Let's be blunt here, Swistle: I'm eighteen and expecting a baby in late November. It's a girl.
I know that the least I can do is give my child a name that won't allow people to get that self-satisfied smirk on their faces and think, "your name reflects your upbringing and your parents"; I will not do my child a disservice by heaping a misspelled, infantile, vapid, trendy name upon her, because it's bad enough that I'm barely an adult. And also my tastes run rather droll.
So the entire naming process has been one strung throughout with anxiety. To say the least. Ahem.
Onto the names. There are HUGE problems with the first, middle AND last names. Huzzah.
FIRST: I had a few first names picked out by myself, because my daughter's father (I refer to him as that because we were not in a romantic relationship when my daughter was conceived, are not in one now, and will not be in one in the future; we’re not even friends) had decided that he wanted no part of it (he's two months younger than me but, may I say, has the maturity of an ten-year-old) and I took it upon myself to find the perfect name (I like vintage, less-common names that exude warmth and intelligence and feminine strength) . I would have been happy naming her any of the following:
But then the father grew up a bit and now wants to play an active part in his daughter's life before and after she actually gets here. Which is absolutely amazing for our daughter, but it's complicating the naming process. He's a very opinionated guy and surprisingly cares quite a lot what her name is.
His taste runs a bit...different than my own. He likes more modern, cutesy names and names with an edgy feel that are "cool". Dillon told me that he likes the following:
Juliet, nickname Jett (Dillon said that this is the most “bad-ass” name ever...)
As I am going to be her primary caregiver and the one who is, honestly, going to be making the most sacrifices, I think that I should have the final say. But because I want to honor his commitment to his daughter, I want him to help pick out his daughter's name. I just don't know if we can find a name that we both love. Please help!
MIDDLE: I want to give my daughter the middle name of Hermione, due to the amazing character and this quote, primarily.
“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny - a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.” --JK Rowling
I want my daughter to be a Hermione, so badly it almost aches. But therein lies the problem. I realize that the Harry Potter series is universally acknowledged as meant for children, or at least teenagers, and it seems to me like Hermione would be a juvenile choice, therefore going against my naming principle. I don't want my daughter to be ashamed of either of her names, but especially of one that means so much to me. Is it selfish to give her the middle name of Hermione?
And the father does not like Hermione. He is a fan of Harry Potter but thinks that the name is “weird”. I’ve shown him the quote but he doesn’t get it. Should I push for Hermione or find a compromise?
LAST: Originally, I was going to give my daughter my surname, Monroe. But because her father has promised that he’s going to step up, I feel as though it would be wrong not to include him somehow.
I’m not naive. I know that the father has a very good chance at not being a good father or even a father at all, and he might not deserve to have his daughter bear his last name. But his parents are lovely people and his mother will be taking care of the baby when I go back to high school in January since my mother works; they’ll be around and will be playing a huge part in her life even if he is not. I feel as though my daughter should have his last name as SOME part for their sake.
A good option, I suppose, would be a double-barreled last name. But I don’t especially WANT a double-barreled last name; I think they’re clumsy and annoying. And which surname goes first: his or mine?
Another option that I have become aware of is using his surname as a second middle name, or vice-versa. But that seems confusing and bulky as well.
_____ Hermione Monroe
_____ Hermione Parker
_____ Hermione Monroe-Parker
_____ Hermione Parker-Monroe
_____ Hermione Parker Monroe
_____ Hermione Monroe Parker
Or any of the above choices with a different middle name. Or any other ideas.
I’ve had a huge interest in names since I was young--and I have enjoyed both of your blogs for awhile--but I never, ever expected that I would actually have to find a name this early, nor that I would be in need of your services. But thank you.
Thanks again. I know I'm asking a lot of you.
Let's start with the surname. This is going to boil down to picking your favorite and the one that makes most sense to you, but if you like I can tell you what my favorite is: your idea of having the father's surname as a second middle name, and your own surname as the surname. If you'll be the primary caregiver and the other parent's involvement level is uncertain at this point, it makes sense for her to have your surname---but it's also nice to include her father's name in her name (I like your idea of thinking of it as the father's FAMILY'S name), and the second-middle-name slot is great for that. But all kinds of name arrangements seem to work out without too much hassle, so again, I say pick your favorite. The name gets long, but I think it's worth it here.
Next, the tricky issue of the middle name. I see your points, and I'm not sure what to advise. I THINK that my feeling on this is that it may cause a little reaction of the sort you describe, but that the people who have that reaction are likely to be the ones who will have a little reaction almost no matter what---and that your strong and enduring feelings about the name outweigh other people's mild and temporary reactions.
If you are looking for other solutions, I wonder if it would work to name her instead for the author of the quote and creator of Hermione's character? J.K. Rowling's first name is Joanne; according to Wikipedia, she says as a child she was only called that when she was in trouble, and that she goes by Jo. Jo is an adorable name, and it can remind you the woman who inspired your fervent hope. (And the quote would make a great framed print for the nursery.) It rhymes with your surname, but you could either use Joanne (and then use the cute nickname "[First name] Jo"), or maybe it doesn't matter, if Parker will be between them.
