I am due with our second child - another boy! - at the end of May. I am very superstitious about name-stealers and prefer to wait until after the baby is born and named to announce a name. And if my husband had his way, babies would leave the hospital and remain unnamed until their personalities start to show through. So, naming babies is a big deal around these parts! Needless to say, naming our first son was a very tough task. We went to the hospital with an "iffy" first name and just a vague inclination toward a middle name - and no backups whatsoever.
We are both the last in our families to have children, so all male family names were used a decade (or two) ago. I also had a set of very specific criteria for names (which I kind of laugh at now). A friend's response to our criteria was to consider naming our son after my MIL. In the rest of the world, Cruz is a boy's name, but in my husband's Hispanic family, my FIL's sister goes by it, as does my MIL. So, it was an honor name after my son's grandmother. It felt so unconventional and we were hesitant. When we finally decided on Cruz, we cautiously tried it out on strangers in our birth class. We got a little braver and told some close friends who were also expecting their first child before finally telling his parents. Everyone liked the name except my in laws. My FIL was hesitant, but my MIL was panicked and not nearly as "honored" as we had expected.
We had shared with my MIL a girl's name we picked out before we knew we were having a boy. Long (long) story short, literally from the moment he was born, she started to call him by the girl's name we had picked out until I got testy with her and told her that she'd ruined that name for any future girls, and asked her to call him by his name. She wasn't trying to be difficult; we found out later that she just never liked her name, particularly the way it sounded on her father's angry lips. They now exclusively call him "Ezzie", which is a play on his middle name (Ezekiah), and which we love and use as a NN as well.
For our second boy, we've chosen the name August Malachi, in keeping with an honor first name and a biblical middle name. August is an indirect honor to my grandfather, my MIL (again) and my husband - all born in that month. We've decided we will try and force the NN from birth as "Kai" - again playing on the middle name - primarily so we can avoid the NNs "Gus" or "Auggie" as much as possible. Both those NNs are borderline dealbreakers for us!) Are there other options for a NN that we're not considering?
The very few people we've shared our chosen name with have not had what I would call positive responses. A close friend asked "can we reopen the name for discussion?", which made me laugh, but also made me worried. Once again, we have absolutely no backup names and no "short list" to speak of. My husband doesn't feel like we need a backup name and is convinced that it's THE name, but I'm starting to worry we need a backup, just in case. I feel a slight sting every time I see or hear Cruz's name used in any context other than a given name (as surnames, street names, etc.). It's a bit ubiquitous for my taste and I worry over the same thing with the name August. We consistently have good reactions to Cruz's name, but the reactions we are already getting to August make me hesitant. I would love to hear what your other readers think!
Thanks so much!
I suggest switching the names: Malachi August. Here are my reasons:
1. Trying to get people to call a child a nickname of the middle name seems like a tough sell. In Cruz's case it happened out of necessity, as a solution for a difficult situation, but it's not something I'd try to do on purpose unless I had a very compelling reason (such as being forced to use a family first name I hated).
2. It seems like an especially tough sell if you want them NOT to use the natural nicknames of the first name. If you strongly dislike the nicknames Auggie and Gus, putting August as the middle name avoids that issue while still using the honor name. And the middle name slot is a great place for an honor name. And you WANT to call him Kai!
3. The name Malachi is currently more commonly used in the U.S. than the name August, but if it bothers you to hear incidental mentions of the name, you will definitely hear the word August used more often. And the number of emails we're getting here from people who want the nickname Gus makes me think the name is likely to get more common---and that the nickname Gus will get more intuitive.
4. It would be nice to have a consistent pattern (honor name, then biblical name), but with only one child a pattern hasn't been firmly set---especially since I can't find the name Ezekiah in an (admittedly brief) online search of the Bible. I suggest changing the pattern from "honor first name and biblical middle name" to "one honor name, one biblical name."
August and Malachi are both great names, but it sounds like for your family it makes more sense to have Malachi in the first name slot. Let's have a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]
Name update! Nichole writes:
Just wanted to update you on the arrival of our second baby boy. We carefully weighed our options after reading all the comments & suggestions we received from the post. Then, on the very same day, we both had a dream about this boy and knew exactly what his name was supposed to be. August Malachi came into the world following a fast & furious labor. We think it suits him perfectly (even if the peds office just told us the name is very popular locally). He will go by August with nn being Mal or Kai. Thanks so much!