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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baby Girl Picks-with-an-H, Sister to Felicity

Erin writes:
We are expecting our 2nd daughter in about 5 weeks, and my husband and I can't make up our minds!

Our first daughter is Felicity Katherine, last name rhymes with Picks, and starts with an H. We had absolutely no problem naming her, and I am still totally in love with her name. That being said, it is a tough one to find a sister name for because it is familiar but not overused, and it exudes happiness.

We lean towards classic names  that won't be instantly tied to a certain decade. RIght now, we feel pretty confident that her name will be Helen Elizabeth or Harriet (but mostly call her Hattie) _____, though I suppose we'd be open to new suggestions (it just feels like we've considered EVERY name out there).

We love the quirky, fun alliteration of the double H names. My dilemma is that I think Hattie goes the best with Felicity, but I like Helen _icks better than Harriet _icks. And even though we intend to mostly call her Hattie, I know she will occasionally need to use her full name. Also, after reading some of your past readers' emails and comments, the thought occurred to me someone might call her Hairy _icks. That thought had never occurred to me (or anyone else who I've shared our options with) until one of your commenters made a similar observation about the name Harriet Butler (Hairy Butts). Would that have crossed your mind with our name?

Does Helen or Harriet/Hattie immediately stand out as a better sister name to Felicity?

If we go with Helen, I'm not sure what nickname options there are. None of the ones I've heard of feel very intuitive. I like Nell, but it doesn't feel very natural. But maybe something will just naturally evolve as her nickname. 

The other remaining question is what Harriet/Hattie's middle name would be. I love Elizabeth, and it is a family name, but I think that might be too much of a mouthful. Our other possibilites are Anne (for Anne of Green Gables) and Lee (my middle name and mom's maiden name) or Alice (grandmother's name). Do any stand out as much better sounding than the others?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!!

It's a close one, but I think I prefer Harriet _icks to Helen _icks, and I agree that I think Harriet/Hattie is better with Felicity than Helen. And it sounds as if you prefer the name Harriet.

If you do choose Helen, it's such a short name you may not need a nickname, especially if Felicity doesn't go by one.

If you choose Harriet, I think Harriet Elizabeth sounds great. It has the same number of syllables as Felicity Katherine, and I like longish girl names, so it doesn't seem like too much of a mouthful to me. I also very much like the sounds of Harriet Anne and Harriet Lee, but with shorter, less girly middle names, I start feeling as if the two girls' names would be too contrasted: one ultra-feminine and whimsical, the other hip and quirky.

I don't know if I would have thought of Hairy or not. I think the recent post might have brought it to my mind---but even with that, it didn't occur to me until you mentioned it. Perhaps other children would think of it more quickly, though.

The name Henrietta would solve that issue, while still being similar to Harriet. Possible nicknames: Hennie, Etta, Ettie.

For another happy name, I suggest Annabel. Felicity and Annabel sound similar to me: both with hints of whimsy and Britishness and early colonial Americanness.

I also suggest Penelope, for the same reasons as Annabel.

And Clarissa, same reasons again.

And Phoebe, same.

I also suggest Eliza, and Eloise. Those feel a notch less whimsical than Annabel and Penelope to me, but they have a sass and spirit that I think goes well with the name Felicity.

Genevieve, too, is lower in whimsy, but I think it's great with Felicity. I like the nickname Evie, but Genna and Genny and Gen and Eve are available too.

Or Josephine, with the nicknames Josie and Jo.

For a bit of a long shot, I suggest Anastasia. It's a somewhat different style than Felicity, but I like the way both names are long and unusual. The darling nickname Annie helps sell it, too.

Name update! Erin writes:
You were kind enough to post my dilemma back in October or November and I wanted to let you know that our little girl, Harriet "Hattie" Elizabeth Hicks, was born on 11/29.

You and your readers' comments were so very helpful to me, so thank you very much. We went back and forth even on the day she was born but love the name we landed on.

Thank you again!!


Lucy said...

What about Adelaide with nickname Heidi? Heidi Hicks is adorable and Adelaide Hicks so so pretty.

Anonymous said...

I was going to suggest Henrietta too. I think the nickname Hettie is close enough to Hattie and the full name sounds great with Felicity. I'd also suggest Helena if you're not sold on Helen. I knew a Helena growing up who went by Lena (pronounced Lay-nuh). I always thought the extra a made the name sound less dated. I can't imagine the name Harriet would incur much teasing, I do think you should use it if it's your favorite!

Lashley said...

I agree that the H alliteration is cute! I prefer Hattie; it has a similar sparkle and spunk that I get from Felicity.

I haven't been a kid on a playground in a while, but I do work with kids and I just don't think they make fun of each other's names all that much. Maybe if it's extreme or really obvious like the people who allegedly name their daughters Placenta or their son Harry Butts, but I think that uncommon names are more prevalent than they used to be and kids are used to it. I don't think Harriet _icks, especially if she goes by Hattie, is anything to be concerned about.

shin ae said...

