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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Baby Boy or Girl Mall-with-an-H

Emily writes:
First, I'd like to butter you up a bit by saying I really love your blog.  Well before we found out we were pregnant I read every word you wrote and have thought of your advice as the most objective and thorough naming advice on the internet.  Which is precisely why we're turning to you and your readers.

My name is Emily and my husband goes by William (it is his middle name).   Our last name rhymes with 'Mall", starts with an H, and we've had to nix the use of "Carnegie" as a name, for obvious reasons.  We do plan on having more children but our "number" is four.  If we have less than that... splendid, but certainly no more than that.  We're having a baby of our own (due in October) and she has no name.  

If we have a boy his name will be William Bradley and he will go by "Liam" as opposed to "Bill/Billy" or "Will/Willy".  He'll be named after my husband and my father.  We love honor names and plan to give our little girl the middle name "Mae".  It is her great-grandmother's middle name just as I have my great-grandma's middle name and so does my mother and hers.  (I know it's a mistake to choose a middle name first but with a tradition like that how could I not?)  We have girl's names that we like, but they all have reasons why we can't (or won't) use them.  The other issue we've considered is that we'll never know where our children will be growing up and so we can't gauge name popularity in a particular region.  We currently are in Doha, Qatar but who knows where we'll be stationed next!  I wish I could say "Avery is really popular in California... luckily, we'll never go there.  Let's use it!"

Rather than prattle on about the agonizing I've been doing I'll simply give you our list of can't/won't.

Reagan - this was the first name we loved and my husband decided it is a little sister name.  So he vetoed it for use on our first girl.  While I think he's a bit odd, I won't question his logic as long as we can use it in the future.

Avery Mae - I love this name.  I think its a lovely name that pairs well with Reagan and Liam.  I like the sound symmetry with my name but I just cannot get over how very popular it is.  I don't want her to be one of four Avery's in her class.  And even though I've heard the "If you love it, use it.  Who cares how popular it gets?" advice... I can't move past it.

Everly Mae - I love this name like I love Avery.  The sounds, how gentle it is, and how unusual without being weird.  We would call her "Evie" if we chose this name but I cringe when I think of our daughter spending her whole life going, "It's Beverly, without the B".  It's so feminine though and I do like the way it pairs with Liam.

Evelyn Mae - This name was a compromise after Everly.  I like it, but I don't love it. And really, just can't imagine using it.  

But that's it.  Those are all the girls names that we can come up with that we like and each one has a reason not to use it. Why on earth was a boy's name so easy?  Any advice or recommendations you could give would be sincerely appreciated.  I am certain you and your brilliant readers can get us out of this mess.  As you can see we are up a certain creek without any means of propulsion.

So if this baby is a girl, we are looking for a big-sister name for a Reagan or a Liam or both. It is fun to be looking for a name for an older member of a sibling group for a change!

I agree that Evelyn doesn't seem right with Reagan. I suggest Avelyn instead. Avelyn Mae.

Instead of Avery, I suggest Averil. Far less common than Avery, and so pretty. It is maybe a little jokey with Mae (April May), but I don't THINK that would bother me. I'd have to think it over more. It is a lot of L with the surname, and that WITH the April/May issue might together rule it out for me.

Waverly has a similar sound to both Avery and Everly. Waverly Mae.

My favorite, though, is Everly from your list. It's quite feminine, but it's also a surname name and goes well with Reagan. I don't think I'd use the helper phrase "like Beverly but without the B." I MIGHT say "like the Everly Brothers," but I think the most likely is that I would just say it more clearly and/or spell it, as I would with a name that didn't have a "like this, but that" helper.

If you decide against Everly, there's Ellery. Ellery Mae. Is it too much L with the surname? It isn't to me, but these things are subjective.

Or there's Ellis, or Ellison. Ellis and Regan, Ellison and Reagan---those work as sister names, I think.

To move from El- to Em-, there's Emery and Emerson.

Or Brinley, or Finley.

Or Delaney. Delaney, Liam, Reagan---I like those all together.

