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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baby Girl El______, Sister to Fielding

C. writes:
I just love your blog and can't resist sending in my quandary any longer! I have four weeks to go and we're still looking for a name for our baby girl. Our last name is a bit of a mouthful, three syllables starting with "El." My only concern with matching first/last is that the first name also doesn't end in an "el" sound, nor do I want a name that also starts with E. Big brother's name is Fielding, so I want to avoid F names too. My own name is unique but easily spelled and pronounced, and I have always loved the fact that I have never met another person with my name. I want the same for my children --- an unusual name that makes them feel unique, but without the burden of having to constantly tell people how to spell it or feeling too "weird." I feel like we got that with Fielding (we also call him Field), but we're having trouble with a girl! Some names we have thought of:

Names I liked but vetoed for being too popular/trendy:
Violet (love the pretty, old-fashioned girly names)
Pearl (this has a similar theme to the meaning of my own name)

Other names we have talked about:
Lark (Not too sure about the meaning, like the idea of a bird name but not the actual harsh sound of "ark")
Sonnet (pretty... but weird?)
Lavender (love it.... but is the nickname "Lavvie" too close to lavatory? What other nicknames could you use?)
Tamsin (also interesting but how do you avoid the dated nickname Tammy?)
Dulcet (husband thinks that's waaaay too out there, but I like the nickname Dulcie)
Marigold (again... what nickname do you use here?)
Amoret (not sure people could spell this or figure out what you were saying)
Leora (maybe a bit too dated)
Lilac (like the idea, but not the pronunciation that rhymes with "sack")
Araminta (so interesting but just too much of a mouthful!)

I think we'll probably go with a one-syllable middle like Pearl or Leigh (family name) to balance everything else out.... but any thoughts are appreciated! Help please, thank you!

The name that immediately springs to mind (but that unfortunately has an equally immediate, probably deal-breaking issue) is Starling. Reasonably familiar; easy to spell and pronounce; the bird association you like with Lark but without the -ark sound; pretty and distinctive. The immediate, probably deal-breaking issue: ends in -ing just like Fielding. Fielding and Starling. I am afraid that doesn't quite fly.

There's Wren. Fielding and Wren.

A Linnet is another kind of bird, and reminds me of Sonnet and Linnea from your list. The nickname Linnie is adorable. The main issue, I think, is that it would get tiresome to have people pronouncing it lin-NET instead of LIN-net. With any difficult spelling/pronunciation issue, I find it a hundred times easier if there's a quick, easy, friendly way to correct people, and this does have one: "It's Linnet. Like 'minute'." (Of course, as soon as I write that I notice it looks like the word for tiny, with the emphasis on the second syllable: my-NOOT. But it works as a SPOKEN explanation.)

All this talk of minutes makes me think of Minuet, a little like Amoret and Araminta from your list. Very pretty and feminine, very unusual, excellent easy nickname of Minnie. Fielding and Minuet.

Or Silhouette, but really challenging spelling and no good nickname. Etta is a possibility, I guess, but it doesn't feel connected. Sil is nice, but seems like it would go quickly to Silly (do Sylvias have this problem, I wonder?).

Or Silver. I like that with Fielding: Fielding and Silver.

Or Linden is the name of a tree and would take away the emphasis issue of Linnet. Fielding and Linden.

Rosemary might be more familiar than you'd like; it used to be a bit of an exotic herb name (like using Lavender), but it's become somewhat disconnected from those herbal associations and now sounds more like Rose + Mary. Rosie is an adorable nickname. Fielding and Rosemary.

Autumn and Summer are common girl names, and even Winter gets some use, but Spring just sits there, virtually unused. It has the -ing ending that I think rules out Starling, but the one-syllable way it blends with the Spr- makes it not sound like the -ing of Fielding to me. Fielding and Spring.

If you weren't trying to avoid E- names, I'd suggest Emerald. Unusual but familiar, with the easy nickname Emmmie.

