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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baby Boy Nolan, Brother to Evan

Marie writes:
My husband and I are expecting our second son in early July and have yet to find a name for the kid.  With our first son it seems like we just happened across a name and loved it from the beginning whereas this time he loves one name and I love none.  Our first sons name is Evan; our last name sounds like Nolan, but with an R instead of an N.  He loves the name Bennett and I have mixed feelings about it.  Some days I like the name (and almost commit!) but other days I think it sounds a little soft or something.  Also, I don't like nicknames and would never call him Ben and wouldn't want others to either - I don't think I want that battle. 

Names that I like are Owen (but I think it doesn't go well with our last name), Henry and Emmett (but I'm not sure how I feel about the double E sibling name).  My husband likes Emmett but doesn't like Owen or Henry as much as Bennett.  The middle name will be either Thierry (pronounced TYAIR ee), honoring both my husbands grandmother Terry who passed away and my French heritage or Cruz (we got married in Santa Cruz).  Girl names that we considered before we found out the baby was a boy were Emerson (surprisingly I had no problem with that double E sibling pair) and Aislinn.  Evan decided to arrive 3 weeks early so I'm starting to panic that the new baby will be born and we still won't have a name for him.  I just keep waiting for something to hit me and to just know that we have found his name but I haven't had that kind of "yes, this is it!" moment yet.  Should I just commit to the name my husband loves (Bennett) but I only like (most of the time)?

I do think that if one parent can't think of any other name he or she likes better, and the deadline of The Baby Is Here has arrived and there is no more time to keep looking, it can work out well to go with a name that's "fine" with one parent and "TRULUV4EVA!!" for the other.

But I also think two strikes against a name is a problem, and the Ben battle is a second strike: people now are much less likely to go by nicknames, but if you're very opposed to them I think it makes for a happier life to find a name without such a natural one.

(A possible third strike is that when I say "Evan and Bennett" aloud, there is something that seems odd about it to me. I can't put a finger on it. Maybe the four similar vowel sounds in a row, combined with the repeating N-sound and the matching rhythms of the names?)

If you do decide Bennett isn't going to work, it's important for your husband to shift mindsets: the hunt can't be "You trying to find him a name he likes better than Bennett," but instead needs to be "Both of you looking for the name you like best out of the names that are not Bennett."

Emmett seems like an excellent alternative. It has a very similar sound, but no natural nickname. My one hesitation is that it seems very similar in sound to Evan. I don't think it's too similar to use, but it's getting close. (I'd also suggest Everett, but that one does seem too similar to me.)

Elliot seems great to me. It does repeat the E, but it doesn't have a natural nickname. Evan and Elliot. I like that a lot.

Other possibilities that sound similar to Bennett:

Some of these don't work very well in style with Evan, but I like Evan and Garrett, and I like Evan and Jared.

Departing from the sound of Bennett and focusing more on sibling names for an Evan, I suggest Keegan. I am freshly pleased with this name because I met a Keegan at a child's birthday party last weekend, and he was adorable. Evan and Keegan.

I also mention Derek, because it was the name agreed on by another couple I know who had a similar situation. Evan and Derek.

More possibilities:

Jonathan (nickname)
Nathan (nickname)

Name update! Marie writes:
Well, better late than never right? Bennett Thierry was born one day after his due date on July 12.  He was nameless for awhile after he was born but then I started to see how maybe he actually kind of did look like a Ben.  For now, while we can control it he'll go by Bennett and then when he's older my heart won't break if he decides to go by Ben.  Interestingly, after we finally told everyone his name my dad told us that since the baby was born he kept thinking that his name was Ben (but for Benedict) so that was pretty cool.  And then we also found out that my mother-in-laws husband had a grandfather whose name was Bennett.  So after all that crazy stress the name Bennett actually ended up being pretty special.  Everybody loves the name and we get compliments on it all the time.  Now after all is said and done we love the name Bennett for our little guy and couldn't imagine anything else for him.  And bonus I have a favorite name for a potential third kid (Leo) which of course guarantees that if we actually have a third kid it will definitely be a girl.  A huge thanks to you and all your readers who weighed in!


Anonymous said...

I wonder if part of your hesitation with Emmett would be because it would mean Emerson would be off the table for any future girls?
I really like Swistle's suggestions of Elliot and Garrett. Brendan or even Brennan could also work-some of the same sounds as Bennett without risking Ben as a nickname. I also thought of the much shorter Rhett and Brett as possibilities.
Swistle suggested some nice names that would fit with Evan but don't have the sound of Bennett. I second her suggestions of Kyle and Liam. Trying to think of names to fit with Evan but don't have obvious nicknames, I also thought of Gavin, Oliver and Caleb.

StephLove said...

I think Emmett is a very nice alternative. I'd go with that. I also like the last commenter's suggestion of Oliver.

How about Alexander, Felix, Finnegan Matteo or Micah? A lot of those do have nicknames-- they're hard to avoid!

