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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby Girl Miles, Sister to Gillian (Gigi)

M. writes:
Our second daughter will be arriving at the beginning of June - my problem is I don’t like any names. I scour baby-name lists for some unseen gem that will scream “this is the one”. I read TV credits looking for something perfect. If I happen to be on a new blog with a baby or young girl, I’ll search for her name. Until this point, I’ve come up empty handed and with nine weeks left, I’m starting to get concerned.

Naming our first daughter was hard, we only really decided (from a short-list) the night before she arrived. We named her Gillian Leah (nn, Gigi) - which of course, now I adore. I’m a bit of a type A personality, who is looking for perfection (hah!) the second time around as well.

The only name I find myself coming back to is Emma - by all accounts, Emma is extremely high on all current popular name lists, and quite frankly that’s what’s holding me back. I want something strong and feminine, yet not so widely used.

My husband is not sold on Emma, because with our last name (Miles), he says there are too many m’s happening. With that said, as a whole he is sort of ambivalent towards names and I’m sure I’ll be able to convince him once I get my heart set on something.

So my questions are:

1. Should I throw my rule of no-top-100-names out the window and call her Emma? Or should I concentrate on something else?

2. If we call her something as popular as Emma, what perfect, non-expected but not completely unusual, middle name could I use?

Here are alternate names I’ve jotted down as potentials over the last 20 weeks:

Lauren Whitney
Ivy Jane
Hannah Lily
Chloe Willow
Ellie Georgia (Georgia is a family name)
Sidney (my husband’s only suggestion)
Plum (for a middle name)

Please help!!

If I'm reading correctly, the name Gillian didn't seem like the clear perfect choice before you chose it, but only afterward. This can be good news or bad news for a Type A personality trying to repeat a success: on the one hand, a name that just seems like "the best of the short list" (as opposed to clearly the perfect choice) ended up being perfect last time, and may end up being perfect a second time; on the other hand, it means the name that will end up feeling perfect later might not pop out at you, and you may have to narrow it down to one and hope for the best.

As you know, I'm in favor of allowing other considerations to trump concerns about popularity. If one name DOES stand out to you, and if you consistently like it better than the others, and if you go into the choice braced for the popularity of the name, I think you're likely to be happy with it.

One thing going for Emma is that there's only one spelling: a name such as Chloe can hang out on the Social Security charts looking like a #9, but by the time you add in all the girls named Khloe, Cloe, Kloe, Cloey, etc., it's much more common than expected.

There is, though, the issue of people looking for other ways to get to Emma, and so names that SOUND like Emma may be more common than expected. There could be an Emery, an Emmeline, an Emerson, an Emilia, an Emlyn, and maybe even an Emerald, all going by Emma or Emmie. And in fact, that's one of my first suggestions: to go for a less common name that gives you the nickname Emma or Emmie. Emmeline is one of my own favorites. Gillian and Emmeline; Gigi and Emmie.

Or you could give her a double first name, to reduce the commonness of her name. Emma June, for example (for her birth month---or Emma May if she's early, although that adds even more M-sound).

If you decide not to go with Emma, I suggest Gemma. It's similar to Emma, but the Social Security Administration has it at #449 in 2010. It may, however, have too many sounds in common with Miles, Gillian, and Gigi.

This is more of a long shot, but do you like the name Imogen? It has some sounds in common with Emma, but it's much less common and I love the interesting mix of sophisticated and whimsical. For me, it shares that category with Gillian. Gillian and Imogen; Gigi and Immy/Midge. But again, there may be too many sounds in common: the soft G, the N ending, the short-I sound; it's almost a rearranged version of Gillian.

Another of that category is Beatrix. Gillian and Beatrix; Gigi and Bee/Trixie.

I have Emma and Anna filed together in my mind: they're similar-type palindromes, and they're both sweet and simple. Anna would be great, but/and I think Annabel would go particularly well with Gillian. Gillian and Annabel; Gigi and Annie.

Elodie is so surprisingly underused---though maybe that will change as more and more people look for ways to get Ellie. Gillian and Elodie; Gigi and Ellie.

If you do go with Emma, I love the idea of choosing a really fun middle name.

