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Friday, June 8, 2012

Baby Girl or Boy Fable, Sibling to Sawyer Benjamin

Jocelyn writes:
After perusing dozens of baby names websites, I have officially decided that yours is THE ONE source for thoughtful, genuine feedback.  I would really appreciate any help you can offer with naming my second child due this winter (boy or girl TBD!)

My name is Jocelyn and my husband's name is Brian (last name sounds like Fable).  We currently have an adorable two year old boy named Sawyer Benjamin.  It took forever to finally agree upon a name for him, mostly because my husband kept throwing out ridiculous names, perhaps trying to make me laugh more so than trying to name our baby! When he found the name Sawyer, I immediately loved it (plus the fact that my husband actually suggested a real name). Despite constantly being asked if we watched the show Lost or if it was a family name, neither applied to us.  I just love how it is an unusual name but easy to pronounce.  Now, the work begins all over in trying to find a sibling's name...

Girl names:  I'm open to suggestions, but have always loved the name Madeline for a girl. My husband quickly agreed on this one, so the trick would be just to find a middle name.  I don't want it to sound too Southern (like Maddie Sue) but I do want it to flow. Possible Madeline Leigh?  The spelling of this name has also caused me some concern- should be pronounced like Madelyn, but that spelling looks too close to my name, and Madeleine suddenly looks like too many letters to me (and this was supposed to be the easy name!)

Boy names: now the fun begins.  I do like surnames, but not ones that are too common, such as Jackson.  That brings me to my surname, Reed, which I could totally live with if I could just convince my husband... Another name that caught my eye was Ryland, but it would take some getting used to and I'm wondering if it's too close to Brian (as is Brennan, another favorite of mine).  Bennett seemed like a really nice name to me, but I just get the feeling that it has a little bit of femininity to it.  I somewhat like Hudson, but not sure if I could really get used to that one, either.  In a nutshell, we're looking for a name just as uncommon as Sawyer but not too "out there".  Please help!! :)

I suggest using the Madelyn spelling. I think it's fine (nice, even) that it shares an ending with your name, and it's the best spelling for making your pronunciation clear. We had a cat named Madeline for a few months, and it was eye-opening to me that no one at the shelter or vet's office was ever sure how to pronounce it. I was grateful that it was a cat and so we could easily make the decision not to care or correct pronunciation---but typically, each person would ASK each time: "Let's see, today...Madda-lynn, Madda-lyne? getting two shots." "Let's schedule the next appointment for...Madda-lynn, Madda-lyne?"

For middle names, I think a lot of names would work well: Madelyn June, Madelyn Grace, Madelyn Ruth, Madelyn Rose, Madelyn Joy. To tone down the "Maddie Sue" flavor, I'd go with something multi-syllable: Madelyn Sophia, Madelyn Elizabeth, Madelyn Julia, Madelyn Olivia, Madelyn Rebecca. It would be a good place for a name that you wanted to use for the first name, but couldn't because of some reason that wouldn't matter for a middle name (problem with initials, too similar to a family member's name, didn't go well with Sawyer, not your usual style, etc.).

I wish I could pressure your husband to accept Reed for a boy. Not only is "mother's surname as child's first name" one of my top favorite naming ideas, but it works out so exceptionally well in this case! Sawyer and Reed! Perfect!

If not, here are some more possibilities (I basically went treasure-hunting in the "Last Names First" section of The Baby Name Wizard):


Perhaps your surname could be the middle name: Wilson Reed Fable, or Anderson Reed Fable, or Everett Reed Fable.

Or you could use one of the names you liked but didn't quite want to use in the first name slot: Archer Brennan Fable, or Lawson Bennett Fable.

Or you could match the style of Sawyer's middle name and use something like Davis Christopher Fable or Turner Jonathan Fable.

Name update! Jocelyn writes:
Thank you again for your input.  We recently welcomed little brother Reed Wheeler to our family!  (Reed being my maiden name and Wheeler my husband's father's middle name- a family name going back for centuries).  Sawyer loves his new baby brother!


Anonymous said...

I agree the Madelyn spelling would be best and I like that it shares an ending with your name. Kind of a nod to her mother, without being an all out namesake. I love Reed for a boy. Brennan is nice, but does seem close to Brian and I love the name Bennett, but I think it would be off the table for me because of your son's middle name. Some other names for you to consider; Beckett, Barret, Fletcher, Lennox and Harris.

Rachel said...

REED! It's perfect! I hope your husband has a change of heart.

Mj said...

For my mind, Reed is PERFECT for so many reasons. Perfect. But if dad cannot be swayed, Baxter Reed Fable. An occupation, surname name like Sawyer, sounds great as sibling set,not too common, a little like the B names you like (but I agree dont use Bennett) and a very cool name!
For your daughter spelling-Madalyn. People will get pronounciation correct first time. And I really love that a bit of your name is in there.
Perhaps Madalyn Claire, Madalyn Grace. Or if you like more syllables ( I would advise against it though) Madalyn Rebecca or a name which isn't so common anymore but is a nice replacement for Katherine is Katrina. Madalyn Katrina Fable. But I prefer the shorter middles for her. Madalyn Claire Fable would be my favourite.

StephLove said...

Madeleine is my favorite spelling for that name but they're all fine. Madeleine Julia is just beautiful. Or how about Madeleine Elise?

Reed is so perfect I don't even want to suggest another name. I hope you at least use it as a middle. Harrison Reed perhaps? That's a good surname name.

Anonymous said...

Oh Reed is so perfect!

Anonymous said...

Madeline is most commonly pronounced MAD-eh-line (as in line, rhyming with nine) in English. It may also be pronounced MAD-eh-lin, ma-deh-LEEN or mad-LEEN.

Madelyn is an Anglicisation of the French name Madeleine (ma-deh-LEN or mad-LEN although commonly pronounced as Madelyn). I think Madeleine looks a lot prettier than Madelyn and I also prefer that pronunciation. You might want to think about using it - it's a gorgeous, gorgeous name. Madelyn sounds lovely too but I don't think it has the same appeal as Madeleine in written form.

You should be able to find a middle name that matches it easily. I like Madeleine/Madelyn Pearl, Madeleine Rose, and Madeleine Amelia.

Susan said...

I wouldn't have guessed that "Anderson" would be good for a first name until I met a real boy named Anderson. After the briefest time getting used to it, I find it works wonderfully well as a first name. Sawyer and Anderson sound good together, too.

Anonymous said...

You could use Benedict instead of Bennett.

Christine said...

Reed and Madeleine all the way. I just prefer the way it looks when compared to Madelyn.

Nedra said...

I don't think that the confusion over the spelling Madeline is too great. I know lots of MAD-eh-lin/MAD-eh-len's who use the spelling Madeline. I think that the name MAD-eh-line is pretty rare nowadays. I don't know anyone who pronounces the last syllable as "line" -- no matter how they spell it.

My husband and I discussed this name a lot. It had been his favorite name for a girl since he was a kid and, until he realized how common the nickname Maddie is, we were strongly considering it. When I told him that the easiest way of getting the correct pronunciation would be to spell it "Madelyn," he actually said, "Ew..."

I do agree with other posters that Madelyn seems like a trendy sort of spelling. The only spelling that I like of this name is Madeleine. I think it looks pretty and is relatively easy to pronounce, since Madeleine Albright pronounces her name this way.

I would definitely go with Madeleine. It's only one extra letter in comparison to Madeline and it is clear on the pronunciation and indisputably pretty and sophisticated.

Carolyn said...

I like Madeline or Madeleine. For some reason, while Caroline and Emmeline have retained their long "i" endings, the only Madeline with a long "i" I've ever heard of was in the books/movie.

Laura said...

Not to be repetitive but Reed is so awesome! I'm jealous that your maiden name is so usable as a first name.

Anonymous said...

Just in reply to a previoud post, it really depends where you are living re popularity of Madeline/Madrleine/Madalinne/Madelyn. Where I used to live, there were only a few Maddies in orimary school and younger. Where we live now (dufferent state) I have met and know easily twenty Madeline(or version of) aged under about seven years old. And all but one is pronounced Ma-de-line(long i). If you want folks to say it your way, Madelyn/Madalyn is the way to go.
As a suggestion, a friend of ours who loved the name Madeline but felt it was too popular, went with Marni. She also considered Marcy. They are not common, but still cool girls names with nice meanings, and they seem to go quite well with Sawyer. But you MUST use Reed for a boy. Reed Harrison is nice , or Reed Baxter ( the boys have same middle initial is cool!). Reed. Definitely Reed. Did I emphasise that enough?....!

Anonymous said...

We know two Madelines, one is LINE and one is LYN. If I saw a Madeleine, I wouldn't have known it was LYN, and I would have had to ask just like with Madeline.

Patricia said...
GENDER: Feminine
USAGE: French, English
PRONOUNCED: ma-də-LEN (French), mad-LEN (French), MAD-ə-lin (English), MAD-ə-lien (English)
French form of MAGDALENE

GENDER: Feminine
USAGE: English, French
PRONOUNCED: MAD-ə-lin (English), MAD-ə-lien (English), ma-də-LEEN (French), mad-LEEN (French)
English form of MAGDALENE. This is the name of the heroine in a series of children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans, first published 1939. Bemelmans named the character Madeline after his wife Madeleine.

I'm not in favor of phonetic spellings so I would choose either the standard English or French spelling. Some may not get the pronunciation the way you intend it the first time, but after that they'll know her name is pronounced as 'mad -e -lyn'.

I too think Reed would be a fine choice for a boy. Sawyer really isn't all that uncommon, ranking at #172 for American boys born in 2011. Last year Reed ranked 368 and Reid 296. On a list of combined spellings for 2010, Reid/Reed ranked 197, while Sawyer (with only one spelling) ranked 173 -- so very similar rankings. I find Sawyer and Reed compatible names for brothers (both are surnames); I would not use another occupational name with Sawyer -- too matchy.

