? Our tastes seem to run toward more old fashioned names too.

If we weren't going with an M name (which I kind of think we should, but would really like your/your readers opinion on) these are some of the names we've been tossing around, just to give you a feel for our style:
Clifford (called Cliff)
Vincent (called Vince)
Elias (called Eli)

Any & all help appreciated!

To M or not to M?

If going with M as many suggestions for boy M names as possible!

If not going for M what name from our short list sounds best, and any other suggestions to add to it more than welcome!

His middle name will be Adam (after hubby's father) and our last name is Hunter, if that's any help at all.

Please help! Time is running out & at this rate I fear we'll end up just calling him baby boy M. Hunter forever!

P.S. Sorry this was such a novel! But I'm literally waking up in the dead of night panicking about this whole name situation. Ahhh!

Ah! Interesting question! I think of "same initials" issues as occurring MOSTLY among siblings---but on the other hand, one of the kids has the same initial as me, and I do feel a bit as if he "has to share"---while the other kids each get their very own initial. And when both parents have the same initial and so does one of the children, well that makes it even more of an issue.

A further issue is that I have a soft spot for twin names that coordinate a little bit: when naming my own twins, I was hoping VERY HARD for names that had the same initial or the same number of letters/syllables or ANYTHING that made them "go together" (Edward and Elizabeth are pseudonyms and exactly the kind of coordination I was looking for ((both E names and both royalty names)); their real names, sadly for me, have nothing in common with each other). So that makes me lean toward M names for both your twins.

Yet I ALSO think that the name itself trumps: that is, if you have a boy name you love, and it doesn't start with M, I think "We loved your name SO MUCH" is better and more important than "We didn't want you to feel left out."

And if you MIGHT have another child later, I'd say using both M names this time makes you pretty surely stuck next time: I'd STILL stand by "the name itself trumps"---and yet, geez, that would be hard to resist, especially with the first two kids having their twinness as well as their matching initials.

If you merely "loved" the name Mirabelle, I might suggest you look for other names you love. But if it feels like "your baby," then I'd say it's a done deal: her name is Mirabelle.

In short: I can see why you're lying awake. And since you already have excellent possibilities for a non-M name, I think what we should do is find you some M names. And if you decide to use an M name and then DO have an unexpected baby later on...well, then we'll find you ANOTHER M name!

Boy M names:

Maclane Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Maclane
Madoc Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Madoc
Maguire Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Maguire
Malachi Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Malachi
Malcolm Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Malcolm
Marius Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Marius
Marshall Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Marshall
Mason Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Mason
Matthias Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Matthias
McAdam _____ Hunter; Mirabelle and McAdam
Macallister Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Macallister
Mead Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Mead
Micah Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Micah
Miles Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Miles
Milo Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Milo
Mitchell Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Mitchell
Morrison Adam Hunter; Mirabelle and Morrison

My favorites for unusual-but-familiar are Malcolm, Milo, and Miles. I think Milo is my favorite from those: I love it with your surname and I love it with Mirabelle. Milo! I vote for Milo.

For something even more unusual, I think Maguire is a good choice. It's not even in the Top 1000, and yet it seems easy to pronounce. It's good with Mirabelle, and in fact I think it's a pairing that makes both names sound even better: Mirabelle and Maguire, Maguire and Mirabelle.

Mead(e) is another highly unusual choice---yet doesn't seem nutso in its spelling or pronunciation. I don't think it flows as well with Adam as some of the other options, but I think that's okay.

I'm not sure Malachi fits in STYLE with Mirabelle, but I like the way the rhythm of the two names goes together. Mirabelle and Malachi, Malachi and Mirabelle.

There are only two things keeping me from pushing you to use Macallister: (1) the repeating -er with your surname, which I think is okay but not ideal, and (2) I can't find a spelling I like. The name Alistair is hard to use in the U.S. but such a good name, and the "Mac" toughens it perfectly as well as giving a good nickname. But...McAlistair? MacAlistair? Macallister? Nothing looks right to me, and they all look so LONG.

Matthias is a variation of Matthew, and yet sounds so different it feels like a completely different name. The one problem: if both father and son want to use the nickname Matt.

McAdam is an interesting way to namesake Adam, and gives you the good Mac nickname. But it has the same spelling problem as Macalister and it leaves you stuck for a middle name.

Of the Mc/Mac possibilities, I think my favorite is Maclane. Mac nickname, and the spelling is okay. Mirabelle and Maclane, Maclane and Mirabelle. Mac and Mira---cute!

