This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby Girl Simon

Jessica writes:
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:
Imogen (poncey)
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. :)


Anonymous said...

Love Evelyn nn Eve! Eliza is also a great suggestion.

Christine said...

Oh I love love love Eve or Evelyn (pronounced the more common way, though). Nickname Evie. Evie Simon, I die.

Amelia nn. Mia is gorgeous as well and I'm sure you'd be over the association in no time at all.

I'm wondering if the best route to satisfaction for you would be get an older fashioned name (I love them) with a kicky nickname. I second the suggestion of Genevieve and think that Phillipa (Pippa! Pippi! Pip!) is adorable as well.

If you can swing him over to Eloise, maybe he'd also like Eleanor? It wouldn't blend in with Simon as much and you could use Ellie, Elle, Leni, Nora, Nona, Lena, and Nola as nicknames without stretching too much.

Maybe for the first middle name you could use something from his side of the family in order to get a first name of your choice?

Good luck!

Auntie G said...

Minor point but worth mentioning: Evelyn pronounced "EVE-lynn" is generally a male name, and I think a British male name at that.

Kacie said...

Throwing out Evangeline to consider and use Eve as a nn.

If your husband likes Cori, how about Corinne?

Sofia said...

What do you think of Corisande, nickname Cori? It seems like it might satisfy your taste for lovely old-fashioned names, while ending up with a nickname that your husband approves of.

StephLove said...

I'm going to start with your still on the table names.

Eve--I think if he hasn't vetoed it, you might be able to bring him around. I favor it because it's clearly your favorite and what you want to use. Also it's short and sweet enough to stand up to two middle names. Eve Cynthia Austin Simon works for me.

Amelia-- Not so good with Cynthia and then another middle, but a nice name and yes, I think you'd get over the association. Mia Simon is very cute.

Eloise-- I don't see the problem with your surname. I imagine it's the s's but they don't seem to run together when I say it.

I wonder if you could get him to agree to the kind of old-fashioned name you fancy if it were on the more popular side. Then it might not sound odd and dated to him. There are tons to choose from as these names are coming back. Would he like Anna, Ella, Elizabeth, Grace, Hannah or Lily? I think Grace Simon is lovely and works with a double middle well, too. If these don't have quite enough pizzaz for you, would Victoria suit you both?

Anonymous said...

Cora! Cora Imogen Austin Simon. Cora Simon. Or Coraline: Coraline Eve Austin Simon. Coraline Simon. And her dad can call her "Cori."


Anonymous said...

I wonder if you both would like the name Aubrey? I especially like Aubrey Eloise Austin S. for you.

Perhaps this name would be a bit too foreign to you/out there for your hubby, but do you like Verity? The nn of Vivi and Vera are nice.

The Mrs. said...

We named our daughter a longer name that had the same nickname as an annoying girl I knew in school. Our daughter does indeed go by that nickname now. But my old classmate is a million miles away in personality. Oddly enough, it's even kind of funny now. So don't ditch 'Amelia' just because you knew a rotten one!

Swistle's suggestion of 'Cordelia' is WONDERFUL. You could call her 'Cora', 'Delia', 'Celia', or even 'Leah'.

Another longer name for the nickname of 'Eve'is Geneva.

Do either of you like Daphne? Or Rosemary? Mercedes (with the nickname of 'Sadie')? Marcella? Cecilia? Sylvia? Violet?

I know some of these have two syllables, but if she's always going to go by a one-syllable nickname...

All the best as you anticipate the birth of your daughter!

Marla said...

I love Eve! You should totally use that if you can convince him.

My suggestion= Coral. I love it. I'm hopefully going to have the opportunity to use it someday, but I think you should, too. :)

Carolyn said...

Going with some Shakespearean influences, what about Miranda? With nn Mira, it might be familiar enough, but has an antique feel.

I think there are some names that were fashionable in the '80s but would still work now. What about:

Instead of Amelia, maybe Amelie?

Kas said...

I love Eve its so pretty yet simple!! if your husband can come around to the name i would not make it longer ie Evelyn, its pretty just as is!! If you named her Eve you'll probably find she'll get the nn Evie which is soo cute!! Maybe start refering to the little one now as Eve your hubby might start to love it and think of it as his daughter!!

kimma said...

