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Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby Girl Zebraitis, Sister to Hudson and Miles

Abbey writes:
My husband and I never see eye-to-eye on baby names. I always knew I wanted Hudson, so that one was a given from our first date. We picked his middle name, Dean, as an homage to Dean Martin, a favorite singer of both my husband and his father. My husband also initially suggested Miles, but then he moved on to other favorite names, and I wanted Miles, so it was "my pick" again. His middle name, Taylor, is in honor of Taylor, Michigan, where my husband grew up.
So now, we are finally having a baby girl, and this may very well be our last baby! We are completely gridlocked, since we both feel like we have The Perfect Name. I'm desperate for some input, and maybe, more suggestions, since we're stuck and this is getting really stressful and emotional. We've been working our way down the Social Security list and trying to add names, but it's hard.

My husband suggested years ago that if we had a girl, we should name her Nico, and at first, I must say, I adored it. We both love The Velvet Underground, and it seemed like such a cool, unique, strong name. I mentioned it to a friend recently, and she said it was a "total rock star" name. Her middle name would be June, in honor of my maternal grandmother, who passed away 2 years before I was born. I thought that gave it a nice feminine touch, and would allow her to use the more feminine June as a first name if she decided that Nico was too much to deal with it.

Sadly, I am now really concerned about using Nico. It has started to sound more like a weird name than a strong, cool name to me: Nico Zebraitis. I mean, how much are people really going to call her Nico June? I don't want her to be a Nicky or a Nic, either. I already have to spell my surname for strangers all the time, and I think she'd be constantly spelling and explaining Nico, too. It also reminds me of nicotine and rhymes with geek-o, freak-o...you get the picture. Another friend remarked that it made her picture a vacationing with a swarthy man named Nico on a Greek island. I am just having a hard time even liking it anymore, much less loving it, but hubs is so smitten with it, I feel like it will be so hard for him not to use it.

A few weeks ago, I loved Juniper, and I still do, but hubs doesn't. And I have to admit, Juniper Zebraitis is also a pretty tough name, weird even. I began to think that what I want for my daughter is a name that's simple but unusual, that everyone will immediately recognize and know how to spell, but that isn't currently in popular use as a first name, something uber-feminine, soft, and classic. Suddenly, I realized that she was trying to tell me what her name was all along, (see, I'm obviously emotional and smitten with my name choice, gah!), ever since I came home from taking the pregnancy test at the doctor's on my birthday, and played The Decemberists' "June Hymn" over and over on the way home. We should name her June. And we could give her the first names of the 3 of our grandmothers who meant the most to us: June Estelle Liudvika Zebraitis. June is a popular middle name choice, but not for first names at all.  

Liudvika was my husband's grandmother, who raised him, and he would have used this as a first name choice. His name is Vitas, and he has no problem using the "Boy Named Sue" approach to a challenging name makes you stronger. I looked into variants: Lulu (too babyish to use for a lifetime?), Louisa, but couldn't see anything great. Frankly, I think it's a harsh-sounding name, and would be fine with just doing June Estelle Zebraitis, but that doesn't seem fair to my husband. We could do June Liudvika Estelle, but the syllable pattern of 1-2-3-3 sounds much better to me than 1-3-2-3. Or, we could do, June Liudvika Zebraitis, but then I feel like all she's really got to work with is June, and all the other names are just harsh and not very pretty.

Other names on our list:
Brooksley (after economist Brooksley Born, but since no one would likely get this, it then sounds like Kaylee or something to me, so I don't like it for that reason)
Brooke
Dylan 
Ava (too popular, though, so no)
Arden (i kind of don't like that it sounds like "harden", though)
Madison
Stella (my grandmother went by Stella, we could do Stella June Liudvika, but I like my first choice far better)

Please help us!


