My name is Elena and my husband Oliver and I are expecting our second baby - a girl - who is due on the 5th of January. We have a son named Max Oliver, and we absolutely adore his name. Fortunately we do not have the problem of being unable to agree on any names. We have three girls names that we would be happy to use in a heartbeat, but they have some issues that may make them unsuable. Middle name will be either Elena or May after me (family tradition).
Our top name is Alaia, uh-LIE-uh. There is the obvious problem of "a liar". Infact when I told my mum that we loved Alaia her response was "Alaia? Like a liar? That could cause some problems." Although the next day she told me that she actually really liked it, after she thought more about it. It sounds sooooo pretty when you don't think of "a liar". But I would hate to give my daughter a name that gives her grief. Another problem is that Elena and Alaia are kinda similar sounding, though I do go by Elle 80% of the time. So what do you think? Is Alaia usable? If we used Alaia she would be Alaia May.
Our second name is Ruby. Max and Ruby. Like the childrens TV show. Does that make Ruby unusable for us? We LOVE it, and we love how Max and Ruby sound together, but does it seem tacky? Like we were trying to copy the TV show? She would be Ruby Elena. Max Oliver and Ruby Elena. Oh it's so cute! We are hoping to have one more baby, so if we had Max, Ruby and Theo (our favourite boy name) does that make it better?
Our third name is Mia. It comes with little problems, such as the repeating 'M' initial. Max and Mia. I think it sounds cute, but I don't know if it's too cutesy and tacky. We also know a few little girls named Mia, so I don't know if it's a bit popular (I know Ruby is popular too (at least in Aus), but we don't know any). Also the middle name is an issue, Mia May sounds way too cutesy, but Mia Elena doesn't sound right either because of them both ending in 'a'. So yeah, I'm just not sure.
Our last name is James, so we really want a girls name that is clearly feminine. Some other names we have considered, but aren't using are:
And like I said before, our favourite boy name is Theo, so if we have another boy this will most likely be his name!
So what do you think Swistle and readers? Are these names usable or unusable? Maybe a poll could be helpful. Suggestions for other names would be great too!
Another issue with Alaia is pronunciation: I wouldn't have known how it was pronounced, and probably would have tried "ah-LAY-yah" first (I'd be thinking, "Maybe it's like Alaina, but without the N"). After finding out the actual pronunciation, I noticed I immediately started using "a liar" as a mnemonic to help me remember how to pronounce it---unfortunately reinforcing that connection.
Names similar to Alaia that might avoid the issues:
Maya/Mya (same middle name problems as Mia)
My favorite is Eliza: to me it sounds almost exactly like Alaia, but without the liar-sound and spelling/pronunciation issues. Eliza May James; Max and Eliza.
My kids watched Max and Ruby, so for me it's an instant and deal-breaking connection. I think if you had another child in between a Max and a Ruby it would improve things somewhat---but still not enough for me to take it out of the category of "Names that were unfortunately eliminated by other names used."
Names similar to Ruby that might avoid the issues:
My favorite is Ivy: the sassiness of Ruby without a children's television theme song springing to mind. Ivy Elena James; Max and Ivy.
I also like Phoebe. It has the sassiness and also the -bee ending of Ruby. Phoebe Elena James; Max and Phoebe.
Max and Mia are definitely very, very cute, but not in a way that makes me think Mia should be ruled out (i.e., just cute, not tacky). One concern is whether having two 3-letter, M-initial names will make you feel backed into a corner when choosing a name for a possible third child.
Names similar to Mia that might avoid the issues:
Cleo (but would rule out Theo for a future child)
Gia (maybe not with James)
My favorite is Willa. It's sweet like Mia, without crossing the possible Too Cute line, or backing you into a corner later. Willa May James; Max and Willa.
I also like Isla, especially since it appears on two of the lists: it's like a cross between Alaia and Mia. Isla May James; Max and Isla.
Name update! Elena writes:
Our little girl arrived a whole week early on the 29th of December. Oliver and I could not decide which name was our favourite, but we managed to narrow it down to Isla May and Lucy Elena. We had decided to wait until she was born to decide. When we met her, neither of us knew what name she 'felt' like. When Max came to meet her we asked him if we should name her Isla or Lucy, and he said Isla. So she became Isla May. We are all in LOVE with our Isla, and couldn't be happier with her name. I also love that Max got to choose her name...he tells everyone that he "choosed Isla"!
Thank you Swistle and to all who commented!