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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Baby Boy Girl Twins Oliver: How to Get the Nickname "Scout"

Bea writes:
We are expecting b/g twins at the end of April (so soon!!! and I'm freaking out!), and are mostly decided on our son's name, which will be August nn Gus. My husbands last name is Oliver, and that will most likely be the twins last name, although we are still thinking about a hyphenated last name (but that is another story!). My name is Beatrice nn Bea (I've never been called Beatrice in my life), so any names starting with b are out. My husband is Jeff, and absolutely HATED being Jeff O. all the time in school. That is why we want both of our children to have traditional yet uncommon names, with easy nicknames to fall back on. August was the perfect choice for us, and we are in love with the nickname Gus, but hate Augie (this is really a very minor issue for us). His middle name will be Rhett, after my father, Everett, and my husbands father, Rex. Gus Rhett does not sound so good, but I don't think we will ever call him that, it will mostly be August Rhett, which is fabulous.

Girls names is where we are stuck. The name we absolutely love and cannot let go is Scout. While it sounds adorable to have twins called Gus and Scout, we hate it with August, and it breaks our whole "nickname" criteria. On the other hand, she wouldn't even need a nickname because she would probably be the only Scout in class. I already think of Scout as being "MY baby", so letting it go is not an option. My main question is, what are good, old fashioned yet unique and girly names that come to the nickname Scout? We are really STUMPED!!

We did think of Seraphina, and we really like it, but I cannot get Scout from Seraphina. Another option would be to have her first name and middle name both start with s, to maybe get Scout from the alliteration?? Any help is welcomed! If we don't do the "double s thing", we think we would like to use the middle name Vera after both her grandmothers, Vanessa, and Mira. But then again, Seraphina Vera doesn't sound good either.

Here is a list of names, girls, that we cannnot use for various reasons;

Samantha (husbands sister), Vivienne (my niece [my side of the family]), Mara (my other niece [husbands side of the family] ), Jane (my best friend), Elena (family name that has been passed down) (which we loved, but too common in my family (ie. my sister and grandmother), Sophia (too popular), Fiona (Jeff's LONGTIME former girlfriend and he refuses to use it), Sarah (too mainstream), Ella (my best friends daughter)

These are some family middle name options that start with S:

South (AMAZING! but too masculine with nn Scout)
Sterling (for a girl??)
Scottson (sounds like Scout, but hate it)
Slone (maybe Sloane?)

Other names we just loved;

Genevieve nn Eve
Gwendolyn nn Gwen

However, in both mine and my husbands minds, our daughter is Scout (or nn is Scout). So our main questions are, is it weird with August? Too masculine (we can't really see it on a grown woman)? Not a proper name? What is YOUR opinion about Scout??

Also, we will probably have more children in the future (no more than one more though).
Thank you so so much, I am literally TEARING my hair out!

Just thought I'd let you know that I was looking through names on our family tree for inspiration, and came across Esther. It is my grandmothers middle name, yet I had skipped over it before. While I do not like Esther, I remembered my grandmother telling me that her mother called her Essie/Essa when she was little. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Essa. I've never heard it before, and am not even sure if it is a known name, I know Asa and Esa are boys names. But It would be a great way to honor my beloved grandmother, who passed away a few years ago. My husband's grandmother was Catherine, and I think that Essa Cate nn Scout is adorable (and a great way to remember two of her great grandmothers). So I was just wondering what you knew about the name Essa, and whether you think that we could get "Scout" out of it (my thinking was that it sounded like S. Cate which sounded a bit like Scout). I think August Rhett and Essa Cate are amazing together.

So now it is between,

Seraphina Vera (sounds funny) nn Scout
Seraphina South (???) nn Scout
Essa Cate nn Scout

and any other suggestions you might have about better names to get nn Scout, something starting with SC, maybe?

Thanks Again!

I have found the "my baby" test very helpful for narrowing down possibilities from a list of finalists ("I love Marigold so much---but does it sound like 'my baby'?"), or for closing in on our own style ("We love both Eloise and Emerson---but which one sounds like 'our baby'?"). But many, many names will pass the "my baby" test and then be unusable for other reasons: a clash with a sibling's name or with the surname; an unbreakable association; the other parent hating the name.

In your case, the problem is that the name you like for a daughter doesn't go with the name you've chosen for your son, and it also doesn't meet your preference for a traditional name with an easy nickname. So those are the two places I'd start, if I were you: Is your preference for a traditional name with an easy nickname more important to you than using the name Scout, or is using the name Scout more important than that preference? Is the boy name you've chosen more important to you than the name Scout, or can the boy name be changed?

