I'm currently pregnant with a little boy (my first baby!) and am due March 14. Until we started talking about specific names, I was totally unaware that my husband and I had such wildly different views on names, and the process of trying to find one we both like is FREAKING ME OUT! ;) (Which of course means that all ANYBODY asks us lately is what we are going to name the baby! As if traveling for the holidays, being pregnant, and having to find a new place to live all at the same time wasn't stressful enough!)
I have been leanings towards fairly traditional names that lend themselves to a shortened version and won't condemn my baby to a life of having to correct people on the pronunciation or spelling (Andrew, Edward, Jeffrey, James, Daniel, etc.). I don't want to choose a super popular name, but I'm not AS concerned about him having to go by Jacob R (our last name is Russell) because there are so many Jacobs in his class someday, as I am with the idea of him having to tell people, "No, it's spelled J-A-K-O-B" for his whole life (and I know this seems crazy, but spelling a name differently to make it unique entirely changes my feelings about the name. A baby named Jacob evokes cuddly maternal feelings from me. A baby named Jakob does NOT. It actually makes me feel kind of stabby, and I really don't want to feel stabby towards my baby!)
My husband's primary concern with baby names is that it not be common (and he's an engineer, so he's going onto websites and finding data to support what percent of the population already has a certain name. All of the above mentioned names were ruled out for being too common). It also can't be a Biblical name, and it can't be the name of anyone he knows (that last part doesn't help you out very much, but I thought you should know what I'm working with, here!) He hasn't brought very many options to the table yet, so it's important to me that I don't quash all of his ideas without being constructive. However, I'm just not fans of Kelvin (the temperature scale! And everyone will think his name is Calvin, he'll spend his whole life correcting people! And the only nickname is Kel, which is like Keenen & Kel, and I don't want to reference ancient Nickelodean shows with my baby!) or Ajax (ah, it's a cleanser, like Comet! Which makes you vomit! I don't want my baby associated with gritty sink cleansers!) I was hopeful about the name Jackson, until my husband decided that he only likes it if it is spelled Jaxon (see previous comments on stabby feelings towards unique spellings and having to constantly tell people how to spell something that sounds simple). I've tried finding out if there is something about those particular names that he is drawn to, in an effort to find similar names that I don't feel as strongly opposed to (I don't mind the idea of naming our baby after some famous scientist or a strong Greek warrior, if they were names that also seemed easy to spell and pronounce and not terribly likely to evoke beatings from kids on the playground) but I think what he likes most about them is that they are unusual.
I'm hoping that you can help me with the seemingly impossible: do you have suggestions for traditional/non-Biblical/uncommon names? :) I've tried looking at baby name books and websites, but (shockingly!) they don't usually have a column for that ;) And for the sake of my mental health, I need ideas! :)
Thanks so much!
You are among friends: many of us here won't think it's remotely crazy to feel that a name is changed by spelling it differently---whether it's a legitimate alternate spelling or one done in an attempt to make a name less common. I certainly feel differently about Jakob versus Jacob, or Madison versus Maddisyn, or Katherine versus Catherine, or Sophia versus Sofia, or Jeffrey versus Geoffrey.
The Baby Name Wizard (try to find a copy with the hot-pink "fully revised and updated" circle on the cover---Amazon claims to have that version only for the Kindle, which I suspect is losing them some cash) has a section that might be what you need: it's called Exotic Traditionals. Listen to this introduction: "You want a name that stands out from the pack ... Yet you roll your eyes at new inventions with wild spellings---you want a name with roots and resonance."
My total favorite from this section is Milo. For me, this is the one I could see as My Baby, and it was our runner-up to the name Henry for our youngest. I still love it. It's unusual, but easy to say and easy to spell. I think Milo Russell sounds wonderful: dignified and friendly at the same time. He sounds like a Great Guy with a Happy Life.
Another name I like from this section is Aidric. I've never met or heard of a single person with that name, but it nevertheless seems familiar and easy---I think because it's like a combination of Aidan and Eric. I think it has a cool look and sound, and it's great with your surname: Aidric Russell. (In fact, I am starting to envy you your surname.) Maybe Aidric Kelvin Russell.
Another name we considered ourselves from this section is Felix. Yes, yes, there's a Felix the cat, which I think I've seen only in clip shows about the history of cartoons, and which I'll bet none of our children will see; ditto for The Odd Couple, which I watched in afternoon reruns when I was a child home sick from school but haven't seen since. The name means happy and lucky, which is pleasant, and again it's great with your surname: Felix Russell. Your husband might appreciate the X, and yet the name is easy to spell and pronounce.
If your husband wasn't opposed to biblical names, I'd suggest Gideon. Why is this name so underused? And Gideon Russell is wonderful.
A name not in this section is Darwin. Easy to spell, easy to pronounce, but quite unusual and with excellent Lab Cred. Darwin Russell. I hesitate only because it seems like people might sometimes think the name was Russell Darwin.
Perhaps your husband would be willing to make a little DEAL: you get to sway the first name toward the realm of The Usual, and he gets to sway the middle name toward the realm of The
A middle name suggestion that might please your husband: Tycho (pronounced TEE-ko). A science guy who was so tough he lost his nose in a duel! Gross!
More middle name possibilities: Faraday, Hawking, Feynman, Edison.
I love Milo Feynman Russell, or Felix Hawking Russell, or Aidric Faraday Russell.
If you like Edward, maybe Edmund? WAY less common, yet familiar. Edmund Hawking Russell.
Name update! Carolyn writes:
Our little man arrived early via C-section on February 18, and it took the full time I was in the hospital for us to finish choosing a name :) (The sleep deprivation actually made us be a bit more direct in our thinking and quit dilly-dallying around!) I loved everyone's suggestions and will hold onto them for the future, but we ended up agreeing on Nathan Isaac for our first little boy (and no, I don't know what about it ended up appealing to my husband. But I know for sure that the next time I get pregnant, we'll start discussing names ASAP so we don't end up in a bind, again!)