Name update! Emily writes:
Last night we named our little Halloween baby, and first son, William "Liam" Bradley Hall.  He is absolutely perfect (and has the Apgar score to prove it).  Thank you for your girl name recommendations; had Liam been a girl he would have been Eleanor Delaney Hall.  Thank you so much for your help!


Anonymous said...

Oh, use Avery! Avery Mae is so lovely.

Anonymous said...

My niece's name is Arden Mae (wink, wink) and it would go well with Liam and sound like a big sister name. It also seems like it would go along with the names you've already come up with. I was jealous when my twin sister told me she was naming my sister Arden Mae as everything about the name is beautiful and elegant. It's not one of those names that gets made fun of and its not popular. I do hope you'll consider using Arden Mae!

liz said...

My son's name is F0rdon ("Like Gordon, with an F!") and so I don't see anything wrong with Everly (Like Beverly without a B!).

And I love Everly Mae as a name.

However, I also am loving Emery and Ellery. Or what about Emily? Emily Mae. Emmy Mae?

Anonymous said...

I really want to urge you to use Everly, but I keep thinking of you introducing "Everly and Liam" in a hypothetical future scenario and I get hung up on the "ly-li" similarity. "Everlyliam" just doesn't fly with me. Avery and Reagan have similar sounds without being matchy. For this reason I say, go for Avery or something like it. I love love Avery Mae, and I don't think it's going to be as popular as poor Isabella and Sophia. Good luck!

royalpriss said...

I love the name Everly. I fear it will increase in popularity, but it is such a great name. Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I suggest ELODIE! Elodie Mae! All sorts of nickname possibilities: Ellie, Didi, Lola, etc.

Evaline nn Evie could work, or Genevieve nn Evie but that doesn't seem to be your style (though William and Genevieve are lovely together).

Anonymous said...

Please do not make the same mistake I did. I named my child a name that I had "loved" for over 15years. I knew it was gaining somewhat in popularity, but never dreamed it would become what it is today. I actually know more children with her name than any other name. I have total naming regret. Although I still love the name I wish I could go back in time and pick something else. There are 4 girls with this name in her tiny daycare and people tell me all the time "Oh, so and so just named their baby this."

If you go with a name that is already in the top 100, you will cringe everytime you hear another child with this name.

Pick something unique...that is not trending up on the ssn list and you will not regret it.

Anonymous said...

Everly! Everly! Everly!

She'll find her own way to make sure people spell it correctly. No one will know how to spell Beverly by the time she gets older. :)

Anonymous said...

I really like the name that Evelyn comes from, which is Aveline. I find that comparing the popularity of a name now to which names were at that rank the year I was born really helps me with perspective though...for Avery, the equivalent name would be Amber. I certainly knew several Ambers growing up, but I don't think I ever had 2, let alone 4, in the same class.

Lauren said...

Everly is perfect! I wouldn't even have associated it with the name Beverly. Swistle's suggestion of Delaney is amazing too.

How about Dacey? Eden? Darcy? Camden? Annecy? Aviana? Aviory? Aspen? Aveliese? Navy? Ivory? I'e even seen Ave (ah-vey) used as a name and it fits in so well with all the Avas and Eves but is still really striking.

Anonymous said...

I love Waverly!

I would also suggest Avalon. Avi is such a cute nn option!

StephLove said...

Avery, Everly, Evelyn got me on this track: Avalon, Ava (probably out for you if Avery is too popular), Eva, Eve.

It sounds as if you really do love Avery and Everly, though so I'd recommend one of those.

AmyRenee said...

If you are looking for a name that will work well around the world, I would caution against Everly, especially if you think there is a chance you will wind up in Asia. Many Asian language speakers (Japanese is the one I am most familiar with) can't differentiate between "r" and "l", especially when blended together as in EveRLy. She will get called "Every" "Evely" and "Evewy", but rarely will Everly be pronounced correctly in Japan (and many other places in Asia). However, going by Evie or Mae if you do wind up in Asia should not be an issue. If you want a name that plays well internationally, avoiding consonant blends (like "RL", "NT", etc - "SH" is generally safe), and ending in a vowel or -n is the safe route. Just my 2 cents, after spending time at a Japanese company with people named Beverly, Brian and Laura who always had their names mispronounced.

