I love your blog and your insightful feedback into all the naming challenges your readers have. I'd love your two cents with mine.We had an easy time naming our first daughter, Amelie Lorenne, and have never looked back. At the time, Audrey was a strong contender, but we preferred the lovely, less common Amelie in the end. My mother's side has some french, and we sort of mashed up our own special meaning based on the name's pronunciation and our daughter's Portuguese-Jewish heritage (Alma is soul in Portuguese, Li is mine in Hebrew). Our surname is Vieira (Vee-air-uh).With number two, hubby and I have yet to find a true love, but have some contestants such far. Elise was the front-runner (no ideas on a middle for that one), until I recently began carpooling with a family 2 blocks away, who already have an Amelie my daughter's age (almost 3), and a second daughter (5) named - you guessed it -- Elise. I think it would be too weird naming our daughters the same names, knowing these girls would be in the same schools their whole childhood, and we'll likely become family friends, but my husband begs to differ. Your thoughts?Other potential contenders:-Audrey (but too similar to Amelie, I think)-Dana (but too hard-sounding beside the french Amelie)-Danae (deh-Nay, a french variant of Dana, that sounds softer, but concerned about mispronunciation)-Lisbeth (don't want 'Girl w Dragon Tattoo' association, even though character in book rocked)-Giselle (don't want supermodel association, though that is our generation, not our kids...)-Hayden (but have been warned that a cross-over name might indicate our wish for a son, which isn't the case at all)We also are considering Nadia, Sonia, Marise, Marine, Lisette, and Josette.The only middle name thus far is Estelle, my (deceased) grandmother's name. Our other daughter doesn't have a family name, but I wouldn't mind changing it with our second daughter.
Many thanks on any and all suggestions
This is difficult. I am usually wayyyy over on the "Names are not one-time-use items" end of the spectrum, but even I would balk at duplicating a sibling group. It doesn't bother me to think of the two sibling groups in the same school system, and it doesn't seem worth changing naming plans based on the idea that the two families might become friends---and yet it still bothers me, for a reason I can't put a finger on. I think for me it's more that I'd be imagining what the other family would think of it: it's not the same as if you met after the children were all named, in which case it would be a fun coincidence. I LIKE the idea of a friend using the name of one of my kids for her child---but I think I'd start feeling funny about it if she used TWO of my kids' names. Because the two Amelies were named before the families met, this situation falls somewhere in between. But because you describe Elise as a frontrunner and not a true love, in this case I think I would drop the name from the list.
If you do decide to use the name Elise, or even if it continues to be a contender, I'd figure out something to say about it. The subject of your pregnancy is likely to come up repeatedly, and I would wait for a good moment. Perhaps the other mother will ask if you've thought about names, and you can say, "You're not going to believe this: our frontrunner has been the name Elise! Those names must be particularly good together, for both of us to come up with that combination!"
In the meantime, let's look at the other contenders. I would not pair a unisex and surnamey name like Hayden with a very feminine and French name like Amelie, but it might end up working well as a middle name. Dana, too, seems like style clash. Lisbeth and Giselle both seem great, though I see the issue with the associations. (Elsbeth might work as an alternative to Lisbeth.)
I particularly like Lisette and Josette and Nadia. If you plan on having more children later, I like the way Nadia keeps you from being backed into an all-French corner.
My favorite French name right now is Celeste. Celeste Vieira; Amelie and Celeste.
Another favorite is Corinne. Amelie and Corinne.
Another is Noelle. Amelie and Noelle.
Another is Simone. Amelie and Simone.
Another is Eloise. Amelie and Eloise.
I also think Estelle would make a wonderful first name.
Name update! Deborah writes:
thank you for all your wonderful advice on naming our daughter! She arrived 11/16 in the early am (her due date!), 20", 7:11, and we were at the hospital with the same name contenders from your response and those of your community -- no further along on a decision. Within a few tries, we settled firmly on Danae Estelle Vieira, and haven't looked back. :) We are honoring my grandmother with 'Estelle', and I like the historical Greek-Hebrew associations of Danae, and that while it's not French, it sounds perfect with Amelie and has a soft, lovely sound.
Warmest wishes these holidays,