Currently the name Nico is used much more often for boys than for girls in the United States: the Social Security Administration reports 522 new baby boys and 35 new baby girls named Nico in 2011. It seems like a cute choice for a girl if I say it again and again, a name like Mia or Nicki. But if I saw it on a piece of paper, or in a sibling group with a Hudson and a Miles, I'd assume Nico was a boy---not like, "I wonder if that's a boy or a girl? More likely a boy," but rather in the same way I'd assume Hudson and Miles were boys. There is nothing inherently wrong with choosing a more-often-used-for-boys name for a girl or vice versa, but I think of it as the kind of choice that needs extra thought.

It's hard to know what to advise here. I can throw my full support behind the idea of June with grandmother middle names, which seems perfect to me---but I can't picture that endorsement making your husband think, "Oh! Well, okay then, I'm happy with the name June!" Even if we had a poll and we ALL voted for June (and of course not all of us would), you two are the only real voters.

It would be best if we could find a way to make a better offer, more like a compromise that lets your husband keep his choice without forcing you to use it as the first name---something like using Nico as the middle name, or using Nico as a nickname: June to Junie to Nico? It's not traditional or intuitive, but these are desperate times.

I'm afraid that what usually happens in cases where each parent has committed to a favorite the other parent can't agree to is that both parents have to drop their choices and find something new: for most of us, it's too hard to go through the heartbreak of giving up a favorite name AND then agree to the other parent's favorite. If it does come down to starting from scratch, you'll need to both make sure you're not thinking of the task as "Finding a name I like better than Nico/June," but instead as "Finding a name we can agree on from all the names that remain."

One possibility for compromise is the name Annika. It lacks the simplicity of June, but it's more feminine and flexible than Nico, and A.Z. are very cute initials. And it certainly has room for the nickname Niko or Nika; your husband could call her that exclusively, if he liked. Annika June is lovely.

Veronica and Danica could work the same way.

Or Cleo has some of the sound of Nico, while being more feminine.

Juno may be too associated with movies and goddesses, but it's like a hybrid of June and Nico.

59 comments:

Nicole Trager said...

My first thought was to hybrid June and Nico for Juno! I love this name, still unique, girly and easy to spell.. plus family reference all into one.

Jill said...

If Liudvika was a major part of her name would your husband consider forgoing Nico? Because I think June Liudvika is nice, and she would have options other than June is she really wanted them (Lou, Vicki, Kiki, even Lia). Heck, I'd even call her Liudvika June nn Kiki if you weren't concerned about spelling things for people. One thing to note, if you do call her June, her initials will be J.Z, the name of Beyonce's husband lol.

Annika said...

I don't have a given middle name, and as a teenager I chose June for myself. I never made it official (in fact, I legally made my maiden name my middle name when I married) but I have a bit of a soft spot for Annika June. And I think Nico is a good nickname for Annika. I've always wanted a nickname and none has ever stuck.

StephLove said...

Juno is a great compromise. I also like Danica June. Good luck getting unstuck.

Janelle said...

I really want to find a way to make Liudvika work for your daughter, because I think the association with your husband's grandmother who raised him is so precious.

While the whole name is unusual, I think Vika is actually a really striking name, and sounds quite feminine to my ears. (I'm pronouncing it Veeka.) Vika Zebraitis

If your husband is still stuck on Nico, what about Nicola? Classic, elegant, simple, and Nico would be a fun nickname-- maybe one that Daddy and daughter could have just between them; she could use Nicola at school. Nicola Zebraitis

Best of luck!

Rita said...

Just use June as a first name? I think it works great with all your ideas. June Estelle / June Liudovika / June Estelle Liudovika are all lovely.

I also thought of Luella/Louella, as "smush" of Liudovika and Estelle/Stella.

Another name I though was Echo - it sounds just like Nico, and also has the musical connection both your and your husband seem to like.

Some nicknames work on their own, but Nico sounds too informal to me. I'd use something more "substantial" as the full name - Nicola, Nicolette, Nicolaia, Nicoline, Veronica, Danica, Demenica, Monica, Nina-Constance, ... even Nico-June would sound more grown up.

