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Monday, December 3, 2012

Baby Girl or Boy Reese, Sibling to Harper and Rowan

Rebecca writes:
Returning customer here, hoping for some inspiration. Or something like that. Here's the low-down; we are expecting baby #3, gender unknown, on 12/28/12. Our last name is Reese, my husband's name is Benjamin, I'm Rebecca, and we have 2 girls, Harper Grace and Rowan Kate. We're about 4 weeks away from meeting this baby and our baby name spreadsheet (my husband insisted we get 'serious' and make a spreadsheet) is feeling lackluster, and really, kind of all over the place. 

My only 'rules' when it comes to naming are that you must be able to look at the name and pronounce it (no crazy spelling), nothing that sticks out weirdly with siblings' names (Harper, Rowan, & Bob would be a no-go), and preferably nothing that starts with an 'H' or an 'R'. 

Here's my predicament: when thinking about names for this baby, I realized there is one girl name that I have loved since my first pregnancy, but never had the guts to use; Scout. It made me question if I would regret never using this name if this were to be our last child. I have loved the name Scout since first reading 'To Kill a Mockingbird' in 7th grade. Here are my qualms with the name:

-our firstborn's name is Harper, not after Harper Lee, but I also don't want to be to 'theme-y'.
-I can definitely envision a cute toddler girl named Scout--a 35-year-old woman, not so much.
-is it just too weird?

I feel like I already think of this baby (if it is a girl) as Scout in my head, so maybe that should give me an inclination. I would prefer to use it as a first name, and give her a more feminine middle. Here are a few of our possibilities, as well as the rest of our list of girl names:

-Scout Eleanor
-Scout Noelle
-Scout Madeline
-Lola Jane

Basically all over the place, right? I know. Here's the boy names we have so far--I like most of them, but I don't have that 'aha! its love!!' feeling about any of them. I think I want something different, but not completely crazy (the middle name would most likely be Benjamin, after my husband).


Please tell me how nutty I am. Any and all advice/suggestions are welcome! 

Thank you, Swistle!!

Because my primary association with the name Harper is the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, I would not recommend using the name Scout for the sister of a Harper. I also think Scout seems too nicknamey with your other girls' names, and I agree it's not a name I would want for myself as a grown woman, and just as a final blow I don't think it works well with the surname.

However, I notice both of your daughters have one-syllable middle names; Scout might be a perfect middle name for a third girl. It's common for parents to think of a fetus by a certain nickname (Peanut, for example, or Bean, or Bear), and less common to be able to use it nicely as part of the actual name like this.

I'm looking over the other girl names on your list, and I don't see anything that seems right with sisters Harper and Rowan. Madeline seems too feminine, Eleanor is a completely different style, Sawyer seems too boyish, Navy seems too unusual. Maybe Lola or Ivy---but Lola Scout seems like too much distinctiveness for one name, and Ivy Scout seems like too many nouns.

Or actually, maybe Noelle. At first it seemed too different/feminine, but when I say the three names together I start to change my mind: Harper, Rowan, and Noelle. I can see those as sisters. Harper Grace, Rowan Kate, and Noelle Scout.

Or I wonder if you'd like Stella? It has some of the sound of Noelle, but has a better rhythm with the middle name Scout: Harper Grace, Rowan Kate, and Stella Scout.

The name Isla comes to mind. Harper, Rowan, and Isla.

Or maybe Imogen would be better: Harper, Rowan, and Imogen.

Or Madigan would be nice: Harper, Rowan and Madigan.

Or Averil---I like the way it gives each girl an R sound. Harper, Rowan, and Averil.

Or Finley: Harper, Rowan, and Finley.

Or Ainsley: Harper, Rowan, and Ainsley.

Or Darcy: Harper, Rowan, and Darcy. But maybe Har and Dar are too similar.

Or Delaney: Harper, Rowan, and Delaney.

Looking up the name Harper in The Baby Name Wizard (Rowan isn't there for girls; I hope it will be in the next edition), I see she'd recommend Marlowe, Piper, Scarlett, Tatum, and Emerson; I think Marlowe, Emerson, and Scarlett would work well. And you're not going to find Nickname-Conservative Swistle endorsing this, but I've heard of people using Scout as a nickname for Scarlett. But maybe the name Scarlett Reese would bring Scarlett and Rhett too readily to mind?

From the boy name list, my favorite is Everett. Other names similar to Everett: Elliot and Emmett and Evan.

Some of the others seem choppy to me with the surname. I do think 1-1 syllable names can work (Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are excellent examples), but I can't tell if Jude Reese and Finn Reese work.

Sawyer from your girl name list is another possibility. Sawyer Benjamin Reese; Harper, Rowan, and Sawyer.

Griffin would be nice, and you could still have Finn as a nickname. Griffin Benjamin Reese; Harper, Rowan, and Griffin.