EP said...

I personally like Bennett, but I think that if you don't like nicknames, and wouldn't want him to be called Ben, then Bennett should be taken off the table since I think a lot of people would gravitate towards that nickname.
I love Swistle's suggestion of Garrett. To me it goes perfectly with Evan, and sounds great with your two possible middle names.

Nedra said...

I also really like Garret with Evan. Garry is not a common enough nickname these days that you'd have to fight people's temptation to use it.

Some others that might work with Evan are:
Jacob (I know several Jacobs that don't ever go by Jake and I think Evan and Jacob sounds great together)
Michael (again, lots of michaels do not go by Mike these days and Evan and Michael make a great pair)

Somehow I think of Evan as a very classic name that was familiar to me growing up. Owen sounds too new and Henry, paradoxically, feels both too old AND too new. I think that Evan and James, Evan and Michael, Evan and Jacob all seem to "fit" one another better than the other choices on your list so far.

SophiaOlivia said...

I love Owen with Evan! probable because my nephews (twins) are Evan Lucas, and Owen Harris! Harrison maybe? I also know a brother pair Evan and Adam, and its really cute!

Anonymous said...

There is a hockey player named Owen Nolan, and I always loved the sound of that name. By that reasoning...I think Owen goes great with your last name!

Rayne of Terror said...

To me Evan is one of the very few names that are both dad and kid names right now. Kyle and Ryan fit that group.

I know two Garretts and neither of them are called nicknames. My favorite of Swistle's list for you is Wyatt though. I know three Wyatts and I always like it when I hear it.

jerilyn said...

I do love Bennett. I have a Benjamin and sometimes I wonder if we should have picked Bennett... anyways, if anyone calls him Ben, I just correct them and he does too. :) It was a pain with a few select people but most people never need to be corrected again. However, I believe that you should only call someone a nickname if that person either introduces themself as such or tells you to call them that.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, without reading any replies, I thought James was a great match for Evan. And while some may want to give a nickname, it is easy to correct. James Nolan, Evan and James. My friend Christopher James (Smithson) is NEVER called anything but his full name (both Christopher AND James), except on the football field when they use his surname (Smithie!).
Also, Bennett was on our list, but we decided on Grant, which is a bit like your Garrett but has no nickname, is much less common, and I think goes well with Evan and your surname. Evan and Grant. Grant Nolan.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, Grant Thierry Nolan is good. So is James. And do you like Benji as a nickname instead of Ben? I think it is far nicer, if you do go with Bennett.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

Darn, someone beat me to the Grant suggestion. Also like Luke or lucas with Evan.

Marie said...

Thanks everyone for your input! I'm going to casually run some of your suggestions by the husband (he doesn't know I've enlisted your help!) and see if likes any of these names. Luckily he is open to names other than Bennett...I just wish I could find something I love.

The Mrs. said...

Two suggestions:

Vincent Thierry... Evan and Vincent

Victor Cruz... Evan and Victor

Really wishing the best to you and your growing family! I'm sure you and your husband will pick just the right name. Please let us know what you decide to name the little man!

Ash said...

I have known one Bennett, and I never heard anyone call him Ben, only and always Bennett. And that was high school ten years ago, when (atleast where I grew up) every fith guy in school was a Benjamin, called Ben. So maybe that will set you at ease a little, if you decide to go with Bennett.
I like that Bennett is the name of the heroine's family in Pride and Prejudice.
Those things said, I do not love the name and I actually prefer Emmett in general and Garrett for you specifically, because of how it sounds with Evan. Evan and Garrett sound great together, for some reason, to me.

Marie said...

Does anyone have an opinion about Wesley? Evan and Wesley? I know there's still the nickname factor but I don't mind Wes too much. I have suggested (and liked!) Ryan, Oliver, Harrison, Mason and Jared; they got a "meh" from the husband, and I just didn't love any of them enough to fight for them.

Again, thanks everyone for your suggestions and help!! I'll be sure to send in an update once we decide/the baby is born!

Another Erin from the 80s said...

Wesley is nice but more prone to a nickname compared to Bennett. But, if you don't mind Wes, then I say go for it. Weston is also another option. Also, I grew up with two Benton's, and they never went by ben. So, that is another Bennett sounding option. Brent and Brett also come to mind.

Jan said...

Another vote for Elliot and Garrett though I also like Gareth a lot, too. But none of those seem to really fit the stye of Evan to me (though they do seem like matches for Bennett). Maybe something like Craig, Ethan...but those are nothing like Bennett... Tricky!

Anonymous said...

ooh Jared is great!

liz said...

I love the way Evan and Emmett sound together.

Leslie said...

I think Wesley is a great name, if you decide to go that route. Wesley has an open, friendly sound to it, and it is very handsome. Wesley Thierry is a bit a of a tongue twister for me, but Wesley Cruz works just fine.

I really love the name Bennett, too, but I do think Evan and Wesley sound very natural together. Whatever you decide, best of luck!