But I throw my support behind Milo. (For non-M names, my favorite is Felix.)

Name update 10-02-2010! Madeline writes:
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions! The twins were born September 28th @ 10:00pm & 10:02pm, healthy & beautiful at 8lbs 7oz 21 inches & 7lbs 9oz 21 inches respectively! We DID decide to go with another M name but not because we felt like we HAD to, only because there was one name from your list that we'd never considered but instantly fell totally in LOVE with.

We're so happy with our new babies, Mirabelle Jane Hunter & Milo Adam Hunter! & BOTH of their names totally fit them to a T!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Baby Girl Watson, Sister to Allegra

Carrie writes:
Help! We are due with our second child, a girl on September 16th, (um, next week). Our 3 year old is named Allegra Grace, last name Watson. Allegra is my grandmothers middle name, and Grace came to me in a dream early on when my husband and I were dating. Early on with this pregnancy I felt strongly that this one have a name that was, well, strong, possibly with a refrence or connection to the sea, and not overly crazy feminine. I really want a name that isn't popular, but that people can pronounce, if given a moment:) Names we love, Esmee, Josephine, but I'm worried about them being too popular right now... I love Elspeth, it may be my top choice, but my husband has a hard time with how it rolls off the tounge. My husband would like a Mae to be involved (as this is his grandmothers middle name), but I'm worried about it sounding, well, too southern, or hokey? Names my husband really likes, Viola, Maebel (but that I can't stand)

Other names we like Lorelai, Clover, Willow, (but it's popular in our area) we both like botanicalish names. But really we seem to be stumped...any help would be appreciated!

Thank you!

I have one word for you: Marin. MARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIN. Strong! Not overly super-femininista! Connection to the sea! Perhaps Marin Josephine? Marin Mae is pretty cute, too.

There's also Marina or Marinda or Maris or Marney, if you prefer.

Morgan and Meriel mean "bright sea." Nila means "river." Ria and Rilla both mean a small stream. I'll bet Marilla, then is a combination of "sea" and "small stream." Marilla Mae is adorable. Sarita means "river."

Nerissa and Nereida mean "sea nymph."

There's Brooke, of course, and Raine, and River. The names Kindra and Kenda mean "water baby." Lynn means "waterfall." Sailor. Keeler.

(Meanings from Baby Names Made Easy and 100,000+ Baby Names.)

For non-sea names that use Mae, Maelle is pretty---although I just now realized that when said aloud it can sound like "male." Maelin might be better, although the Mae/L combination is still iffy.

One of my favorite botanical names is Magnolia. Another is Fern: people constantly credit Charlotte's Web for their baby name choice Charlotte (#68 in 2009), but in that case we should also be hearing of baby girls named Fern. And are we? No: not even in the Top 1000, and only 26 new babies named Fern in 2009 compared to 4140 new Charlottes (source: Social Security Administration). Fern Watson. Or it would be a good middle name. Acacia is pretty, too, but maybe too similar to Allegra. Iris, Laurel, Juniper. Meadow is similar to Willow but less common.

Name update! Carrie writes:
By the time we came to a name decision she was 2 days old, (better than 4 days old, which our first was before she was officially named). The last 3 contenders were Lorelai, Elspeth and Josephine. I loved them all, so I let my husband make the final decision. He chose Elspeth Josephine Watson:) Because it was my favorite. I have an awesome husband. Even though it wasn't his favorite necessarily, I think (like with our first), he goes through the c-section with me, and the aftermath, and figures I should be able to have the name I love:) But she looked like an Elspeth. Red hair and gray-blue eyes, fair complexion, most gorgeous little creature I had seen since her sister!

Thanks for all the ideas, it was helpful to have names to bounce around, even though we came back to the ones we originally loved:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Baby Boy Anselmo

Barbara writes:
My husband and I are expecting our second & final child, a boy, on September 26th and we can't seem to settle on a name. I am hoping you and your readers could help us out because there are so many Issues with naming this child that it is making my head spin.

Issue the First:
Initially we had assumed that if this child was a boy we would use either one of two names
Leo Joseph, named for both of our grandfathers, both deceased
Simon Edward, named for both of our fathers.

I truly love BOTH these names. However....our last name is Anselmo. I cannot decide if I love Leo enough to overlook double O endings. As for Simon Edward....I'm fearful that there would be Hurt Feelings over this one. For one, his father's name is actually Eduardo (Portuguese). For another, his father's name would be "only" the middle name and my father's would be first and I can see my MIL getting in quite a tizzy over that.