Or Grady. Harper, Rowan, and Grady.

Or Malcolm. Harper, Rowan, and Malcolm.

Or Wilson. Harper, Rowan, and Wilson.

Name update! Rebecca writes:
Hello again!

Just wanted to give you a name update...we had a baby BOY(!) on December 21, 2012. After a few hours of debate & hoping to just look at him and have some divine inspiration for a name, we decided on Everett Benjamin. Thanks to you and all of your wonderful readers for the input, we appreciated it so much!


Anonymous said...

I have a distant family member named Kit (that I've never met), so it can be done - but unless you're independently wealthy and well connected - I'd prefer a more "mature" sounding name as an adult for myself. Sucks, but there are stories out there of Human Resources folks bouncing resumes based on the name.

I'd recommend either using it as a middle as suggested (and those are great suggestions!), or skipping it in the official name and using Scout as a nickname.

Good luck!

AJ said...

Personally, I think Scout is a lovely addition to sisters Harper and Rowan, and works just fine as an adult name. Some people will automatically think of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Harper Lee, but they probably will with Harper's name anyway, and there is no getting away from the association with a name like Scout. If it is a book you have long loved, the association is a good one. You don't have to explain to every person you encounter that the names are unrelated. Scout is such a strong name with a beloved association; I wish more people had the "guts" to use it.

I also think the name Scarlett with the nickname Scout is equally as lovely, and don't think of Scarlett and Rhett at all when hearing Scarlett Reese.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love love love Noelle. At first I wasn't sure if it went, but seeing all three sister names together, I think it's great! And a perfect name for a Christmas-time baby!

Dee said...

I read that and immediately knew i would suggest Scarlett nn Scout, but it looks like you all beat me to it! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this for you. Harper, Rowan and Scarlett are meant to be sisters, and then the added bonus you can easily use the nn Scout? I mean, perfection!
Scarlett Eleanor Reese
Scarlett Noelle Reese
Scarlett Madeleine Reese
Scarlett Ivy Reese
Scarlett Jane Reese
Scarlett Lola Reese

Anonymous said...

I love Madigan!

I'll also toss in:


StephLove said...

I agree with most of the reasons for not using Scout as the first name. I disagree, though, about Sawyer being too boyish with those sibling names. I could see it for a brother or a sister of Harper and Rowan. I also like Noelle for a first or middle.

How about Finnegan for a boy? You could call him Finn, but the full name might flow better.

Gail said...

I, too love the name Scout. If it weren't for how choppy it sounds with your surname, I'd be all over it, really cheering it on, even with a sister named Harper. But Scout comes to a somewhat abrupt end, unlike, say, the Sean in Sean Penn that Swistle used as an example.

My top girl's names for you are:


I think Harper and Rowan are beautiful but somewhat unisex/word/nature names, making it tricky to pair them with more standardly feminine names such as Lola. Even though it could be argued that Willow and Maple would create a tree name trend with Rowan, most people refer to her tree as Mountain Ash, so it's a bit more subtle.

Finley is also a great suggestion.

With a boy, I think you will have to veer into solidly boy names for the sake of sibling clarity. With quite a few girls now being named Finley, I'm not sure Finn is a great choice. Sawyer is too unisex and might be confusing. Same with Darby, which I'd otherwise recommend. Griffin is pretty wonderful.

For boys, do you like any of these?:


Liz said...

I think Scarlett would be terrific, and you could easily justify the nickname Scout from it if you wanted to. From Swistle's list I also love Isla, Imogen, and Delaney.
I love your whole list of boys names so I suppose I'm no help there.
Congrats and good luck!

Maureen said...

I too love Scarlett - I think Scarlett Reece is just fine! And it enables you to use Scout as a first name (nickname).

Good luck, and don't forget to update us!!

Anonymous said...

Two dissenting views: (1) Scout can work on a grown woman. Awesome role model: the photojournalist who took the most-tweeted photo of all time:
(2) stylistic consistency among siblings is overrated. Their names will harmonize by virtue of their being sisters, not vice versa. My sister and I have names that don't go together (hers is very Scandinavian, mine very Old Testament), and we are a less generic pair for that reason. We are a family, not a branding exercise. (I respect Swistle's views; just wanted to add my two cents on this one.)

Anonymous said...

You names reminded me of a family I know with a Reese (girl), Sloan (also a girl) and a Cohen (boy). I feel like any of those names would go with your naming style, although I'd recommend knowing about the Cohen naming controversy if that name appeals to you.

I think Scout is adorable and I wouldn't use it because I feel like it leaves Rowan out of the sibling set, as the other two would feel very TKAM themed. :/ (as a middle sister I feel very strongly against leaving people out of groupings!)

Kris said...

I actually love Sawyer for either a girl or a boy...Harper, Rowan & Sawyer. I think they sound great together!!