Another idea is looking for a short name that ends in "o". Juno is a great suggestion.

-
Hero
Clio
Aiko
"ah-ee-ko"
Margot
Xeno
Meadow
Willow



and since you seem like music fans:
Everly
Etta
Lucy
Joplin
Layla
Melody
Bechet
Lyra
Joss
Eleanor
Ramona
Alice
Crimson
Nona
Rhiannon
Spring
Delilah
Joan

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Nico is great! Neko Case is a chick, and she rocks that name. Love it. Stick with it!

Laura said...

I know a toddler Monica who has nicknamed herself Nica.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I love Nico too! While it's definitely more dominant among little boys, I think you have enough high-profile female Nicos/Nekos out there that you can safely use it for a girl. If you're worried, though, you could make it an nickname--what about Nicola June Liudvika, Nico for short?

If you do want to use all three of your honor names, though, I also really like Juno as a funky option with the same feel as Nico. Juno Estelle Liudvika--or maybe a different order?

And last but not least, I think Louisa is great and underappreciated too if you want to stick the honor name in the first name position--maybe worth a revisit? Louisa Zebraitis, Lulu for short, is pretty awesome too!

Jessica said...

I know you said you don't like Nicky or Nic, making me think you probably don't like Nicole - but I'm assuming you mean don't like as a first name. Would it be ok for a middle? If you named her June Nicole, your husband could call her Nico. (Or June ______ using one of Swistle's Nico-related suggestions.)

Although Swistle's mention of the initials A.Z. being nice led me to realize with June her initials would sound like Jay-Z, the rapper. Not necessarily a problem, just thought I'd point it out.

Anonymous said...

I like the name June. But it seems to me coming up with a new name isn't going to be easy. You will want a personal connection. And it seems that it must be in song or place. So if you are going to start a new search you may need to look at a song connection. Maybe Chelsea? Or Andrea and she goes by Andi? Roxie, January, nicolette? But really until you both can get to that connection it will be hard to find a name?

Heidi J said...

Nico does seem to very mismatched as a sister name with Hudson and Miles. I do like June, but brainstorming a whole new name may be the best option.

Emily Silva said...

I have a friend with the hard Liud/Lyud at the beginning of her name, and she goes by the nickname Luda, which I think is very cute! Maybe June Luda?

Angela said...

What about a mashup name? Junevika Estelle seems slightly foreign, but similar enough to Juniper and Annika to sound like a real name.

azebraitis said...

It's good to hear input on the name Nico for a girl! A few people feel it has enough popular recognition to be usable, so that makes me think "maybe". However, one friend pointed out to me recently that as I have a Miles, she thought of the connection that Miles Davis and Nico from the VU, musicians who both struggled with heroin addiction. That just seems like it might be some bad juju.

I would consider Juno, but my husband will not. He was not a fan of the movie. I do like Annika and Cleo enough to add to the list, though. We'll see what he thinks! I thought naming a baby girl would be so much easier, but it's actually as hard as last time, if not harder.

I don't think I can bring myself to use Liudvika as a first name, even though I love the nn Lulu. And Louisa is ok, I guess I feel meh about it. Although I doubt we'll solve this problem tonight, we have until January to decide, and it REALLY helps to read what other people think about our favorites and what they add in terms of new suggestions. We obviously need all the help we can get. ;)

rosamonte said...

I wonder if you'd like Ludmila as an alternative to Liudvika? Ludmila June is pretty and it offers lots of different nickname options: Lulu, Millie, etc. Oh wait, but you wouldn't use Millie with Miles. What about Lucila/Lucilla?

Gail said...

Rather than talking you into accepting Nico or your husband into accepting June, I'm in the "Let's start from scratch" camp. (Though you never say how your husband feels about June, you're pretty clear about not liking Nico. If he likes June, it's perfect).

Of the names on your "other" list, Brooke, Stella, and Ava are all beautiful. But none of them are especially unusual, something that is important to you. Dylan would seem to be one of three brothers.

