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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baby Girl Hanger, Sister to Nathaniel: The Grandparents Hate the Chosen Name

Carrie writes:
Hello, I've enjoyed reading your blog, especially when trying to come up with a name for my 3 year old son and now my daughter, who is due on March 8th and will likely be our last child.  I realize you probably get inundated with requests like mine but would appreciate any feedback you or your readers could give.  I normally have lots of ideas for baby names and had no trouble coming up with my son's name. However, I am at a loss about what to name my daughter, and finding a name has become stressful instead of fun.

My husband and I had decided on a name, Eleanor Charlotte Hanger.  We chose Eleanor because we like the name and Charlotte after my dad Charles.  However, my mother's and parents-in-laws' reactions were so negative about the name, that I doubt we will use it.  While I know it's our child to name, I really don't want to name our daughter something that 3 of her 4 grandparents hate and will refuse to call her (or have started to call her Eleanor Rigby).  I shouldn't feel this way, but their reactions have dampened my enthusiasm for the name.  I suppose this is a good example of why it's probably best to wait until the baby is born to tell everyone his/her name.  My husband just wants me to find a name I like and is more interested in weighing in about what he likes and doesn't like than coming up with suggestions.  So, it's back to the drawing board but I haven't found anything I love.

We tend to like names that have some history, have traditional spellings, and aren't within the top 50 of the SSA list for first names.  We are less picky about popularity for middle names, but I am trying to avoid Grace, which is a family name, because it is so often used as a middle name.  We prefer to have names that have possible nicknames.  I'd like for our daughter to have a serious but feminine name that could work well whether she is a ballet dancer, doctor, or marine biologist.  We live in the South if that helps for context.

We used family names for our son, Nathaniel Hall Hanger, and he goes by the nickname Nate.  I like the 3-1-2 rhythm of his name.  If he had been a girl, we would have named him Charlotte, but that was four years ago, before I was aware of how popular Charlotte is and before Charlotte jumped down to the under 30s on the Social Security list. If this baby were a boy, the baby's name would be Theodore with the middle name Charles or Stone.  Charles and Stone are family names.

My husband and I have been toying with the idea of naming the baby Susannah, which is a family name.  However, I'm not sure about the middle name and don't love the association with the song O Susannah.

Other names we have considered are Margaret (a family name), Josephine, and Penelope (but I'm worried that it's growing in popularity).   I like Eve, Louisa (I love the sound of Louisa Charlotte), Frances, and Alice, but my husband does not.  I still like Charlotte but am bothered by its popularity.  I also like the names Claire and Julia but worry that they are too popular.  I like the name Vivien, but my old coworker, with whom I'm still close, is named Vivien, and my husband thinks it would be weird to use the name since while we are close, we are not so close that I would name my child after her.  Vivien also seems to be rising in popularity.

Names we like but cannot use because of friends' children or my son's friends are Evelyn, Eloise, Lucy, and Madeleine.

New ideas or suggestions from our list for a name that would work well with our son's name would be appreciated.

Thanks so much,

I think the name Susannah is lovely and underused, and I like the way it repeats the rhythm/syllables of Nathaniel. But if the association with the song bothers you, I think it would be best to avoid the name. Perhaps it will work as a middle name.

If you do use it, you could repeat the rhythm of your son's name with a one-syllable middle name. Grace is indeed a common middle name, but the family-name connection might make it worth it. Nathaniel Hall and Susannah Grace. Or you could use Eve. Or Claire. Or Stone would be an interesting choice.

Savannah would be similar in sound, but seems quite different in style---and loses the family-name connection. 

If you like Eleanor, Ellen and Nora are similar.

If you like Charlotte, Violet is similar in sound and style, and less popular (though rising).

If you like Claire, there's also Clara and Cora.

I notice you mention popularity often. Here is the trouble: almost all the names you like are in style, and therefore fairly popular. This is natural: very few of us prefer out-of-style names, just as very few of us are wearing plaid bell-bottoms and feathered bangs. If you would like to make popularity your main priority, we will need to look at names that are currently out of style.

