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Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Girl, Sister to Avery Caelyn

Jenna writes:
My husband and I are expecting our 2nd daughter February 2011. We can NOT agree on a name...or any names really. Our 2 year old daughter is named Avery Caelyn. We heard Avery on a baby show about half way through the pregnancy & agreed. Her middle name came in the hospital, 3 days after she was born. I literally opened a name book and pointed until he said "Yeah, that one."
Our naming strategy is pretty similar to everyone else's: I list them, he has veto power. And he remembers names he already said no to, I've tried it. I would love to use a family name- he said no. We tend to pick more modern girl names- boy/unisex names, surnames & places- but we are not opposed to girly names. I heard once that if you name a girl a unisex name, they will be more successful in life because people tend to give credit/praise/expectations/opportunities to male names- even with no other point of reference. If we were having a boy though, he was going to have a more traditional, masculine name- Jon, Cason, Elliot [the only family name I was able to keep on the list] or Alec, with the middle name Richard- there are 9 Richards in our family from our daughters to our grandparents- both sides big popular name. We are open to suggestions and yays or nays for our ((short)) list. We want it to work well with Avery without being matchy. I like same 1st initial, but it's not high priority. And I like same syllables, also not high priority. It cannot end in a T- or Tr- sound because of our last name. Also, our last name is one that you do not hear has an 'x' in the middle of it- and some people say it sounds like pretzel. My name is Jenna & my husband's is Richard- soo her name cannot be similar to these.

Our list:
Jaycee/Jacy- "Ok" according to him
Kylee- My current favorite- though it changes daily.
Macy- Like Jacy
Graceson- Strong second to my favorite
Kaylee/ie/eigh- Almost too popular
Ashtyn- His absolute favorite- he calls her this now.
Morgan- I have cousin with this name, but i like it anyhow.

Vetoed names/ Names we cannot use (acquaintances, cousins)
Any flower/spice/herb names.
Any color names.
Any "outdoorsy" names.
Most nouns.
Any emotion or inspirational word (faith, hope, grace)

Our biggest challenge: I do not LOVE any names that we have heard. We love our daughter's name, Avery Caelyn. He picks one and can "go with it" I keep looking and reading. None of them have been it. And no, We have not even considered talking middle names yet.
Please help!!

I need to amend my list.
We need to add Logan to it. I love it. I just can't seem to find a middle name.
He's said "It's one we agree on. Ok"

Ok...I'm obsessed this is my third email to you. Sorry.
Our new list-

My newest dilemma- Is Erin too different from Avery?

Thanks again!

Ok Swistle. THIS is my last email...I have 8 weeks left..we'll see right?
I guess I'm just trying to get the best answers?opinions? from you and your readers.
Last time I added Erin to the list (we love it!) only, he wants to spell it Aaryn or Arynn. Erin is pronounced "EHrin" not "AIRin" he says. The A(s) will give us the pronouciation we want; AIRin.
I like it because it gives both girls A-names and makes it more masculine (like Avery).


Also, her middle name will be Leigh (unless her name ends in an -ee sound). My husband's middle name is Lee and since this will be our last* and he didn't get his boy** I thought he should have a big part of her name.
*ask me again in 3 years.
**see *.

I'd say Erin is okay with Avery but not great. Erin was in the Top 100 for girls from 1971 until 2004 (source: Social Security Administration). Avery has been in the Top 100 for girls since 2003, and until the late 1990s was used more often for boys. So they're both boyish girl names, but Erin is now a common Mom Name, while Avery is next-generation (jumping into the Top 100 the year before Erin dropped out) and single-spelling androgynous (though getting more Girl every year).

This could be a regional thing, but where I live the name Erin is pronounced like AIR-rin, to rhyme with Karen. If you want AIR-rin you can spell it Erin: at worst, there are two ways to pronounce it. However, in your case I think your idea of using Arynn improves the fit: it makes the name more modern, and it gives you the two A-names you were hoping for. Furthermore, both names would have the same number of letters, and three of those letters would be the same. The Arynn spelling would give you some small hassle, but not as much, I think, as Aaryn, and not more than Gracen/Gracyn. And Arynn Leigh works very nicely. My only concern, and maybe this is nothing to worry about, is that both alternate spellings make me think of Aryan, a very unpleasant association but maybe not one that would come to most people's minds.

