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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baby Boy or Girl Ritchie, Sibling to Alexander and Genevieve

C. writes:
We are expecting baby #3 (the last baby) on June 8 (scheduled C, so no later than that) and we do not know the sex. We are having issues deciding on names – there are a few contenders for a girl and no standouts for a boy. Our last name is Ritchie.

Our son is Alexander Maxwell and our daughter is Genevieve Olivia and I absolutely love both names. Alexander is the only boy’s name my husband and I agreed on and it is my husband’s middle name, so it was a no brainer. Genevieve is always what I wanted to name a daughter and thankfully my husband loved it also. It is also a namesake for my grandfather (Gene). Both middle names were last minute choices that we thought fit well; there are no namesakes or other meanings associated. Both children go by their full first names and we hope that will continue. As we are Catholic, we also like that both are names of Saints.

For a boy… when we were discussing names for our first child, my husband was focused on mythology names (Nike, Mercury, Hercules) and now admits he is glad I put my foot down with an emphatic "no"! He is now on the trend of surname as first name (Lincoln, Freeman, Hamilton) and I think it would be similar to his fleeting love affair with the mythology names. I do not like surname as first name unless it is a family name (it would not be in our case). I also do not think fits in with the more traditional (and Saint) names we have for Alexander and Genevieve. I am fine with these as a middle name. Husband also likes Joseph; I’m not crazy about it but would be ok for a middle name. The problem is that there are absolutely no boys names that I love. The few possibilities we are both ok with are: Gabriel, Julian, Matthew, Nicholas. He prefers Julian, but for some reason, it feels too feminine to me. I could be convinced otherwise. We also cannot think of a middle name that goes with it. ... I love Nicholas, but it is the name of a cousin who passed away as a young adult and was kind of a wild child.

For a girl… Calliope and Penelope have always been on our girl name list. We have recently decided we also like Josephine and Caroline. I also like Imogen, but husband does not. My husband’s first choice is Calliope (he wanted to name Genevieve that, but the namesake won out), but I am less sure – it makes me think of a cacophony and the very loud carnival musical instrument by the same name. I also can’t think of a good middle name to go with any of the girls names. Mei is a contender - Mei means beautiful in Mandarin, our children are 1/4 chinese, we currently live in Hong Kong, and my Grandmother's middle name was "May". Problem is part of our family is from the deep south and we envision them calling her "Callie May" or "Penny May" which would be a nightmare since we don't like nicknames. It would also be the only single syllable middle name of the kids. Penelope Caroline? Josephine Calliope?

As I typed this, I googled Calliope and it turns out she is a Saint and her feast day is June 8 (the day this baby will be born). Fate? If so, then help with a middle name!

So, husband prefers Julian or Calliope with middle names unknown. I am not convinced but do not have a better suggestion and they are growing on me (Julian Ritchie does have a good ring to it). What are your thoughts?

Name update! C. writes:
Thank you so much for posting our request; we very much appreciated the input from your readers. 

Penelope Grace Ritchie was born on June 8.  Even for a few hours after she was born, we still could not decide between Penelope and Calliope (reader comments were split between the two!).  Ultimately, we chose Penelope because we thought it was ageless, whereas Calliope was little girl cute.

Since we did not know the sex, if anyone is curious, we had decided on Julian Matthew for a boy - this was by far the clear winner from the comments! 

Thank you so much for your help!


Meg @ Mr.C and Me said...

Fate! -- how about Calliope June? or Calliope Junia? Being born in June and a named after the Roman goddess Juno.

Ali said...

For me, Penelope sounds like a better match with the sibling names. But if your husband loves Calliope and you like it AND it has the fun saint's day connection, you should totally go for it. Calliope Josephine is lovely (but do you want to save Joseph for a possible boy later on?).

Trudee said...

Sounds like, for boys, everything is off the table except Gabriel and Matthew. Perhaps you could decide between those names. (Also, forcing yourself to try and choose between those two will reveal your real feelings for the others.)

For girls, I also prefer Penelope but only because Calliope sounds really Greek to me and I would only use that if I was of Greek heritage.

Good luck!

Homa said...

Julian Matthew sounds great and allows the boys to share a middle initial. Calliope doesn't seem to go with your other names so I would either go with Penelope or keep looking.

Anonymous said...

I think Calliope may be 'meant to be'. Until I read the Feast Day, though, my thoughts were Catherine after Saint, and Juliette. Catherine Juliette (or Juliet) is beautiful, and I thought Saint Christopher for a boy. Christopher and Catherine go perfectly with the sibling names, and if you do choose Calliope, Juliet also goes well in middle spot. Christopher could use several of your suggested names for middle, including Julian.

Natalia said...

Between your Greek favorites, I like Penelope better for a sister of Alexander and Genevieve, but for me, finding that Saint Calliope's feast is on June 8th is totally fate! I would be too tempted to use it, at least for a middle name.

Josephine feels like the best fit between all your options, though. Alexander, Genevieve and Josephine is a strong sibling set. What about Josephine Calliope?

I want to suggest Vivienne because it shares the "v" sounds with Genevieve and the French origin. Maybe Calliope Vivienne?

