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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby Girl Foreman

Erin writes:
I'm due December 3 with our first baby (and the first grandbaby on either side). We just found out it's a girl and are super excited. Unfortunately, the mister told his parents what our front runners for girl names were and his parents, well, they registered an opinion. A negative one. My response was (as it normally is), "screw them and the horse they rode in on," but my husband is a little more worried about offending his parents.

Our last name sounds like Foreman and we're settled on the middle name Rose. Our two front-runners for girl's names were Evelyn and Sophia. Evelyn was my favorite, with the nickname of Evie, and Sophia was the mister's.

My husband has vetoed Ava and Eva. We've nixed Christine, Katherine, Caitlyn, Annabelle, and all their variations for family reasons. Emma is out as my best friend just took that name for her girl. We both like Elizabeth, but fear it's too common. I think the first name should be at least two syllables and I love very feminine sounding names. We both like old-fashioned/traditional names. Help?

If it's of any interest, my first choice for a boy was Bennett James and my husband's first choice for a boy was Wyatt James.

Thank you for any assistance you can offer!

I am right on the line when it comes to the importance of family approval of a name. On one hand: they had their turn to name babies, and this is your turn; it's your choice and you should choose the name you love; they will likely come around to it and then not be able to believe they ever objected.

And on the other hand, it's nice to have the people you're close to love the baby's name, and it's nice for them to like the name of someone they're going to be close to. It also seems reasonable for people who love each other (either actually or theoretically) to keep strong dislikes in mind: to avoid names of exes and family black sheep, to give a little warning if they're going to use a name known to be disliked.

In this case, though...they hate Evelyn and Sophia? Did they...give a reason? Because there is nothing immediately obvious to me about those names that would cause the in-laws to have veto power. Unless there's more to this story (such as that Evelyn is the name of your father-in-law's first wife, or something of that sort), I can't see any reason that using either of those names would OFFEND your in-laws. I understand your husband's feelings, but in this case I am more inclined to side with the "and the horse they rode in on" point of view. It might help your husband if he considers what it is he wants to do here. Does he want to present his parents with all the names the two of you are considering for your child, until they choose the one they like best?

I am going to assume that the reason your in-laws don't like those names is that Evelyn and Sophia are names being used for this current generation of babies. It could be that I'm way off in this assumption, but in that case this paragraph will still apply to other situations where this is the problem---because it is such a CLASSIC problem. The current generation of new grandparents CLASSICALLY thinks that the current generation of new parents likes "weird" or "old" or "made-up" names. My grandparents had never HEARD of the weird name Kristen before. My parents wince a little (though they do it politely/understandingly: they are familiar with the way this baby-naming thing goes) at names like Henry and Oliver. We will likely be the same way about the names our children want to name our grandchildren ("Shirley for a girl or Howard for a boy? That's...interesting!"). It is the cycle of baby-naming: each group of names seems totally normal/fresh to the generation using them, and quite weird/dated to previous generations.

IF this is what's going on in your situation, I am solidly on the side of ignoring their input. If the two frontrunners have already been ruined, I understand; in that case, I suggest choosing new names, but seeing if your husband will agree not to ruin the new ones as well by telling them to his parents before the baby is born and named.

I don't think the name Elizabeth is too common. My children have, so far, been in 17 classes of preschool/school, and there has been one classmate named Elizabeth. The name was #12 in 2010, but the name Sophia was #2. (Source: Social Security Administration.) If you want something similar but less common, one of my favorite variations is Eliza---dramatically underused at #240 in 2010. Eliza Rose Foreman. Love.

I wonder if you'd like Amelia? Amelia Rose Foreman. (I wouldn't recommend it if your surname initial is actually F, though, because of the initials ARF.)

Clara is such a pretty old/traditional name. Clara Rose Foreman.

Or Claudia, I think, has some of the sound of Sophia. Claudia Rose Foreman.

Lillian is somewhat similar to Evelyn. Lillian Rose Foreman. The two flowers of Lily Rose could be a plus or a minus.

Name update! Erin writes:
While Evelyn, Sophia, and Eliza (love) were on our short list when I went into labor, poor baby girl remained nameless for two days in the hospital, since none of those names felt right. As the time for checkout neared and we cast about for other names, one of the names from the comments, Caroline, stuck out.

Caroline Rose.

While I sort of regret not naming her one of our other names, just to irritate my in-laws, I love love love the name we ended up with.

Thank you so much for your help!


M.Amanda said...

I don't find Elizabeth so much common as classic. An added plus is the plethora of nicknames: Ella, Ellie, Liz, Lizzie, Libby, Beth, Eliza. Even if she does end up one of two or even three Elizabeths in her class, there is a good chance that they will go by different names or will seize the opportunity to claim a nickname they like, but their families had not used.

However, if you really aren't sure about it, I think Evelyn has many of the same characteristics and unless they really have strong feelings, I'd use it anyway. Otherwise, how about Caroline or Eleanor or Elena or Julia/Juliet/Juliana?

Rebecca said...

Name your baby Evelyn! It is an absolutely beautiful name with an adorable nickname, and you both love it. When your in-laws see their first grandbaby, they aren't going to care what her name is, they will be so overwhelmed with happiness.

They had a chance to name their baby/babies, now it's your turn!

beyond said...

Not sure if Sophia and Evelyn are now ruined for you, but just wanted to say that they are great timeless names. My personal favorite is Evelyn. Swoon! Evelyn Rose Foreman is absolutely lovely!
I suggest:
And I like Swistle's Eliza.
Good luck!

LiciaLee said...