I was going to suggest Helena, too. I know a teenager with that name and it comes off really well. Interesting but familiar, and good for a child and for the adult the child will become.

I also know a Blythe, which I thought was an adorable choice for a baby girl. Not sure what you'd think of an adult Blythe; my guess is that feelings would differ on that one.

Anonymous said...

you mentioned Alice as a potential middle name. Have you considered Alice as a first name? I think Alice Elizabeth Hicks is pretty. Alice and Felicity sound like good sibling names. I do love Hattie and Helen--i don't think you can go wrong with either one. And I don't think people will use the "Hairy" _icks reference because her nickname will likely be Hattie, so people might not even realize her first name is Harriet. Even if they did, i think the Hairy reference is a long shot. I say go for it! And ps. I think Felicity is a great name--i can see why you love it so much!

Michelle said...

I think, especially if this were a case of twin girls, I like Hilary with Felicity. They both mean 'happy'. It would still be cute for sisters.

Eva.G said...

I also really like Hattie, and agree that if you're going to call her just Hattie, most kids at school wouldn't know what her full name is and that would eliminate the issue. But if you like Hattie so much, would you consider just naming her Hattie? Felicity and Hattie Picks (with an H).

As soon as I saw you mention Alice, I thought THAT is a perfect first name for you. Felicity and Alice Picks. So great!

Another name I love for you is Honor. Felicity and Honor have a great, Puritan/Colonial American vibe. I love it! Or Honora is lovely too.

Or... Aurelia, Aurora, Daphne, Gemma, Gwendolyn, Naomi, and Remember.

Amie said...

How about just naming her Hattie Elizabeth? I think Hattie can stand by itself as a name, no need for it to be a nickname. I also like Haven Elizabeth. Haven is a beautiful name that is not heard much. I think both go well with Felicity.

Anonymous said...

Helen & Harriet both seem a lot more stuffy/serious compared to Felicity. I agree Hattie helps a lot with this. However, I did think Harry _icks, which I think would be a problem with Harriet. Henrietta/Hettie would be a great solution. I would suggest you also consider Elizabeth as a first name, lots of fun nicknames there. Felicity and Libby would be my favorite.
Some other suggestions-Poppy,Cora, Lucy, Sabrina or Verity for another fun & uncommon virtue name. And Honora or Harmony for a fun/uncommon H virtue name.

Lucy said...

LOVE Harriet/Hattie! I think you can totally use it with no issues. I also like another comment that suggested Adelaide. Very cute. I also really like Helen. And Alice as a first or middle name. All great options!!

Anonymous said...

Harriet Aurora is pretty. Or Harriet Rose.

Rachel said...

I love Harriet! I think Harriet --icks is such a cute name- I actually like it more than the Helen version, and Hattie is such a great nn. Definitely, definitely use Harriet!

Anonymous said...

Another great, underused name that is similar to Helen is Ellen. Ellen Picks (with an H). It also goes well with Felicity.

Mary said...

I think Harriet and Helen both lack the joy and energy of Felicity. Hattie is cute and would be great!

I like Penelope a lot. Also, what about Eliana, which is a version of Helen?



Anonymous said...

Or Henriette (without the "a"), nn Hattie! I think it's quite chic.

StephLove said...

I say go with the name that speaks you most, which is Harriet. I don't think teasing should be an issue. I like Elizabeth, Lee or Alice for middles. For rhythm I like Elizabeth best, but I also like the idea of keeping Lee going through three generations.

Anonymous said...

When you said you liked Nell, I immediately thought Penelope would be perfect. Nell could also be short for Helen, Ellen or Eleanor.

I'm not sure why but I think Daphne could be cute with Felicity. Also love Beatrix with Felicity. Such a cute nickname with Bea.

Jordyn said...

Has anyone ever suggested Hadley for you? It is a name that you can use Hattie for also, and I think Hadley Hicks sounds beautiful,

Sarah said...

What about the name Hazel? I think that Felicity and Hazel are adorable together. The downside is that you can't really use Elizabeth or Lee as middle names. Hazel Anne works well though! Also, Margaret has similar character to Katherine and Elizabeth. Hazel Margaret? I also like Hattie Elizabeth. That name is adorable as well!

Anonymous said...

I name that I absolutely love, that is both familiar but not overused, is Susanna/Susannah.

Felicity and Susannah sound lovely together.

Susannah Elizabeth
Susannah Alice
Susannah Lee

Lots of nickname potential too. Susie, Annie, Anna or Zanna (too cute!).

Good Luck!

Manday said...

I love the name Felicity. Not so much with Harriet though. I do not like the alliteration, especially when it is shortened to Hattie. Helen is OK, but not as feminine as Felicity. I prefer Helena, and it could be shortened to Lanie if you wanted. Other options that popped into my mind:

Mathilda - Felicity and Mattie
Camille/Camilla - Felicity and Cami
Adelaide/Adele - Felicity and Addy
Verity - Felicity and Verity
Natalie- Felicity and Natty
Abigail - Felicity and Abby

Anonymous said...