When I worked in a plant nursery, I wondered why Zinnia wasn't a more common girl name. It doesn't have a natural nickname, but Z/Zee would be cute. Fielding and Zinnia.

Primrose is another good one. It's been used as a girl name, but not much recently. Fielding and Primrose.

But probably my favorite almost-unused flower name is Hyacinth. Violets and Roses and Daisys run around everywhere, but almost no Hyacinths! Someone who wrote to us mentioned that that was her name, and that her nickname was Heidi.

My favorite from your list is Marigold. Familiar and easy to say and spell, but hardly ever used as a name (in 2010, according to the Social Security Administration, there were 9 new baby boys named Fielding, and 13 new baby girls named Marigold); and I'd go with the nickname Mari.

Or there's Magnolia, which has Maggie.

I also really like Clover.

And I would suggest reconsidering Pearl from your "too popular/trendy" list. Only 263 girls were named Pearl in 2010, which puts it in league with names such as Kai (for girls), Arya, and Lizeth. It's quite uncommon, yet still completely familiar, and the tie-in with your own name is appealing.

I agree that Lavvy seems a little too bathroomy a nickname for Lavender. I am always reluctant to create nicknames, but I can't resist a puzzle; maybe Livvy?

For Tamsin, she could go by Tams or Tamsie. I'm not sure if that would go directly to Tammy or not. (See also: Sil going to Silly.)

Name update! C. writes:
Thank you for all of the great advice and responses to our email!  We were a little overwhelmed with name choices right up until (and past!) our due date.  Our sweet baby girl was born in early May.  We arrived at the hospital with our huge list of names not narrowed down at all - even with so many we liked, we still just didn't know which of the names really felt like OUR baby!  After spending a few hours with our little one, my husband and I both fell in love with the name Linne@ Pe@rl.  It's funny because while that name was on our list, it was never one either of us considered a front-runner until we saw her.  We think it's a really lovely name for our pink little jewel.  (I also love that Linne@ means a little pink Swedish flower -- the twinflower.  So cute!)


Anonymous said...

From your list, my favorite is Clover, but I also really like Lavender, Pearl and Sonnet. I don't think Sonnet is too weird and the nickname Sonny is adorable. Nicknames for Lavender....Avie maybe? Getting rid of the L avoids the lavatory connection. Or what about Vennie? I knew a girl nicknamed Vinnie once and it was adorable on her. One thing I did notice is that many of your names when combined with Field take on a very nature/garden theme for me. Clover and Field, Lavender and Field. I rather like it in that it's subtle-but might be something you want to think about if you plan on having more children. And if they both use nicknames, it might not matter at all...Field and Vennie for example.

Shannon said...

Primrose is super cute but I'm thinking will probably jump in popularity since The Hunger Games was released in theatres. Clover too, although Clover was a villain in the movie and may not prove to be as popular as a name choice. But naming her Primrose will probably remind people of the movie.

Anonymous said...

oh-almost forgot, Swistle's suggestion of Rosemary made me think of other spice names likes Cinnamon, Ginger and Sage (although Sage reads more boy to me). I also like Juniper and Poppy for you too.

Portia said...

These are all lovely. I agree that Primrose may have a brief trend because of Hunger Games (although the other girl was Clove, not Clover, and I wouldn't worry about that one).

I think my favorite is Pearl: it's beautiful, uncommon, has ties to your name. It's also a nature name, but doesn't connote quite the same botanical imagery as, say, Field and Marigold. Even though I love Marigold, and like the botanical theme.

My other favorites:
Lavender - possible nicknames: Avi or Aven? Or Lae? (pronounced Lay)? I like nicknames that aren't necessarily right there in the name.

Linnea - so pretty.

Other suggestions:

Seraphina (kind of like Araminta)

Janelle said...

It's not a nature name at all, but one that immediate came to mind is Romilly. It's feminine and old-fashioned, fairly uncommon, and has the sweet nickname Milly.

gail said...

