We are due with Baby Girl Rose at the end of August, and my husband and I are QUITE far apart with our names. Our first problem is that we came up with our 2 year old son's name (Simon) very quickly, and it really was the only viable name on our list. We absolutely love that name, and we're having a very difficult time finding common ground for our baby girl. You asked about how many children we plan to have, and I promise you that number is not higher than three, though we very well might be done after this little one is born.
- We loathe nicknames. We want one name that is THE name (or at least has no obvious nicknames, since one person has actually called our son "Si," if you can believe that).
- No flower names or synonyms for red (see rejected names below), because of our surname--Rose
- More than one syllable
- We like unique names in that they're usually not in the top 100, but are names you've definitely heard before--nothing made up or super trendy (names like Kaelynn/Jayla, etc.)
- Like most people, we would like to avoid names our close friends and family have used
Finalist names (my list):
Lilah (it's low on the Social Security list, but I worry that it's too popular in my area. Anyone know if this is a popular Jewish name?)
Norah (having a tough time with Norah Rose--double Rs)
Layla (he hates that one because of the Eric Clapton song)
Finalist names (his list):
Carly (yes, we HAVE thought of the Carly Simon connection...whatever)
I actually DO like the name Lucy quite a bit, but I worry a little about the cutesey factor as she ages. Also, um, our housekeeper has the same name and I'm concerned this would be confusing for our son--is that silly? I LIKE Carly, but I don't LOVE it.
Charlotte (been used recently in my family)
Amelia (becoming very popular)
Nadia (Russian for "Hope" which is my maiden name, but it sounds a little too ethnic for us)
Noelle (JUST used by a friend. Doh!)
Then there's the issue of a middle name...but that's another problem for another day. :)
If you're trying to avoid popular/trending names, I'm fear Lilah/Lila is doomed. I went to the Social Security baby name site to get charts of what Lilah and Lila have been doing for the last 30 years, and these are screenshots of the charts I got (you can click them to see them larger):
Lila wasn't even in the Top 1000 until 1998, and look how far it's come since then; Lilah wasn't in the Top 1000 until 2006 and it moved 500 places between then and 2009. The two spellings combined would put the name at about #118 for 2009, and I expect when the 2010 statistics come out (SOON SOON SOON!) both will have made additional leaps. [Edit: IT'S UP! Lilah is now #331 and Lila is now #155, for a combined ranking of about #102.] Also, because this name is part of a name GROUP (Layla, Laila, Lila, Lilah, Leela, Leila, maybe Lola though I think of that as out of the group), it may feel even more popular than it is---just as Caden/Jaden/Aiden do because of their name group.
On the other hand, I think you know what I'll say next: that if you love the name, I think you should consider it apart from its ranking. It's wonderful with her sibling's name: Simon and Lilah. It's wonderful with your last name: Lilah Rose. If that name feels like Your Baby, that's the most important thing. But if it's not one your husband likes, and you're feeling a little uncertain about it too, then perhaps it's best to scrap it.
Here's what Lucy is doing (again, screenshot from Social Security web site, and you can click it to see it larger):
A more gradual climb than Lila/Lilah, but persistent, and nearly in the Top 100. And again: I think it's good to keep it on the list anyway. I think it's even more stunning with Simon than Lilah is: Simon and Lucy. Really, I'm not sure there's a more perfect sibling pairing. And it's wonderful with your surname. And it doesn't have a natural nickname. And I don't think it'll sound cutesy when she's a grown-up, because so many other Lucys will be growing up with her.
I'm not sure about confusion with the housekeeper's name; I think it depends on how much interaction your son has with the housekeeper and how much a part of your lives she is. If you refer to her often, I suggest everyone start calling the housekeeper Miss Lucy, or Mrs. Lucy, or Mrs. S. (if S were the first letter of her surname). This will help avoid clarification-name defaults such as Housekeeper Lucy and Baby Lucy.
If you like Norah but not the "ra-ra" sound with Rose, I wonder if you would like the name Nola? It's almost a combination of Nora and Lilah.
This name I'm about to suggest, you might be tempted to immediately dismiss---but let it simmer a minute: Darla. It's similar to Carly and Lilah and Layla; it's familiar but it was #903 and falling in 2009; it sounds sweetly like the word darling; and there isn't a natural nickname for it, I don't think.
If that's not quite, I wonder if you'd like Daria. Similar to Carly and Nadia. Though I do think Nadia is a good choice: it's a little exotic, but I encountered it on a baby recently (my top favorite way to really test what I think of a name) and I found I thought, "Oooh, that's appealingly exotic, yet surprisingly usable!," not "Wait, are they Russian?"
It is a sad, sad, sorry state of affairs that Dalia is a flower name, because I think it's better than either Daria or Darla.
I'd also like to suggest Felicity. It's surprisingly uncommon (#764 in 2009), and it's wonderful with Simon and with your surname. People might call her Fliss, however.
Or Eliza? That one, too, surprises me with how non-common it is (#240 in 2009). And I love the repeating Z sound with your surname: Eliza Rose. Simon and Eliza. I think I like that almost as much as I like Simon and Lucy.
Or do you like Fiona? I like the repeating O sound with the surname: Fiona Rose. Simon and Fiona. (But maybe people would call her Fee?)
I'm trying to think of the rhythm of the whole name now, to help not only with choosing a first name but with choosing a middle name. I think 3-2-1 would be nice (Daria Margaret Rose), and so would 4-3-1 (Felicity Louisa Rose) and so would 4-2-1 (Felicity Lilah Rose). But so much depends on the syllable emphasis: Felicity Noelle Rose is 4-2-1, but the second-syllable emphasis on Noelle doesn't sound as good to me as the first-syllable emphasis of Lilah. And yet I like it BETTER with 3-syllable Fiona: Fiona Noelle Rose.
So...it depends. But I do find I can work out the rhythm better with a 3- or 4-syllable first name than with a 2-syllable one. Problem: as soon as you get up to 3 or 4 syllables, it's harder to control nicknames.
I think my favorite for you is Lucy. Lucy Margaret Rose, or Lucy Elizabeth Rose, or Lucy Catherine Rose? Or one of my aunt's favorite baby names is Lucy Robin: Lucy Robin Rose would be sweet.
Name update! Hannah writes:
Hi, Swistle! Sorry this is so embarrassingly late. We named our baby girl...Matilda Jane. We broke our #1 rule in doing so (no nicknames). We don't care. :)
After writing you and reading your response (and the great comments; wow, there were so many!), I felt pretty good about Lucy, but it never seemed quite right. So I threw out all our "rules" and started over.
I first gave Matilda some thought after seeing it on Nameberry, but rejected it because of rule #1. Then I was re-reading through the comments from your/our post and noticed another reader mentioned it. I floated it to the husband, assuming he'd reject it immediately, but he didn't! It took two months, but he finally decided he really liked it, especially if we could choose a middle name that started with a J, so her initials could be "MJ." Something about Michael Jordan...and no, I'm not kidding. "Jane" is a family name on my mother's side, and also my baby sister's middle name. She felt honored that we used it. Two days after we decided we were 90% sure we were going with that combo, I got an email advertising a trunk show for little girl clothes. The name of the clothing line? Matilda Jane.
We didn't "officially" name her until we saw her sweet little face, but now I can't imagine having chosen anything else.
Thanks to you and your readers for the help! Enjoy a current photo: