Hello Swistle. Thanks for taking the time to read this! We are a two-mom family expecting our second child, another boy, in October. I carried our first son, whom we named Miles Ru$$ell MySurname David$on, and my wife is carrying our second son. He will also have four names, First Middle MySurname David$on. We had a long, complex process for naming our first child, involving a huge poster on the wall, pulling different combinations out of a hat, and ultimately making a list of six finalist first names and naming him a day after he was born. We both love the name Miles. Other things to know: Ru$$ell is an honor name from my wife's side of the family. Also, we have abandoned nearly all of the alternate names we considered for Miles -- Quinn, Owen, Preston, and Langston.
What we're looking for now feels impossible: a boy name we like as much as Miles that sounds good with Miles and that satisfies her more traditional taste and my slightly more unusual taste. I'm a name maniac, but my initial list of about 30 names was quickly pared down when my wife found most of my suggestions way too wildly unfamiliar. To give you a sense of her style, I will say that she strongly objected to Haskell, which I liked, and Dashiell, which I presented as a variaton on my father's name, which is Darryl.
I would like to use a name from my side of the family somewhere in there, although we are not making that a requirement. We also prefer that it not be another M name (my name also starts with an M), but we are not firm on that. Finally we have pretty much ruled out any name ending in "son," to avoid repetition with the last name David$on.
Qualities we like a name to evoke are kindness and intelligence. For me, creativity would be a plus, but I don't necessarily need an artist name. We're less into names that come across as macho, if that helps, but we also are not looking for an androgynous name.
If we'd had a girl, top names would have been Delia Claire and Hazel Magdalena.
Here's what's left of our list. Family names from my side include Charles, Glenn, George, and Sever. I strongly prefer to use Glenn somewhere because it honors both my dad and grandfather, but my wife is so-so on it. She likes Sever (rhymes with Weaver) but thinks that everyone would pronounce it SEH-ver and that he'd have to constantly correct people. She suggests adding an A to make it Seaver, but to me that seems like an entirely different sort of name. Sever is a Norweigan first name from my great-great grandfather, and I just can't handle how the letter A changes the feel of the name for me. I would consider Seever, but maybe that is too weird? We are on the verge of abandoning Sever altogether.
Edgar and James are family names from my wife's side that we both like. If we used one, though, I'd want to use it with one of my family names for balance, especially because we have chosen to use her surname for the kids.
Here are the other names we both somewhat like. You can see they are all over the place because we have such different styles. Otis, Luke, Clark, Vaughn, Leo, Sawyer, Amos, Graham, Grant, Hugh, and Silas. Leo and Luke are the ones she is most comfortable with, but I think she is warming up to Otis too.
We are considering using the name Falkner as a first or middle. It is a reference to a place that is meaningful to us, and it was almost Miles's middle name until we decided to use an honor name in its place.
We have been calling the baby Chet in utero (long story). We could use Chet as a nickname for Charles. I think it sounds good with Miles: Miles and Chet. This brings up the issue of a possible musician theme. When people see the name Miles David$on, they assume our son was named after Miles Davis. He was not, but we don't mind the association because it is a pleasant one to us. However, if we name our second child Chet or Otis, will the musical theme seem intentional? And would that matter? It doesn't really bother me, but should it?
Oh, and my surname starts with an O, for the purposes of inital cross-checking for weird words. Like, Otis Glenn would have the initials OGOD, and would that be okay? Hee hee.
Oh, yeah -- are Miles and Charles too similar sounding? We'd probably call a Charles by Chet or Charlie, but still...
We'd love any additional name ideas, as well as feedback on our current ideas. We'd be grateful for the help!
The extensive naming process and 6-name finalist list for your first son can be a comfort when naming your second: the name that now seems perfect didn't stand out as perfect from the start. The next name you choose may very well follow the same path: not standing out as obviously perfect before it's chosen, but growing into a name just as perfect as Miles grew to be.
Miles and Charles do sound a little matched-ending to me, but not to the point of ruling out the name---and I love the tie-in to the baby's in-tum nickname.
I do think people will pronounce Sever like the words sever and seven, but that in the middle name slot it wouldn't be an issue. I too would be resisting changing the spelling, since it's a family name. I like something like Elliot Sever OSurname David$on. But it seems like the name of a great-great grandfather is much less of an honor name than the name of your dad and grandfather, so I'd be under-motivated to use it.
I would sell Glenn as a sort of nature name: "a forest glen" has a much prettier spin. Or I might mention Glenn Close. Or I might say, "It's not my style either, but it's an important honor name for me."
The musical theme is only slightly noticeable to me with Miles David$on (I thought "...Hey, that is ringing a bell...") (I did figure out why after a moment), and a brother named Chet or Otis wouldn't have raised any connection for me at all. But I'm almost completely unmusical, so I think we need feedback from people who would immediately have wondered if it were intentional. As to whether it should bother you (when it doesn't naturally), I don't think so. When the connections aren't negative, I think it's mainly a problem when the parents are bothered by other people questioning/assuming the connection ("I don't want them to think we used Jack and Rose because of Titanic!")---and if that hasn't bothered you with Miles David$on, I don't think it's an issue.
I did notice Miles and Otis sounding like Milo and Otis---even though I've never seen the movie and it's over twenty years old. I think I noticed it because long long ago when I was considering Milo for the child who turned out to be Henry, a bunch of people mentioned the movie; and, since then, on our many cat-acquiring quests to animal shelters, I've noticed a large number of orange cats named Milo. (Not as many as black-and-white cats named Oreo, but close.)
I am trying to hold myself back from OVER-PUSHING you to use George. I love that name and I think it's the perfect companion name for other revival names like Max and Jack and Sam and Henry and Oliver. It sits right on the line of "completely traditional" and "whimsical/interesting/unusual." It has long roots and it has George Clooney, and I'm just not sure I can stand the wonderfulness of George Falkner OSurname David$on. Miles and George! I love it.
For kindness and intelligence (while still trying to find something between traditional and unusual), I like:
...Okay, so that's pretty much my own boy name list. But I think "kindness and intelligence and not overly macho" is a very good way to describe what I too look for in a boy name. And since George and Milo/Miles and Charles and Leo have ALL been on my list TOO, the others from the list sprang to my mind.
The one I keep coming back to (other than George) is Elliot. Elliot David$on; Miles and Elliot.
With Hugh and Leo both on the your list, I also suggest Hugo. Hugo Charles OSurname David$on; Miles and Hugo.
Name update! Melissa writes:
We are happy to announce the arrival of Hugo Carl On$tad David$on on Tuesday, October 23 after 37 hours of labor! We went to the hospital with a list of first names, and it didn't take long to determine he looked like a Hugo. We considered the middle name Atticus for its literary and historical connections, but my desire for an honor name was strong and we ultimately chose the middle name Carl after my great-grandfather. The suggestions and input provided by you and your readers were helpful -- when you recommended Hugo, you gave me the courage to add it to the list. Thanks again for your thoughtful help.