In which case, Louisa's your girl. It's a great underused traditional name, it repeats the syllables and rhythm of Nathaniel, and it lets you use Charlotte in the middle name position where popularity is much less important. It's too bad your husband doesn't like it. Might it grow on him with time and nagging?

The name Eliza is similar in sound and style, but is also more popular (#255 in 2011, to Louisa's #956), and rising (though it took an encouraging little dip in 2011; perhaps it is slowing/stopping). Nathaniel and Eliza.

I think the best possibility might be to go back to the name you already chose. I can see how the name feels ruined (especially if the rejection happened recently), but it's also completely classic for the grandparent generation to dislike their grandchildren's names at first hearing; my guess is that they wouldn't like many other names on your list, either. We could try to please them by choosing one of the names they consider stylish (perhaps a fresh new sound such as Kimberly or Ryan)---and then our children would have "mom and dad names" and stand out among their peers.

No, naming style moves on. I am practicing getting used to that truth NOW, because I know I will have trouble with it when my own grandchildren are being named. "SHIRLEY, DOLOROS, OR CRAYOLA??," I'll say privately to Paul. "They've narrowed it down to SHIRLEY,  DOLOROS, OR CRAYOLA??" And I can picture myself two days after the baby is born, saying to Paul, "What a GREAT NAME! I can't believe I never considered it! Why did I never even SUGGEST it on the name blog?? It's ADORABLE!! It's the best name ever!!"

Nicknames can be a good way to help grandparents transition to the names currently in style. Would they like the name any better if they could call her Ellie or Nora or Lennie or Nell? (Attempts to call her Eleanor Rigby should be squashed with a wince and an "Oh---please don't.")

Based on what you know of them, do you think they really will refuse to call her Eleanor? Most people get over their initial reactions when the baby has been on the scene for awhile (in fact, those same people can sometimes be found talking about how they always loved that name). Right now, they are panicking because they dislike the name and there's still a chance you might change your mind; once it's a done deal, it would require a very unpleasant disposition indeed to continue to make negative remarks about it.

And surely a grandparent would not persistently refuse to use the name of a small child they love, hurting her feelings and confusing her? Yes, yes, I'm sure we can produce stories where this has occurred (Paul's grandfather wouldn't acknowledge his birth or name for an entire year because Paul wasn't named after him); and I, in turn, will feel safe labeling those people as manipulative, unkind pineholes. I suspect your parents and in-laws don't fall into that category, but will instead fall neatly into appropriate behavior as soon as the name is no longer negotiable. (And if I am wrong, perhaps it really would be a good idea to pass all names by them first, to avoid future pain for your daughter.)

In the meantime, does anyone have any fresh suggestions? Or a soothing story about grandparents who came around to a baby's name after initially disliking it?

Name update! Carrie writes:
Hello, thanks so much for your help naming my daughter who was born on March 4th.  I appreciated all of the reassurance from you and your readers as well as the very helpful suggestions.  If we ever have a third, we have a great list of names thanks to everyone.  We decided to go to the hospital with two names:  our original choice, Eleanor Charlotte, and what we ended up with, Susannah Eve.  We were pretty set on Eleanor Charlotte but wanted to see her first.  The baby made a very quick and somewhat dramatic appearance.  Based upon her entry into the world and spending a some time with her, we decided that Susannah Eve fit her better.  We have actually started calling her Eve for now, but it will be interesting to see how nicknames develop.  The grandparents seem to like her name although my mother does not like Eve.  However, we really don't care because we think the name fits her perfectly.  My son (Nathaniel Hall, nn Nate), husband, and I couldn't be happier with our new addition.


Anonymous said...

Use the name you love, the grandparents will come around.

FWIW, I'd probably embrace the Eleanor Rigby association. "what a great song! I've always love the Beatles" If their attempts to tease don't seem to bother you they'll stop doing it.

Also, if they don't like Eleanor they are probably going to have the same complaints about every other name on your list. To their generation, the names we like sound like old people names and they probably associate them with their own parents & grandparents. To use, they sound fresh but still familiar and classic.