Finley is also a great suggestion...Harper, Rowan & Finley.

I also love the name Graham for a boy...Harper, Rowan & Graham.

Good luck!

Portia said...

If I met siblings named Scout and Harper, I would definitely assume it was an intentional homage to To Kill a Mockingbird. And then Rowan is left out.

With your girls' names, I like:


I love Swistle's suggestion of Averil, too.

For boys, I think I like Everett best from your list. A few other suggestions:


Mary said...

If you are in the US, I think Scout and Harper will definitely be thought of honoring the novel. If you're okay with that, use the name. If not, there are other gorgeous names out there to use!

I like Swistle's suggestion of Scarlett, nn Scout, or Scout as a middle name.

Would Skye or Schuyler be an option?

Names that remind me of your style, and that I think would go nicely with Harper Grace and Rowan Kate, are

Zoe/Zooey Jane (I like how Jane has the same -ay sound that Grace and Kate have)

Auden *the poet
Millay *the poet

For boys, I think Graham Benjamin would be adorable, but all your boys names are great. I personally slightly prefer Flynn over Finn.

I also see Sawyer as all boy, not as a girl's name.

Fourandcounting said...

To start, I really like the idea of Noelle - it's such a pretty name and goes well with the other sisters without being all matchy-matchy.

That being said, I also love Scout: something like Scarlett Noelle "Scout" Reese is really nice.

I was wondering if you'd consider Story: it has the same ending as Navy or Ivy.

For a boy, I think Graham is quite nice. It's a strong yet also soft name - hard to find! I also like Malachy for you.

Anonymous said...

I think Scout is too much with a sister named Harper. It's also way too nick-namey and I don't think it would age well. It could work as a middle name though.

From your list, I think Sawyer is actually best with sisters Rowan & Harper. Navy seems a bit too unusual & frankly, the rest seem too feminine. With all your other names, I would guess sister with brothers named Harper & Rowan.
Of Swistle's sugggestions, I like Finley & Delaney the best. I'll also suggest Avery, Morgan, Adair, Sheridan & Cameron.

For me, most of your boy name list would also cause some confusion about who is a boy & whose a girl. Graham, Everett & August would make me think Rowan might be a boy. Finn seems a little girlish. It feels more like a sister name with Harper & Rowan to me, probably because of Finley & Quin.

I think your best bet would be Jude. It's a distinctly different style & seems less unisex to me. I think these distinctions would make it more clear that he's the brother & Harper and Rowan are both girls.

Gail said...

One added note: Jude is now in pretty firm unisex territory. Martha Stewart has a young granddaughter named Jude and her name is featured in somewhere in nearly every magazine issue.

LARK said...

One option that I haven't seen presented for an adult named Scout would be transitioning to using her middle name as she felt the need, or even only professionally. For career purposes, she would become S. Noelle Reese (or a married name). This actually adds an air of distinction, in my opinion, without being aristocratic. I have seems this on countless resumes (male and female alike) and have not batted an eye, although the name-nerd inside is always curious about that mysterious first name.

Please note, however, that I used Noelle in that example merely for illustrative purposes. Using that naming strategy with the name Noelle, in particular, could result in "Snoelle", so it might not be the best choice.

Another Erin from the 80s said...

I know this scout issue has come up before in a post. I'm going to try and find it

phancymama said...

I am also of the thought that Harper and Scout in one family will cause the parents to encounter To Kill A Mockingbird questions pretty much all the time. It is a fine association, just a very strong one, so I'd suggest being very prepared.

I am not sure what I think about if Scout will age well. I think one of the reasons that Scout works on a current grown woman (as referenced above) is because it is so on-trend right now. I am wondering if there are any comparable names from the 1970s--maybe some of the hippie/flowery-er names? I mean names that were seen as uncommon and different in 1971 and people weren't sure if they would age well, and I am wondering if they did age well or not.
Oh, I am not explaining this well, so I will go get my kid up from her NON nap. sigh. Anyone know what I am saying?

Swistle said...

Another Erin from the 80s- Is this the one you're thinking of?: Baby Boy-Girl Twins Oliver; How to Get the Nickname Scout

Averella said...

I think Avery for another girl would be great in your family! A unisex names that, while still used occasionally for boys, is solidly established as a girl's name too. For middle names I like:
Avery Jane (one syllable, long a, traditional, just like her sisters)
Avery Scout (once again one syllable, and scout as a middle name is a great idea)
Avery Noelle (since she'd be born close to Christmas)
Avery Jade (one syllable, long a like sisters, and since Jade is green you get a Christmas vibe there too)

Mrs S said...

Hi, I really like your daughters names.
I like the suggestion of Finley/Finlay and I also think Quinn is a good fit. Harper, Rowan and Quinn. Or Marlie? Marlie Scout Reese?