"Simple but unusual, that everyone will immediately recognize and know how to spell":

Pearl
Calla
Orla
Alba
Hope
Ruth
Fern
Irene
Mary
Ellen
Maud
Vika

Pretty much anything at all can be in the middle, unless you plan to actually use it, by which I mean "say" it when you address your baby.

Happy naming!

azebraitis said...

He might be ok with June, but he LOVES Nico. I am willing to let go of June to find a mutually agreeable name. I am still hoping that after delivery, he'll soften to June, but I am not going to force it on him. He hasn't said he hates it, and he was fine with it as a middle name, so I haven't given up hope. I also haven't ruled out Nico, it just seems like a higher-stakes name. I feel like it takes a stunningly beautiful rock-star type to pull it off, and who knows what this kid will be like?

I like Pearl, Hope, and Orla. The first 2 would be great muddles if the first name was longer than 1 syllable. Orla is similar to Aurelia, a name whose love, but is long and hard to spell. This kind of points to my husband's stylistic naming presences versus mine: I like soft, glamourous, uber-feminine, and he seems to gravitate towards more modern, edgy, androgynous names.

Luda could be a cute name, but it makes me think of Ludacris, and for some weird reason, the Jay-Z bit wouldn't bother me, but Ludacris kinda does! Random, I know.

Anonymous said...

My husband is also Lithuanian and if our younger one was a girl, he would've been Milda. I'm trying to remember what "June" is in Lithuanian and if that would work but I'm drawing a blank.

We found that there weren't a whole lot of decent female Lithuanian names that are pretty AND pronounceable by the masses. What is your husband's grandma's middle name? Liudvika is tough.
There are lists of Lithuanian names online, maybe something that is a noun that has meaning for the grandma?

azebraitis said...

I love that you said my husband is Lithuanian, since I don't think I stated it! Was it that obvious? ;) He is 1st generation. Liudvika's middle name was Ona, I believe, but my SIL has that as a middle name already, and has used it as a middle for one of her children, so it's out. I tried for Una, but my husband nixed that, too. I will revisit some Lithuanian name databases. I remember liking Niele (spelling/pronunciation would be hard, though), maybe Audra....I will look again!

This girl's name still could be anything.

Gail said...

Here are the top ten girls' names in Lithuania, 2010. Some of them are, indeed, strange to American eyes/ears.

Emilija
Gabija
Ugne
Austėja
Urtė
Kamilė
Gabriele
Goda
Ieva
Miglė

But there are two possibilities that are unusual yet recognizable in the US: Camille for Kamile; and
Emilia for Emilija, I'm leaving out Gabriele for being too popular, but even Gabrielle is not as popular as it once was. But if your husband was open to Hudson and Miles, which aren't Lithuanian names as far as I know, are there names that have sounds familiar to his heritage?

Anonymous said...

Before I got to the end of Swistle's comments I also thought Juno.

Anonymous said...

I also love Nicola, and adore the name Nico for a girl.

jmv said...

How about Victoria with a nn Vika, to honor your husband's grandmother? Both Nico and Victoria have such similar meanings that is perfect. I know a Victoria who uses Vika and it works well. Victoria June is a nice combo.

Anonymous said...

I'm personally not a fan of Nico for a girl. It sounds too much like a tanned, long haired man, to me. June is cute. Of your list, I think Dylann would be super cute on a little girl. I know I would add the extra 'n'. I'll suggest Laney, Langley, Merin. I love your idea to use your two grandmothers names as middles. Good luck!

P.s. Luda is definitely what Ludacris says at the beginning of his songs...lol

Moomoo said...