I love the name Pearl, and agree with Swistle that it isn't used very often at all.....such beautiful imagery.

Other ideas:


(I'm going for soft, feminine-sounding "natural" and very uncommon names--yet easily spelled and recognized.)

Linden is interesting but for the (unused) boy's name Lyndon. Sonnet is a real possibility, and not too weird at all. Oh--just reread your comment on your husband's opinion of Dulcet, so all my suggestions might seem too far out. OK. Maybe Orla?

Good luck, let us know!

Jen said...

For some reason these popped into my mind for you: Lyra, Luna, Cadence, Briony.

I do quite like Clover from your list and also the suggestion of Romilly.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I love Sonnet. I almost want to PUSH you to choose it.

But I also love MANY of your other ideas... All beautiful.

If you don't QUITE like Lark, what about Larkin? Or Larkspur?

And if you like Pearl but it's not quite right, what about Amethyst?

Oh! You have so many good options, I can't WAIT for you to update us!

Congratulations on your baby girl - whatever you choose will be lovely!

beyond said...

I like Sonnet and Lark from your list, and Linden from Swistle's.
I know you don't want an F name, but the first name I thought of for you was Fable. (I can hardly get over the cuteness of Fielding and Fable.)
My suggestions:
Good luck!

Claire said...

I like Swistle's suggestions of Hyacinth (Heidi), Rosemary and Silver. I'll add Sparrow to the pot - I think that could work for a girl.

lauren said...

i immediately though of both opal and larkin/larken for you based on your list. congratulations!

lasselanta said...

Lark reminds me a little of Skylar. I had a student with this name-- she went by more than one nickname (Sky, Skylark, Lark). Very graceful effect.

Anonymous said...

Pearl - not common & so pretty
Wren - just plain elegant
Linnea - love the sound of it with fielding

You have such lovely options!!

I think I'd avoid flower names since you abbreviate Eielding's name to the nn Field. Like she's a flower in his field or something. It would bother me.

Congrats to you and please update us!!

Lindsey said...

My favorites for you are Pearl and Linnea or Linden (I like the nature connection of Linden.

I also really like Tamsin. For a nn, why not just Tam?

Anonymous said...

I second Tamsin. It just sounds cool, you know? And just different enough without being strange. British actress Tamzin Merchant is lovely. (I prefer it with the "s" spelling, though.)

Joanna said...

I like Lavender, but if you like vintage names like Violet and Pearl, I wonder if Lavinia might be another option? It'd get you to Vinnie, Liv, Lana or others instead of Lavvie.

P.Gardiner said...

First I must say I LOVE your taste in names. Our list has quite a bit of overlap with yours. Our last name eliminates S and SH sounds, so we couldn't use Spring (which is a fantastic name) or Sonnet (LOVE). Clover is great too. I put in a huge vote for Sonnet. I also like Botany, Sequoia, Pearl, Zinnia, Camellia, Ocean, Winter, Indigo, Timber, you have so many great choices!

OSquared said...

I think you already have some great names on your list. 3 of them were on my own list, but hubby vetoed. I think Lavender is perfect, with the nickname if Vennie. However, most men I talk to think it's a stripper name. We need a few more cute babies out there to smash that stereotype. I also like Lark, my husband vetoed it for the very same reason you mentioned. I completely disagree and think it goes great with your son. Tamsin was also on my list and I don't think you need to worry about a Tammy nickname. I have a family member named Tamara and she goes exclusively by Tam. I also have a friend with the last name Tams, we call her that and it's adorable. My favorite suggestion is Briar, which fits your theme and your last name. It is also my current #1 name but husband won't agree to, please consider it!

NameLover said...

I love Clover, Wren or Lark with Fielding. Thinking in the bird/nature direction, what about Kestrel?

StephLove said...

If you want another bird name there's Phoebe. It does start with the same sound as Fielding, but initials would be different.