You could for example choose to name him Gus instead of August (since you like Scout with Gus and only hate it with August; this would also eliminate Augie), and change the middle name. Gus Everett after your father, perhaps, if your husband's side of the family will already be honored by the surname. Gus Everett and Scout Mira/Vanessa (whichever one is your mother's name).

Or you could name him Everett Rex and call him Rhett. Rhett and Scout.

If the boy name is set and you don't want to bend on the traditional/nickname idea, I think you will find me unhelpfully conservative about forcefully combining a nickname and name that don't traditionally go together. Betsy for Elizabeth and Jim for James may seem just as unconnected, but they came about organically and are recognized traditionally, in a way that Scout for Seraphina didn't and isn't. Yes, you could name her Scarlet, or Schuyler, or Essa Cate which sounds kind of like S. Cate which looks a little like Scout---but neither you nor anyone else is going to think of those as an easy, natural nickname for a traditional name. Meanwhile, you're dramatically restricting your choices, and even considering names you only like instead of using one of the ones you love.

I think there are three better options:

1. Give her the middle name Scout, and then use that as her nickname. The middle name slot is the perfect place for a name you don't want to use as an actual legal first name. And this means you can choose a name you love as the first name, instead of choosing any name that might sound like it could conceivably lead to Scout. It also coordinates wonderfully with Rhett. August Rhett and _____ Scout.

2. Name her Jean Louise, Scout's actual name in To Kill a Mockingbird. This has charming literary appeal, plus Jean Louise is adorable and traditional. You could use first name Jean and middle name Louise, but I find it even more appealing to think of Jean Louise as the first name, with one of your particularly excellent family name options in the middle name slot. August Rhett and Jean Louise Sterling. August Rhett and Jean Louise Scottson. August Rhett and Jean Louise South.

3. Give her one of the names you love, and call her Scout. Many nicknames have nothing to do with a person's actual name, connecting instead to the person's appearance, profession, talents, early childhood personality/antics, fetal shape/size, or to something no one can remember anymore. There's no reason you can't name her anything you like, and then call her Scout. August Rhett and Gwendolyn Sterling ("Scout"). (If you don't mind the initials G.O.) "This is August and Gwendolyn; we call them Gus and Scout."

I think "We started calling her Scout before she was even born, and the nickname just stuck!" is an easier and more comfortable explanation than "See how 'Essa' sounds kind of like 'S.'? And then the middle name is Cate, which sounds a little like Cout! So then it's S.-cout, see? Scout!" or "Seraphina starts with S, and so does Scout."

I haven't heard of the name Essa before, but I'd think it would fit in fine with all the girls named Emma and Ella, and I agree that Essa Cate sounds good with August Rhett. As an occasional early-childhood nickname of your grandmother's middle name, the honor-name component would be significantly reduced--but if it makes you think of her, and if you love the name with or without that connection, I think it could work. I would, however, think of it as Option #3 (giving her a name you love and calling her Scout anyway).

Name update! Bea writes:
Hi Swistle! I am happy to announce that our twins were born on april 14, and their names, which we love, have been decided on, thanks to you!

All of your and your readers suggestions were EXTREMELY helpful, and we finally narrowed our choices down to
Essa Catherine
Seraphina Cate
Genevieve Cate
Scarlett Vera

with Essa Catherine, Scarlett Vera and Genevieve Cate (a name we realized we absolutely loved) as our final contenders.

When our beautiful healthy twins arrived April 14, 10 days early, we took those three names into the delivery room. When we met our daughter and looked at he she glared right back at us, and we said definitly NOT a sweet Essa! She was spunky a Genevieve!

We ended on going with the hyphenated last name, and we are overjoyed to introduce the T_____- Oliver twins;

August Everett "Gus"
Genevieve Scarlett "Scout"

(While their names may be long it doesn't bother us at all:) We ended up changing Rhett, due to the fact that we LOVED Scarlett, the the Gone With The Wind Connection was too much. My father is OVERJOYED at his namesake:) )

If we have another daughter, we will DEFINITELY be using Essa Catherine!

Thanks for everything!!!


Jen said...

I would lean toward using the name Scout in either the first name or middle name slot.

I say this because I am Jennifer but was so very tired of being Jennifer LastName. So I wanted to use the nickname Jenna (there were already other Jens and I detested Jenny). You would not believe how difficult it was to get people on board with it. Eventually it stuck, but I lived in a small town too. Just a real life example for you to consider...

Lauren said...

Seraphina Cate Oliver gives you the initials SCO, which is the start of Scout.

Ali said...