I love, Everett and August nn Gus is adorable! I heard of the combo August Finch and thought is was one of the best names I've heard. I also like Griffin for a boy. How about Forrest, Charlie, Oscar or Nolan. I know Liam is popular but Liam Reese sounds wonderful.

Good luck to you and I can't wait to hear the name of your baby.

Bitts said...

Maybe this is out of left field, but remember that in the book, Scout's *actual* name is Jean Louise Finch. Scout is her nickname, also! I don't know if you're that deeply connected to the book (and I'm a kindred spirit if you are!)but Could you work with that? I mean, Harper, Rowan, and Jean Louise don't really flow,but if you LOVE Scout and you're concerned about how it ages, Jean Louise would solve that problem. BTW, I would use Jean Louise as the first name, and choose another middle name. I know 2 middle names is more common, but my daughter has two first names and one middle name, so I set the precedent for you!!

Mrs S said...

I also like Miles for you.

Anonymous said...

Ellery, Phoebe, Penelope, or Adele. I love Jude and August. What about Evan or Jonah?

Rebecca said...

You guys are the best! It is so helpful to hear insight that comes from 'outside my head' and not from friends/family. My husband and I have been talking about your suggestions all day, so keep 'em coming! Rowan was named after a commenter suggested the name to us last time on Swistle's blog. :)

Another naming we've been tossing around is Sparrow--but not sure if its too different and too similar sounding to Rowan. I do like the idea of a 2-syllable first name, 1 syllable middle name like our other girls.

Thanks again, all!

Another Erin from the 80s said...

Thanks swistle! Maybe that post will be of some help to Rebecca.

Eva.G said...

I think Scarlett is a genius suggestion! Scarlett, nick named Scout, is so perfect! Scarlett Reese. I can't get over how utterly perfect it is. Harper, Rowan and Scarlett.

I also really love Ainsley, Daphne, Phoebe, and Willow as suggested above.

Harper, Rowan and Ainsley.
Harper, Rowan, and Daphne.
Harper, Rowan and Phoebe.
Harer, Rowan and Willow.

A name I've been loving lately is Elowen. I don't know if you think it's too close to Rowan or not. Harper, Rowan and Elowen.

Or Ginger; Harper, Rowan and Ginger.
Or Juniper; Harper, Rowan and Juniper.
What abut Pippa? Harper, Rowan and Pippa!
Or Sailor; Harper, Rowan and Sailor.

For boys, I really love Noble and Shepard for you.

Harper, Rowan and Noble.
Harper, Rowan and Shepard.

vanessa said...

I wouldnt use Scout because with Harper its too much--leaves Rowan out completely. You could use it as a middle name though. My favorite name for you is actually Phoebe. Harper, Rowan and Phoebe Scout. I LOVE it. and a phoebe is also a bird, so it ties in well with the other girls names.

For a boy, Griffin is my top choice.

I think Sparrow is still in the "too weird" category.

Mrs S said...

Hi rebecca, Sparrow is a little too new for me still? I always think Jack Sparrow from the Priates of the Carribean. If you like Sparrow maybe you'd like Marlow, Willow or Sterling/Starling?

I love the suggestion of Phoebe.

From all the names suggested I like these the best with your daughters names.

Willow-nn Lola.

Griffin-nn Fin

HTH! Best of luck to you, again.

Anonymous said...

With your daughters' names I like:


I especially like Everly, I know it has three syllables, but it is so nice.

Everly Jude
Everly Mae

For a boy I like:


Hope this helps.

Good luck!

Amie said...

If you like the name Sparrow, would the name Birdie be of interest? My grandmother's name was Birdie and the "Nameberry" website says that is a vintage style name that is coming back in style, similar in other vintage nicknames Josie, Millie, Hetty, etc. Other bird style names girls are Wren and Lark. I knew a girl in college names Larkin which I thought was a cool name. For some reason I think of Sparrow as more of a boy's name, but it could still work for a girl.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Everly with your daughters' names.

Everly Jane
Everly Mae

Harper, Rowan and Everly

I also think Aubrey, Kelsey, Sidney and Kendall are great too.

Aubrey Scout?

For boys I like Spencer, Campbell, Lawson, Wesley and Anderson.

Ira sass said...

i like scout better as a nickname or middle name, also. harper, rowan, and scarlett "scout" could work, though that does leave you with har and scar.

other girls' name options:
sienna "scout"
fiona [i like fiona scout reese!]

for boys, i like elliot reese a lot. if you like the "ju" sound in jude, what about julian? [though "julian benjamin" doesn't flow too well.]

Rayne of Terror said...

For some reason Briar comes to mind for a girl.

Sally! said...

Have you considered Nola? It seems like the perfect blend of Noelle and Lola while being more distinctive and unexpected. Harper, Rowan and Nola would really work.