I named my youngest George, and my mother in law was quite rude about the name. She flat out said she didn't like, wouldn't use it & repeatedly begged us to use his middle name or to change his name. We didn't name him until after he was born, so she was being rude about a name already given. She did refuse to use it for about 6 months (he was just "the baby"), but that kind of nonsense can't carry on forever. In all honesty, I'm sure she still hates the name George, but she's stopped being an ass about it. And most importantly, she adores her grandson.

Helena said...

I promise you no one liked my name when I was born. My great grandmother (whom I was named for) didn't even like it. She went by "Lena" and, inexplicably, "Kate". My parents were assured that Helena was no good.

Thirty years later, everyone thinks the fact that I was named after dear great grandma is the GREATEST THING EVER and that Helena is so unique and beautiful. Perhaps my awesomeness influenced them, but my point is that at some point they met me and got over themselves.

Caitie said...

A lot of the names you like are on the "Victorian Darlings" list from British Baby Names so maybe you can find something else there that you love!

Fourandcounting said...

Oh, please use Eleanor. It is not a weird name; it is a lovely name. I'd love to use it myself, but my sister-in-law already did.

Nate and Eleanor make such a nice sibling set, and Eleanor Charlotte is so classic. It's a name I would love to have myself.

I named my oldest son Stuart (an old family name), and THAT certainly got some raised eyebrows, but that's who he is and no one questions it now. A friend once called my sister's decision to name her daughter Virginia as "a horrible thing to do to a child," but I don't think anyone doubts now what a wonderful name little Ginny has.

I agree with Swistle - roll your eyes when "Eleanor Rigby" comes up. It will go away.

If you want to look for another name, though, here are some ideas:


I also like Swistle's suggestion of Violet or Eliza.

But, in the end, I'd encourage you to go with the name that you have picked out - Eleanor. You really can't go wrong with it.

Lauren said...

I completely agree with Swistle that if you both love Eleanor Charlotte (a really beautiful name, by the way), you should go with that proudly and happily, and your mother and parents-in-law will likely reneg on their promise to "not call her that" once she is here and beautiful and their little darling. However, you know them best and what they are likely to do!

Thus, with a large asterisk in favor of Eleanor, I wonder if you would like Beatrice or Amelia? I also think Margaret and Julia, of your suggestions, are wonderful names. I like Louisa as well; do you think your husband might warm to it with the spunky, adorable nickname Lou?

Anonymous said...

Go with Eleanor! Beautiful, beautiful name.

But if you really can't, maybe Suzanne instead of Susannah? Suzanne is a great name, strong and feminine, lots of nickname options.

Teej said...

I have to agree with all of the previous commenters that Eleanor Charlotte is such a lovely name. Eleanor is one of my personal favorites right now of the reasons I like it is for the association to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (though that character's name was spelled Elinor).

I don't have any advice about recalcitrant grantparents though. But I think they would come around!

As for Swistle's comments about our future grandchildren, I think about that a lot and I wonder if names like Barbara, Linda, Carol (and Shirley!) are really going to come back into vogue??? I am already starting to think Janet might be cute again soon...

StephLove said...

I say stick with Eleanor. The grandparents will probably get over it. When I was pregnant with my first grandmother didn't like his name because it starts with the syllable "No" so she thought it was negative. Now she says it's her favorite boy's name. When I was pregnant with my second, the other grandmother thought our girl name (June) was impossibly old-fashioned and kept suggesting we use April instead because even though it's not a family name like June, it was still a month. Now she loves June's name and says it suits her.

However, if you do change, I like everything on your list. Susannah is my favorite. Louisa is nice, too.

Unknown said...

When I informed my parents that we would be naming our son Henry, there was a looong pause before my mother said, "That's a little old-fashioned, don't you think?". My father, as I had predicted, said he was going to call him Hank, a nickname we did not want to use. Their comments bothered me at the time, but we stuck to our guns, and they've never said a negative thing about his name since. My father really tried with the Hank thing, but we just ignored him and eventually he stopped calling him that.

