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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Ivy vs. Ivee

Brooke writes:
Hi! My name is Brooke and my husband is Brian. Our last name is similar to Peterson.

We are still in the preliminary baby-growing and baby-naming stages (16 weeks) and have not yet found out if our baby-to-be is a girl or boy.

If it is a girl, my top name choice is Ivy.

Brian has agreed to this name, but he wants it to be spelled Ivee. He knows someone named Ivee and does not know anyone with the name Ivy.

I love Ivy, but I pretty much loath Ivee. He feels the opposite. He thinks it would be weird to name a little girl after a plant. I feel like it would be even weirder to give her a made up name...or at least a made up spelling for a name.

We have a short list of other names that we can agree on - Nora, Sarah, Eden, Eve, etc. - so it is not like Ivy/Ivee is our only choice.

But, since it is my favorite and he has actually (amazingly!) agreed to it, I don't know if I should settle for a spelling I dislike or just give up on my sweet Ivy and go with another name.

Or...maybe it will be a boy and we can wait to worry about this issue until another pregnancy.

Should I settle for Ivee? Should we move on and keep looking at other names?

Thanks so much!

I'd start by seeing if you can find out if your husband's mind can be changed on the issue of whether or not it's weird to use a plant name. Ivy, Rose, Violet, Lily, Willow, Daisy, Heather, Holly, Iris, Jasmine---these are all plant names that people use as-is, without having to alter the spellings. We do the same with many other noun names: Hope, Grace, Autumn, May, River, Ruby, Faith. I would first see if your husband feels the same way about the spelling of these other names, or if it's just that he's not used to Ivy as a name. It isn't that we never change the spellings of noun names ("Brooke" is a convenient example; Lilly and Saige and Skye also come to mind), but Ivy is in the category of names we as a culture don't consider weird to leave as it is.

Your husband knows an Ivee, which certainly influences his feelings. The Social Security Administration may be of assistance here: in 2010, there were 1,073 baby girls named Ivy, and 13 named Ivee. Another 61 were named Ivey; another 33 were named Ivie. The spelling Ivy is clearly the main spelling. This is not to say that the main spelling must be honored; it is only another suggested argument against his feeling that Ivee is a more natural spelling of the name.

Because I so strongly side with you about spelling it Ivy, I'm reluctant to even mention these possible compromise spellings: Ivie, Ivey.


Name update! Brooke writes:
I followed one commenter's advice and left the name conversation alone until we learned the sex of our little one.

We learned that we were having a boy, so the Ivy/Ivee conversation has been tabled. I am sure it will come up again if/when a future pregnancy brings us a girl, but for now, I have just left it alone.

My long list of potential boy names was largely vetoed and we didn't make a final decision until we met our little man, but we are so happy with our choice. His name is Samuel Birger (BRR-jer). Birger is my dad's first name and I love that Sam has this connection with his Pops.

Many thanks to you and your readers for all of the comments and consideration


29 comments:

Joanne said...

I really, really, REALLY do not like Ivee and I really DO like Ivy.

Anonymous said...

I think spelling it Ivee changes it SO much, for me it would be too big of a compromise. I could maybe get behind spelling it Ivie instead.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I second/third/whatever everyone else's opinion. Most definitely Ivy instead of Ivee. An Ivee is going to have to spell her name all the time and might even get mispronounced.

rachel said...

Ditto Joanne. Ivee: do not want.

Jenny Grace said...

I find the name Ivee incredibly irritating, in the way that I find most made up spellings irritating. I love Ivy, I think it's a great name.

Anonymous said...

1. I agree - Ivy NOT Ivee.
2. I can totally relate - I fell in love with Saoirse while pregnant (I just loved the sound and the meaning) but hesitated to shoulder a child with all those vowels. I mentioned it in passing to my SO (thinking she'd kill it on the spot and I could move on). She also loved the name, but wanted us to change the spelling, but then I felt like it was a "fake" name and the meaning would be lost. Of course it was the one name was could (sort of) agree on. Eventually, we selected a different name (with its own pronunciation/meaning issues as it turns out!).