I like Eve as a name in its own right and wouldn’t be tempted to lengthen it just so you can use Eve as a nickname anyway. However, if he’s not convinced how would he/you feel about Ivy or Eadie?

If Eloise is not quite right how about Elodie? It seems to fit his style better and the obvious cute nickname is Ellie.

Or instead of Cori how about Caroline/Carissa/Carys/Carina with nickname Carrie? Or Carey as a stand alone name?

Good luck finding the happy middle ground.

vanessa said...

Eve Simon is adorable and makes me think of a stunning young ingenue i.e. what Rachel Berry thinks she is. Not that I watch way too much Glee, or anything. If you feel the need to go longer (although I'm not sure with 2 MNs you need to) Geneva and Genevieve are both lovely. Would Ava be a compromise?
I don't feel like I have a good sense of your husbands style...but I think Cordelia is also lovely. and she was the good daughter, after all. Evangeline is SO PRETTY but perhaps a bit long for 2 MNs, although I'm not sure how much that matters. Amber and Cori...Corinne? Cora is very pretty. I can't think of anything that's like Amber except Amanda, which seems very 80s to me.
I too thought of Eloide, which is so pretty. Not sure your husband would have ever heard it on a baby though...
Good luck. Also your email was quite funny--thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

Elodie! It has tons of nickname options--Ella, Ellie, LOLA, Odie, Didi. It sounds so melodic and pretty, especially with your last name--Elodie ___ Austin Simon. Elodie Simon. Maybe Elodie Clara Austin Simon? It's not popular at all but is FAMILIAR because of the el- prefix, something that I think your husband would appreciate. And it means flower.

Maeve (pronounced mayve)

Good luck!

Kristin said...

Maeve is a great suggestion! Would you consider Eva, nn Eve or Evie? It could be pronounced with a long e, or a short e (Eh-va), both of which are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Love Evelyn nicknamed Eve or Evie! I'm also loving the suggestion of Cordelia because there are so many nickname possibilities.

How about...

Juliette Simon
Fiona Simon
Eliora (Ellie) Simon
Veronica Simon
Aurora (Rory) Simon
Freya Simon
Vivienne Simon

One of my favorites is Linnea (pronounced la-NAY-uh). Linnea Cynthia Austin Simon. :)

Megz said...

Eve is a nice name and does have nickname options: Evie, E or Ezza ;-)

Amelia and Eloise are also nice names. Lola is a stand-alone name and doesn't have to be used as a nickname for Eloise.

If your husband likes Amber, would he like Jade?

If your husband likes Selby, would he like Shelley or Ellie?

If your husband likes Cori, would he like Victoria/Tori, Georgina/Georgie, Aurora/Rory, Maire, Story?

Good luck, and congratulations.

Anonymous said...


I think Elodie would be a great option for you.

It's three syllables and pretty much unheard of in terms of popularity. It sounds familiar due to the popular el- prefix, though, so it's not weird. It has a ton of wonderful nicknames--Lola, Ellie, Ella, Didi, Edie. It's beautifully melodic and fun to say, and sounds great with your last name--Elodie Simon. It starts with a vowel.

I think the only thing a Elodie could be teased about would be the "die" at the end of the name, though it's pronounced with a "dee" sound.

Others you may like:
Coraline--your husband could call her Cori.
Felicity--nicknames Lissie and Fliss

Good luck!

Jamie said...

Eve!! I looove Eve! So cute! I especially love Evie as a nickname for a little girl. If you want a longer name, I love Evelyn, Evangeline and Genevieve. :)

Anonymous said...

If "Bean" makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, what about Sabina, nn Bina?

Monica said...

What about Amelie instead of Amelia? You can call her Ami or Elie. I feel the same way about known persons ruining names - Olivia is out of the realm of possibility for me, due to a bad experience in middle school with an Olivia.

Amy said...

What a gorgeous baby! With a gorgeous name. I love your choice of Amelia Eve, it is perfect. Congratulations!