Gracen/Gracyn is also a very good match: like Avery, it's used for boys (usually spelled Grayson or Greyson) and it's a recently popular name (more recent than Avery, but it's "this generation" as opposed to "last generation"). And again, Gracyn Leigh is a nice fit.

To me, the name Logan still sounds utterly Boy---but I see it was used for about 700 girl babies last year along with over 14,000 boys. (It's falling for girls and rising for boys.) If you do use it, I suggest using a middle name that is used exclusively for girls: Logan Grace or Logan Rose or Logan Joy. Oops, all three of those are on the veto list (for being flowers/inspirational). Maybe Logan Louise or Logan Nicole or Logan Simone or Logan Leeanne (this also gives you Lee) or Logan Elise or Logan Celeste.

Name update! Jenna writes:
Our 2nd daughter came 5 days late! She didn't have a name for a few days and my entire list went out the window!! My husband stuck with Aerin, but I had a whole new list of names come to me when I met her! Wren was her name and I knew it within an hour of her birth but he said no...our compromise? I saw it on a list you did for one of your other readers- Emryn. Emryn Leigh was born on 2/20. Big sister Avery is ecstatic!Thanks for everyones help!!!! Still love reading your baby name blog Swistle!!!!


Adey said...

I think Aaryn or Arynn are my favourite on your list - with my preference being the first spelling I think! I do think it goes nicely with Avery.

Logan to me is still very boyish. A name I came across recently was Macyn and I love it and thought it suited your criteria. I know Mason is strongly masculine but I can't help but love Macyn for a girl.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Rayne of Terror said...

I think the name Brinleigh is the perfect fit for you. Modern, like Erin, contains lee, and you get a middle name. I like one syllable mn for Brinleigh. Brinleigh Anne, Brinleigh Jo! or how about Brinleigh Reghan?

Anonymous said...

I too have a negative association with Aaryn or Arynn..i would spell Erin the way it is or maybe Aerin/Arin. I like Macy and Gracen of your list.

What about



Rachel said...

I want to go back to your first list! I love Macy and Morgan with Avery, especially Morgan: Avery and Morgan. But Avery and Macy might give you the matchy-but-not sound you want (same last letter).

If you're going to change the spelling of Erin (which I pronounce as AIR-in anyway...I don't think I've heard it pronounced otherwise), I'd go with Arynn. The double-A at the beginning of Aaron/Aaryn makes me want to say AHHH-rin.

Anonymous said...

The only time I've ever known Erin to be pronounced other than Air-en is in a foreign country. My friend from New Zealand is an Erin and it's pronounced Ear-en. I met her in 1996 and I still pronounce it Air-en.

Jess said...

For me, ARYNN immediately brings to mind the association of the Arya*n race. (I'm adding *'s so this site doesn't come up when people search that word.) As a former recruiter, I would caution you against that spelling. You may be counteracting your unisex/success equation. The spelling of AARYN doesn't give me the hibbie jibbies like ARYNN did.

What about AINSLEY or AINSLEE? It has some of the things you are looking for - starts with an A, same syllables, and unisex. Best yet, it has the built-in tribute to your hubby.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am an Erin! And I love my name!

But I like the E spelling, go figure :) Where I live/grew up Aaron and Erin are pronounced pretty much exactly the same.

If you REALLY want it to start with an A, I think Aerin is nicer than Aaryn or Arynn. I've also seen Erinn and always wondered if I'd appreciate that extra N ;)

Sarah said...

Wow--I am impressed with Jess's insight and suggestions. She makes a good point about the racial association.

Also, can I say I LOVE the name Ainsley (or Ainslee)? What a perfect sibling name for Avery! They complement each other in style and sound. That would be my vote, hands down.

Jess said...

Another spelling for Erin is AREN.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you would like the spelling Ehren? It is the German verb "to honor." Since the Leigh is to honor your husband, it seems appropriate. I also think that spelling makes the name more androgynous/fitting with Avery. May still have pronunciation issues, though.

Swistle said...

Jess- Heh, thanks! But I already spelled it without the asterisk in the post---now I am probably going to get some Very Interesting Commenters!