Nicolette is too much like Nicorette, so, No. But Nicolawith nn Nico is beautiful! I feel you need to give her a name which can be formal as well as have a cooler nn if she wants. It's like the "chief justice" test. Your sons names sound great as a supreme court judge, lawyer, doctor and also as a teacher, scientist, but also work for chef, author, musician, artist, etc... See what I mean? Nico is just....alternative style. Nicola can be anything listed by just a twist of her name, and dad gets his favourite as the nn he can always call her. Nicola June sounds perfect to me. And Vika also works in that mix.

If not, then I think some great suggestions are:
Annika, Roxanne ( Roxy),.

I also like Tamika ( Meeka/Mika as nn) and even Milla. Milla or Mila (Meela) give a nod to foreign roots and are soooooo pretty.

Ms. Key said...

I think Nico is a cute nickname for a girl, comments are split but of course personal preference comes in to play. Nicoletta, Nicola.... good ways to get Nico with a more feminine name on the birth certificate "just in case" you need it... and, if Nico is already the *nickname*, less chance of sudden nickname being Nicky (that's a totally different nickname!).

EmilysHollow said...

Nico has always been a boy name in my mind, but that doesn't really mean anything here. I like Nica, like somewhat above posted. It could be a nick name for many things, or just the name. Nica June. Super cute.

Lauren said...

I know a Nicole who goes by Nico and it's perfect for her. I also like Nicola and Dominique. There are lots of ways to get Nico as a nickname and leave your daughter other options as well. Sometimes I think if you give a kid a rockstar name people will treat her that way and she'll end up fitting the name.

Cords said...

From the list of the top 10 lithuanian names, Kamilė really stood out to me. I wondered if you'd like to turn it into Camilla (or Kamilla to make it a bit more edgy). Camilla June Zebraitis sounds quite beautiful to me. Its obviously feminine, not very common but easy to spell. I think it also goes nicely with the sibling set Hudson, Miles and Camilla.
I went to primary school (elementary I suppose it is in the US) with a Camilla and I think she's the only one I've ever met. It it still obviously a feminine name though to me.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I know of two Veronica's -- one goes by Nica and the other by Nico. I think it would work well and is not overused.

I also must say that my name is Arden and nobody has ever said that it sounds like "harden." Not once. Pardon and garden comparisons have been made, but I've never even thought of the "harden" connection. I think that when most people say the word "harden" they do so with a more pronounced "r" sound than they would when normally saying my name, so it's never been an issue.

I wouldn't worry about it, if you like the name otherwise. And of course I'd encourage you to use it -- we could use some more Arden's!

Anonymous said...

What about JANUARY?

A few other random ideas:

Nava
Viva
Vita
Meko

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's that obvious that it's Lithuanian. To me, anyway. :) My husband's sister is Audra and he's always griped that she got the "Easy on American ears" name. :)

Kamile would be Camilla. Ieva is Eve or Eva. Ugne is fire. Ona is Ann(e) so maybe that's (or Anna) a possibility? Nijole is kinda popular (Nee-ol-leh) around my husband's family. I dunno, I just keep thinking if you can't use Liudvika (and I wouldn't either, especially with a last name you have to spell all the time) maybe a nod to her heritage would be just as good. If your husband's grandma is like my husband's grandparents (all 4 of them), the heritage is A Big Deal since they were subdued under the USSR for so long.

Lashley said...

I love having the initial poster's input in this conversation!

After reading that Ona is a family name, I REALLY like the suggestion of Orla. Orla June.

Could you use Ona as a middle name and get the O for the nn Nico from that? There aren't too many Nic-names that doesn't already have the O, except maybe Annika, which is already so close.

Perhaps you could come up with another nickname that ends in O with a similar feel from your list. Arden Ona nn Arlo?

Shot(s) in the dark and out of left field, but what did your husband call his grandmother? Or did she have a special nickname for him? Or the Lithuanian word for "love?" Would anything along those lines feel like a way to honor her?

Anonymous said...

I have friends with a daughter named Nica and this is lovely. I also thought of Juno, which I adore, and also Juna. There was an author named Djuna Barnes (the D is silent.)

