Ok, I totally left this until too late and then I see your post about being overwhelmed with letters and I’m terrified you won’t answer mine. I’ve actually written this letter four times, once before we knew the sex, once after, and again after I got a copy of The Baby Name Wizard. And now I’m scrapping all of those and starting over because they keep getting ridiculously long. Our last name is long and Italian and kind of sounds like Provolone (the cheese) but starts with an M.
Older daughter is Juliette Elizabeth. Juliette came out of nowhere with about 15 weeks to go last time. We love that it is familiar and yet uncommon (so far). Elizabeth is after my husband’s mother, who passed away when he was a teenager, but it is also my middle name after an aunt and my grandmother. She gets also gets called Julie, Jules, Jemma (her initials) and Etta by various family members. None of that bothers us. Also, I love her name, but you know how some people write in updates and say that the name they picked it “totally my baby”? I don’t feel that way. I don’t have any name regret, but I could easily picture Jules being a Piper or Paisley or Lucy or whatever. (I also never found THE wedding dress, but liked my dress just fine, so perhaps I am not the sort of person finds THE name/dress/perfect piece of art for the wall?)
Husband is not a classic veto-er (yay!) and will suggest names. He is kind of stuck on Cecelia right now though and the thought of having a Simon & Garfunkel song stuck in my head for the next 40 or 50 years is making me want to shoot something. Also, he doesn’t think the kids names need to “match” or sound good together at all. He says they are all individual people and it doesn’t matter in the long run. I am more of the view that these children are our lives’ work and I want their names to coordinate.
A few notes before I get into a list. I really want to honor my mom with this little girl’s middle name. Mom’s name is Rosalie and she has no middle name, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. People have suggested using just Rose, but mom doesn’t go by Rose so it doesn’t seem very honorific. Her mom’s name was Giustina and I *think* that if we used that instead my mom would get that we were honoring her that way, but also she has six older sisters and one of their names is Giustina (although she goes by Judy). I happen to be close to that aunt and I am close to my Aunt Elizabeth that Juliette (inadvertently) has the name of, so I don’t want to unintentionally offend or leave out my mom. Plus we are very close and I can’t imagine honoring someone “over” her. My other aunts (both sides) are Josephine, Anna, Micheline, Antonette, Nancy, Claire, Mona and Janet. Husband’s grandmothers are Mahala and Victoria. My husband isn’t crazy about Rosalie or Giustina, but he is fine with using either. Second note, this is kind of random. I’m pretty sure we aren’t done yet, and if we have a third girl her name would probably be Molly Victoria or Molly Vita. Molly was our pick for the “what-would-we-name-kids” game before we were married. If the third is a girl I think it would be sweet if she had my husband’s initials because we will probably be done. This second one would be Molly, but Molly Rosalie doesn’t sound good (too much LEE sound) and we always imagined Molly as our youngest. Our boy name for both pregnancies has been Noah James. Could change, but so far we still love it.
Off-limit names because of nieces/friends/dibs/my darn sMIL keeps using human names on her pets are: Hannah, Bailey, Nora, Riley, Caroline, Madison, Savannah, Fiona, Madeleine, Zoe, Genevieve, Lily, Bella, Olivia, Gretchen.
So I guess my question is what in the heck do you pair with Juliette? This is something we didn’t consider when we named her (and darn it, I found you like a month later, or I would have known better!). Or better yet, how do I bridge Juliette with Molly or Noah? All the usual caveats, not too popular (Juliette was 450 when we picked it), although we know Molly and Noah are significantly more popular, no random spellings, husband wants nickname(s). When we think of Juliette, we seem to drift towards the Why Not?, then Timeless list of the BNW instead of the Shakespeare list. Plus Rosalie is already close to Rosaline, Romeo’s first love, so since we are not actually Shakespeare freaks I don’t want to get too far into that territory. I should also tell you that I have the 2005 version of BNW because I am too cheap to buy a new one and my library’s copy is apparently outdated. We have eliminated almost every name on our “list,” for various reasons, but I’ll put some here, just in case:
Names that have caught our eye(s?):
Gabrielle (Gabriella depending on middle name?). For a long time I thought this was the name just because of the way it feels with Juliette’s name. I like the name, but don’t love it and my husband doesn’t like the Guh sound at the beginning. I don’t like chopping the “Ga” off and going with Brielle – reminds me of Rielle Hunter and because of that feels trashy to me. It seems to be in the 30s which is significantly more popular than Juliette. We are ok with Brie or Elle/a as nicknames, but aren’t crazy about Gabby. My problem here is I like the name, but it doesn’t pass your “it feels like MY baby” test. It’s like I want my favorite niece to be named Gabrielle.
Penelope – another front runner for a while, also doesn’t pass the MY baby test (I want my best friend to name her baby Penelope :). Cannot stand Penny as a nickname. Husband puts this on the list then takes it off again…would be a little out there for our families. But I can’t get Penelope Jane out of my head for some reason (Jane?!? Where the heck did that come from?).