I like Wren, Rosemary, Pearl, and Juniper, too.

How about Fern or Ivy?

C. (Fielding's mommy) said...

First of all, I was SO EXCITED to see my post today! Thanks Swistle! There are just so many lovely names being mentioned. I think a few of you might be right when you say I might be backing myself into a corner if I get *too* nature-y since we do call Fielding "Field" regularly. I love nature/flower/bird names but I don't want to feel stuck there if we do decide to have more children. Right now I'm liking Tamsin, Sonnet, Pearl. I love Swistle's suggestion of Linden, but my mom's name is Lin and I'm afraid it's too close. Same thoughts about Linnea, though I do love it. Spring is lovely, and Minuet is intriguing to me. What about the nickname Zinnie for Tamsin? Fielding and Tamsin, Field and Zinnie. Then if we had another girl someday we could do Fielding, Tamsin, Marigold without feeling stuck to the nature theme... Hmmm.... too many options.... this baby better not come early so I can mull them all over! :)

Nikki said...

I love your list! Some names that might work for you...

Rosalind nickname Lindy
Geneva nn Neve
Karenna nn Ren (Wren)

Anonymous said...

I love Sonnet from your list.

Erin said...

I actually knew a girl in college named Sonnet. Or Sonnett, I can't remember how she spelled it. I always thought it was pretty and not weird at all.

I also recently met a woman named Story. That seems like it may fit into your list nicely.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion is Garnet: Fielding and Garnet. It works.n

Anonymous said...

Saffron would also be a fabulous choice for you - Saffy is quite sweet as a nickname.

The Mrs. said...

As I was reading your letter, I was thinking, "Wren would be ideal!" Of course, Swistle in her brilliance already told you that.

From your list, Pearl is my favorite (the ending of the latest Pride and Prejudice movie seals the deal for me on that one).

Otherwise, what about Iris? It's "antique", simple to say and spell, but virtually unused. Fielding and Iris. Iris El___.

Best wishes to you and your growing family!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of Spring. After reading your list and the suggestions, Meadow comes to mind. Maybe?

Anandi said...

I have nothing to add but congratulations! I LOVE Spring esp with a multi-syllable last name.

But I wanted to thank Swistle for this post because there are so many names in it that encapsulate my style (I'm due in October), so I'm bookmarking this for later when we're ready to do serious thinking.

I also have a unique name (only met one other person who spells it differently) as does my daughter so for Baby #2 I'm hoping to be inspired as well :)

liz said...

Garnet, Ruby, Pearl. I love these names. LOVE.

I would stay away from Primrose if you don't want a popular name. I think the Hunger Games is going to give that one a boost.

With your son named Fielding, I think nature names might be too matchy.

But if you like Lavender, what about Indigo (while it's a plant, people don't think of it as often as the color). What about Prudence? Or Patience?

Anonymous said...

Ohmygod goodness!!! You simply MUST use Sonnet! Sonnet Pearl Lastname!!!!! Sonnet nickname Sonnie!! As soon as I read your list I just had to skip down to comments and tell you that straight away. I think it's the most beautiful name ever and wish I had thought of it 2 years ago when my daughter was born. She was almost named Aria, but we went against it in the end as it can be lengthened to "a REAR" but Sonnet is BEAUTIFUL!!

Anonymous said...

Sonnet. Perfect. Sonnet and Fielding. Absolutely perfect. You have excellent taste!

Anonymous said...

I like Sonnet or Garnet

Anonymous said...

I adore Marigold. Nicknames could be Mari or Goldie - depending on your style preference.

For what it's worth, I also adore your son's name.

I have to throw in the name Daphne. It is commonly known, but not widely used and fits in the pretty old-fashioned girly name category you like.

Anonymous said...

When I saw Sonnet, I immediately thought of Selah. Best of luck!! You have so many neat names to choose from!

Anonymous said...