Issue the Second:
Our daughter's name is Madeleine Danielle. (Only Madeleine...never Maddie) She is not named for any family members. I feel like it is weird to use a family name for one child but not the other. But we have lots of really nice male names in the family and terrible female ones.

Issue the Third:
I do not love Madeleine's name. It was on a list of about ten that I was okay with naming her that I, frustrated with Hubs, gave to him to choose from. It was not my favourite. I will feel a bit resentful if this child also winds up with a name I feel kind of "meh" about.

Issue the Fourth:
This is the BIG Issue for me....our little boy's in utero nickname is Fred. We have all been calling him Fred since before we knew he was a boy, even. Now I actually LOVE the name Frederick (the in utero nickname came about partly because my family mocked me SO mercilessly for saying I liked Frederick). My husband most decidedly does not like it. I have no problem compromising on names but there are currently no frontrunners and so Fred is still Fred and I am worried I will not be able to call him anything else soon.

Our short list is currently Nathaniel, Leo, Simon, Felix, Desmond and Donovan.
My husband likes Felix best, which is weird since that's not his naming style at all.
I don't mind Felix terribly but am not crazy about it either. My favourite name so far has been, sadly, Frederick.

I also really, really love Elliott but hubs vetoed that one.

Other names that have been vetoed are Jeremy, Isaac, Ezra, Isaiah, Oliver, Henry and Jean Luc. They were all names I LOVE but DH doesn't. He has never suggested a name therefore NO names he loves are on the veto list.

Um, what else? Oh...if this baby had been a second daughter we would have likely named her Natalie.

I will give you a clue as to how dire the situation is: our daughter has long insisted a baby boy should be called Matthew. Neither Hubs nor I hate it but neither of like that it is so common either. We are, however, so absolutely tired of discussing baby names that we have seriously considered letting the FIVE YEAR OLD name the baby.

(If we choose a name that doesn't automatically come with a middle name ie Leo, Simon, I'd like to use Matthew as a middle name)

Sorry for the novel. But there are just so many things BOTHERING me about naming this baby and I really wanted you to have all the info. Thank you so much for your help.

OH! A fellow fan of Frederick! I reallllly like that name. Two of the names on my own list are Simon Frederick and Oliver Frederick.

We need to summon your husband. Call him over. Here is his assignment: he needs to give serious thought to his family, since he's the one who knows them best, and he needs to tell us if, for example, his parents might be happier with no namesake at all rather than a middle/changed name namesake. Some parents would go one way on this and some would go another. And Simon Frederick Anselmo would be a terrific name, and would let you have Frederick and even still call him Fred sometimes as a nickname. And it's a pleasing naming story.

Which grandfather is your husband's, Leo or Joseph? Another option would be to use that as the middle name instead of Edward. Simon Leo, or Simon Joseph. Then instead of one father getting higher billing than the other, it's the nearer generation ranking over the farther---and yet still one name from each side of the family. (Plus, let's remember that the surname is from your husband's side of the family.)

Another option is to use Eduardo instead of Edward. It may grow on you with time, and it may improve the situation with the in-laws. Simon Eduardo Anselmo. In that case, it could be argued that "Eduardo Anselmo" is more than half the name and also both your father-in-law's names, so it's nicely balanced with just one of your father's names in the first-name position. You could even have your husband frame it that way: "We named him Simon Eduardo Anselmo---Eduardo Anselmo after you, dad, and Simon after Barbara's dad." Plus, that arrangement of names avoids any confusion there might have been if there were two Eduardo Anselmos in the family.

I think it's okay to have one child with family names and the other without, though I feel the same way you do about it. We have a similar situation in our family, with all four of the boys having one family name, and two of the boys ALSO having the names of friends of ours, and our girl having no family or friend names. I thought it would bother me, but it only bothers me a little teeny bit, and only when I'm telling someone my kids' names and I'm saying "Rob, after my grandfather; William, after Paul's grandfather; Elizabeth....after nobody, we just liked the name...." and so on. But a lot of the time I'm just listing the names ("Rob, William, Elizabeth...") and it's not an issue anyway. AND, I do think that culturally it's understandable if a boy is named for family and a girl isn't, irritating as that tradition may be.

I like these three as finalists: Simon Frederick, Simon Leo/Joseph, and Simon Eduardo.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Name Updates!