I know a Luda who's name is short for...something! I think Ludmilla. I think Luda could be used as an honour name, either in the first or second name spot.

I also like the suggestions of Clio/Cleo and Veronica. That might be my favourite - Veronica June, nn Nica or Nico. Veronica Luda June?

Good luck! We'll be curious to find out what she's named so keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

How about Estelle or Estella as her FIRST name. With the nickname Stella. I also like the idea of naming her Nica - makes it softer for you but basically the same name for him. Good luck!

Mary said...

In a large part of the world Nico is seen as exclusively male. I'd be hesitant to use it as a full first name for that reason, as well as that you have 2 sons already, which could confuse people - I would never guess that Nico would be a girl when she has brothers named Miles and Hudson.

I think finding a longer name to have Nico be a nn could work, like Veronika.

I think your husband's grandmother's name is beautiful, and even the name Vika would work well or Ludi? Nina as a name, nn Nico could work too. Or Catriona, nn Nina or Cat. or even Aneko, nn Neko


I have to say though that your sons' all have middle names that have meaning to your husband's family, so I think it is perfectly fine for your daughter to have a name that is meaningful in your family.

Stella June is adorable, Ellie June could be a cute nickname. Or Junia Estelle?




Anonymous said...

Name her Nicole, nickname her Nico.

Other suggestions:
Nicole
Nicola
Veronica
Monica
Nicoletta

The Lithuanians I know have names such as:
Lina
Evelina
Jurate

I really like Evelina - it's very pretty.

Would any of the following names work well for your family?
Emilia
Camilla
Gabrielle
Gabriella
Ruby
Sophia
Alice
Martha
Laura
Katrina
Mia
Annabel
Alexandra
Maria
Eva
Dalia

azebraitis said...

Arden is actually the dark horse of a name that may end up being The One. It kind of captures my desire for a name that is elegant and feminine (I think because of Elizabeth Arden?) with my husband's love of the surname-y and androgenous. I hadn't thought of it rhyming with garden and pardon. It's not common, but it's easy to say, "like garden without a g".

I wish I liked the suggestions of ways to get Nico as a nickname, but the only one that draws for me is Annika. I feel like a jerk for being so picky, but I just can't name her something that I don't love. I could do:

June Estelle
Stella June
Arden June
Stella Arden
Lulu June
Lulu Estelle


But now, when I think of adding "Liudvika Zebraitis" after the first 3, I really dislike it. To be totally honest, it feels like a sledgehammer after a smooth and pretty start. And when I perused the list of Lithuanian names last night, I couldn't find anything I liked better. Lulu is the only diminutive I like for Liudvika, and while I worry it's too babyish to appear on a resume, I'm giving it some thought.

My husband liked Madison, as did I, but with a Hudson already, I'd prefer to not do another -son name. We'll be back to slogging through that name database tonight. I'm bound and determined to have something agreed upon before she arrives in January that we both at least like a lot, if not love.

I am truly sorry to be so picky, and I'm very grateful for every suggestion offered, but I'd rather be difficult now than have baby name regret after that name lady walks out of our hospital room!

azebraitis said...

I forgot to add:

We have good friends with a Ruby, so that's out; otherwise, I would be adding it to the list for sure. My husband also like Rain, but I don't think I'd want to use it as a first name, and it works well sometimes as a middle, but not always. As in June Rain? I don't think so. I like Madeleine, nn Maddy, as well, so I'll add that. I prefer Madeleine greatly to Madison, with its weight of tradition. but right now, the more we have on the list, the better.

Annika June (nn Nico)
Annika Estelle (nn Nico)
Annika Rain (nn Nico)
Madeleine June/Madison June
Madeleine Estelle/Madison Estelle
Madeleine Rain/but not Madison Rain--sounds like a country song

Heidi J said...

Just to throw this out there, you could spell Annika with a c - Annica to make the nickname Nico a little more obvious. I've been using that spelling as web nickname for a while.

Anonymous said...