Emma Anastasia Miles
Emma Calliope Miles
Emma Carrington Miles
Emma Clementine Miles
Emma Francesca Miles
Emma Hermione Miles
Emma Lavender Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Lissandra Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Lorelei Miles (initials spell ELM)
Emma Minerva Miles
Emma Paisley Miles
Emma Penelope Miles
Emma Peregrine Miles
Emma Persephone Miles
Emma Rosabelle Miles
Emma Serenity Miles
Emma Sterling Miles
Emma Waverly Miles
Emma Yeardley Miles

Or do you have a cool family name to put in the middle, or a name of a favorite author/actor/poet, or a name of a city of significance to you, or any names you love but can't use for some other reason? Or if she's born in June, she could be Emma June, or Emma Pearl for her birthstone.

From your list, I also really like Ivy Jane and Ellie Georgia (I'd like Ella Georgia even better, but I kind of like the repeating-A ending and I know not everyone does), and also I'd put together Lucy Willow.

Name update! M. writes:
Forty weeks of pregnancy and my husband and I still couldn’t make a final decision on the name until the day before our girl’s arrival.  And with that, we were thrilled to welcome our Ellie Georgia into the world on June 5th.

A huge thanks for the in-depth review and to your readers as well.  Considering we chose not to share any name options with family and friends during pregnancy, all of your input was especially invaluable!


gail said...

Swistle's response is so spot-on, I cannot possibly improve on it...So many great suggestions and inspirations.

Nothing as wonderful as two little daughters, good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I love Swistle's suggestion of Beatrix. Good luck!

StephLove said...

If Emma is your favorite and you think your husband could be convinced, I'd go with that and not worry too much about popularity. I like the suggestions of May or June for the middle, also Clementine. I'd like to throw Genevieve , Hazel and Rosemary into that pile as well. Emma Rosemary Miles-- isn't that pretty?

If you don't use Emma, my other favorites from your list are Chloe, Lucy, Mia, Ruby and Violet. Ella and Anna were good suggestions of Emma-like names.

Anonymous said...

Swistle's suggestions are fantastic! I am not usually a fan of repeated initials, but in this case I really like Gemma and Gillian. Beatrix, Annebel and a double-barrel Emma are all great ideas. Emma-Plum? I think I love this-please consider it! I'll also suggest Isadora and Audrey.

StephLove said...

A couple more suggestions:

Louisa (Lulu)
Susannah (Sukie or Susie)

Nicole Trager said...

I really like the suggestion of Gemma.. I think Gillian and Gemma are a wonderful sibset.. Gigi and Gemma.
I think it fits better with the style and popularity of Gillian better than Emma.

Other suggestions that are classic names but not too popular are
Heidi, Louisa, Phoebe... what about Jane as a first name with a fun longer middle?

Lauren said...

We know a little girl named Etta and it's so cute. That would solve the problem of too many Ms. It can be a nickname (Henrietta) or just a name on its own.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Swistle has awesome suggestions. I too really like Gigi and Gemma together. I notice in your ideas list a lot of the names are nature or color names. I suggest using one of those for either the first or middle name since you seem to be drawn to them. Congrats on your girls. Sisters :)

Nichole said...

I've only gotten to name boys, so I love posts like these that pair up little girls names!

I LOVE Margo from your list and want to put that out there for top running.

My short list for you:

ALL sound GREAT as a sibset with Gillian (Gigi).

Anonymous said...

I'm with your husband on the too many Ms with Emma. Perhaps you might consider Cassandra. Still has the double letters, ends with A and 3 syllables like Gillian. Gillian and Cassandra. Gigi and Cassie. Good luck!

Annie said...

Great suggestions from Swistle! I saw that someone recommended Susannah earlier, and I second the suggestion :) I think it fits nicely with Gillian, and another nickname for it is Sosie, which I think is super cute with Gigi. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I like Cassandra. Gillian and Cassandra. You could do a C middle name and use CeeCee for her nickname. Cassandra Chloe or Chloe Cassandra. Gigi and CeeCee.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with your husband's sentiment about too many M's. Try introducing yourself as Emma Miles and say it together quickly. It is a mouthful to me.

I love the suggestion of Cassandra (Cassie) and also like Susannah, Etta, Georgia.

Maia Shea said...

Sydney jumped out at me right away! I like Sydney Jane, Sydney Georgia or Sydney Gemma :)

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions so far. I'll also add Seraphina, Isodora and Esme.

Megz said...

I don't think Emma Miles has too many M's. I think it sounds quite nice.

Gemma was also my second though. Gillian and Gemma sounds good together.

Hannah is similar in sound to Emma but without the M problem. And I see you've got it on your potential list. Would you consider a different middle name from Lily which you've paired with it? I see Gillian Leah has quite a lot of sounds in common. Perhaps you would like Hannah Anne as well.