Alison aka Baby B said...

I saw Arynn and thought "Ary@n" said "Oh no, must comment on Ary@n association!" Then I saw Swistle did bring it up. So, yes, I saw an icky association. I'd vote for Gracyn over Arynn.

About the boyish girl name thing: I see or hear Avery and I KNOW it's a girl. I have personally never met an Avery who was a boy, so I don't see it as very androgynous, even though my brain *knows* it used to be a boy name. To me, it's like Ashley or Leslie, a former-boy-name-now-totally-girl-name. And I view Logan as a boy-only name. I was surprised when I googled it that it has become a little bit of a girl name.

I'm going to throw some names out there...
-Erin comes from Eirinn "Ireland" (with an accent over the first E but you could skip that).
-Devon is an androgynous name. Avery Caelyn and Devon Leigh. I have known a few boys and a few girls named Devon, spelled many ways. You could use Devyn.
-What about Coren or Coryn? Avery Caelyn and Coryn Leigh. Coryn and Caelyn are close but since one would be a first name and the other a middle name...
-Edlyn! Oooh, I like. Edlyn Leigh.
-Marin. I'm saying it MAR-inn, but it could Ma-RINN (a county just north of SF Bay) or MARE-inn. Marin Lee.
-Camryn Lee.

Edlyn is a new name to me, and I have to say, I really, really like it, but I could definitely see how it isn't everyone's cup of tea. I also like Coryn in your situation.

Swistle said...

Sarah- Dude, are you not giving me credit for it?? I said it first in my post!

Meg said...

I work with a 20 year old girl named Logan, when I first saw her name I assumed it was a boy and was a little thrown off. Knowing her has made me totally love the name for a girl, it fits her well and is very sweet!

Jess said...

Oh, my gosh, this post has me hyper! Swistle - you most certainly said it first in your post. :) I was so flabbergasted with the name spelling that I almost missed it, tho.

I searched dictionary(dot)com for Aryan just to make sure Arynn wasn't an alternative spelling. Then I weighed commenting, thinking "Oh, horor, maybe that's the association the parents wanted." Then I facebooked a childhood aquaintance to see how she spelled Erin with an A. I'm an expat living in Germany, so I may be overly sensitive to this, but puhlease Jenna don't use that spelling! :)

Bethtastic said...

I *LOVE* same initial sibling sets. So I'm completely on board with using a creative spelling for Erin as a sibling to Avery. Ane I agree with Swistle that it gives something fresh to the name to spell it differently.

I did not think of Ary@n at all. But see there are quite a few who did, so perhaps the Aerin or Aaryn spelling. Because I really do like Avery and Aerin/Aaryn!

Carolyn said...

I love Aerin for you. Estee Lauder's daughter, Aerin Lauder, spells it this way, and it always makes me think of light, airy elegance.

I don't know if this is too matchy, but what about Avelyn? Pronounced with a short /a/ as in apple. A-velyn and Ay-very have different sounds but some similarity. Or maybe Everleigh? I love Ever for a nn.

beyond said...

I personally don't think that Aaryn or Arynn are ideal spellings for Erin , and I'm glad Swistle and others have brought it up. I have always heard Erin pronounced AIRin, so I don't think you really need alternative spelling to make that clear. However, if you like creative spellings and perhaps would like a 'y' to fit in with Avery, I might suggest Erynn or Airyn.
I love the mn Leigh. From your first list I love Morgan (and Macy). Morgan Leigh. Avery and Morgan. Such a good fit.
Good luck!

Alison aka Baby B said...

I have 2 more cents to throw in: To everyone who suggested Aerin, YES. LOVE. Aerin Leigh!

And I'm going to echo Jess' last comment. Please, no Arynn! When this baby girl grows up and starts learning about WWII in history class, I could easily see kids making that connection.

Rayne of Terror said...

How about Arden & Avery?

StephLove said...

Would you reconsider Morgan? That was my favorite of all names mentioned. Morgan Leigh sounds nice, too. Arden and Ainsley are lovely suggestions, too.

Aryan did jump right out at me, BTW, when I saw Aaryn/Arynn. Not a good association. Rather than mess with the spelling, I'd echo the commenter who suggested going straight to the meaning and using Ireland.

