I read your blog religiously & never thought I would be writing you about my naming indecisiveness. I have kept baby name "lists" since I was 9 years old, but it is so much harder when it's permanent! I am 28 weeks pregnant with our second baby girl. My name is Tessa & my husband's name is Tyson. Our last name sounds like Chaplin. Our first daughter is Lennox Elizabeth, named after my husband's great grandmother's maiden name. We are having a very hard time deciding on which name to choose for our final child. Help!
Since Lennox is an honor name, we would love to continue that trend (but as the middle name instead). My great grandmother's maiden name is McKenzie, which works well as a baby girl's middle name. That much we have agreed upon. If we were to have a boy, our short list included: Miloh, Silas, Cohen & Atticus. Looking back, we probably would have the same naming conundrum if we were having a boy! As for our small list of first names for a girl, we have 4 names that we are completely deadlocked on. I seriously have no idea how to "give up" one on the list & it would be so much easier if someone (you!) would just give us that extra push for a solid front-runner.
With Lennox (nickname: Leni) having a masculine name for a girl, I feel like the the name list we had when we were pregnant the first time are too simple & "girly". So, our new list includes:
Palmer is my husband's favorite. Palmer McKenzie Chaplin. It is commonly a boy's name & I believe it compliments her sister: Lennox & Palmer. All of the opinions that I have sought out (on google, baby forums, ect) point all advice on staying far away from Palmer as a baby girl's name. Everything from teasing in school to it is the "ugliest name ever" have come up. Is sticking to a generally masculine name going to set my daughter up for cruelty later in life? (My name, Tessa, was very uncommon in the 80s & I still rarely meet anyone my age with it- but I embraced the individuality of it, rather than being envious of more popular names).
I am leaning toward Tatum. Tatum McKenzie Chaplin. I know that it has been in the Top 500 names for a decade, but I like that it is considered a unisex name. I love the nickname Tate- Leni & Tate. My husband associates this name to Tatum O'Neal & all of the negative stigma that comes along with her. The only question I pose with Tatum is: is it weird to have a Tessa, Tyson, Tatum.... and Lennox? We purposefully stayed away from "T" names the first time! What about having the exact same initials (TMC) as my husband?
Piper is an appealing name to both of us, but we fear that it is becoming too popular. Some days we think that it is a happy medium between Palmer & Tatum, but also don't want to feel like we have to "settle" just because it's common & "cute". Piper McKenzie Chaplin.
Clara is my grandmother's name & the only name that we have carried from our first pregnancy name list. We both love the name but it has never been #1. It is an honor name & it has significant meaning, but is it too simple because of Lennox's naming style? I am not sure if Lennox & Clara fits well as siblings.
We are definitely open to other suggestions. The name Wren was #5 & recently taken off our list. Our decision would be a lot easier if my husband or I could easily cross off any of these names, but we can't. I would really like to have a name picked out before the birth, for fear of having a nameless child for days after delivery! We kept Leni's name a surprise, even though we were 99.9% sure beforehand. With this being my last child (& juggling two childen under 2yrs old), I just want to have everything done by the time the baby gets here :) Please point us in the right direction!
I would take Clara off the list, which pains me because it's on my own list of top favorites. It's traditional and old-fashioned and entirely used for girls, and it's on its way up in popularity (#167 in 2010). It isn't that sibling names must coordinate, but the clash with Lennox (modern surname name used almost entirely for boys and not in the top 1000 for girls) is startling.
I think Palmer, Tatum, and Piper all work fine, but with downsides to each.
Palmer is the most similar to Lennox for female/male name usage; Tatum and Piper are both used mostly for girls. Palmer is also the most similar in popularity: not in the top 1000 for girls, while Tatum is #335 and Piper is #144. Palmer is also the best match in name style: it's another clear surname name, while Tatum and Piper now sound like first names. Because of its excellent coordination, I'd vote for Palmer---except that it doesn't have a good feminine nickname like Lennox does in Leni. For me, that would be a huge issue, and it balances the advantages of androgyny/surname coordination. In fact, after thinking it over awhile, for me it takes it off the list. (I don't have the same feminine-nickname requirement for Tatum and Piper, because both names are already predominately used for girls.)
I think it's fine to have three T names and one L name in the family, because the L child came first. But it does put a small strike against Tatum for me.
A mark against Piper is that it's even more common than Clara: #144 in 2010, and rising.
The name Campbell came to my mind. Like Lennox, it's a modern surname name; and like Lennox, it has a cute feminine nickname. Lennox and Campbell; Leni and Cammi.
Or Hollis. Lennox and Hollis; Leni and Holly.
Or Ellison. Lennox and Ellison; Leni and Ellie.
Or Winslow. Lennox and Winslow; Leni and Winnie. That's one of my favorites.
Or Merritt. Lennox and Merrit; Leni and Merrie.
Or Maguire. Lennox and Maguire; Leni and Maggie.
Or Hatcher. Lennox and Hatcher; Leni and Hattie.
Or Padgett, which for me falls into the category of "I know it's a girl's name so it doesn't need a girlish nickname." Lennox and Padgett.
McKenzie would also be a good first-name fit, despite its relative popularity. Not only are Lennox and McKenzie both modern surname names (McKenzie is comfortably a first name now, but your spelling reminds people of its surname origins), and both great-grandmother surnames, but they sound wonderful together, all crackly and crisp. Lennox and McKenzie! I love it. You could use McKenzie Clara, and each girl would have a great-grandmother-surname first name and a traditional feminine middle name. But it sounds like you have already considered this and prefer it in the middle name slot, so I mention this only for the fun of discussing it.
I also recommend the post Choosing Between Two Finalists, which can work for more than two. Part of that post recommends seeing how you feel about the results of a poll, so let's also have a poll over to the right for the original four candidates. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Name update! Tessa writes:
I was blown away by the awesome responses & baby name advice from your readers. You rock! I can honestly say that writing to you helped make our decision easier & we were 99% sure we had a name picked out only a few weeks after your input.
Tatum McKenzie was born one week early on February 24, 2012. She is now 2 weeks old & such a good baby!! And big sister, Lennox Elizabeth, loves her to pieces. We are so happy that we have our Leni & Tate, and our family is complete.
As soon as we started reading the positive responses about Tatum, we knew it was the winner. Also, the poll got SO many votes & we were pleased that Tatum was a favorite. We have gotten a few comments on the odd number of "T" names (Tessa, Tyson, Tatum.... and Lennox) but we are still very happy with it!
One of your readers suggested Harlow & I fell in love with that name immediately. Lennox & Harlow, Leni & Harley. I tried & tried to get my husband to switch, but I think he was already set on Tatum at that point. I loved the masculine suggestions that everyone came up with: Finley, Emerson, Harper, Rowan, and Bennett were some of my favorite "girly" boy names that we unfortunately couldn't use due to knowing other children by those names. I also loved Hollis & Winslow (nn: Winnie) but my husband vetoed them. I cannot thank you enough for all of your advice!