I agree with Swistle's three options. Nothing really leads to Scout as a nickname derived from a given name--it stands alone.
I would say that if you aren't using Scout with To Kill a Mockingbird in mind, pick option #1 and name her _____ Scout Oliver, or just use Scout as the first name. Options #2 and #3 are really closely linked with the book in my mind, and if you aren't trying to name your daughter after Scout Finch I think that giving her the actual name makes the most sense.

Fran said...

Name her Essa Cate and call her Scout. Even if only your family calls her that. Her name is beautiful and the nickname is adorable! She may decide she wants to be Essa/Essa Cate in Kindergarten. One of my kids went by his nickname in Kinder and 1st but asked me to put his full first name on the form in 2nd grade

Kerri said...

I have a friend with a daughter named Scarlet, and her nickhame is Scout.

vanessa said...

I am pretty much not a fan of nicknames htat don't bear any resembelence to the actual name--but I totally see what you mean about Scout not being the best option for a grown woman. There was a question recently where one of the already-named children had the middle name Scout, though, and I think it works really well as a middle name--it's fun, it's easy to yell-and I think that is your best option by a mile. I like the name August Rhett (though I think Augustus is even better;) and this draws me to the name Amelia Scout. I love that both twins have an A name but neither will be called by it regularly. Like secret twin-ness! August Rhett and Amelia Scout; Gus and Scout. (it also makes me happy that their full names have the same number of letters, more secret twin-ness!) So...use that.

Anonymous said...

I think Essa Cate sounds great with your son's name, if that is really your first choice "love it" name, then I say go for it. If only the family plans on calling her Scout then call her Scout-just be sure to use Essa or Essa Cate enough that she recognizes it. If you really want everyone to call her Scout (teachers, etc.) then Scout is going to need to be part of her name-even if it's just the middle. Essa Scout? Catherine Scout or Vera Scout could also work.

Marjorie said...

I would use scout as a middle name or just call her that like Swistle suggested. If you want my opinion, I think Scout is masculine sounding (again that's just my honest opinion). Would you consider using Scout for your son's first name and then picking from your other name choices for a girl? Just another thought.

Heidi J said...

I personally think using Scout at the middle name with the first name being another name you love is the best option. Also, if you really want your daughter to have an uncommon name, be sure to check the SSA statistics too. Some names may feel more uncommon than they actually are. For example, Amelia is currently ranked #41.

Veronica Marcetti Dimick said...

I think Swistle's third option sounds the most logical to me. Especially if you want her to have an "adult" option for her name. Sure, she might keep Scout her whole life, but she might want options for the business world. Who knows? And it makes more sense to just say "We call her Scout" then try to really STRETCH the sound associations that aren't all that convincing to being with.

Nicole Trager said...

I am with you.. I love love Gus, but August is not for me. Here are some other names that can get you to Gus

Getting to Scout..
Saoirse (seer-sha)
Charlene/ Charleen

I really like Ferguson and Scarlett or Ferguson and Charlotte.. Gus and Scout... Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I love Scarlett nn Scout! Scarlett and August sound gret together in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

I would use Jean Louise ________Oliver_because it is assigned reading in your highschool career to read To Kill A Mockingbird and everyone knows Jean Louise as "Scout" also it is a cool literary connection that almost everyone would be familiar with!

plantingoaks said...

Option #3

To me, Scout as a name is firmly rooted in To Kill A Mockingbird, and as such, bears no relation to the given name. Name her what you like, call her Scout, and don't worry so much.

Anonymous said...

I think the name Scout is adorable, but had a childhood dog named Scout (male), so it's out for us. Also, in case you're unaware, there are two LeapFrog dogs (toys), male and female, named Scout and Violet. They're pretty popular toys if that affects your decision at all.
Essa Cate, when said aloud, sounds like "Skate" to me. What about just using Esther Cate? ...except that sounds like "extricate." Hm. I think you could just use Scout, if that's what you love! You can't imagine it on an adult now, but it will grow with her.

Mary said...

August Rhett and Scarlett Vera would be great together!

Vera Scoutt would also be cute.

I like Essa, but it sounds a bit nickname-ish to me. What about Eliska Vera? the Sk sound could help you get to Scout as a nn.
Skye Felicity and August Rhett, Skye and Gus?

StephLove said...

I like Seraphina Catherine (rather than Cate) and having the initials lead you to the nickname.

I also like Skyler or Skye to get the initial sound of Scout.

Or Scout as a middle. Maybe Vera Scout? That's my favorite option.

StephLove said...

BTW, I'd keep the boy's name as is. I like it a lot.

M.Amanda said...