Suzanne said...

I'm about 99% sure my neighbor has the same last name as you do and she named her daughter Madison Leigh, which I thought sounded nice as a full name. Since Madison isn't on your list, I would pick Morgan.

Out of the "A" names, I love Aerin and Arden.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am Erin Leigh so I must say I like that name. Also, as far as pronunciation I am an EHrin. I also have a Logan, but our Logan is a boy. I like the suggestion of Ainsley and think that it would be really well with Avery but I am partial to Erin :)

Zoe said...

I love Arynn! I think this fits best.
Keep us posted :)

kimma said...

I wanted to tweak one of the names in your original list to Ashlyn. I think it meets your criteria for an A name that is not overly feminine and goes well with Avery.

Of the other commenters I also liked Ainsley for the same reason and Devon just because.

Anonymous said...

I like the suggestion of Avelyn. Or what about Ashlyn. Since your husband likes Ashtyn.

Mrs. Haid said...

In the midwest, Erin is always said AIRin. I've never heard it another way with an Eh.

I heard this weekend on a John Tesh radio show that children with opposite gender names (traditionally) do not have the same fate that you mentioned. He stated that they usually get into trouble more often and go against the flow of things. He also cited Laura Wattenberg and the Social Security websites in this little story, but I don't know exactly where his data was from.

I would vote Aubrey or Arden.

EP said...

My name is Erin, and I pronounce it EHrin. I am from New York originally and my (very unscientific) experience is generally that people from NY, NJ and New England tend to say EHrin, while most others say AIR-in. But the thing is that I have NEVER felt compelled to correct people because the difference is just so subtle. To me, it's not like people are saying my name incorrectly (like maybe "Ava" vs. "Eva"), they are just saying it how their own accents will let them say it, which is probably true for many many names. If this still bothers you, then don't name her Erin. But I can honestly say that I barely even notice the pronunciation differences when people say my name, so if you really love Erin, I am pretty sure it won't be a big deal at all. Also, I actually read some of your alternative spellings as "Are-in", which I think is further off the mark then "EHrin". I hope this was helpful. Good luck!

christa said...

I knew a girl in high school named Ayrn. Pronounced AIRin. I fell in love with the name Ayrn, but I would never use the name Erin. It's really all about the spelling.

I think Arynn/Ayrn goes wonderfully with Avery!

Arynn/Ayrn Leigh makes for a pretty name. :)

Guinevere said...

I too want to second that Arynn and also Aaryn both make me think "Aryan", immediately and strongly, very independently of Swistle's commentary. I know other commenters put Arynn as more heebie-jeebie inducing than Aaryn, but to me the latter is equally bad because it's such an easy anagram (perhaps I play word scramble games too often). That is an incredibly negative association and even if only a small fraction of people make the connection, that would really be a very hard thing for someone to overcome. Especially if you are Caucasian.

If you want an alternative spelling with an A, Aerin is I think your best bet. It modernizes the spelling without rendering the name hard to recognize, and it even has a very nice positive association as the heroine in a Robin McKinley book, "The Hero and the Crown" (a good read - won the Newbery medal!), as well as being associated with J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings" (not actually featured in the trilogy, but in the related books).

Lee alone meets your criteria as unisex... could you consider it in the first name spot?

Anonymous said...

Love Logan for a girl. Its one of my favorites!

sarah said...

I would suggest Amily, like Emily but with a long A at the beginning. It gives you the A initial plus a -lee sound at the end.
I also like the previous suggestions of Ainsley and Arden. if you go with Erin, i like the Aerin spelling.
I am from Boston, so no matter how popular Logan gets, it will always be an airport to me! :)
good luck.

KimmyGoat said...

I really like Ainsley/Ainslee. Maybe Afton? Afton Leigh.

Jenn said...

Other ideas:

I love the name Erin, but would stick to that traditional spelling or Aerin.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Tons of great comments and way cute name suggestions.

I LOVE the spelling Aerin. I think it is so unique, but not hard to pronounce and just pretty! My next vote would be Airen (the phonetic way the OP spelled it). I think it's a good alternative.