Beatrice/Beatrix and Camilla – I kind of think these go with daughter’s name, but husband hasn’t come around to this one yet, and doesn’t like Bea or Trix/ie or Milly/Milla. Also, don’t like BM initials. Plus my British grandmother would kill me if I named the baby after Prince Charles’s paramour.
Annabel/Mirabel – I thought one of these was it for awhile, but hubby thinks they sound like cows.
Mira/Mia – This was our “decoy” name with Juliet and we got a lot of negative feedback on it. I, however, am a fan of the double initial. Which leads me to Madeleine – super popular and dibbed on by one of our friends, but again I think if we had a “but this is the ONE” conversation she would be ok with it (no kids on the horizon for her). But then we might have two babies with M initials. I think I’m ok with that, but haven’t really thought it out.
Aurelia – husband’s childhood friend’s name who committed suicide, this one is a no-no.
I’m not a fan of Luciana/Lucia or Madalena/Magdalena that often get suggested. I have Carina, Francesca, Mariela, Valentina on my list pulled from some of your previous posts and comments on Italian-ish names, but none of them really jump at me.
Husband put Daphne, Willow and Marion on the list last week. Don’t like any of those. Also, he loves just plain Mary. I know you’ve said it’s fresh on the little girls you’ve heard it on, but I’m not there yet. He wouldn’t consider any name like Mariela with a nn of Mary to be the same thing. My little secret plain name is Annie. He doesn’t like it either.
My mom likes Adrianna and my dad is pushing for Jacqueline (he thinks Julie and Jackie would be cute), but neither of them get a say :).
Great jeebus that was still long. Sorry, I guess I felt I had to tell you every thought in my crazy pregnant brain. I know, I am imposing too many rules, so please help me distill all this. Any thoughts from you and your readers on these names or please, tell me you’ve thought of the perfect name I haven’t found yet! Our due date is coming up way fast and we are going around in circles! Thank you!
I wrote you a ridiculously too long email a few weeks ago right when you started posting the "too many emails" messages (Baby Girl "Provolone". I am delivering on Monday, but we've narrowed down our choices to three, so I thought I would send this just in case you could throw it up over the weekend for your readers to work on or do a quick poll.
Big sister is Juliette Elizabeth. Juliette because we like it (and now really, really love it), Elizabeth after my husband's late mother. Goes by Juliette, Jules or Julie.
Four syllable Italian last name that starts with M. Possibly one or two more kids on the table.
Our choices as of now:
* Gabrielle Rosalia - Gabrielle because we think it sounds good with Juliette, Rosalia after my mom. We are just ok with Gabby nickname, like Brie or Ella. Do not like GRM initials, but could deal with it.
* Penelope Jane - Love Penelope, all of our friends our age love Penelope, everyone in our parents generation hates it. Jane because it sounds so darn cute with Penelope, but really having hard time with non-family middle name. HATE HATE HATE nickname Penny. If nicknamed would probably call her Poppy or Nella or PJ.
* Molly Victoria - Both have loved the name Molly since our dating years. If third is girl will definitely go with this. MVM would give her dad's initials, which I like in case she is our last, Victoria is his maternal grandmother's name. I know some people hate the double initial, but we love it. Why haven't we used it yet? Molly always "felt" like our youngest, plus wanted to honor our mom's with middle names - Molly Elizabeth seemed boring, Molly Rosalie is too rhyme-y.
Any help at all would be appreciated, I am a ball of anxiety and nerves getting through the holiday weekend until we are scheduled. Thanks!
Let's have a poll, over to the right! I'm voting for Penelope because (1) it sounds like you love it best (and that it's not time yet to use Molly), and (2) because I think in about five minutes all your previous generation relatives will not be able to believe they didn't like it, and in fact will be correcting your memory that they didn't. The previous generation CLASSICALLY doesn't like the current generation's baby name choices (see also: Henry, Oliver), but they always come around---or else they use it to bond with their like-minded friends.
It is too bad we can't get Rose from your mom's name, because wouldn't Penelope Rose be THE SWEETEST?? I do like Penelope Giustina. And Penelope Rosalie has a little rhyminess, but it sounds like it's more important to you to honor your mother and to be sure you have a chance to do it; I think if I were you I would go with that. The more I say it, the more I think I LIKE the rhyminess. It's fun to say: Penelope Rosalie. And it LOOKS pretty, with the matching Os and Es and Ls. And I know this is a minor point, but I like the way the length of Penelope Rosalie goes with the length of Juliette Elizabeth.
Okay, I'm going to make the poll first names only so we can still discuss the middle name. [Poll closed; see results below.] I vote for Penelope Rosalie, because I have totally talked myself into it while writing the previous paragraph and now I love it and want to PUSH you to use it. Penelope Jane is ADORBS but I think of Jane as the natural middle name for Penelope (it has a coordinating English sass/charm)---i.e., I suspect quite a few girls named Penelope will have that as their middle name. (See? Now I am inventing facts to talk you into it. I will stop this now.) (PENELOPE ROSALIE.)