By the time I read "STUMPED!!" my mind was yelling "Scarlett!!" I briefly changed my mind when I realized one would have Rhett in his name and the other would have Scarlett, but since Rhett is in the middle name spot and Scarlett would go by Scout, I don't think it would be an issue.

However, I do think Swistle had good suggestions, especially #3. A nickname does not have to be derived from his/her formal name. Scout certainly isn't a logical nickname for Jean Louise, but how many people still love it?

Leah said...

I think it would be adorable to use a name you love as a first name and Scout as a middle name.

Gwendolyn Scout is adorable!

I also really love the idea of Jean Lousie(which sounds adorable with Gus) and calling her Scout.

Jean Louise "Scout" and August Rhett "Gus" is pretty darn cute!

AirLand said...

I think you should give her the middle name Scout. Someone said the name sounded masculine, but I think the name is so rooted in pop culture as a girl's name, that is definitely feminine.

The other two options seem so forced to me. Sure, nicknames develop that have nothing to do with a person's name all the time, but that's not the case here. And I don't really think any name or combination of names sound anything like Scout. However, as an exception to what I just said, I think Jean Louise would be really cute and it makes sense to have the nickname Scout.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should get hung up on "getting to Scout." That is sort of backwards. Just name her what you want and call her Scout if that feels right. Rather than trying to artificially retro-fit or re-engineer a name that led you to Scout. Truth is, you got to Scout first. Not through a longer name. So, no longer name is going to be the 'real route to Scout' anyway. Give it up. Choose a name you like. Call her Scout, regardless of connection. Scout is so cute!

bellaf said...

I'm on the "name her what you like and call her Scout" camp. No need to find a similar name. I've always loved the nickname Scout because of the book and I also love August *and* Gus. Cuteness all around!

Elisabeth said...

I know a four year old little girl named Scout, but I believe her parents actually went for ______ Scout and have always called her by her middle name.

Anonymous said...

LOVE your boy's name and I love the nn Scout! I'm in the camp of find a name you love--related to the nn or not--and use it. Call her whatever you want and she'll have the more formal name to fall back on whenever she'd like. Most of my nicknamed friends' nicknames aren't related to their real names at all. No one seems to fuss over that. Best wishes! :)

gail said...

Utterly fascinating. I love all of Swistle's solutions, as well as many of the previous comments....Still, my best suggestion is to name her Violet Scout Oliver. I love all the "o's" and "v's", plus I think August and Violet are great twin names. I would have loved being called Scout, it's such an optimistic and open-ended nn for a daughter--it gives the sense of anything being possible. I really love August Rhett, as well. Good luck to you in all ways.

Kit said...

My opinion is that if 'Scout' feels like your daughter, you should call her Scout. Give her a more traditional middle name like Catherine to put on her resume, but give her the name you love. When she needs a professional name, she'll be surrounded by all the other kids that were given a formal name and called by their nicknames.

Anonymous said...

August and ...

- Francesca nn Essa. Gus and Essa. Francesca is ranked #491 and August is ranked #482; it is hard to get more closely matched names in terms of popularity. Francesca lends itself to the nn Essa without being so forced. I like Francesca Slone and Francesca Tate. You could also use Francesca Joy (Joy and Beatrice both have happiness meanings).

- Honora. August and Honora have such beautiful meanings: venerable and honorable. You could use the nicknames Gus and Nora. I like Honora Cate.

- Pause for a moment before you toss this one away. It is a nice pairing with August because it also has 6 letters and begins with A. Since you like Thea, I think you may like ATHENA. Wait! There's more. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and is associated with just war. Scout also has associations with war. Also, Athena is ranked #455 in the US, very close in popularity to August. August and Athena. Gus and Scout. It is super cute!!!

August Rhett and Athena Joy is my favorite. Gus and Scout.

Joanne said...

I couldn't remember Scout's real name in TKAM, but that's what I would do, Jean Louise is lovely and Scout makes perfect sense from it. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I actually have a niece (10 yrs old) called Scout. Scout is nowhere on the birth certificate and has nothing to do with any of her given names; her parents just knew she was Scout. Really, it has not been an issue at all. Essa Cate is gorgeous. Good luck!

Mrs S said...

We have a Scarlett with the nn Scout. She is four months old. Sometimes when toddlers say her nn it sounds like happens enough that I do find it a tad annoying. And seniors hear Scott when they ask her name...FYI.

Anonymous said...

Jean Louise!! I think the pairing of mn Rhett and that would be a nice sibling set--classic Southern-set novels (TKAM and GWTW).