I really think you should stick with Eleanor Charlotte. It's a beautiful name that YOU love, and I worry you'll regret not using it just to accommodate your family. They will come to love her name as they get to know her.

Sonia said...

I think you should use the name if you love it still. If you've soured on the name, though, swistle has great suggestions, and I do like Susannah and Beatrice as well.

In a "grandparents came around" story, I tossed out the name "Ezekiel" as one of my choices for my second son. It got lukewarm reactions at best, from all 4 grandparents. My FIL complained that everyone would call him Zeke. When we ultimately settled on that as his name, my mother said she'd have to get used to it, while she tried very hard to not make a face. Well, now they all LOVE his name, even Zeke as a nn. It suits his personality so well. So, your parents/in-laws may come around and decide that Eleanor is the perfect name for her, once they get to snuggle their little granddaughter, Eleanor.

Jessica said...

As soon as I saw 'Grandparents hate the name' I knew this was going to be good.

I completely agree - use the name you chose. I just had to put in a little plug for Margaret, since I saw it on your list. My daughter is named Margaret and I was a little nervous it was too 'old', but it's turned out to be the most adorable name on a little girl. (As Eleanor would be. I'm actually thinking now that maybe if I have another girl sisters named Margaret and Eleanor would be so cute.)

Laura said...

"(perhaps a fresh new sound such as Kimberly or Ryan)"

Bwahahaha! Swistle, you have grandparents pegged! In my own daughter's case, we were urged by my mother in law to name her something "unique" and "new" like BREANNA or AMBER! I didn't even know what to say when she provided that suggestion.

The same mother in law bristled at the name chosen for my nephew, but now doesn't think twice about using it. It's HIS name, and she loves him. So she has forgotten her initial dislike.

Sarah said...

I love Eleanor Charlotte! If my husband liked it more, it would be on my list of top 6 (my baby, due in May and featured here a few days ago, is still un-named but I am soaking up all of Swistle's suggestions and the suggestions of her amazing readers).

I PROMISE the grandparents will love it when she is born! My mother has hated every single one of the names I selected before the kids were born. Now, though, she acts as if they were her choices all along! True to form, she hates all of the options on my newest list, but I am undeterred. My in-laws have always been quieter about their name disapproval, but it was there in the attempts to provide "nice" alternatives... Go with what you love! Can't go wrong. :)

Gail said...

Well, my daughter is expecting our first grandchild, a little boy, in 3 weeks. Lucky for me (as a name nerd), both she and her husband have been running names by me. And I've furnished lists upon lists of likely contenders for their tricky last name. And lucky for them, I find myself at this point liking lots and lots of names, and only really disliking creative spellings. Their likely choice will be John. And I have to say that at first I found that such a boring choice, but having had 4 or so months to get used to it, it's probably now my top choice, as well. So I say go with Eleanor Charlotte. It's absolutely beautiful, you both love it, it has great nicknames, and soon, they'll most likely love it as well.

Issas Crazy World said...

Personally I'd stick with Eleanor. All the grandparents had their chance to name children. This is your turn. Your kid, your rules. I'm with Swistle, once the baby is born, they'll all likely get used to it. It's a gorgeous name.

Nobody liked my choice for my oldest. They told me how weird and insane it was. They weren't nice. I vacillated but in the end used it anyway. Now they all adore it. Shrug. It's her, if that makes sense?

However...with my two younger kids I NEVER told them and they all wondered why.

Trudee said...

I don't have a grandparents story, but I did express to a friend that I disliked a name she was considering for her child. Granted, my friend asked for my opinion because, as she put it, she knew I would tell her what my honest reaction was. I won't reveal the name, but I remember saying that it sounded like a stripper name to me. She ended up choosing that name in the end, and I think I joked about buying the child her first pole. But, to be honest, now it just is her name. Now that I know someone with that name, any previous impressions I had are gone. I wouldn't choose it for my child (just as your parents wouldn't -- and didn't -- choose yours for theirs) but that doesn't impact anything in the end. I say use the name you love and try to remind your parents of what they used to tell you: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. :)

Kathleen said...