And regarding Avery & popularity - my cousin's daughter is 3 and named Avery. They recently moved to Colorado, and the name Avery is so popular among their new neighborhood that they've decided to call her by her middle name instead.

MelissaInk said...

I have an Everly. We call her Evie a lot. I say both, "Like the Everly Brothers" and " Like Beverly without the B." Doesn't bother me at all. At least it's easy to spell! I also liked the named Ellery. It sounds to me like you really like the name Avery. If you tended to call her and introduce her as Avery Mae, then I wouldn't worry about its popularity. One thing about Everly, it seems a little hipster to me, not tried-and-true, and I sometimes wonder if that was the best route to go ... my boys' names are also victims of that.

Annie said...

I love Everly for you! I also especially love the suggestions of Aveline/Avelyn, Ellery, Emery/Emry, and Finley. I'll also add Ainsley and Emmeline/Emmalyn to the list of suggestions!

Good luck!

gail said...

Well, if you're able to be flexible about Reagan or don't mind two names beginning with "R", there is Reverie. It has many of the same sounds as Avery or Everly, but isn't yet widely used, and avoids the "rl" mix AmyRenee referenced.

Ariel and Mallory also share similar sounds, though Mallory Mae might be too much.

I also think Beverly itself is quite beautiful.....

I think your biggest challenge is avoiding a name that sounds as if it might be a university building. To me, that argues against many of the unisex suggestions and might tip me toward recommending a feminine name rather than a surname-type name, even though that is so far your preference. In this light Evelyn works quite well. But if you can't imagine using it.........

Nichole said...

I love Everly, Emerson, or Avery - in that order. Good luck!

Janelle said...

When I read your surname, I was reminded of a similar post about a year ago (April 2011) with the same surname. One comment was that with your surname, you can run the risk of sounding like buildings on a college campus if the name is too last-namey.

The above post about the R/L difficulty in Asia also gave me pause, so personally, I would stay away from Everly, and Avery. (I think the problem exists with Reagan, too, but I don't want to discourage you from your very favorite name!)

Here are some ideas that avoid the "college campus" and some of the R/L problems that might work for you:

Anna-- SO international
Miriam/ Mimi

Good luck!

Plum said...

Some ideas (sorry for repeats):

- Evangeline Mae (Liam & Evie)
- Everild Mae (Liam & Ever)
- Eva Mae (Liam & Eva)
- Avalon Mae (Liam & Ava)
- Aviva Mae (Liam & Aviva)
- Audrey Mae (Liam & Audrey)
- Victory Mae (Liam & Tory)
- Amity Mae (Liam & Amity)
- Aderyn Mae (Liam & Aderyn)
- Madelyn Mae (Liam & Madelyn)
- Cecily Mae (Liam & Cecily)
- Magalie Mae (Liam & Magalie)
- Coralie Mae (Liam & Cory)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the suggestions above of Arden and Elodie. I also love Finley and Darcy, both on our potential list.

I too, had my heart crushed when Avery, my favorite girl's name, sky-rocketed the charts. I agree it won't become Sophia or Isabella, but I'm with you on being bothered by trendiness.

Everly reminds me of "Happily ever after," which I suppose is a positive connotation, but still gets stuck in my head as a tongue twister.

Alice said...

Is Everly/Ellery/Elodie too close to your name? Not sure if that matters to you but Emily and Everly might give me pause...How about Ivy? Similiar v sounds.

Anonymous said...

I love the suggestions of Elodie and Darcy. Elodie also made me think of Eloise. I like Everly and think "like the Everly brothers" works better than "Beverly without a B". Instead of Avery maybe you'd like Aubrey or Audrey? Or maybe Ava? Other names I think have the same feel are Ella/Ellie and Mallory.

Anonymous said...