Evelyn and Sophia are beautiful names and I completely agree to tell them to GET OVER IT and name your child what YOU want. Once baby is here no one will care. My mother told me the name Clara was a cow name and a good friend told me it was a fat girl name. I told them they were both crazy AND insulting and named my daughter Clara. And its perfect and noone has said a word about it. Go for it!

Diane said...

Evelyn and Sophia were the front runners for my cousin's baby born in March as well, and they both got poo-pooed by our aunts and uncles and grandparents. But she named her baby Evelyn anyway, and no one seems to care now. Evelyn is a lovely name (as is Sophia!), and I think this is probably mostly a generational thing. My other cousins (the younger generation) all seemed to think Evelyn was a perfectly normal name.

My cousin's other daughter is named Audrey, and she also considered Eleanor, if that helps. (I think she may have chosen Eleanor if her younger sister hadn't asked her not to--sis wants to use that one on her own daughter!)

JCF said...

My grandma pretty much freaked out when we named our daughter Eleanor. I am pretty sure she is over it, but she was not shy about making her preferences known. She told us we shouldmconsider more "modern choices" like "Jacquelyn or Bonnita." we had a good laugh over that one. Her name is Shirley, and had siblings named Howard, Harold, Edna, Edith, Edward, and Elaine. My mom and I always joke that my kids will look back on the family tree and see those as refreshingly vintage sounding.

Anonymous said...

I agree that they won't care once it's their granddaughter with that name. Parents and grandparents make a lot of judgments based on name popularity in their generations (and the generations that preceded them) that won't affect your child's experience with that name...just the other day my grandmother (in her 90s) was telling me that the names on our list (some of which are *really* out there---we're talking Max, Sam, Benjamin!) were "far too ethnic" and we needed to go with something "that had no ethnic associations" like John, Roger, or (??) Thaddeus to overcome our "ethnic" (=German; she's German too, it's worth noting!) last name. I just smiled and said we'd think about it. Similarly, a lot of the names my parents suggest are names that were popular in my generation (and thus names they liked but didn't get a chance to use when they were having children). They think a lot of the currently-popular vintage names are too old-fashioned. (We did share our list, but prefaced it with the caveat that there were very, very few names we agreed on, and they were welcome to share their feedback with the understanding that we might well choose one of the names anyway. We also didn't tell them which names were our front-runners, or what we've chosen for the middle name---just gave them our top 6-7 to chew on.)

If Elizabeth feels too common for you, though, beware of Sophia---it's far more popular, with a much faster rise to the top. Evelyn Rose would be my pick, though I also love Lillian (on the popular side, though) and Eliza (but seems like there are lots of El- names right now). Good luck!

christine said...

I love Evelyn and Elizabeth, and think maybe Sonia could work here? Elyse might work too, but I find I like the flow of Evelyn and Elizabeth more.

Good luck!

StephLove said...

I'd stick with the one of the ones you chose. I prefer Sophia with the middle and last, but Evelyn is less popular so I could see going either way. I like Elizabeth, too, and Swistle's suggestion of Amelia.

In case you do decide to change course, though, here are some suggestions:

Margaret (nn Maggie)
Violet (maybe with a different middle-- I'm not sure about Violet Rose)

Carolyn said...

I didn't realize that Evelyn has become a modern name choice, as I worked in a grocery store with several older ladies named Evelyn. It took awhile for me to see it as anything but old lady, but now I love it. Esp. with Evie as a nn (I prefer the soft /e/ sound). If the issue is that it sounds old-fashioned, I think they'll see it in a new way when it's on a sweet little baby.

Emily S. said...

I like the name Elizabeth for you if you decide against Evelyn and Sophia. It's classic and as stated before, has many nickname options. Would you like Liza as a nickname?

Adrienne said...

I LOVE Evelyn!! and Sophia!! I am pregnant with my 3rd baby..I have two boys. we were SURE it was a girl and we were going to name her Lyla. I love that name. but lo and behold it's another boy and we can't decide on a name.
I also love,
Jean (for a middle name)

AmyRobynne said...

Heh, I've been ARF since I got married 10 years ago and have never gotten even a snicker about it. My first and last names are better known as those of an attempted murderer, so that gets enough attention. My first & maiden names were an Olympic medalist, then I switched to crazy-attempted-murdered-lady's name.

Anyway, if the grandparents just don't like names of that vintage and will hate everything that wasn't top 10 in the 80's, I'd stick with them.

Tracy said...

I love the name Eliza as well. But, I tend to side with the previous comments. If you like those two top names, keep them there. They won't care once the baby is born.

(Swistle, my grandma told us that "Olivia" was "an interesting choice." when we told her the name 6 years ago. ha! What is is now? Number 3 on the chart? :) )

liz said...

As an Elizabeth, I can definitely tell you that while it's a pretty normalized name (no one blinks at it), it's not exactly popular. Though my sister's sister-in-law is also an Elizabeth. I am Liz, she is Beth.

I like Margaret as a name with Rose. Maggie Rose.

Jenny Grace said...

My mom hates the name Evelyn, because she says it's "Evil Lynne".
Yeah, IDK, but if I suggested it, she would definitely try to veto it, and she's normally pretty laid back.

E. Wheeler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. Wheeler said...

I would say go with your first choice. My mom has 5 grand kids and 1 on the way. Said she wouldn't have picked "any" of the names that her grand kids were given (Elliot, Evelyn, Emelia, Daniel and Cormac), but after they were born, she was so delighted with the grandkid that she now says their names fit each of them "perfectly" and she wouldn't have chosen anything different! Given that yours is the first on both sides, I would guess the grandparents to be will be so excited about their next generation that the name will simply become associated with their beloved grandchild.