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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Baby Boy David$on, Brother to Miles Ru$$ell

Melissa writes:
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.


Meg said...

How about Chester nn Chet? From your list I really like Leo. Good luck!

Jessica said...

I love all your suggestions, Swistle!! I will say, I loved the movie Milo and Otis when I was a kid and the connection never came to my mind when hearing Miles and Otis. The musical connection of Miles and Chet didn't ring any bells, either. Miles David$on does, but not the Chet connection.

George is one of my favorite baby names, but I think Miles and Elliot go together best. And definitely use Glenn as the middle name. It's not my style, either, but I think honor names are important - especially since Miles has one.

M.Amanda said...

I started thinking of names as I was reading and thought "Dashiel!" Then scrolled down. :( Could she be convinced? I so love it with Miles.

Second to that is Hamish. I think it's a much underused, underappreciated name in the US. Or Hammond, though that may be a bit clunky with Davidson.

My third suggestion is the same as Meg's - Chester. To me, it has the same feel as Miles, but is trending less than Miles, so it will be familiar-but-less-common for longer.

Lastly, I would definitely make a musical connection if you had a Miles and an Otis, but it would totally be a positive. There is a reason their music still holds up.

Mj said...

I love Grant Sever for you. Grant and Miles are fabulous. I think single syllable wouldbe a good choice as he has so many other syllables in the rest of his names. Which is why I also aecond Glenn. Works well with Miles, and flows with the two surnames. Glenn Sever I like (I dont think GSOD, or even GOD is an issue, but I do think V.D. Is...please dont use Vaughn or another V name in first place...)

I would look at orher Norwegian names too- Erik, Emil, Lukas, Magnus. Grant Lukas, Lukas/Lucas Glenn, Erik Glenn. All work with Miles. Miles and Erik or Miles and Lukas are my favourite of these. Erik Davidson is my favourite, I think.

Best wishes to you all.

liz said...

George Falkner O'Surname Dav1d$on is beautiful. Go with that.

Christina said...

What about Roscoe Glenn?

Anonymous said...

What about Quentin?

Anonymous said...

Rueben Falkner
Noah James
Elliot Glenn
Jonah Charles
Elijah Hugh
Asher Grant
Christian Sever
Julian Luke
Gabriel Edgar
Travis Vaughn
Darius Graham
Tristan Sawyer

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My favorites from your list are Charles & George. I love them both with Miles. I have a George and considered both Charles & Miles. Some other names from our list were Edward, Edmund, Arthur Frederick & Samuel. Henry is another nice match, though it is much more popular than the others.
Miles & Otis does make me think of Milo & Otis. Not a bad connection, but one that would annoy me (though it might not bother you & your wife). I can also see the musical connection, but thought of the cat & dog first.
Glen & Sever together made me think of Ben Seaver, a character from Growing Pains. In fact, I had to look it up to see if his name was Glen or Ben. However, younger people are unlikely to make that connection I think.

Josephine said...

Chet is so great. Not as strong a musical connection for me as there is with Otis. And Miles and Otis remind me of the movie. Charles Glen sounds nice to me
And I'm thinking it's fine with Miles. So I'm assuming Darryl is out of the running. . What about Darryn instead of Darryl? Sounds like using an honor name on your side should be a requirement since it feels like it means a lot to you. I love the name Leo. Leo Charles or Leo Darryl. I'm intrigued by Faulkner too. Charles Faulkner.

Carolyn said...

I love Leo as a sibling name for Miles. Both are very cool and jazzy.

What about Otto as an alternate for Otis? I never hear this name, but I just love it. If Oliver and Oscar can make comebacks, surely Otto can too?

StephLove said...

My suggestion for you is Basil. It's non-androgynous but non-macho, it sounds great with Miles, and decent with the surname. Basil Glenn sounds like it could be a place, and
I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus but I really like Basil Sever.

Lynnette said...

I like Basil, and I think Reed or Reese might be a good fit with your style.

Guinevere said...

Congrats to you! (And it's always such a nice surprise to see other two-mom families who took turns gestating, as we did with our sons as well.)

I'm not a musical buff, but I do know who Chet Baker is, and with your surname Miles definitely makes me think of the famous jazz musician already. That said, I don't think that is a BAD association at all, and I'd only avoid it if the occasional comments would bother you tremendously.

I think whether Miles and Otis or Miles and Chet are too themey depends on whether you'd be bothered by people noticing and commenting on the similarity. It ALSO depends on whether you are planning on more children as well, as I think more names as buffer would dilute any association.

I think most people will just have a "huh, that sounds very RIGHT together" without necessarily putting a finger on it. For me, the Otis musical connection is less strong (and Miles and Otis never made any albums together!) but the movie definitely makes it oddly familiar in a hard-to-place way.