Annsley? Or perhaps Avonlea (pronounced Av-un-lee) I also love Everly and Aveline.

Amy said...

Everly reminds me of a name I thought was so beautiful the first time I heard it, and I'm actually surprised I haven't seen it around here more often. It's Eveleigh (or Evely which I think was mentioned above), and you can still have the nickname Evie. It just sound so beautiful and elegant to me.

Anonymous said...

As another suggestion...Anvalie (pronounced Anne-vuh-lee. Just seems to go along with the style people are suggesting!

Of the ones listed, I love Everly. Also love Avelyn!

Laura said...

I know a gal named Haverly (pronounced Hay-ver-lee) and have always thought it was adorable and a unique twist on Avery. I also immediately thought of Emerson for you--Emerson Mae, Emmy Mae, Emerson & Reagan, Emerson & Liam. Love it!! Best wishes to you.

Mj said...

Phillippa and Estella came to mind. Phillippa Mae, nn Pippa is sooooo gorgeous with William/Liam.
As does Estella Mae. Sounds lovely, nn Stella.
But mostly, Avalon. Avalon Mae Ball with an H. Ava for short or Avvie.

Anonymous said...

If your only hesitation with Everly is the one you listed, I say go for it! I don't mind "Beverly without the B" at all and you could also say "Ever with an ly at the end". As someone who has to spell both my own and my daughter's name regularly, I actually see it as an advantage - I've always got a conversation starter with new people!

I love some of the other suggestions as well. A name that seems very well suited to your other favourites is Ainsley. My votes are for either Everly or Ainsley.

Anonymous said...

Aletheia springs to mind. It is ah-lay-THEE-a. It lends itself to the nicknames Thea or Laney. Aletheia, Reagan, and William. Laney, Reagan, and Liam.

I also like Eliza for you. Eliza, Reagan, and William are all US president/first lady names without being over-the-top. ie. Naming your kid Kennedy would be overkill.

Anonymous said...

What about Aubrey. Aubrey Mae. I think everly is to close to Avery. If you love love Avery use it. I named my daughter a name in the top 5 never regretted it. They are popular because they are pretty names.

Eva.G said...

I agree, Everly is very beautiful!

Would you consider Ever? This is a new favorite of mine.
Also, how about Truly?

I love these from the above suggestions:
Avonlea (from Anne of Green Gables)

Anonymous said...

My name is Arden, so I totally vote for that one. It's a great name and sounds good with Mae. The only issue I see with it is that it sounds a bit like "Art in May" -- but I suppose it hasn't caused any problems for Anonymous12:02's neice, so I guess I might be the only one that notices.

Seriously, though, I've received nothing but compliments on my name.

The Mrs. said...

When I hear the names 'William' and 'Reagan', I think of Shakespeare.

Ironically, Arden is a Shakespearean name, too!

Perhaps some of these names from the bard strike your fancy?


Personally, I think Beatrice (Bea), William (Liam), and Reagan (Rae) sound rather wonderful together... classic but distinctive.

As a side note, I know an Everly Elizabeth who is one, several Averys of differing ages, and a newborn Evelyn. Both Everly and Evelyn go by 'Evie'. It sounds like you're very "on trend" with your choices.

You and your husband are going to pick the perfect name. Best wishes to you and your growing family!

Joanne said...

I like Everly and Averil. Personally, though, I'd use the name you want to use for your younger sister because you never know if you'll have another girl! I am still sad that I had one boy and then three girls and never got to use my awesome second boy name.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with Avery. Although it may be popular in some areas doesn't mean it is every where. And u always want to hear your child's name and be completely satisfied. And if you name it something else who's to say u won't have regret. Avery is just lovely ~*~

Anonymous said...

I like them all but they are a bit common right now. I like, from the suggestions, Elodie. However, I think the name do sound Shakespearean. If, I were choosing I would consider chooseing a name from his plays. But I love the name Stella Mae. It was my ggrandmother's name and I regret to this day not using it for 1of my girls. I like the name Arden from above. Good luck. Whatever you choose, I'm sure it will be lovely.