Update to Baby Boy Shawl!
Update to Baby Girl Can, Sister to Simone Olivia!

(Updates are at the bottoms of the posts.)

Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Liberty, Eden, Sterling, and Ruby

Adrienne writes:
I'm due September 24 with our fifth baby - gender unknown. Our others are Liberty Skye, Eden Rayne, Sterling Blaine, and Ruby Alexandra. Ruby and Sterling have family names for middle names, the others we picked because we liked. But this time around - my husband likes Charles (family name) but I do not, and Gideon - also one I really do not care for. He hasn't mentioned finding anything he remotely appreciated for a girl. (Three girls and one boy later, probably because he's just hoping it's a boy!) I love River Elliot for a boy but my husband isn't crazy about it and we've tried thus far to avoid the same first initials among kids. My choice for a girl is Colleen Brooke - but it's been cast aside by my dear husband as well. Chloe was in the running for Ruby, but was cast out because it's quite popular these days. Asher, Galen, and Sawyer are some of my favorites for boys, and Greta, Nina, Josie and Ainsley for girls - but all have gotten "the frown".

Reuben was a favorite when Ruby was due, but would be awkward to say the least at this point. Another name we both somewhat like is Silas. Brynne is one of my favorites for girls' middle names - I like one syllable for the middle since our last name is three syllables. It begins with F so we've left all the names also beginning with F alone, and it ends in "uh", making Dahlia and Deliah - both past considerations - sound a bit repetitive and not necessarily in a good way.

Getting my husband involved in the naming process is difficult - mostly, he reads through the 20,000 names book we have and doesn't like any of them. Frustrating! Any ideas or suggestions? We like names that aren't terribly popular that are spelled "normal". I really would like to find a name with a great meaning, but several times through the baby name book later, I'm not finding anything we can agree on.


So far all of your children have word names; I'm inclined to continue that. This is more difficult for boy names:

Forest (repeats surname initial)
Reed (repeats sibling initial)
Roman (repeats sibling initial)
Shepherd (repeats sibling initial)

You'll notice I did some REACHING: the names Pierce and Wade, for example, are not considered word names in the same way Liberty and Ruby are word names---but it's enough of a tie-in to feel like they fit in, without being an overwhelming theme. And Shepherd is usually spelled Shepard when used as a name, but I got a little carried away with my self-imposed Must! Be! Words! theme.

Girl word names are so MUCH easier, they pass into being HARDER: there are so many choices, it's hard to even sort through them. Flowers! Jewels! Virtues! Emotions! Birds! Colors! But ruling out -uh endings will help, and we can also rule out names that would make other names too word-like: no Garnet or Pearl or Scarlett with a Ruby, for example.

Laurel (repeats sibling initial)

Some of these are iffy: the V of Verity might be too close to the F of your surname, and both Verity and Clarity might be too close to Liberty; Haven may be too similar in flavor to Eden; Honor might go too wordishly well with Liberty; Joy and June might work better as middle names.

For non-word names, your husband might like Galen better for a girl than for a boy, and I wonder if he'd like Gibson instead of Gideon? Nolan comes to mind, too.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Baby Girl or Boy Webb

Sara writes:
I'm due September 21 with my second child. Like our first, we didn't find out the gender and are stumped with boy names once again. Luckily, our first child is a girl and we named her Marin Nora. The first name means sailor (my husband races sailboats) and the middle name is after my grandma. If we have another girl, we are 99% sure we'll name her Kinley Josephine. Kinley is my husband's middle name and the middle name is after my grandpa, Joe.

When we were pregnant for Marin, I reluctantly agreed on the name Carson for a boy, but was so relieved when we didn't have a boy! The middle name would have been (and will be with baby #2) Kinley - as it is a fourth generation tradition to have the first boy's middle name be Kinley.

My husband's only consideration is Grayson. I don't like it - for no explainable reason. Names that we have talked about, but don't "speak" to us are ... Conner, Ryan, Gavin. If it were up to me, it would be Grant. I also love Bennett or Benjamin and a new favorite, Tyson.

Marin's name is unheard of in the area we live and hopefully won't be come "popular" for awhile. So, I'm also struggling with this baby having an "original" name, but nothing too out there. I also love the fact that Marin's name has the sailing/water reference too. Help! Oh, and our last name is Webb.

I suggest Caspian. It's uncommon but not unfamiliar, and the Caspian Sea gives it a water reference. Caspian Kinley Webb; Marin and Caspian.

