This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baby Boy Lou, Brother to Adam and Naomi

Karen writes:
I'm due in about 7 weeks and we're still undecided about number three's name. He will be Adam and Naomi's little brother. I'm Karen and my husband is Dion. Our last name sounds like "Lou." This is in all likelihood our last child. *sniff*. We have two front-running names but they both break one of my "rules:" that the kids' names not sound like ours, so as to prevent confusion, especially since my husband's hearing is not great. But maybe some rules were made to be broken?

John - this has been the leading contender for most of my pregnancy and we both really like it. It's a good name and a strongly family name for me. However, Dion is more concerned about the similarity to his name because confusion is likely to be with him, the one with poor hearing after all. I don't like Jack; John would be John. But are John and Dion too similar for one family?

Aaron - I've always liked this name but never considered it because it broke the similarity rule. I mentioned it off-hand recently and Dion said that he likes it, too. He's not very concerned about confusing Aaron and Karen, mainly because it wouldn't often cause confusion for him, just for us. I'm also thinking about John Aaron, possibly going by Aaron. Going by a middle name is very common in my family. In fact, Naomi is actually Margaret Naomi. But are Aaron and Karen too similar for one family?

I guess my main question is: John, Aaron, or back to the drawing board?

Our taste is typically "biblical - but not just biblical". Here are some other names we've considered in the past, though I wouldn't necessarily rule them out this time either.
Simon - was a backup name for Adam.
Gabriel - was also a backup name for Adam.
Jonah - was going to be Naomi's name until the day she was born, when we found out she was a girl.
Benjamin - was a backup name for Jonah.
James - was a also backup name for Jonah.

many thanks,

P.S. I cut out this next part because I felt the query was getting too long [note from Swistle: I thought the postscripts were really good so asked Karen if I could leave them in] but here's how strongly John is a family name for me:
My brother is John Ian, father is John David, and grandfather was John Norman, though they go/went by Ian, David, and Jack respectively, exactly so as to prevent confusion. It goes back at least seven generations. My brother will likely never have kids and even if he does, we both agree that it would be just fine if there were more than one John in the next generation. I also have a cousin John on my father's side and twin aunts Jean and Joan on my mother's side.

P.P.S. Again because it was getting too long... I know John and Dion don't seem very similar but when I say John, the J can sound like Dzh or Dsh, which can sound like d-YUH, which makes JOHN sound like dee-YON. I'm not a linguist, so I dunno, maybe this is just a regional thing. We're Canadian.

Boy, I really want to push you to use John. I love that name, and I love the sibling group of Adam, Naomi, and John. But your husband is the best judge of whether it will present an auditory problem for him. Would he be willing to accept the occasional confusion (if it WOULD only be occasional), in order to get the name you both love? It seems like it might be at the same level of hassle as other things (a second middle name, a Jr., etc.) we sometimes decide to accept because it's worth it for other reasons.

Oh, dear, I have just had a thought. "John" is slang for bathroom. So is "Loo." I wonder if this is well-known enough to cause problems.

Naming him after your brother might work. Ian Lou; Adam, Naomi, and Ian.

Or after your dad: David Lou; Adam, Naomi, and David.

Would it help to use Jonathan instead of John? Jonathan Lou; Adam, Naomi, and Jonathan.

The first confusion I noticed with the name Aaron was Adam: I realize everyone is going to be different about this, but I would have trouble remembering which boy was which. For scale, I have the same problem if a family has a Matthew and a Michael, or if I'm reading a book with a David and a Daniel. It's not that the names are SO SIMILAR (because they're not, and I wouldn't expect someone else to find them too similar), but something about them creates a problem in my mind. Same number of syllables and/or same approximate length, same first letter, similar associations. With the additional problem of rhyming with Karen, this name would be off my own list---but as usual with this sort of thing, that doesn't mean I'd say it should be off yours. Many, many other people would say "What? Adam and Aaron aren't ANYTHING alike!"

From your list of other possibilities, my favorite is James. I like the subtle repeating M sound in all three names: Adam, Naomi, and James. I like Benjamin for this same reason, but between the two I prefer James for visual length. I also like Simon for both M-sound and length.

A possibility you've likely already considered is Joshua. Joshua Lou; Adam, Naomi, and Joshua. Joshua is similar in some ways to Jonah, but more mainstreamed (and with more diluted associations) like Adam.

Name update! Karen writes:
Thanks again for posting my naming question! Your and your readers' comments definitely helped me make up my mind. From then on, I started leaning more and more towards John. We briefly discussed names on the ride to the hospital, since we hadn't exactly pinned one down, but we still didn't come to an agreement quite yet. I knew immediately after he was born that his name was going to be John, though I knew Dion wasn't completely sold. In my mind, he was born and his name was John. End of story (almost.) I told (yes, told) Dion that he could choose a middle name if he wanted a J.P. or J.J. or something or if he thought that "just" John was too ho-hum or too grown-up for a baby. But I pointed out that Jay is a good nickname for a baby John and that I was perfectly happy to continue the pattern that the boys - he, Adam, and John - have no middle name but that Naomi and I do. And that was all the persuading I needed to do. And, really, how much persuading does any woman need to do in the labour and delivery room? Dion decided that he'd used all his baby-naming mojo with Naomi, so, John it is. Dion still isn't sure how we'll say John in that boy-are-you-in-trouble tone but adding the last name always helps, no? Thanks again!


