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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Baby Girl Rose, Sister to Simon

Hannah writes:
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.

Our criteria:
- 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.

Rejected names:
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. 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:


jac said...

I love Nadia, and also Lucy. Since you seem to like the L names, would you consider Laura, or maybe Layna (which is similar to Layla but without the immediate crooning reaction)?

Carolyn said...

Instead of Dalia, Delia would be cute. Even Cordelia with Delia for a nn

I also thought of Leah as an alternate to Lilah/Layla. Or Lia is cute, too.

Swistle said...

Carolyn- Oh, DELIA! YES!

Lucy said...

I love Eliza. Although Lucy is good as well. And as a grown Lucy, I think it works perfectly fine for an adult :)

Lizzie said...

Several of the names you listed are some of my favorites and I had very similar naming criteria to you, so I'm going to just share some of my other favorites...


Christine said...

Carolyn beat me to Delia. It was what I thought of when we got to the Dahlia discussion. Gorgeous, Delia Rose. Delia and Simon.

I also really like Nadia, and don't find it too ethnic sounding.

I think if you love Lilah or Lucy, you should go for it.

Would you like Matilda? or is that too open to nicknames?

Lena (I pronounce it Layna)

Good luck!

kinsey said...

we have VERY similar styles in names! our #1 girl choice with my first pregnancy 19 months ago (but he was a boy) was carleigh. and we like lucy a lot. i'm about to have baby #2 and we are pretty sold on Stella...with middle name Rose! ha. it's my mom's maiden name...anyway, only holding back on stella because we just can't decide if it's too popular...but it's right in there with lucy i think.

simon and stella is cute!

stella layne rose?

Leah said...

Would you consider Naomi?

StephLove said...

My favorite name under consideration for you is Lilah. Lilah Rose is just lovely. Norah and Lucy would be tied for second, I think. And Stella was a really nice suggestion from a commenter. How about Alice?

Sofia said...

For me, the name Lilah Rose brings to mind prominent Catholic pro-life activist Lila Rose. For me, it's a pretty negative association that would probably keep me from using Lilah with your surname, although it does have a very lovely sound to it.

Lucy Rose also sounds lovely, and I don't think it's too cutesy at all. :)

Anonymous said...

If you want nickname-proof names, I suggest you skip Carly. I had two friends in college who were both named Carly, and both were nicknamed-- one to Car, the other to her first and last initials. Not because there were two, but because that's just what they were called. Even the one whose real name wasn't even Carly (it was a shortened version of her middle name, actually) wound up with her nickname nicknamed!

Anonymous said...

Also, if Delia is close but not right, how about Delilah?

Magic27 said...

If you're hesitating with Carly, how about Carla (my 9.5-yr-old's name)? No nickname so far, pretty uncommon, no connotations with Simon... Sounds good with Rose too.
Her middle name is NoƩmie (we're in France, that's the French version of Naomi) which sounds good too.
My other daughter is Lydie, the French version of Lydia - another alternative for Lucy.
I like Lucy, though - very sweet!
Nadia has no Russian connotations here - I would say 95% of the Nadias in France are of N. African origin, so I would avoid it if you're in France (which I imagine you're not!), it would be like naming a blond-haired boy Ahmed or something (not much cross-culture naming in France, you see). In the US, I imagine it's the Russian side that prevails, so why not? It's a pretty name and the meaning is sweet...

kimma said...

I had to laugh when I read Swistle’s comment about Simon and Felicity being “wonderful” together! I know a couple named Simon and Felicity! The names do sound good together… their children are Benjamin, Lucy and Olivia. :o)

From the suggestions I like Leah, Celia and Eliza in that order. I’d also add to the suggestions…

sarah said...

If you think Lucy is too cutesy for a grown up, you could give her a longer name with Lucy as a nickname. I think Lucinda Rose sounds great and goes well with Simon. It's not too popular, but not unheard of.
Lucille is another option, but I like Lucinda better!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I like Lucy a lot!! It's my favorite of your choices. I like the suggestion of Delia, too.

Small story: I was trying to remember if there was an old fashioned song about "Lila Rose" so I googled it and there were a ton of hits about a controversial activist named Lila Rose. I don't know if that is a lasting connection or if it matters that much to you (I hadn't ever heard of her) but I just thought I'd throw it out there.

Sarah said...

Alternative to Lilah - Isla.

Simon and Isla is fabulous. As is Isla Rose.

Melanie said...

How about Lydia? It doesn't have the rising popularity of some of the other L names on your list.

Or Tess/Tessa.

Adey said...

Naomi was my first thought when you weren't sure about Nadia.

Nola is great - and leads me to the name below it in our baby name book (and the name of our daughter!) - Nolana. We pronounce it No-Lawn-ah and I think Nolana Rose sounds SO pretty.

I like Lucy as well and think it's great for all ages.

Daria is great too - and Felicity!

Wow, so many possibilities... Good luck!!

Slim said...

If Nora is out, how about Nina?

Also, when I heard "Lila Rose" I started humming Lida Rose from the Music Man. Keep your child away from Broadway-loving dorks.

HHRose said...

Ha ha, Slim, we ARE Broadway-loving dorks! :) And Lida Rose is most certainly the song that comes to mind when we mention "Lilah." Lilah/Lila is out after encountering THREE of them in various mom/tot classes over the weekend. Sad. But I also think I'm more attached to how lovely that names LOOKS, rather than sounds.

Naomi is one of my sisters. Since we're not in the habit of naming our kids after someone in specific, we'll stay away from that (also, her name has been mispronounced her entire life--irritating). But we are strongly considering using her middle name for our middle name.

From all the suggestions, here's what I'm taking back to DH: Darla, Layna (love it! never heard it!), Delia, Audrey (which he suggested last night), and Carla.

Thanks, everyone--especially Swistle. I feel honored to be included! We'll keep you posted!

HHRose said...

Also, Dahlia....sad, sad, sad. I agree, Swistle. I super love that name. (I was trying to decide if we spell it Dalia, would that be less horticulturally connected? But, alas, I think yes.)

Slim said...

More free association (which pains me, because I love the name Audrey):

Dorkishly yrs,

Sarah said...

How about Nona if you don't like the double R in Nora Rose. I know a Nona and it's a unique but easily spelled/pronounced name.

Melissa Haworth said...

I actually love Norah Rose. a friend recently gave that name to her daughter (FN, MN) and they often use both names (mom had really wanted to name the baby Rose) and I like the sound repetition. Plus I love the name Norah. Good luck!

Liann said...

My favorite suggestion by far is Darla. I just recently heard it and think it is so so cute, and totally unique. I cannot imagine your daighter encountering any other Darlas. And I had an idea for the middle name, and am surprised no one siggested this already, but what about your maiden name, Hope, in the middle spot? I think parents are super fortunate when the mother's surname is an actual name (male of female) and can be easily used in the middle. Darla Hope Rose. Beautiful :) Good luck!