I feel like I have similar taste to you, and I named my daughter Meredith Susannah. They both have family connections but I love them. Anytime we tell people her name is Meredith we get positive reactions - it is traditional but pretty and not very popular.

Susannah is beautiful and I never once thought of the song when including that in her name. The nickname Susie is so cute. I also love Louisa. You could call her Lulu!

Anonymous said...

I, too, would urge you to use Eleanor despite the reaction from the grandparents. I mean, Nate and Nora? Come On. Adorable. Eleanor is not even "my taste" but those nicknames together just melts me.

As a side note, I wanted to point out that if you are considering having additional children, Eleanor would rule out Theodore for a future son.

So, if you do pass on Eleanor, for whatever reason, I adore Susannah. I do think of the song, but only when I say it in my head. When I say/hear it aloud, I don't. And wouldn't she more often be known as Suzy, or by some other nickname anyway?

Jan said...

I love both Susannah and Louisa for your girl! I think it's okay to take the grandparents' opinions into consideration.

Lauren said...

I love Eleanor and it has wonderful nicknames the grandparents can use. But if it's too hard to use it now, I know a family with a Vivien who used Lucille as a sister name (nn Lucy) and it also makes me think of Lillian (nn Lily). Nate and Lucy would be cute sibling names. Good luck!

Lisa said...

I think you should still go with Eleanor! It's a beautiful classic name that fits all your criteria.

I chose an old-fashioned name for my daughter (it's in the 300s), and I guarantee you that had we told our parents the name before she was born, they would have protested. But we didn't, and when we announced her name, they had no choice but to love it (and they do!).

I am so entertained hearing name suggestions from other generations. My own grandmother (almost 90) was pushing Linda or Patricia, saying she regretted that she hadn't had more daughters to use those names herself. My mom really wanted me to go with Katie.

We all have different tastes that are influenced by our age at the time, so please don't worry about their careless early rejection of the name. If Eleanor is your daughter, run with it! (And please send us an update!)

Jenny Grace said...

My new niece is Susannah, and we all love the song association. It's so much fun to exclaim, "O, SUSANNAH!" when she's being silly, and to sing, "O, Susannah, don't you cry for me" when she's fussing. I think it's sort of the perfect baby song.
Also, I don't think the kids (I'm generally referring to the older children of my family) actually knew the song at all except that we're always singing it, so I'm not sure it's quite the strong cultural reference it once was.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if altering it to Leonora or Eleanora would change their opinion or whether they are just being finicky about older names in general? Show them this thread, guaranteed it will prove that names like Eleanor are perfectly acceptable and stylish nowadays! I really want to second (or third or fourth) you to use Eleanor! It's beautiful and classic. If you're really fishing for new material though, I would suggest Lorelei. Probably a bit out on a limb but it's a name I've seen on a few babies and I think it is a lovely longer name with a similar sounds and less of a "date".

Shannon said...

I totally understand your predicament!!! I was experiencing the same thing when we told our parents what we intended to name our unborn little girl. Nothing like phone calls two to three times a day with "suggestions"!! I had to laugh and tell them that they might not like the name now but would love it once they met the baby! I definitely felt a little doubtful about my decision when I was met with the opposition...because of course, we want the grandparents to love their grand child's name!! BUT it is ultimately you, the parents, decision. YOU need to love the name...if you love Eleanor Charlotte, USE IT!! It is a beautiful name and I truly think the grandparents will come around in the end...for both of our sake;-) Good luck!!

JCF said...

As the mom of an Eleanor, I'd encourage you to go ahead and use it despite popular opinion! When we named our daughter (not until after she was born), my grandmother flat out said she hated it, and that "it is an old lady's name." She repeatedly said "I wish you would have named her_______." She tried to encourage us to call her various nicknames for Eleanor, and was not pleased when we told her she was welcome to call her Nora. She wanted EVERYONE to call her Nora, or she wouldn't be happy. After about six months, my mom told her to cut it out, that the baby was long since named, and there was no changing anything. She's stopped complaining, though I don't know what her opinion is at this point (and I don't care). Also, on a side note, we asked her at one point what name she would have preferred, and her answer was, "Something more modern--like Bonnita." WHAT?????