On to the first name. I like every name on your list. I love Alice best, I think. Alice Joanne Parker Monroe; Alice Monroe; Alice Jo. Lovely. Not a single smirkable name in the bunch.
From the father's list, Lily seems most compatible with your list---though it does give the two of you an inadvertent flower theme (as does Violet from your list; Hazel and Olive are also botanical but seem to me a much less obvious connection). Would it be more to your style if it were the full name Lillian? Lillian Joanne Parker Monroe; Lillian Monroe; Lily Jo.
If you like the name Juliet from his list, it might be an excellent compromise name: you can call her Juliet, and her dad's special name for her can be Jett. This assumes that although Jett isn't your style, you don't hate it (since she might later adopt it as the name she'd like to be called). If you really dislike it, let's take this one off. But otherwise: Juliet Joanne Parker Monroe; Juliet Monroe; Julie Jo.
If the father is looking for cool/edgy, perhaps we can find him an edgy/cool nickname for one of the names on your list. Again, it would need to be one you don't hate. But would it, for example, be okay if he called Alice "Allie," or "Al" or "Ace"? Could he call Olive "Ollie" or "Livvy"? I'm not very tuned in to edgy/cool, but perhaps he can think of more possibilities.
Another option is to have the first and last names be your choices, and the two middle names be his: a name within a name, sort of. So if your favorite were Hazel, and you wanted your own surname, and your favorite name from the father's list was Juliet, the name could be Hazel Juliet Parker Monroe. Hazel Monroe, with her father's choice of Juliet Parker nested inside.
Another option is to let him choose the name from a list of your finalists.
It depends a lot on how strongly he feels about his list, and how favorably he feels toward yours, and how unfavorably you feel about his list, and how much you're willing to work with him on this. One thing that makes this such an interesting set of questions is that it's unfamiliar turf as to how much say each parent should have. And we could land anywhere on the spectrum: with you having the entire say, with him having a little say, with you both having equal say, even with him having more say in order to increase the connection he feels to her. And I don't know what the right way is for your particular case (or for ANY case, for that matter!). It's interesting to think about.
Back to working with Hermione, I think my favorite first name is still Alice. Alice Hermione Parker Monroe. Alice Monroe.
[Edited to add:]
Hi, Swistle! I just read your reply and it was amazingly helpful. Thank you SO MUCH for that. You are assuaging my worries with her name
But. I showed your reply and the comments to Dillon, the father, and after much discussion we decided that instead of a compromise with our original names, we need a brand new name that appeals to both of us. Could you possibly give us some name suggestions, or ask your readers to help us?
On a better note, reading the comments has given me a really, really good feeling about Hermione and I think I am going to use it as my daughter's middle name. Dillon's surprisingly come around to it and says that he really likes the meaning behind Hermione. So that's one thing down.
As far as the surname goes, I'm thinking that _____ Hermione Parker Monroe or _____ Hermione Parker-Monroe are our best options. Dillon wants the hyphenated last name, obviously, but I'm leaning more towards using Parker as a second middle name. But then I'm worried that his parents will be hurt, and I don't want that. But...gah. This is hard. Any advice?
I've been trying to look through baby name sites, but it's really hard to find a name that suits both of our styles. I suppose we need a name that's vintage but not old-sounding, fresh but not trendy, and feminine but not cutesy. And it has to sound great (or at least good) with Hermione. Please help!
Thanks again, Swistle. I'm sorry I'm being such a bother!
Name update! Rose writes:
Our beautiful daughter Louisa Hermione Parker Monroe arrived right on schedule at 7:12 in the morning yesterday, November 29. We call her Lucy.
Labor was thankfully short (but holy fudge so painful) and Dillon and I were blubbering messes at the end of it when little darling Lucy was placed in my arms. Lucy is unbelievably perfect and gorgeous and we love her so so much.
She was going to be Maeve Hermione--I think we were about 99% sure that that was her name. But then the day before she was born my grandmother Louisa was diagnosed with cancer, and she decided she's not going to undergo treatment. We felt that it was important to honor her because she's a important person in my life, and she made sure herself to give her children names that honored family, so we knew that she'd appreciate us honoring her. And she did--when we told her her great-granddaughter's name she looked so happy and touched and appreciated. We both cried. I now understand why people honor family--it's such a amazingly wonderful gift for both the honoree and the honorer. Then we were thinking of using Maeve Louisa but it sounds way too much like the name of a disease or like "may flew eesa". So we scrapped Maeve and kept Hermione and Louisa Hermione it was. I'm not disappointed with not using Maeve one bit, actually--I adore Lucy to pieces, and Dillon says that he loves it as well, more than Maeve.
Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for all of your help with her name. If I hadn't had your help, I wouldn't have dared to use Hermione as the middle name, and who knows what Lucy's last name would have been. Using my surname as her surname and Dillon's surname as a second middle name is definitely the best option. I LOVE her name so much and I'm forever grateful to you, Swistle, and the readers.