I don't care for Arynn or Aaryn for all the reasons mentioned, plus I think it would confuse the pronunciations. Both are so unique I found myself saying "a-RHYNN" (emphasis on the second syllable) and "EY-rin" (wrong vowel sound), even though I knew what the OP was going for.

I also LOVE LOVE Swistle's suggestion of Arden. Very cool, sophisticated name (like Avery) with a hint of androgyny.

What about Auden? (Is that a boy's name or a girl's name? I guess it doesn't matter!)

Anonymous said...

For A names I like Aubrey.

I like Graclyn better than Gracyn or Gracen. It makes it more girly!

I don't like uniquely spelled names b/c you spend your whole life spelling your name for people and it is ALWAYS misspelled (my first name is non-traditional and I hate having to spell it all the time. Even at 34 years old.) If you like Erin, I would go w/ Erin and none of the other spellings. Too out there, in my opinion and since Avery is spelled the "normal" way, it doesn't fit to have Erin spelled a unique way.

My 2 cents :)

Elle said...

How about Aralyn (AIR-a-lynn)? I know an Aralyn, and think that it's a nice variation of the names that everyone's been batting around. It sounds great with Avery: Avery and Aralyn. Plus, it gets you away from the tricky alternative spellings of Erin.

Also, I used to know a girl named Logan, and the name seemed to fit her well. Avery and Logan is nice too!

Jenna said...

I just wrote a long comment and lost it! Shortened version-1st THANK YOU Swistle & everyone for your feedback. 2nd -Thank you for bringing our attention to Ary*n (his last name IS German, that would be so bad. Creeps me out)
My Current List:
Aerin (dropping the aaryn/arynn spellings)
Emerson (I know it was vetoed, I'm working on it)
His List:
Aaryn Leigh
Kylie (a little)

Anonymous said...

What about Amity?

Christine said...

No, no, no to Arynn. Yes to Aerin.

Others you might like, Peyton, Rowan, Riley.

Good luck!

Rayne of Terror said...

I really like Holland.

Elisabeth said...

Of any of the spellings of Erin, I do like Aerin the best. I think it's the prettiest and also the most likely to be spelled correctly.

From your new list, I really like Holland. I knew a little girl named Holland and thought her name was adorable.

For other A names, I suggest Addison, Ainsley, Ayla, Amity, and Ashlyn

Anonymous said...

I am an Erin, and quite like my name, and quite like that its not spelled creatively either (people know how to spell it, say it, and I can even get a personalized ornament at a gift store here and there). They also know by the spelling that I am female, even though its not a girly name at all. I pronounce it AIR-en, everyone I ever met has as well, in europe, in australia, wherever. I tend to agree with you too about androgynous or boyish names for girls. I really love Logan for a girl, and am hoping it makes the jump over, but for now I agree that it still sounds boy to me. I love Logan Elizabeth. Good luck!

Erin said...

I'm a Mom Name Erin, and I don't get the "Eh-rin" thing. I don't think I can even pronounce it that way. I've lived on the west coast, the east coast, and the midwest, and it's always AIR-rin.

Frema said...

I knew of one little girl whose name was Logann - her mom added a second "n" to make it more girly. Just a thought there.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

This is totally a not-helpful comment, but I am completely baffled by the EH-rin/AIR-rin pronunciation. I cannot for the life of me pronounce it EH-rin naturally.

I suppose this is somewhat like my husband insisting there is a distinct aural difference between "Dawn" and "Don"? He says them both to me, but I don't hear any differentiation.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Love the name Erin, but I have to say that the alternate spellings mentioned IMMEDIATELY brought to mind "Aryan." As a matter of fact, while quickly reading over this post, it caused a double-take. I would suggest that if feel you must change the spelling (though I don't really think it's at all necessary and E-R-I-N is the way to go) to begin with an 'A', don't use a 'y' in there.

Anonymous said...

From your updated list, I think Payson is cute. Holland reminds me of the country.

Some more A name suggestions:



Anonymous said...

What about Aisling/Ashlyn?

Jess said...

Another A name that could work well might be AUDRA LEIGH. Avery and Audra. Cute together, different enough, adorable stand-alone names. I like that they would both be rather nn-proof.