Like many of your readers, I never thought I would find myself writing to you - I mean, come on! I have been buying baby name books since the sixth grade! I have a baby name spreadsheet that I have been updating since I got my first computer! It seems, however, that in all the years I spent blissfully compiling the perfect list of names for my twenty sons and twenty daughters, I neglected to consider one thing: my husband.
We are due to have our first child, a girl, on the 4th of August, and do plan to have at least one more. I knew we were in trouble when I said "Oh, no, a girl! But I had so many good boy's names!" at the same time my darling husband said "Thank God, a girl! Now we don't have to discuss all those awful boy's names!"
So, after tabling the Great Sebastian Debate of 2011 for the time being, I completely fell in love with Eve. I happen to be of the opinion that Eve is this baby's name and, furthermore, that she thinks it's her name as well, despite the fact that it doesn't have the wealth of cute nickname options that most of my other faves do. I love a cute nickname. Husband is just so-so about Eve (although he has conceded that it's "not as horrible" as all the other names I have suggested) so while it hasn't been completely removed from our list, we've agreed to keep looking in the hopes that we can find something that gives us both warm fuzzy feelings. Right now we call her Bean, which makes us feel both warm and fuzzy, but also not terribly optimistic about her gratitude were we to saddle her with the title on a more permanent basis.
A little background: I am a 1980s Jessica from the States. My husband is twenty years my senior and is originally from England. Not surprisingly, we have wildly different associations with each and every name we encounter. We are currently living in Australia, land of nicknames - literally EVERY noun (proper or otherwise) is shortened somehow, whether it lends itself to it or not. A good example of this is my husband's name, Murray - the Aussie nickname for which is, obviously, Muzz or Muzzah. Australians think this obsessive need to nickname is not at all insane but I remain unconvinced.
Some names I have suggested that he has vetoed:
Wilhelmina/Willamina, nicknamed Billie or Willa (old)
Isadora, nn Sadie after my great-grandmother (poncey AND old)
Penelope nn Poppy
Seraphina nn Sophie
Sophia (which has sadly gotten too popular anyway)
His suggestions that I have vetoed:
Selby (after the street we drive down to go to work every day - ???)
Cori (Cori. With an 'i'. CORI WITH AN 'I'.)
I'd like a first name that isn't two syllables (our last name is Simon and the rhythm of her name is important to me) and not a name that was popular in America in the 1980s. I also want to avoid the current top ten in the US - I know, I know, there is no one name given to as many girls now as Jessica was in the early 80s, but I am scarred for life! The only thing I like about my name is that it's Shakespearean. My husband had the opposite problem in that his name was quite uncommon where he grew up and he was teased for it - thus any name he hasn't heard on a baby before he immediately labels as 'weird' and assumes that we are subjecting our daughter to a lifetime of teasing as well. I am fond of names that start with a vowel and he would prefer her name not start with an 'S'. Names that end with an 'S' tend to sound rubbish with our surname as well.
Still on the table:
Amelia (I like but associate with an Amelia I knew in high school - would I get over this? I especially love the nn Mia)
Eloise (both like but don't love, also doesn't sound great with our surname, but again love the nn of Lola)
I'm not even going to go into middle names as it seems I have written quite enough already (I need to learn the difference between an email and a novel) other than to say that I would like to use mother's name, Cynthia, although it doesn't quite go with any of the first names we are considering (and then what if we have a second daughter?). I also really like Claire and Isla (in fact speaking of our second daughter, I had already named her Isla Claire in my head but for some reason don't like it for our first, and besides hubby is not keen on Isla - all he can think of is the Isle of Man). All of our daughters will have a second middle name, Austin, which is my middle name, a family name, and which we both love. Okay, I definitely went into middle names there, sorry....
I have to apply for her passport pretty much as soon as she is born and at this point I'm thinking I might as well just get it in the name of Baby Girl Simon and be done with it!
I think her name is Eve, too. Eve! Eve Simon! It's perfect. Would he like it better if she were named Genevieve, called Eve? That gives you other nickname options, and also makes it easier to find a middle name of the right rhythm.
One of my mom's favorite names is Evelyn, but pronounced EVE-lin (instead of EHV-ah-lin)---and so she and I have pretty much given up on the name because of the near-impossibility of getting people to pronounce it that way. HOWEVER: if the first name were Eve and the middle name were Lynn, you could call her Eve Lynn. Though that's a lot of -in with Austin and Simon.
I love Anastasia, too. That name gave me a little post-childbearing crisis because Paul was reading Anastasia At Your Service to the older kids, and I turned to him and opened my mouth to say, "You know, Anastasia would be a GREAT name if we had another girl!"---and then closed my mouth, because we're never going to name another baby. ...Except YOURS. Anastasia Simon. Is there any hope he'll reconsider?
Or do you like Annabel? Annabel Simon.
Your husband's feeling about certain names being "old" is a problem. Can he be persuaded to understand that these names are no longer "old" but rather "vintage" and "antique"---i.e. "awesome"?
The name Amber from his list is not yet old, but it was Very Big in the 1980s. An updated/fresher version is Ember---but that doesn't seem right with your style.
If he likes Cori, I wonder if he would like Corinna? Or Karenna? Or Cordelia?
If you like Claire and he doesn't like Isla, I wonder if you'd like Clara? Clara Simon is so nice---though it might run together a bit. It's two syllables, but I do like that rhythm, especially with Austin as a second middle name: something like Clara Jane Austin Simon sounds good to me.
Or wait! How about Clarissa? Clarissa Simon! I like it almost as much as Eve!
If you like Eloise but it's not-quite, I wonder if you would like Eliza? Eliza Simon. Or Louisa: Louisa Simon.
Your mention of Shakespeare made me think of one of my favorite underused names: Bianca.
When double-checking to make sure Bianca was indeed from Shakespeare, I saw the name Beatrice, which reminded me of another of my favorites: Beatrix. Beatrix Simon. Oh, hey: Cordelia, above, is also from Shakespeare. And here's Phoebe, which reminds me a little of Penelope from your list.
I do think you'd get over the high school Amelia association, once it was your own baby's name. Would spelling it Emilia help? It's another Shakespearean spelling, too.
I hope the commenters will have some insight on this one: I feel like I'm only choosing names in YOUR style (or, er, MY style), but not getting closer to something your husband would like.
Name update! Jessica writes:
Hi Swistle! Great news: we have a daughter, and she has a name! After thirty hours of labour culminating in an emergency c-section, husband tearfully announced (as I knew he would) that I could name our darling little girl anything I liked. We were in hospital for three days and it wasn't until we got home that I decided she was Amelia Eve. What ultimately swayed me was your advice to others on considering future siblings and the realisation that nickname options were important to me. Most importantly, though, we both LOVE her name. I took everyone's advice that I would lose any associations I had with the name Amelia and I am so glad I did, because you saved me from needlessly discarding the ONLY name that my husband & I both loved. I must admit that we do still call her Bean or Mia Bean much of the time - it looks like she is stuck with it!
We really appreciated everyone's input - you and your readers came up with so many great suggestions & we have filed them away for any future daughters as so many of them will go perfectly with the name that we chose! I've attached a photo, her first, taken when she was less than ten minutes old. My best friend Abbigail is a photographer in the states and flew over to be with me at the birth and capture our first moments as a family of three. Incidentally, she & Amelia now share the initials AES. :)