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is a bit of a riddle -- but there are so many great options and suggestions so far! I think I would name her Essa Cate or Essa Catherine -- a name that not only you love but honours both grandmothers (how perfect is that?!) -- and then call her Scout. (I also adore the name Esther, but you don't, so that doesn't matter! Esther Cate and Esther Catherine are perfect names to me!)

I come from a family that uses lots of nicknames, so it doesn't seem odd at all to me. There are names that my parents still call me more regularly that my actual name! We gave our daughter a long formal name with a few options for nicknames & the one I was sure I would call her ("my baby" when I was pregnant) is not the one I now use the most, so also keep this in mind. Once she's here, she may be your Scout, or your Ess, or your Essie, etc.

I am reminded of an amazing Canadian novelist named Esi Edugyan (pronounced "Essie"). Here's a link to her site:

Anonymous said...

p.s. Scout is a nickname like Spark or Lulu or Daisy-May (all names I've heard girls called even if they've little to no relation to their "real" name!) -- it doesn't need an explanation! "Our little Scout" (All the more reason, perhaps, to have another option for a "formal" name on her birth certificate)

Anonymous said...

I would definitely either give her a name you love (Essa Catherine is really nice) and call her Scout, or put Scout in the middle name slot.

I'd lean toward just calling her Scout without trying to incorporate it in her name.

I love Scout with Gus!

Jess said...

I have a 15 week old girl named Scout Annelise. We didn't find out the gender and when we would tell people we were thinking Scout for a girl it was met with some resistance. My mother said "why don't you just name her something else and use Scout as a nickname?" Ugh, not what I wanted to hear. It's a good option, just not for me. I remember seeing the word Scout when I was pregnant and just *knowing* that was my babys name (if it was a girl).

I like the idea of shortened given names as nn, probably because both my husband and I fall under that category: Nate and Jess (Nathan and Jessica). I wanted the same thing for my baby, but Scout really doesn't lend itself to a shorter nn. In my case, I loved the name Scout too much to be deterred by the nn preference I had. We actually call her Scoutie Girl. So much for a shorter name!

Like Mrs S stated, older people do hear Scott. It used to bother me, but not anymore. I am, however bothered by the whole Bruce Willis/Demi Moore comment. No I did not name my child after their daughter!

Good luck! Whatever you pick will be perfect.

Anonymous said...

I think your baby's name IS Scout - it really sounds like you've already decided, but are resisting because it's not a "proper" name. I've always gone by a nickname that, while it is a traditional and acceptable form of my given name - and has been for centuries - virtually NO ONE my age is aware of that (important) fact. So I've had to hear a lifetime of "How did you get THAT nickname?!" And you know, that's damaging, because it implies, whether they meant it or not, that the formal name is better than the nickname. And when I did decided to - finally! - use my "formal" name in a professional situation, it failed miserably. I never felt like my co-workers or boss were really addressing me when I heard that name; it just felt ... strange.

Also! With everyone soooo into social networking sites, personal websites, blogs, etc., your name becomes your calling card. Your name IS your brand, so you don't want your daughter to feel torn. Should she put Essa or Scout on her resume? Which name should she use with friends vs. teachers? Co-workers? (You see where I'm going with this.) I say use Scout as the first name or not at all. If you want to call her Scout bascially 24/7, THAT is the name she will identify with and will most likely want to use. Essa is sweet - I actually like Tessa more, though - but if you really don't LOVE IT, don't use it.

Angela said...

I'm with the name her what you want and call her Scout side too! My son is Gunnar Frederick IV, but we call him Jack. My husband went by Skipper/Skip as a kid.

I love your boys name and I love Essa Catherine!

Bea said...

Thank You so much for all the comments! They have really helped us realize that we can call her Scout, even if it is not her given name. So now, we are thinking,

Essa Catherine
Seraphina Cate
Genevieve Cate
Scarlett Vera

and we feel MUCH better about the names we love!

Jamie said...

Those are beautiful names!!! My favorites are Seraphina Cate and Scarlett Vera. :)

Anonymous said...

I think you should use the name you love (I think
Essa Cate is lovely), and use Scout as a nickname. I agree with Swistle that the explanation of "we always called her Scout, even before she was born" is better then trying to get Scout from a first name that isn't really similar. I love your boy name, August Rhett, but it occurred to me that August Oliver (which is what he will mostly be called as people rarely use the middle name at school, etc) sounds a bit strange. Angustus or Augustin might work a bit better?

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry, meant Augustus not angustus!

Anonymous said...

My opinion is if Scout feels right for your little girl then use it in the 1st or middle spot and then use a "formal" name for the other. That way you get to use the names you love and she has the option to go by either one of her legal names as she grows. For example, Essa Scout or Catherine Scout. :-)