Also Isadora: I really like the sound of Penelope Isadora.

For a boy, I think longer names would go well, like Christopher or Benjamin, both names of saints.

If you like Matthew maybe you also like Andrew or William. Coincidentally, William is also a Saint with a feast on June 8th!

I like Christopher William. Alexander, Genevieve and Christopher.

Also a Saint whose feast is on June 8th is Maximinus, which made me think of Maximilian, sharing the "x" sound with Alexander. I like it! Alexander, Genevieve and Maximilian.

Hope you find a name you love for your baby!

jerilyn said...

I think Calliope is cute! and perfect for june 8th!

I like Julian Joseph!

StephLove said...

I like all of the names on your list and in most combinations with each other so I don't think you can go wrong.

Maybe you could decide on Calliope for a girl if you make it to the C-section date and Penelope if you don't. And while you really don't need more ideas, Sylvia popped into my head for you.

For the boy I like Julian Matthew or Julian Gabriel. David seems like it would work in the sib set, too.

Jan said...

I agree that for a girl, Josephine is a good fit with the sibling names. Nicholas would have been perfect for a boy. How about Oliver, Tristan, Xavier, Hugh, or William?

Another Erin from the 80s said...

For a boy, I vote Peter bc saint peter's feast day is June 7th OR even better, Vincent bc it meets your husband's requirement of surname as first and is a saint name. For a girl, sounds like you love calliope. It doesn't 100% "go" with the other names, but one would only notice that when it is on a Christmas card or something. I vote for Therese as a first or middle.

Anonymous said...

I kind of love Calliope, especially with the amazingly wonderful coincidence of the feast day -- and I don't think it's a big mismatch with your other kids' names (I think of Alexander as having a rather Greek flavor anyhow).

I like Josephine very much, but I tend to think Genevieve and Josephine are just a little too closely matched in sound to work perfectly as sister names. Josephine would definitely work as a middle, though: Calliope Josephine sounds fantastic! (Unless you are worried about your relatives calling her Callie Jo or something. Then I'd go with Calliope plus some other family name. But I think that with longish names like the ones you favor, some family members will ALWAYS try to shorten them...)

I am a huge fan of Julian, and would totally recommend it -- but if you're not that into it, and the other names on your list aren't really speaking to you, I might also suggest: Sebastian, Adrian, Clement, Thaddeus, Dominic, or Theodore.

Leo, or perhaps Felix, would make a very nice middle with any of those boys' names.

Anonymous said...

I actually think Callie Mei sounds extremely cute, and might be a fun way for a little girl who obviously is going to have a very multicultural background...being born in Hong Kong and being 1/4 also feel connected to the Southern portion of her family. As a nickname only, of course...and a nickname that only a few relatives that live half a world away will use, so in her normal, every day life she'll still be Calliope. Sounds like the best of all worlds to me.

Anonymous said...

Christopher or Nicholas for a boy. Calliope seems to be destiny. But I also like Catherine, better than Josephine, which is great, but sounds a lot like Genevieve.

Ginny said...

Calliope Mei is beautiful! It has a lovely ring to it and both names have a lot of meaning for your family. I'd go with that if it's a girl. If your family haven't been nicknaming Genevieve and Alexander, I doubt they'll nickname Calliope.

Gabriel, Julian, and Matthew are all great choices (as is Nicholas, but I can see how the cousin association would rule it out.) I also like other commenters' suggestions of Christopher or Dominic. As for middle names, you might look at the surname names your husband likes and see if any of them refer to people you might want to honor (Abraham Lincoln as an obvious example from the names you gave.)

Mj said...

Christopher Lincoln Ritchie or Calliope Mai Ritchie are standouts. I know a little girl Calliope who has never been called a nickname, but I agree that if the Southern element of your family do call her Callie or Callie Mai once a year, it doesnt really matter. Grandparents or aunties/uncles often have pet names for little ones. No big deal.

Anonymous said...

I tend to over think patterns and I really like the double 'x' in your son's name and the double 'v' in your daughter's name! So, if Joseph becomes a middle name, how about: Raphael Joseph. I like it! If your DH likes a surname-middle name, then how about: Matthew Lawson? I like the double 'w' (of course!) If Julian is not strong enough, how about Julius? I like Julius Nicholas!

For a girl I like Josephine Daphne and Phillipa Josephine. Or perhaps
Calliope Celeste? Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Penelope Calista
Penelope Cleo
Penelope Cassandra
Calliope Mei sounds funny to me, especially with your last name.

Anonymous said...

Calliope sounds perfect. It fits so well with both Genevieve and Alexander. I think it is wonderful that St. Calliope's feast day in the baby's due date. Calliope Ritchie is great. For middle names Calliope Julianne, Calliope Mei is gorgeous, and I would not worry about the shortening to Callie May. You will just need to be firm in "No, we prefer Calliope. No Callie. No Callie May." But you may grow to love your extended family having a cute only-when-baby-Calliope-sees-them nickname. As for boy names, I like Julian Ritchie (it does have a nice ring to it!), I also like Lincoln. Matthew is a great name and fits well with Alexander. As does Joseph. Julian Joseph, Matthew Joseph, Matthew Julian. OR Nicholas Julian.