Anonymous said...

Okay. I like Ivy, but Ivee is a no go. However, I could go with Ivey and not feel the name was another totally different name, which Ivee is.

Anonymous said...

With regard to spelling Ivie: Many of the Ivie's on the SSA list might not actually be Ivy's. Ivie (pronounced EE-vee-ay) is a traditional Nigerian name... I've known a few in the US.

Anonymous said...

Your other names are very pretty too!

Ivy is very pretty - Ivee is NOT so pretty... i would love to hear the sound "Ivy" on a baby, but if i saw the other spelling i would definitely roll my eyes in private.

Jessica said...

I agree spelling it Ivee makes it a completely different name. I don't find Ivy/Ivee to be comparable, but it might be because I have a low tolerance for changing spellings.

StephLove said...

Like everyone else so far I like Ivy but not Ivee. I would use a different name from your short list if he won't budge. Maybe Eve because of the similar sounds, (or maybe not Eve if you think you could bring him around in a future pregnancy).

LiciaLee said...

I too really really love Ivy and really really hate Ivee. That is a made up spelling of an actual word. Its like if his mother had spelled his name Briyann or something. I would conduct a random poll. I had to do this w/ DH. We agreed on Clara, but apparently HE thought it was spelled "Claira" which I kinda hated. So everywhere we went I asked people to spell the name Clara. People looked at me kinda crazy, but it made my point and we went with Clara (thank god). GL!

Snoopyfan said...

Ivee looks to me like a grocery store where I grew up (Hy-Vee) and just, no. Ivy is lovely!

may said...

I agree - like Ivy, not so much with Ivee. I think Ivee makes me think too much of the pronunciation, which makes me think of I-V, as in the kind going into your veins. Ivy looks like a real name - and a pretty one! The spelling makes SUCH a big difference; it's like a different name completely. I hope you're able to resolve this amicably... and that he caves. : ) Good luck!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Like May, the spelling "Ivee" makes me think to hard about pronunciation, and I would tend to put all the emphasis on the second syllable. Which leads me to think (as May did) of intravenous lines.

Ivy is traditional and lovely and I know how to pronounce and spell it.

Claire said...

I will join the bandwagon and say that "Ivy" is lovely and "Ivee" is definitely NOT. Would it be worth having your husband ask the Ivee he knows if anyone has EVER spelled her name that way on the first try or if she would have preferred it to be spelled the right way? (I'm okay with some variations of names - for example, I think both Megan and Meghan are legitimate spellings - but in this case, "Ivy" is right and all variants are just wrong.) And while a name that ends in "-ee" might look cute on a baby, it looks a lot less dignified on a business card than a "-y." If he won't cave, I would vote for going for a new name entirely.

Frazzled Mom said...

Men. If I had a nickel for how many times I've come across an expectant Mom with good taste having to negotiate with a taste-challenged expectant Dad... you know the rest...

Ok. Here's what I would do. Are you going to find out the sex? If yes, you only have a couple of weeks to go. I would hang tight until then and not even think about names or discuss names in the meantime.

If you baby is a boy, all of this angst will be for naught. If the baby is a girl, you can both approach the dilemma with a clear head.

I agree that Ivy and Ivee are NOT the same name and therefore your husband hasn't really agreed to Ivy. Perhaps one of the other names on your list will be a better fit. Nora, Sarah, Eden, Eve are all 100% better than Ivee.

Patricia said...

Ivy is an actual name, from a plant, yes, but so are many other established female names. Ivee is nothing -- just letters strung together to produce the same sound as Ivy. Other names you like - Nora, Sarah, Eden, Eve -- don't fit with Ivee at all, so that if you named this baby Ivee and later had another daughter, none of those names would work style-wise.