You could go straight for Sailor: again, uncommon but not unfamiliar, and similar to the currently-popular name Sawyer. Sailor Kinley Webb; Marin and Sailor. It has a slight feminine association because Christie Brinkley named her daughter Sailor.

The Baby Name Wizard says Keeler means "boat-builder." Keeler Kinley is a little much but also sounds good to me. Keeler Webb; Marin and Keeler. But I hesitate to recommend it, because Keeler sounds a little feminine to me.

Leif Ericson was a famous sailing guy, and while Leif Webb seems a little abrupt, Ericson Webb is nice and reminds me of both Grayson and Carson. Marin and Ericson.

And there's Christopher Columbus, of course, and Christopher Webb is a wonderful name.

Lachlan is a nice name and means "land of lakes." Lachlan Webb; Marin and Lachlan.

Name update! Sara writes:
I appreciated all your comments and it caused us to go back to our original list when we were pregnant with our first child. An old favorite emerged and seemed perfect for a boy - which we ended up having! Beckett Kinley Webb was born on September 18. We are getting lots of compliments on his name, which means "dweller by the brook." Thanks again for your help!

Name Updates!

Update to Baby Girl Naughton, Sister to Atley!
Update to Baby Boy Lee!
(Updates are at the bottom of each post.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Girl T., Sister to Quinlan, Drew, and Margot

Kristen writes:
Finalist names:
Gwen (our favorite)
Audrey (also a fave, but it's my mom's name - sort of feel weird about that)

Other kids:
Quinlan Elise, Drew (boy), Margot Laine

One syllable and starts with a T, so first name shouldn't start with a T. I don't love names ending with a t either (other than the silent "t" in Margot). We liked Bridget but rejected it for that reason.

I lean towards older, traditional names that aren't as popular - like Arwen, Blythe, etc. -- all of which my husband hates. He likes stripper names. Heh. But seriously. They sound like strippers. We like Daria as an alternative for Margot but I wanted everyone to have their own letter, so I'm leaving that out as an option right now.
I love the name Gwen and was thinking Audrey Gwen and just calling her Gwen but I'm not sold on naming someone something as a middle name and then using it as a first name. Like, why not just make it her first name.

And I don't really love Gwen Audrey.

I'd really just like a cool middle name for Gwen. Our kids are not named for anyone in the family, so it doesn't need to be something sentimental. We've been toying with Alexandra and Elizabeth - but I've got Elise already and I'm sort of "meh" about having another derivative of Elise.


I'm with you: I'd rather not call a child by his or her middle name unless I have some super-compelling reason to do it, such as a naming tradition where it's necessary to avoid mix-ups.

So let's look for a good middle name for Gwen. I THINK Quinlan Elise and Gwen Elizabeth are too similar. The "Quin" of Quinlan is already so close to the sounds of Gwen, it seems like adding a similar middle name is too much similarity.

I might look first for names starting with D, M, and Q, since you don't want to use any of those as first names for this or future babies.

Gwen Daria
Gwen Madigan
Gwen Magnolia
Gwen Mallory
Gwen Marissa
Gwen Matilda
Gwen Melina
Gwen Meredith
Gwen Millicent

I find that with the one-syllable first name and one-syllable surname I like the longer middle names: Magnolia is my favorite from this list, and I like the way it has the same rhythm as the name Elizabeth. Others like that:

Gwen Amelia
Gwen Cecelia
Gwen Cordelia
Gwen Felicity
Gwen Livinia
Gwen Olivia
Gwen Veronica
Gwen Victoria

Also Gwen Penelope, but something about that sounds amusing to me.

But before I act as if Gwen is The Choice, I think Audrey is a wonderful name, and I like the two syllables with your one-syllable surname, and I like how it's not similar to any of the other kids' names: Quinlan, Drew, Margot, and Audrey is a very nice assortment. One of my kids is named for my dad and it hasn't been weird---but then, I also didn't mind the idea that it might make my pinehole father-in-law wonder why we didn't use HIS name. Some middle names for Audrey:

Audrey Carissa
Audrey Corinne
Audrey Gwenyth
Audrey Helene
Audrey Isla
Audrey Jean
Audrey Jocasta
Audrey Joella
Audrey Laurel
Audrey Penelope
Audrey Piper

Do the rest of you want to vote? Not with a poll this time, but just say which of the two names is your favorite, and then list some middle names?