She wasn't the only one to express dislike of the name, but she was by far the most vocal. We just stuck to our guns and told people the choice was final, and I imagine everyone has adapted to her name at this point (she's four).

Susan said...

I think you should use the name you love. The grandparents will get over it when they meet your beautiful little girl and eventually find it hard to imagine her as anything other than Eleanor. FWIW, I have a nearly 13 year old Susanna and she has only heard the "O Susanna" thing a few times. She actually uses it herself when people are unable to understand her name (she gets "Savannah" a lot).

Sue said...

My name is Susannah, and the song really isn't too bad. It tells you a lot about the other person if they start singing it, it's like having your cheeks pinched. But for some reason a lot of people have a hard time saying it or remembering it, and they call me Suzanne or Susan. Like, no matter how many times I correct them they keep doing it. It's very annoying. And now I have ended up with the nickname "Sue" which I really hate. Anyway, Eleanor is a great name. The grandparents are crossing a lot of boundaries by expressing their opinions so strongly, don't let them change your mind.

Julie said...

My youngest daughter, who just turned two this week, is named Margaret Suzanne. We also live in a large city in the south and never - and I really mean n.e.v.e.r. - run across other little girls named Margaret. In fact, I am constantly hearing what a beautiful and underused name it is. "Fresh" would be the word I think Swistle would use. In fact, she helped us with our naming conundrum:

There is a little girl at our children's preschool named Eleanor Jane (her older sister = Sadie). It's adorable on her! With that said, I think you should use whatever name you and your husband like the best. I'm so sorry if the grandparents reactions have soured you to such a beautiful name. Now I think it's gut-check time. Your baby will be loved and adored by all no matter what her name, so pick the name that in the end, is the one YOU love the best. Everyone else will get on board.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting my question on your blog! I really appreciate all the kind feedback and great suggestions. It makes me feel much better about our chosen name. We may go with Susannah, but I really do like Eleanor Charlotte. I agree that my mother and mother-in-law will no longer wrinkle their noses and comment on how ugly the name is once the baby is here, and I wouldn't say that I would have chosen the names they selected for my husband, our siblings and me. I'll certainly let everyone know what we chose. Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

My 4 year old grand daughter is Susanna. It will only be the 'older folks" who know the song. Only 4 years, but I doubt if she had heard the song more that a couple of times. Lots of nicknames, too. Susie, Anna, Nana, or really old fashioned, Sukie. My daughter would call her Nana, but she can't because that's me and I have an older grandchild that knows me as Nana.
My father-in-law didn't like my daughter's "weird name" and said that he was going to call her Kit. He died when she was 18 months old, but she would have loved the nickname.

mamashine said...

As everyone else has said, if you love Eleanor, go for it! Ella is a cute nn too if Nora doesn't work.

As far as grandparents go, my daughter is named Gillian (pronounced like Jillian) Arizona (family name). We got all sorts of comments from parents and others of that era about what a hippie name it is (hello, family name!!) and how we're too young to do something like that to her. And one kept insisting that everyone would call her Gilligan because her name is "only one letter away from that fool on the island".
And now everyone loves it and says how interesting it is. :) Or at least they make a good show of loving it even if they secretly think otherwise, and that's all I care about really.

Patricia (mom of 9, nana of 17, great-nana of 1, so far said...

I agree that you should use the name you love. I'm a grandparent too, but one who has followed naming trends since before my children were born -- with so much more information now available through the Internet -- and am aware of the wide variety of names parents are naming their children now. But many of my contemporaries are not and often wrinkle up their noses when I mention a name one of my granddaughters is considering for her child. You can imagine the look that my SIL gave me when I told her one of them is set on Mabel. I felt somewhat the same when I first heard Mabel may turn up in our family again, and yes, I did share my thoughts about the name. But I gave it more thought, researched the name, and now can see why my granddaughter is drawn to the name. And most of all, I don't want her to feel bad about a name she loves or not use what she really wants to use because of me: this is her child. (She has told me that she likes my feedback on her names -- a lot of it objective: history, etymology, etc. -- but will use them anyway if she and her husband like them best.)