Anyway, I think you're the one who will have to deal with this the most since you'll be the one talking about your two children as a unit, and if it doesn't bother you, then it's not an issue. Your sons won't go through their whole lives as a dual-pack, and "I'm Miles... blah blah blah... my brother Chet" doesn't really make it as obvious as "my sons Miles and Chet".

As for whether Miles and Charles is too close -- does it trip you up? If you'd be using Chet or Charlie nearly exclusively in speech, then it's not as much of a problem. I'd probably avoid it because I like to use full and nicknames equally, and for me Miles and Charles is a tongue-twister... but your mileage might vary!

I think you have some great suggestions -- run them by the wife and see what she thinks!

StephLove said...

Another one to consider: Timothy. Timothy Glenn O-something David$son. Miles and Timothy.

kate said...

George! Miles and George! They're great brother names, both old-fashioned but in a fresh fun way.

Anonymous said...

I think Charles would be great, given the tie-in with the fetus name...but I'd actually go with Charlie as the nickname, partly so you don't actually use the fetus name as the real name---though full disclosure, we did after not being able to agree on anything and having our jokey nickname grow on us!--and partly because I think it pairs a lot better with Miles. If you aren't regularly using the full version, you won't notice the matchiness, I think. Miles and Charlie...Charlie David$on...Charles Glenn OName David$on. Love! (I do love most of the other names being tossed around here too, though--many were on my list before my husband took a pen to it!)

Joanne said...

I like Miles and George, they sound nice together, to me. But I really, really like Arden. Arden Glenn. Best of luck and congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Arden Davidson has a repeating -en- I don't think so. George is good but if you're going to use a G name, make it Glenn. Or Grant. Otis is pretty cool actually but Otis Davidson is a bit harder to say than, say, Glenn. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I just want to make a plug for Chet, it is a dear friend's name & is fresh and charming on a younger man.

I also wonder if you would like Eames.

Anonymous said...

I think Ames or Hayes might work for you.

Hillary said...

I like Arlo Glenn.

Melissa (original poster) said...

Thank you, thank you Swistle and commenters. These ideas are fantastic, and I feel so warm and fuzzy from all this help. I will keep you posted about any developments.

Guinevere said...

I ran this question by the wife because she spends a little less time than I do thinking about names, and she said, "Miles and Chet? Jazz fans, right?" but she does think they're totally usable together.

She however thought Miles and Otis would be totally not-doable due to the movie being way too strong an association. I second Otto as another option, though it might not work for your wife.

I really love George for you!

Jan said...

It seems like I'm in the minority but I really don't like George with Miles - to me they're stylistically "miles" apart.

The music connection struck me immediately with Chet and other names you mentioned but it's not a negative association at all.

From your family names I like James and Charles with Miles as a fn. Glenn with Miles makes me think Glenn Miller!

I know two brother pairs with a Miles. The other boys are Jude and Liam. Of the two I like Jude with Miles.

From your list I like Leo, Graham or Grant with Miles and with Davidson.

How about Otto or Henry?

Anonymous said...

I assumed that you and your spouse were jazz fans. I can't imagine that that assumption (correct or incorrect) would make anyone uncomfortable. I think your entire list is still in play.

M!Les Ru$$ell Osurname Dav!d$on's and:

- Amos Glenn Osurname Dav!d$on
- Glenn Otis Osurname Dav!d$on (GOOD - kind, intelligent, and GOOD)
- Leo Darryl Osurname Dav!d$on

My hubby and I think that you might also like the name Eugene. Miles and Eugene is great.


Anonymous said...

Oooooooh! Miles and Hayes! Love it!

Anonymous said...

I'm late to the party, but it sounds like your wife is the pickier one so if she likes Sever you might have something there! While I love most of the suggestions put in already, I though I'd add Severen which was one of my childhood friends' name. I remember thinking "that's so cool!" even as a kid. His mom called him Sever!

Anonymous said...

George Falkner Davidson is PERFECT!

Melissa said...

Hello everyone. Original poster here. I have some updates, if anyone is interested. I loved the suggestion of George Falkner, but unfortunately it is not going to happen. My mom recently strongly discouraged me from using her father's name, and that plus the fact that my wife didn't love it makes it unviable. Sad. Otis is also out for various reasons.

I agree with other commenters that Arlo and Otto are great names, but we couldn't both agree on them. However, in a similar vein we have added Hugo to the list, and I am currently smitten with it. Miles and Hugo! We'll see.

And for the person who suggested Chester, that is actually how we ended up with Chet! Chester is a family name too. So Chester nn Chet is back on the list. And Swistle, thanks in part to you Edmund is back on the list too.

We are now drawing two names from an envelope and calling the baby by those names for two days. Thanks again for all the help, and I promise to send an update.

Patricia said...

Hugo Carl is a fine name. I love the name Hugo and it goes well with Miles. Congratulations!