I like Sonnet and LOVE Jen's suggestion of Lyra! Fielding and Lyra...ahhh.

Anonymous said...

Without reading the comments I am going to suggest the names Monet, Briar, Athena and Alethea (uh-lee-thee-uh). I liked Swistle's suggestion of Rosemary, but wanted to suggest the nickname Romy. I also adore Primrose with the nickname Prim, but that is so associated with The Hunger Games it might not quite be usable.

Anonymous said...

How about Coriander? Its my sister's name and it never gets confused. Nicknames Cori or Andy.
Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I know a baby Marigold known as Goldie. Lovely

Anonymous said...

Fielding and Tamsin makes me want to say Fielding and Tamsing, which isn't ideal. Zinnie is very sweet though and I urge you to consider Zinnia as your daughter's full name - it's a Latin flower name. I think it'd be a great choice for you.

Fielding & Allegra
Fielding & Angelou
Fielding & Bronte
Fielding & Cherry
Fielding & Garnet
Fielding & Geneva
Fielding & Saffron
Fielding & Thisbe
Fielding & Venetia
Fielding & Zinnia
Fielding & Zorah

I prefer Clove to Clover but I think it's more of a pet's name than a daughter's name, personally.

Alice said...

For some reason I always group Tamsin with Padget and Tatum. Similiar feel to me, but no Tammy nickname. Page and Tate could be nicknames.

Anonymous said...

Before Swistle suggested it I was thinking that Magnolia would be a great option for you! This gives you the adorable nicknames of Maggie, Nola, Lia etc.

Chantelle said...

What about Blossom? Blossom and Fielding

Megz said...

I knew a Zinnia in high school, I think its a very pretty name.

Xanthe is another pretty name that I would put in the Lavender camp. I always thought it was a plant name but it apparently means yellow haired. I think it would be easy to say if you saw it written down (zan-thee) but maybe not as easy to spell.

If you like bird names, there's:

If you want a precious stone name there's always Sapphire. Easy to spell and pronounce (apart from the one-p or two-p's question).

Good luck. Love to hear what you name this little one.

Mj said...

Yea Sonnet is lovely. Sonnet Pearl. To follow on previous comment, there is also Sapphira. Sapphira and Fielding sound beautiful together. You have the precious stone which is a beautiful colour, different but not weird, nickname perhaps Saphie or even Vera. But if you are not up to considering anything new, your own list is already extensive and contains some great choices of which Sonnet is a stand out best. Good luck!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I just saw that a person above me suggested the name I thought of from the beginning of your letter through the end- Lyric. I think it's lovely, and had a student years ago named Lyric- she was a beautiful little girl. We also have friends with a daughter named Aria, which I think is sweet.

Meggie said...

What about Larkin instead of Lark if you're worried about the "ark" sound.

I agree on the Primrose and Hunger Games connection. However, it is a pretty name.

I thought of Lennox when I read your list. Think it sounds nice.

Anonymous said...

Since you like Leona, how about Lorna?

What about Paloma? It has a nice peace connotation, but has the nature/bird association without being in-your-face like Sparrow.

For a ‘C’ name with interesting historic and literary references, what about Calpurnia? You could use the nn of Callie, if it suited her.

Good luck! Jess

Anonymous said...

Fielding and Petula could work as well. Petula nn Lula.

lakeline said...

Just wanted to mention that Marigold has wonderful associations for me because of the sweet L. M. Montgomery book Magic for Marigold. There's even stuff in it about it being such an unusual name that the family doesn't want her to use it but then the mom gets to choose and everyone ends up loving the name. Sweetness!

Eva.G said...

I also love your name ideas!

These are my favorites from the above suggestions.

Sonnet - LOVE this one!
Minuet - a great choice and very unique
Pearl - not too trendy (ranked in the 400's in 2010, I believe)

More ideas:

Poem - reminds me of Sonnet
Tulip - I know of a girl named this and I love it!