I would hope that the grandparents involved here would consider your feelings and your choices. And oh, if they only knew what a lovely name Eleanor Charlotte is perceived as today. And with both names spelled the traditional way. And neither name made up yesterday or basically a boys' name or some trendy name that will come and go.

I would NOT choose another name. Swistle is right that many of the names you've considered would most likely not be received any differently.

You might send your parents and inlaws a letter explaining how their negative reactions to the name you and your husband have carefully and lovingly chosen for your daughter have hurt and upset you. That you didn't expect that and that while you had hoped that they would like the name, you will still be using it because you and your husband believe it's a good name for your daughter. While it's not necessary, you could elaborate on the positive reasons/associations you had for choosing the name Eleanor Charlotte. And then you might include an article about baby naming today, the SSA stats for 2011, and/or whatever else you think might help them to understand that baby name perception has changed since they named their children, just as it does every 20 years or so. I expect they will come around, but some updating of their name perceptions might help too.

It'll be fine: name your baby Eleanor Charlotte.

Rita said...

Use the name you like, and have the grandparents call her by a nickname: Ella, Elle, Ellie, Nora, Nell, Ella-Charlotte, Lolotte, Sunny, Princess?

Patricia said...

About Susannah/Susanna: We named our youngest daughter Susanna (New Testament spelling of the name), and there was never a concern about "Oh, Susannah" teasing. She has always loved her name, mostly been called by the full name which she strongly prefers. Neither she nor I wanted her to be "Susie or Sue" but the family does shorten it sometimes to Suz. Another nn I've seen more recently is Sanna. I've loved the Dutch name Sanne [Sahn-nuh] -- the name of Anne Frank's close friend who is mentioned in the book and movie -- but didn't know at the time we named our daughter that Sanne is the Dutch short form of Susanne [soo-SAHN-nuh]. Had I known I probably would have used that sometimes as a nn for our Susanna.

Do all the grandparents like the name Susannah? Since you're thinking of giving up your first choice because of them, it seems that you should ask them before proceeding. It would be disappointing to announce the new name after the baby is born only to hear that they didn't like this name either or that they liked this name less even than Eleanor!

Nathaniel and Susannah go well together, so that Susannah -- a family name too --seems to be an excellent option for you.

liz said...

Stick with Eleanor, and introduce the grandparents to this beautiful lullaby by Pianosaurus.

Alternatively, have you thought about Georgette or Agatha? I mention them, because most of the names on your list are the names of my favorite authors.

call me nora said...

Eleanor Charlotte is a beautiful name! Classic yet has some fun nicknames. Go with what you love. I know a Josephine in our circle of children and I have fallen in love with the name. Louisa is also a beautiful suggestion.
(I'm so puzzled why they all had the negative reaction.)

Anonymous said...

When I was pregnant we shared our top names (Beckett and Claire) with family and friends. Claire was widely received and Beckett was either mocked or flat out ignored.

Well, of course we had a boy and we stuck to our guns and named him Beckett. Fast forward two plus years and no one could imagine him by any other name. From the moment he was born everyone was so in love with him that they just naturally fell in love with his name as well.

The Mrs. said...

How does Florence sit with you? It has the nicknames of Flossy and Wren and Flora (and even Flo).

Otherwise, do you care for Lillian?
Lillian Josephine is amazing!

The name Lenora has the same sounds as Eleanor. It certainly isn't climbing the charts, though! It has the nicknames of Lena and Nora still.

Best wishes to your growing family as you and your husband pick the winner! Let us know what you decide!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. :) PLEASE give your daughter the name you've already chosen for her!!! All the grandparents will get over it. I have four children, and two of them have names that our parents absolutely disliked before they were born. But we knew those were the names we wanted to use- and my mom admitted that as soon as we told her those were for sure their names (after they were born) that she completely fell in love with the names.

Megan said...