What about super-simple Lou, nn Lulu? Lou Estelle is lovely, & a Lou could be president. It's also androgynous while also being girly.

Other short & sweet options:

Mae
Jem
Cora
Nelle

Anonymous said...

A related idea: Lula!

Anonymous said...

I really love Arden June. To me Arden and Nico are sort've stylistically similar. And whatever you name her, your husband's special nickname for her could still be Nico. And when asked for an explanation say "it's what he called the bump and it sort of stuck!" A lot of parents come up with unrelated nick names for kiddos, for example my sister who had a perfectly lovely, traditional name was always called "Way" or "Whaley". Why? Nobody knows...
Go with what you love and tell your husband he can call her his little rockstar Nico!

Anonymous said...

Ways to get the nickname Lulu:

Louisa
Eloise
Tallulah
Luciana
Lucy
Lucinda
Lucienne
Lucia
Lucille
Lilou (lee-lou)
Louise
Ludovica (presumably a variant of Liudvika - this spelling is more intuitive for English speakers and lends itself very clearly to Lu as a nickname since it begins with the same letters)
Luna
Luella

Other names to consider:

Junia - a female apostle in the New Testament
Juneau - alternate spelling of Juno
Suzette
Juliet
Lux
Viva
Wren
Opal
Cleo/Clio
Vita
Dinah
Leto
Leta
Odette
Oona
Nova
Selena
Vega

Anonymous said...

I vote for June Liudvika...that way you each honor a grandmother, the middle is a perfect place to put a name that is more sentimental than stylish, and with a first name like June the chances she'll need to use her middle name as a replacement for her first to avoid duplication are pretty slight. And honestly, Liudvika is a very pretty name...the kind of middle name I would have loved to have growing up because it would have made me feel exotic and unique. And since you're asking your husband to give up a first name he loves, I would avoid asking him to compromise on the middle as well unless it's absolutely necessary.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Nicola, Annika, or Arden!

Anonymous said...

I love Lula; it would be on our list if it didn't rhyme with our last name. Wanted to throw one more dark horse option out there, though: Aniko (pronounced AW-nee-ko). It gets you Nico while still being a definitively female name. It's the Hungarian form of Anna--just as Ona is the Lithuanian form of Anna, so it gets you the name you love and the namesake in one!

Megz said...

It seems to me that you already have a bit of a pattern going on - your sons first names are both names you love, and their middle names are significant to your husband.

So you can either continue this pattern and name her ...

June Nico Zebraitis
June Liudvika Zebraitis
Arden Nico Zebraitis
Arden Liudvika Zebraitis
Madeleine Nico Zebraitis
Madeleine Liudvika Zebraitis
Annika Liudvika Zebraitis

Or, since this is a girl and the others are boys you can choose to reverse the pattern and name her ...

Nico June Zebraitis
Nico Estelle Zebraitis
Nico Madeleine Zebraitis
Nico Arden Zebraitis
Nico Brooke Zebraitis

I get that you don't like Liudvika as a name, but as she was so special to your husband are you willing to 'put up' with it in the middle name slot if you get a first name that you love?

Personally my favourite variant of June is Junia.

Good luck and please let us know when you decide.

Alice said...

How about Lane? It's a simple, elegant girl's name like June, but slightly more androgynous. It has some musical ties (Penny Lane) as well. Or I really like Lou. Ties to the grandmother, androgyny AND Lou reed! You can't go wrong!

azebraitis said...

I would absolutely "put up with" Liudvika as a middle honor name. I did try to bury it in the back, though. ;) I tried to pitch that with suggestion of doing all 3 grandmother-names as honor names: June Estelle Liudvika, or Stella June Liudvika....I would also consider June Liudivika. I'm trying to compromise and be open, also be open to including Nico somewhere as a middle, but I think the whole point is that, to him, Nico makes a strong first name pick. And I guess what I'm realizing is that I want a first name that I love. I want a first name that we both love. We have 3.5 months! We can make this happen!