I really like your choices of Madeline and Reed and hope your husband will agree on Reed. You're lucky to have a surname that would work so well as a son's first name -- so why not use it?

Patricia said...

As for a middle name for Madeline, I was going to second the suggestion of Madeline Clare (or Madeleine Claire), until I used the nickname Maddie: Maddie Claire: 'mad eclair'.

London Telegraph birth announcements for the past 8 years might give you some ideas:
Madeline Alice
Madeline Joy
Madeline Joan
Madeline Jane (2)
Madeline Rose
Madeline Louisa
Madeline Cicely

Madeleine Emily
Madeleine Giselle
Madeleine Eliza
Madeleine Annabel
Madeleine Eleanor
Madeleine Sophia
Madeleine Lucia
Madeleine Clara
Madeleine Poppy
Madeleine Grace (4)
Madeleine Rose (4)
Madeleine Belle
Madeleine May (2)
Madeleine Lilly
Madeleine Ruby
Madeleine Catherine
Madeleine Olivia (2)
Madeleine Alice
Madeleine Eve (2)
Madeleine Victoria
Madeleine Rosemary
Madeleine Elizabeth (2)
Madeleine Alexandra
Madeleine Daisy
Madeleine Amy
Madeleine Ava
Madeleine Sarah
Madeleine Anne
Madeleine Charlotte
Madeleine Violet
Madeleine Beth
Madeleine Ella
Madeleine Gabrielle
Madeleine Sophie
Madeleine Joy
Madeleine Lara

It appears that Madeleine is the more usual spelling of the name in England. There were no announcements for babies named Madelyn or Madalyn.

Lots of good suggestions here. It looks like parents put about any standard name with Madeline/Madeleine. I think a one syllable name or a name with the accent on the first syllable sound best with Madeline/Madeleine. My favorites from these lists are Madeline Jane (Maddie Jane would be a darling nn) and Madeleine Sophie (delightfully French together; called the full Madeleine, not Maddie).

Anonymous said...

If you like the name Madeleine, then maybe you would also like the name Madison for a girl? There would be no confusion with the pronunciation and it was also originally a surname just like Sawyer. Sawyer and Madison sound really good together. I have to admit that Reed is an awesome name too!

Patricia said...

The popularity of Madison is why they are so many girls with the nn Maddie. On a combined spellings list ( Madison and its numerous phonetic spellings (Madison (13070), Maddison (1103), Madisyn (943)Madyson (688) etc.) ranks at #8 among names given to American baby girls in 2010, while Madelyn (3593), Madeline (3574), Madeleine (988) and a myriad of phonetic spellings (even more than for Madison) ranks 13. Combine the 16,411 girls named some version of Madison with the 12,978 called some form of Madeline, and you have more girls with a Mad.... name than the number 1 name Sophia with all its spellings (and mis-spellings). While not every Madison or Madeline is called "Maddie," from what I've been hearing for several years, most likely the majority of them have that nickname.

I'd stick with Madeline, finding its tradition and femininity much more appealing than Madison.

SF said...

Love the name Reed. If not, how about Reece, Reiser, Reid, Rai, Rider?

Anonymous said...

I love Reed SO much. It's perfect in every way!

I don't mean to be a naysayer, but I'm not feeling Madeline. I find it a little jarring because it's so much more popular than Sawyer. I think it would work fantastically as a middle name, though.

Fran said...

If you want to avoid "southern" then I would suggest a multisyllable middle name with Madelyn. Although as a southern, I can't understand why LOL It will also make her name similar to her brother's.

the hills said...

i just have to say that i really hope you use reed. like really. but if hubs is not feeling it then turner or harrison are wonderful!

Jocelyn said...

I loved reading all the helpful comments, thank you! Now I am so excited to possibly use Reed Christopher, which would be my surname plus my husband's middle name (and his father's first name!) My husband is more open to the name after I told him about the feedback, so here's hoping.

Still a little bit on the fence about Madeline vs. Madeleine, but there's still time to decide that one :)

Thanks again!

Crystal said...

My husband and I named our son Sawyer James. Everyone assumed because we were huge fans of "Lost", but we actually never saw a single episode! A good friend had suggested it and I immediately fell in love with the name! His middle name is James because it's my husband's, my brother's, and my father-in-law's middle name and it is my father's first name. So choosing James just made sense for us. I stumbled upon your post because I'm currently looking for suggestions for a sibling's name. My husband and I are planning to give Sawyer a sibling and you're going to find this crazy, but the first name that I considered happened to Madeline in honor of my great grandmother whom I loved very very much. I am also not sure how I would spell it so as not to raise any confusion when it comes to the pronunciation, but that's how she spelled it and pronounced it mad-e-lin. If I do have a girl I think I'd like to name her Madeline/Madeleine Harper. I agree with everybody else in saying that I hope you get to use Reed. That is a great name. I have always loved surnames as first names. I have no clue what I would use for a boys name. I just hope that I find something that sounds lovely when said together with Sawyer!