It seems to me that your husband really doesn't like the *name* Ivy (which can only be spelled IVY and still be "Ivy") and that you may need to move onto other names. All of the other names you mentioned are lovely too.

M.Amanda said...

Ivee is not the same as Ivy. I'm glad so many seem to feel the same because if pressed, I'm not sure I could explain exactly why that is, but it just IS NOT the same. One thing I can pinpoint is that seeing Ivee, I want to emphasize the second syllable (I-VEE, like you'd say the abbreviation for intravenous) instead of I-vee.

That said, while I also don't like the spelling Ivie as an alternative for Ivy, I LOVE the Nigerian name Anonymous mentioned above. Ivie (EE-vee-ay) is so beautiful and lyrical. I'm almost sad that I have never heard it before.

Trudee said...

I agree with the previous poster. Ivy and Ivee are different, so you haven't acually come to an agreement at all. I wouldn't compromise on Ivy. I think you'd regret that. If your husband can't come to like that spelling then you should move on to ones that you both do like since you do have some. And maybe you could get him to agree to Ivy as the middle name?

Anonymous said...

No amount of jewelry and flowers from my husband could make me agree to naming my daughter Ivee. And I LOVE the name Ivy. First, I loathe changed spellings. Secondly, the spelling Ivee makes me want to pronounce it Ih-vee. Thirdly, I don't understand why your husband would WANT to name your child after someone he knows. Is his Ivee a close friend, or a family member? Is she just a coworker who would probably be totally weirder out if Guy From Two Cubicles Down named his daughter the same strangely spelled name she has? Spelling it Ivy makes it another known name, but because Ivee is SO unheard of, spelling it as such would give the impression that you got the inspiration from her. Things to consider!

In short: if my husband said it was Ivee or nothing, I'd be back at the drawing board.

Slim said...

As someone whose name has more than one standard spelling, I would like to say that if there is a single standard spelling for a name, you are doing your child a favor by using it. No, I am not saying no one should name a child "Catherine" (or variant thereof). But the acquaintance whose birth certificate says her name is Jennipher assures me that even the most charming backstory does not offset the hassle.

Bethany said...

I would not fight this battle until minutes after your birth your baby girl. When he says, "What should we name her" just say, "Her name is Ivy" and he'll agree. Then you fill out the official paperwork and presto! Ivy is here!

susan said...

Ivy, yes. Great name. I love it.

Ivee, no.

Shaylon said...

I have a niece named Ivie Crystal. LOVE her name!!!

The Mrs. said...

There is something classic, established, and lovely about the name 'Ivy'. The 'y' at the end reminds me of the vine's curling tendrils. 'Ivy' seems educated (Ivy League).

I know there are a LOT of opinions about cre8tive spellings (so this will undoubtedly offend someone), but I sit on the side of the fence that supports traditional spellings. No Jessikas, Steffanys, Bryons, Ellizebeths, or Willyams. They seem misspelled. Misspellings often are a sign of lower education or illiteracy. Like it or not, a large portion of society sees the name 'Raychell' and assumes she is less intelligent. Unfair? Sure. True? Definitely.

Best of wishes to you both as you anticipate your sweet new arrival! Please let us know what you decide. :)

m said...

I'm curious to whether the poster's husband's friend's name (Ivee) is short for something? Has he asked her what the background on it is? Perhaps it is from a completely different name.

Anonymous said...

Ivy is good, Ivee looks weird (Im sorry to say) If I read Ivee on a school roster, I would wonder if it was a russian name with some weird pronounciation. If he is willing to do Ivy, the tell him to embrace the real spelling. For what its worth, if he isnt comfortable with the name, then your other names are good too. In fact when I think of a parent who likes Ivy, I also think of Eden and low and behold when I read further, one of your names was Eden, so that would be my next pick for you, it has the same feel as Ivy.

Anonymous said...

Ivy or bust.