I do feel a lot more clear about what I want in terms of her name, and I owe that to everyone who has contributed here. Thanks you from the bottom of my heart! Please believe that I don't want to hijack the whole baby-naming enterprise (although it's sorely tempting since I feel like, dammit, I pick great names!) and leave him without a leg to stand on, but I wish he'd come up with more suggestions! He may very well feel the same way about me. It's funny; we have a great marriage, and we raise children so well together, but when it comes to naming them....oy vey!

I'll be updating for sure when we settle on something. Thank you all so very, very much!

nieke said...

I don't know how much help I can be, because I think Nico and June are equally great! My advice would be to keep them both as options and then decide which one fits the baby.

Failing that, Juno seems like a good compromise. Or Junia for a more feminine vibe. Cleo/Clio are a also gorgeous. I suggest Felicity all of the time, but I'm going to do so again because I think it fits here.

Or my (not real) name! Nieke- or Nika. I'm not really sure if its a real name, a spin on Mieke/Lieke or an alternate spelling of Nike. But I do like the sound.

jmv said...

How about Magdalena? You like Madeline and Madison. Magdalena seems to fit the heritage.

Megz said...

I hope you realise the 'put up with' comment wasn't meant to cause offence :-)

If you're going back to the drawing board, some Feminine but Androgynous ideas:

Billie (like Billie Holiday)
India
Luca
Shea

Along the Arden theme, a couple of years ago I met a little girl named Estee (like Estee Lauder). That could make a good name for you, especially with the similarity to Estelle. Alternatively you might like Lauder.

And out of left field and probably not your style, a name that is well known but not used much, easy to spell and definitely feminine, is Colleen. With a nickname of either Cole or Coco.

Cheers,

azebraitis said...

@Megz, I am not offended at all, quite the opposite! I feel like I'm so hard to please with names, and I don't want it to come across like an intractable jerk. All I meant was, of course I should meet my husband halfway, and I'm trying hard to compromise and make us both happy. I also feel badly that everyone who has commented has worked so hard to come up with great suggestions and I haven't let on one as The Name. However, I am a lot closer than before this was posted, and it's go me looking again, whereas I had kind of just given up, before.

I love Lane/Laney, and it could be short for Magdelena or Madeleine. Wren is also so sweet.

Anonymous said...

What about Luna, nn Lulu? Might be a good combo of June, Lane & Lulu. Plus the meaning is great. Luna Estelle--perfect!

The Mrs. said...

What about Dominique? The nickname of Nico is in there, it's classic, and Dominique Jane Liudvika Zebraitis is an unforgetable moniker.

Jodi said...

I haven't gotten a chance to comment here in forever, but I couldn't resist your situation because I have both a Niko and a June :) Our June is Juniper (but we have a boring one-syllable last name, so it works better for us - in your case, I'm with you: I like the simplicity of just June.) Our Niko we adopted and kept his birth name, Nikolai, but shortened it in a way that fit our family better. Both are really fun names that I love saying!

I do think of Niko/Nico as a more masculine name as a standalone, but I have no qualms at all about using it as a nickname on a girl, and I know it's already been suggested a couple of times, but I really want to urge you to consider Nicola. I am Amercan but lived in the UK for a few years where this name is everywhere and totally fell in love with it. If you haven't come across it before and you're seeing it as Nicole-with-an-A-at-the-end, maybe say it outloud with the stress on the first syllable a couple times (like Nicolas without the s) and see if it doesn't grow on you a little bit. (If you knew all that, I'm sorry if I sounded totally patronizing there, I've just never come across a Nicola in the US and thought maybe you hadn't either.) Nicola June, called Nico, is so sweet, with or without the second middle name. I love your boys' names, btw. Our oldest daughter would have been Miles if she'd been a boy :)

Ira sass said...

My sister's name is Nicola [pronounced NICK-o-la, not nic-COLE-ah] and she goes by Nica. Could be another alternative to Nico.