I prefer Harriet over Helen, and with my accent (Australian) there is no 'hairy' issue.

My other suggestion would be Philippa, with the nickname Pippa.

Anonymous said...

You could always pronounce Harriet the way we Brits do: HAR-ee-ət, not HER-ee-ət or HAIR-ee-ət. Note the different pronunciations here:

I really adore your daughter's name and like both Harriet and Helen. I would use Helena (and pronounce it he-len-uh, as opposed to he-lay-nuh or he-lee-nuh). Helen _icks is a bit too abrupt; Helena _icks has a better cadence. Eleanor _icks is another you may wish to consider - nicknames include Ellie, Nell, Lenny, Nora, and so on.

Harriet, nn Hattie, is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Does Felicity have a nickname? Fliss is a pretty one - much better than Flick!

Erin said...

Thank you Swistle and all the commenters for the helpful feedback!
You've made me feel better about using Elizabeth as a middle name for Harriet, which I agree, feminizes it a bit to match Felicity's feminine name.

To answer one commenter's question: Felicity's nickname is Fliss or Flissy. My husband and I don't call her that too much (other than in writing), but many others do, and I love both of them.

Many of the names that have been suggested are wonderful names that, unfortunately, are off the table because of either friends' children (Eleanor, Annabelle, Adelaide) or because my husband would not consider them (Blythe, Gemma, Susannah). And there are a few that, while fine names, just have never gotten me too excited: Helena, Anastasia, Josephine, Hazel. See what I mean when I say that I feel like we've considered them all! Sorry if I sound terribly picky!

I guess my only other hesitation in using Harriet, which I forgot to mention, is that some dear friends who live in an another country have a daughter named Harriet. They don't call her Hattie, which is the main reason we like the name, and most likely, we will never live near each other in the future. (We prefer to give her the name Harriet rather than just Hattie so she can have a formal option to use down the road.) I guess you could say I asked for their permission/blessing, and they have been nothing but absolutely encouraging of our using the name. But I still feel a smidge weird/bad about it--and like we are copying.

So...there's that. Any thoughts on that little detail?

Again, thanks for all the input! I will certainly keep you posted!

Lawyerish said...

Well, I feel I must weigh in here, because I also have a Felicity! We plan to stop with one child, but because I love names, I think about what would go with hers all the time. Like you, I felt like we knocked it out of the park with Felicity's name, so it's tough to find something we like as much as that.

Harriet/Hattie is actually one of my favorites (because Harriet the Spy is an all-time best-loved book for me). I think since that's the one you seem to love best, you should go with that. I wouldn't be deterred by your friends with a Harriet. It sounds like they are fine with it (and why wouldn't they be?), and once your baby is here she'll be her own unique self, which to me eliminates the sense of "copying"/duplication. If that makes sense.

Helen is also one I love (it was my grandmother's name), and I think it actually goes nicely with Felicity; it's classic and elegant, but not too serious. But it seems like you just prefer Harriet/Hattie, which is a great choice.

It sounds like you've really gone through the list of every possible name, but one last one that I think goes beautifully with Felicity is Juliet. Juliet Elizabeth _icks. So pretty!

Little Bird said...

My grandmother's name was Helen and she was called Ellie....

T said...

When I read that the middle name possibilities were Anne and Lee I immediately thought of Annalee or Annelie.

Another Lauren said...

Am I alone in thinking that Lenny / leni was the go-to nickname for Helen these days?

Joanne said...

I have a Felicity too! She is my fourth child and my third daughter and I remember being so relieved and happy when I found it. She is Felicity Rose and her sisters are Maria Kathleen and Veronica Lucy and I love them all together.

I think Harriet Elizabeth has a very nice flow, and Hattie is such a cute nickname. But if you used Helen, I think Lolly is a cute nickname. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Felicity is a gorgeous name and the H alliteration is cute.

I'm not so sure about Harriet though.

I think Helena, pronounced Hel-en-ah (Nell) is really nice. My other H name suggestion would be Heloise (Nell also).

With regards to non H names I think the suggestion of Juliet is spot on. Juliet with the nn Jet is so cool!

Good Luck!

Erin said...

Swistle, I'd love your thoughts on whether you consider Harriet/Hattie a name that's about to get popular. This past year, I believe, was the first year Hattie was in the top 1000, but Harriet wasn't in it at all. Aside from that, I don't know what it's recent trajectory is.
Being that it's a nickname for Harriet, which I feel like some people love and others hate, I'm hoping it won't get wildly popular. But then, I know plenty of people would just use Hattie and forego Harriet altogether. And Hattie has that fresh feel to it that you say is a predictor to names getting really popular...or maybe it just feels fresh to me?

Anonymous said...

I used to watch road to Avonlea... and Felicity was one of the characters names. i loved it:D Her sisters name was Cecily... their aunts name was hattie... i suggest cecily:) and hope no one knows the avonlea cnnection :P