Okay, I've never seen you post an email like this before, but I am writing to you for my sister, who has given me permission to horn in on her baby naming situation to ask for some advice on her behalf. I am such a huge fan of your blog, and long after I had my two boys, I've been checking in to see how you've solved the world's baby naming conundrums.
Okay, so my sister, whose last name is Dry with an F just found out she is pregnant with her third and final baby, a girl, who is due in June. Her first two children have really great names -- great, I think, because they are unique (i.e. not top 100) without sounding so unique that you say "huh"? I call them classic unique -- Elliot Dallin and Emelia Mollie. Mollie was the middle name of our grandmother, Jane Mollie.
Now, my sister's husband thinks that they need to complete the package with another "E" name, because having two "E" names already, he thinks it's only fair that they name the third the same. He says that he's going to veto anything that doesn't start with an E. My sister isn't sold on needing an "E" name; she doesn't think it's necessary to keep going with the Es and in fact would lean the other direction, not an "E" name. So my first question on their behalf is whether continuing with the "E" names is necessary -- that is, will the third child feel left out if her siblings both have "E" names and she does not?
They don't have ideas in mind, although my sister likes Elisabeth, but thinks it's probably too common, and Emelia, who is four, has put her vote in for Elissa. My sister's husband suggested Elin.
And finally, having a last name like Dry with an F means you have to be a little bit careful not to for example, name the baby Frenchie or Frances. Oh, and my sister and her husband are looking for names to go with Dry with an F that are more than one syllable to even it out.
So, do you have any suggestions for either "E" names that fit the criteria that my sister would love and therefore would not require a veto, or other names that just go nicely with Elliot and Emelia that don't make that song "which one of these doesn't belong here?" start playing in your head?
We'd love your advice.
PS -- My sister added a few likes and dislikes:
I think M's top are
Eloise (Not my favorite)
and mine is
Esmee (I don't want people to say "Es-may" like the French way, so I was thinking about adding the extra e)
but I also like
Elisabeth (can't argue with a family-ish name)/Elis is cute
I pretty strongly veto
Eleanor (too popular right now)
I should find the family tree for middle name ideas.
I have mixed feelings, because on one hand I do think it would be nice to give the third child an E name, and on the other hand I'm annoyed at the idea of one parent declaring that he'll veto anything that isn't an E name. Surely this is a decision for the two parents to make together, not for one parent to refuse to consider anything else.
No, it isn't necessary to have a third E name. And as long as there is no reason for the third child to feel that her parents gave her a non-E-name on purpose in order to exclude her from the family, I don't see any particular reason it will be an issue. If it comes up, it seems as if the answer "Oh! We didn't do that on purpose, we just chose our favorite name each time!" would be fully sufficient to cover the situation for any child not determined to feel upset about it.
I would also recommend taking an approach where the first letter of a name is not given quite so much impact: "Yes, Annabel, that's right: Elliot and Emelia both start with E! And you and Emelia both have an A in your names, but Elliot doesn't; and you and Elliot both have a doubled letter in your names, but Emelia doesn't; and you and Elliot both have three syllables but Emelia has four; and all three of you have L's and E's; and you're the only one with an N, and Emelia is the only one with an M, and Elliot is the only one with a T..." and so on. (This is a pretty fun game to play with little kids.)
I think it also helps in this case that the matched initial is a vowel, so that the starting sounds are more El- and Em- rather than both being E-; and also that Emelia's name hits the ear as if it's Amelia. When said aloud, the sibling group is not going to have the same ear-catching impact as, say, Brian, Brittany, and Samantha: Elliot, Emelia, and Annabel (said aloud rather than seen written down) doesn't catch my ear at all. Even written down, I think the vowel initial of the third name softens the difference. So if they do decide not to use a third E name, I would recommend looking first among other vowel names.
There are other ways to tie a third name in, too. Both Elliot and Emelia have six letters including E, L, and I. Names on the non-E list could be examined for similarities along those lines. Lianna, for example, has the L and the I, and also has six letters, and also repeats the -lia of her sister's name. Or Laurel has six letters and the L and the E. Or Leslie has six letters and the E, the L, and the I. Or Lilian has six letters and the L and the I. Or Violet has six letters and the E, the L, and the I, and if anything makes Emelia the odd one out. Or Linnea has six letters and the E/L/I. And so on.
Effort could also be put into the middle name: the first two children both have six-letter double-L family names; it would be nice to find something similar for the third child.
I notice that all the current candidates are E names, so let's proceed on the assumption that your sister's husband has made this decision for them, and that what we're looking for is an E name.
My first suggestion is Erianna. It's feminine and pretty like Emelia, but not too similar. Elliot, Emelia, and Erianna.
My own favorite E name is probably Eliza. Elliot, Emelia, and Eliza. I THINK the different emphasis and vowel sounds (ee-LY vs. EH-lee) keeps it from being too similar to Elliot.
Or Elena would work well. Elliot, Emelia, and Elena.
Or maybe Ellis, or Ellison, or Everly, or Ellery.
Elsa/Elsie is pretty. Elliot, Emelia, and Elsa.
I'm not sure about the Esme situation. Does your sister want it pronounced Ehz-mee instead of Ehz-may? I am not sure how difficult it would be to get people to do that. Is it pronounced mee or may in the Twilight movies? If the goal is to get the mee sound at the end, I would spell it Esmie.
I love her idea of her naming the baby after you! That would be my top favorite, except I'd spell it the same as your name because I would get weary of correcting the spelling. Elliot, Emelia, and Elizabeth.
I also like Emelia's suggestion of Elissa. Elliot, Emelia, and Elissa. Maybe her given name could be Elisabeth and her nickname could be Elissa.