Gillian also reminds me of the name Linda. If that is feeling too dated for you, perhaps you would like Lydia? Lydia Grace or Lydia Georgia maybe? I like the way the girls would have coordinated initials - GL Miles and LG Miles.

Good luck.

Daycare Girl said...

My daughter's name is Gillian too and Gemma is very high on my list for a second daughter- I think they sound SO cute together. I'd only give the repeating M sound small consideration, overridden by how much I love the sibling names together.
Swistle's got some great suggestions- I would add Landry (although I can't think of nn) and Holland. Gigi and Holli is cute. :)

Anonymous said...

Ellie Georgia is AMAZING! Do it!!!

Meggie said...

I love the suggestion of Gemma, although I like the spelling Jemma better.

Jemma Katherine/Catherine Miles
Jemma Kate/Cate Miles

Allison Jaime Miles? -- nn Ally

Anonymous said...

I agree that Emma doesn't work with the last name Miles. You also said that you want something that isn't too common, so I really don't think you're sold on it anyway. Jemma is great, but it doesn't solve the too-many-Ms problem. Ella or Etta might work better. I also like the suggestion of Lydia. Lydia Miles.

I'd also add Rosalie and Juliet, and if you don't mind the alliteration, Meredith. It differs in style, but for some reason it came to mind. OH, or what about Cora or Corina?

Janelle said...

I REALLY want to convince you to use Georgia for a first name. It's a lovely family name, not too popular but not completely unusual, sounds wonderful with Gillian and with your last name... The only concern is that Gigi and Georgia both have a repeating-G sound. If that doesn't bother you, oh, it's so perfect!

I must, sadly, agree that Emma Miles is too much M when spoken.

From your list, I really like Lucy Emmeline or Laura Jane.

Katie said...

Great comments and swistle was right on! I would agree that Georgia should be high on your list (My daughter is Georgia) however her nn is Gigi so I'd just throw out that the name might not want to be too similar so as not to have similar nn.

I love Genevieve (Gigi and Vivi), Vivian (Vivi too), and I just love Esme and you could use Georgia as the middle. Gillian and Esme. While I'm probably biased as Esme is our girl name if we have another girl, I just think it is a wonderful name. I also saw Brookley or Brooklyn lately and that struck me as well. Enjoy your girls!

Katie said...

I just thought of the name Livia "Liv" or "Livvie" would sound great with Gillian. Gigi and Livvie. Cute!

Alice said...

For some reason, I thought of Cecilia right away. Gillian and Cecilia, Gigi and Cece.

I really like Margo and Ruby from your list, and Annabel and Elodie from swistle's. Some other ideas that might be a bit out there for your taste, but just in case:

Penelope (Gigi and Penney -- cute)
Jemima (still gets the Em in there)
Poppy (less popular than lily)
Maisie (kind of like Mia)
Hollis (nn Hollie, bit like Alison)
Lorena (like Lauren and Laura)

Good luck!

liz said...

I like Sylvia (nn Sylvie). I like how it repeats some of the sounds in Gillian without being too matchy.

Katie said...

I think that Emma Miles sounds a movie star :)
If you like Emma, go with it.
I perosnally don't like the name Gemma, but it does go extremely well with Gigi.
I like Penelope and Margeaux (Margo). GOOD LUCK!

Emma said...

I'm a grown up Emma, and when I was younger I was called Emma Kate. Lots of people seemed to like that combination when I used it. Even though there are a ton of Emmas out there, it doesn't FEEL like a boringly popular name. Of course, I may be biased. Emma Plum Miles is cute too.

Mary said...

If you love Emma, use it. It goes nicely with Gillian. Emma Georgia sounds really good! What about Emma Daphne and Gillian Leah?

Some ideas-



Mailys Miles, Gigi and Mai
Silvia - Gigi and Sylvie
Sarine, or Satine

Anonymous said...

You could name her a name that starts with an E and an a middle name that starts with an A. That way, she'd have the monogram of EMA and then you could call her Emma as a nickname. But I suppose that still leaves you with the difficulty of finding a good first name that starts with an E and a good middle name that starts with an A.

I have to say, I am a teacher and I have many Emmas in my classes. Most of them really, really hate it -- both for it's popularity and because there is no nickname potential. You could have 10 Margarets in your grade and each could choose to go by a different nickname (Maisy, Daisey, Marge, Margo, Maggie, etc)-- but Emma doesn't leave much of a possibility for distinction besides using the last initial. Half of the Emmas that I currently teach go by an entirely different name because they don't like being called Emma at all.