Hermia said...

I don't have much to add, except that Calliope really seems perfect. Calliope Juliet, Calliope Mei or Calliope Violet are lovely options.
For boys, Matthew (but beware the Matt nickname!), Julian and Gabriel are rather perfect.
I do like Matthew Lawson, Julian Spencer, Gabriel Joseph, Matthew Nicholas and a lot of others.

Nedra said...

Here are some other Saints' Names that I think would go well with Alexander and Genevieve. I am not Catholic, so I don't know any of the particulars about these saints, but I found a list of baby names that are from saints' names and looked for the ones that seemed to go well with Alexander and Genevieve.

For Boys:
*Felix -- I think Felix goes great with your other kids. It had a spunky flair that especially complements Genevieve.
*Eugene (I don't know if you have any interest in using your grandfather as a namesake twice. If you really love him a ton, then it might make sense. What I like about Eugene and Genevieve is that they sound very different -- different vowel sounds and different starting letters.)
*Phillip -- This is another classic name that would sound great with Alexander, but would complement the freshness of Genevieve.

For Girls:
*Elizabeth -- I think that this one might be a little "blah" in comparison to your other two kids, but it's a great name.
*Lucia -- Very pretty. Unusual but goes well with classic names.
*Irina/Irena-- I LOVE this name with your other kids' names!
*Roseline -- I think this would sound very pretty with Genevieve.

Good luck!

gail said...

I love Julian, which doesn't lend itself readily to nicknames. I also really love Bartholomew for Alexander, 4 syllables, and also a saint's name, and again, no nickname others will be scrambling to use....

I appreciate all the potential serendipity with Calliope, yet I hesitate to embrace it because of what a different tone it strikes than Alexander and Genevieve. I think Penelope and Josephine are both better sibset fits, and more elegant choices. And I agree with you that Calliope could easily be a surprising middle name for either one.

Good luck!

Nicole Trager said...

Peter is my vote for saint name. His feast day is also in June, but I think it is the 29th. He is a very recognizable name yet not too popular these days. Alexander, Genevieve and Peter.
Peter Lincoln, Peter Hamilton, Peter Joseph.

As for a girl I do think I love Calliope the best and how perfect that the feast day match up. Alexander, Genevieve and Calliope.
For middle names I love Calliope Juno, Calliope Josephine, Calliope Seraphina.

Sig said...

There are so many Pennys in HK... and the meaning 'Duck' also gives me pause. Calliope would totally stand out in HK but I would use the nn Poppy instead because again, in HK, that would be rare as opposed to Kellys/Callies (upcoming spelling of Kelly) everywhere. In fact, Calliope/Poppy would be rare in Asia period. I've only ever heard of Poppy in Indonesia.

I think Poppy Mei is a much better risk to take too (it's just visually more aesthetic), than Callie Jo or Poppy Jo... if ever, you find yourself having to shorten your baby's name. Otherwise, like the other posters, I too feel Calliope Mei is rich in meaning for you and absolutely beautiful.

As Jerilyn (another poster above) has suggested, I think Julian Joseph is perfection for a boy. Julian is youthful enough and balances out the dustiness of Joseph, which is such a meaningful name.

Sig said...

Something else I forgot to add...

While I love Calliope Mei, one child having a Chinese middle name while the rest don't... is going to raise so many questions...

Perhaps, hyphenate it with another Anglo name? For example, Calliope Julia-Mei?

liz said...

Since your husband likes last names as first names, and you want Saints names, what about James, or George, or Charles?

For girls I love Calliope Josephine.

Mary said...

Julian is great, I really like it and it sounds good with the other names. Julian Magnus?

I think Calliope and Caroline are both beautiful names.

What about Maya, as a nod to your grandmother (in the same way you thought of Genevieve to honor Gene)?

Caroline Maya
Josephine Mary
Calliope Marianne
Caroline Mila/Myla

Leslie said...

Julian and Calliope Ritchie are both WONDERFUL names. I kind of want to push you to use them, because they're meaningful and sound so fantastic (Julian in particular has always been a favorite of mine), but of course you and your husband both need to be okay with the name choices. The good news is that all of your current choices sound good (at least to my ear), so you can't possibly go wrong.

I love Calliope Mei or Calliope Josephine. Julian works with a variety of middle names. Given that your other children have namesake middles, are there any family names that might be options this time around?

Best of luck; you guys have great taste, so I'm sure whatever name you choose will be lovely!

Anonymous said...

If it's not too late, I suggest Sebastian for a boy, and second the suggestion of Calliope with nickname of Poppy for a girl.

Good luck.

Leslie said...

Congratulations on your Penelope Grace! You picked a lovely name.

lautencl said...

We are seriously disheartened to learn our long debated name choice of "Penelope" is what a just named her baby. Nervous about the follow on effect and "dumbing down" of the name (forgive me for kindling like a snob). We are wondering if we should quickly switch to Calliope and just tell everyone they misunderstood the name the first time!?

lautencl said...

Sorry, left out "Kardashian" named her baby...