I know a couple little Eleanor/es now, and a few kids with variants of it like Nora or Elena. It's certainly coming back into style! I think a lot of people from our parents' generation think of names like Eleanor and Emily as "old" but our generation sees them as fresh and new, names with history that you haven't heard every day. It will probably take them some getting used to, but I would stick to my guns and use the name I'd chosen. Besides, if they're willing to make their distaste known on this one name, what are the odds you could possibly please them all with any other name choice?

Lonna said...

Eleanor Charlotte is adorable! I'd keep it if I were you. On another note, Swistle, you mentioned Louisa is in the top 1000, but I haven't see it there. Or did I miss read what you wrote, or am I miss reading the social security baby names site?! I'm only curious because I'm 4 days from due date and that's our top girl pick...I think!

Swistle said...

Lonna- Oops! I saw that the top number on the chart for Louisa was #956---and didn't see that that was in NINETEEN SIXTY-NINE!

Susan said...

I'm a gramdma, and for me at any rate Swistle is exactly right: names that were popular when I was naming my babies 40 years ago are the ones that still sound fresh to my ears. The ones that were FRUMPY at that point in history (namely, Eleanor, George, Henry, even Emma) still sound frumpy to my ears .... until the moment they get attached to a darling little baby, when like a flash the name is transformed. It doesn't even have to be MY grandchild (though the transformation in that case is even more instantaneous); if I even so much as HEAR of a baby or toddler named George or Henry, the magic happens. The mental picture of my crotchety old uncle vanishes. The name is suddenly fresh and adorable.

My advice? Ignore the naming tastes of the grandparents, use the name you want, and then watch the magic happen! (And try to make your laughter affectionate!!)

Rbelle said...

"It would require a very unpleasant disposition indeed to continue to make negative remarks about it."

This made me laugh and laugh. Before my niece was born, most of my family was rather ... taken aback by the name my SIL had chosen. Personally, I thought it was a terrible name to saddle a kid with, but in my family, unless asked specifically for an opinion, we smile and nod about names as they are presented by the parents, and bitch in private conversations we assume will never go any further. I took part in said complaining with a friend of mine, with the caveat that once the baby was born, I was done talking about how much I hated her name. And in fact, now that she is a real live person, the name doesn't bother me AT ALL. It's not one I would ever pick, I still wonder whether she'll hate it or love how unique it is, but it's her now, and I'm completely over having any sort of problem with it (although I await with keen interest their choice for the upcoming baby). My friend? Not so much. I can't even talk about my niece without her making fun of the name. And she is my friend, but ... well, unpleasant disposition, indeed.

For the record, I love the name Eleanor and would use it myself if my husband was on board. I say, go for it.

Amy said...

I think Eleanor is a wonderful name, as are your other choices. Use the name you love, everyone else will come around.

When my husband and I announced we were thinking of naming our daughter Agatha, we were bombarded with negative feedback (except from Swistle and Co!). My mother was even on the "I will call her something else" boat, which really cut me. However, when little baby Agatha arrived, the naysayers fell in love and now they couldn't imagine her with any other name.

Erin said...

My MIL didn't care for my daughter's name (Lorelai) when we told her that's what we had chosen. Now, she loves it, because it is so clearly perfect for our girl.

When we found out we were expecting baby girl #2 and told her that we're naming her Kaylee? Oh. She *HATES* the name. *HAAAATES* it. She keeps asking me, "Is it definitely Kaylee, or are you still considering other names?" and "Oh, I heard the prettiest girl's name the other day, have you considered ___?" and "How many times did you change your mind before settling on Lorelai's name? Are you SURE you're set on Kaylee?"

I finally had to remind her that she didn't like Lorelai's name either, but once it was attached to an actual baby she forgot she hated it. I also had to tell her point-blank that she's welcome to her opinion but it's not going to change our minds and I'd appreciate it if she'd stop trying. Especially because I know that as soon as baby Kaylee gets here, MIL will not even remember that she hated the name so much.

anonymouseandcheese said...

My mom hated both of my daughters's names when we told them to her (both times, before the baby was born). Now, she claims they are the sweetest, most perfect names and can't even remember why she didn't like them.