Barb @ getupandplay said...

I don't know if you are a nicknamey family, but I think John is a great name and you could call him Johnny while he's little to prevent confusion. My husband's name is John and goes by Johnny and John interchangeably with ease. (I think John is unique that way, whereas a James who goes by Jimmy is likely stuck in Jim/Jimmy mode for his life.)

C said...

I too was going to say what about calling him Johnny?
But Jonathan is an excellent option I think!

StephLove said...

I do think John and Dion are quite close phonetically, which is too bad because the family history is compelling. Could you use John as a middle?

I like Benjamin, Jonah and Simon from your runners-up list, and Benjamin and Simon both sound good with John as the middle.

Anonymous said...

I think Jonathan Lou sounds awesome, it gives him the opportunity to go by John, Johnny, Nate, Jonah, etc. should he get older and not like John by itself (and if John Lou is too obvious a bathroom association).

I think Adam, Naomi and James is simply perfect, with David as a second fave.

Anonymous said...

O and what about Jonas? Adam, Naomi and Jonas Lou sound fantastic! Jonas is also a form of John.

The Mrs. said...

Well, you could indeed name him 'John Aaron' and then call him 'Aaron'... but like Swistle said, Adam and Aaron are a lot alike.

Do you 'Andrew'? Or maybe that still gives you the Adam/Aaron effect...

Do you like 'Philip'? Or 'Peter'? Personally, I think 'John Philip' or 'John Peter' sound solid.

There's 'Isaiah' or 'Daniel'. I like both with 'Adam'.

All the bes to your growing family. Very curious to hear what you decide!

Joanne said...

I think Johnny is super cute. I wonder if you'd think Sean was a good choice for John? It's the Norman form of John, so it's close and it doesn't have the D sound at all.

vanessa said...

I think you should use John somewhere in the name, because it is such a strong and compelling history. I don't see a big problem with John and Dion at all--I'm pronouncing them like, erm, I don't know how to spell out John phonetically but--namepedia says JAHN. And I say Dion DEE-on. So seems okay to me. But if your husband thinks its too much, I agree that Jonathan works too: a better solution, as the first two commentators said, that Johnny works even better when he's little and he can use the names interchangeably. I have met a couple little Johnnys and it is ADORABLE.
I'd ditch Aaron for the same reason Swistle did--way too similar to Adam.
If you can't use John as a first, I'd use it a middle. I like:
James John (a bit odd, but would give you the additional nn JJ, and is cute, and uses a top choice of yours plus the John)
William John
I want to say John Jacob!
Eliot John
Simon John (this is probably my favorite)
Silas John

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that Swistle included your post-script. I too am going to encourage you to use John somewhere in the name. If it were me & my family, I would likely use it as a first name & then either call him Johnny or his second name. John Simon is great, as is John Benjamin or John Gabriel. Both Ben & Gabe go very well with Naomi & Adam to me. I do think Aaron is too close to both Karen & Adam. I also adore the name Jonah, but I think the reasons to use John would eliminate this name. Good luck with your decision process!

Karen L said...

OP here. Thanks for the ideas, everybody. I'm so glad I wrote! The fresh pairs of eyes are so helpful. It's not a deal-breaker for me but I hadn't made the John-loo connection. I'm just glad that I'd be going in having considered it rather than having a panic later when it dawned on me. I also hadn't thought of how similar Adam and Aaron are but I can live with that, too. Again, good to have considered ahead of time.

It's amazing how many of the new suggestions from commenters have been in consideration before and may come back into consideration this time, too, now that they've been recalled to us.

We aren't, as a rule, a nicknamey family but I do like J-initial nicknames and I happen to think that Jay is a perfectly good nickname for any J- name. And I don't think I could resist J.J. if that works out.

We're still about 4 weeks from delivery and still undecided but I think everyone's imput has convinced me that I need to insist on John in there, even if it is functioning as a "middle", whether it's first or second. I'm particularly drawn to the 1-2-1 syllable pattern, probably from a lifetime of reciting John Ian H0bbz (spelling obfuscated obviously), John David H0bbz, and John Norman H0bbz from my family tree. So, John Aaron and John Simon are appealing. I do like the idea of tying the kids' names all together with the M's. Another + for Simon.

Oh, I don't know. I think we need to let it stew a little more. I'll update you.

And can somebody please humour me and agree with me that H0bbz is just a much better name than Lou? I kinda miss my maiden name and it's so much easier to work with for baby names, especially girls' names.

Anonymous said...

Great choice! Thanks for the update.