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Monday, October 6, 2008

Baby Boy Walker

Cindy writes:
I ran across your website a few months ago, while doing yet another internet search for baby naming philosophies, and have become a little bit addicted, I must admit! I wasn't planning on writing in myself, because I thought that my husband and I had pretty much settled on a name for our first child, a son due at the end of October. But as the date gets closer, I am starting to panic a little bit that the name we picked may not "fit" once the baby is born, and that we might need a backup. I thought maybe the Swistle team might be able to help!

Our last name is Walker. We both love the name Finn (despite it's rising popularity) and have two choices for middle names - Michael or Ryan, my father's first & last name. Right now, the name we are semi-settled on is Finn Michael Walker. Which I really do love. However, on Finn, I get caught up in two areas:

1) I rather like the idea of names that are longer but can be shortened into a nickname. I think it gives the child options as they get older, plus I just think that plain "Finn" is a little too curt. In this instance, the only long version of Finn I really like is Finnian. My husband is not so sure if having the longer name is necessary. Thoughts?

2) The meaning of "Finn" is "fair" (as in light skinned or fair haired). While both my husband and I are pale skinned, and he is very fair - reddish blonde hair w/blue eyes & lots of freckles, my family is a bit darker in the genetic background - my mom is French & Porteguese and my whole immediate family has red/brown hair (me) to dark brown hair. So there is a chance this kid is going to show up and not be fair haired at all.

This is where the backup plan comes in. Here are some of the "rules" we've kept in mind picking out a name, and I would love your help in coming up with another option in case he arrives and is just not a Finn.

1) Our last name (Walker) is extremely common, so we are trying to pick a name that is not completely bizarre, but also not too common (James, Michael, Peter, etc.) so that he doesn't have to share his name with a bunch of other folks out there.

2) We are partial to names of Irish descent, and while the meanings aren't dealbreakers, I try to stay away from ones that mean something dark or ominous (for instance, I liked Cillian until I found out it meant "war.")

3) The "er" at the end of our name sort of precludes us from using any first names that end in "er"

4) Must work with middle name of either "Michael" or "Ryan."

Thanks in advance for your help!

I think it's normal to panic a little about the chosen name as the due date approaches---or at least, I always do. If you both love the name Finn, I think you should use it.

One of my children has a one-syllable name, and what I've found is that we naturally lengthen it in other ways: for example, if we'd had a baby named Finn, we would have called him Baby Finn, Finny-Finny-Finn-Mo-Finn, Finneroo, Sweetie-Finn, Finn-a-linn, Finn Michael, Finley, Finnsums, etc. And now that we're used to it, we also use it on its own and it no longer seems "too short" to me as I'd feared it would. (People do occasionally assume it's short for something, but not often.)

I think it's okay that the meaning is "fair" and the baby might not in fact be blond. I don't know what the name's original meaning had in mind, but the word "fair" can also mean good-looking ("Monday's child is fair of face"), or light-skinned (without being light-haired), or smooth-skinned. Or, of course, and this is REALLY stretching it, it can refer to justice, or to moderation. Or, um, to a carnival.

So in short, I think you should stick with what you've got. Finn Michael Walker is a terrific name and you both love it---what could be better?


LoriD said...

I love the name Finn, just as it is and Finn Michael sounds great together. I have a Luke, a name which many people assume is short for Lucas (it's not). Like Swistle said, we'll call him Lukey or Luke-Duke or other pet names. I'm of the mind that, unless you're honouring someone, you don't need a longer name to give a short name more weight. Use the name you love.

Catherine said...

You should go with Finn. The only thing I'm a bit wary of is that I personally don't like the flow of Finn Michael Walker or Finn Ryan Walker. Of course, people will rarely say the whole name together so it's hardly a huge issue.

I might be tempted to go with Michael Finn and call him Finn. If he decides he hates it later in life, he can go by Michael. But if he loves Finn, he can go by that.

Erika said...

Another thought on the issue of "fair": I wouldn't base a name on appearance at birth, as it's often not possible at that point to tell if a baby's going to be dark-haired or light-haired, etc., and of course complexions change a lot, too. It's quite common for babies to be born with dark brown fuzz on their noggins, only to lose that and replace it with hair the color of cornsilk!

Rachel said...

My first name means "ewe" and I don't look like a sheep (um, I hope). I don't think you should let the meaning of the name get in the way unless it means something negative.

I say go with Finn, already shortened!

Frazzled Mom said...

I named my daughter Fiona, which also means fair, and I think it might be the feminine version of Finn. I knew she probably wouldn't literally be fair skinned or haired, but I didn't care. The general public doesn't know the meaning of names.

While I am somewhat fair skinned with green eyes, my hair is brown and my husband has olive skin, black hair and brown eyes. Almost everyone in my husband's family has dark brown or black hair and peach to olive complexions, which are dominate traits.

At this point, it looks like my daughter will not be fair. She is only 20 mos. and could change, but I think she will have peach skin, medium brown hair and brown eyes. Regardless, I still think the name fits her.

Expectant parents worry so much about names "fitting" their babies, but I believe people grow into their names.

I like Finn Michael Walker by the way.

M said...

What about Finley? You could still call him Finn. I believe Finley is rather "normal" in England and Ireland, but you don't hear it here. Finley Ryan Walker is very nice. Finley Michael is also nice.

Good luck!

randommummy said...

I love Finn and Finley.

brooke said...

I am also partial to the name Finn. I think it is a very spunky, fun name. Have you thought about Griffin, nn Finn? Griffin Michael Walker, nn Finn sounds great to me!

I also wanted to let you know that I know of three little girls recently named Finley/Finlay...this might be the next Taylor, Hayden, type name. The great thing about Griffin is that very few would ever consider this a feminine name.

Good luck!

Bethtastic said...

Use Finn. You love it. It sounds great with your last name. All is well!

If you still think you need a longer name, perhaps Griffin? Finn for a nn?

(I'm Beth. Just Beth. Not Bethany, not Elizabeth. And it works just great for me. My Mom has called me Bethieboo my whole life, and a few other relatives call me Bethie or Bether...but mostly just Beth. One syllable names work. :))

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Brooke. I over hear the name Finn, Finnley ,Finley ,Phin ect. pretty often at the play ground. I have also noticed it each week in the local birth announcements ( and more often for baby girls) In fact I have a friend who is due any day with a little girl and they plan on naming her Finley.

I really like the idea of something longer than just Finn so you have more options. I love the suggestion Griffin. How do you feel about Finnegan?

Butterfly Chaser Photography said...

I think Finn is a lovely name and I think Michael is a lovely name. However, when I read them together, the first thing that popped to my mind was this poem. "Michael Finnigan", the lyrics are here.

I don't know how popular this children's nursery rhyme is, but thought you should know about it if you don't already!

It is, of course, impossible to name a child a name that cannot be used for teasing fodder, but in this case I might go with Griffin Michael, or Finn Ryan or some other variation.

Pocket said...

I love the name Finn and I totally agree with Swis when she says you can lengthen a name. One of my dearest friends' name is Pete and I call him Pete-ums. My husband and I lengthen all kinds of names and it's totally fun. We have a friend Emily, who most people call Em, but sometimes we call her Crazy Girl Ems! That's just a fun way to go.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I love Finn Michael and think it's just wonderful! What a great name, especially with Walker! (I think the monogram will look great, too!) If you still feel like a longer option, I also prefer Finley over Finnian or Finneas.

Congratulations on your impending little arrival!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Ooh, I just read more of the comments and I like Griffin, too!

Rusti said...

I think Finn is adorable - and the only Finn I know is in fact a Griffin - but they call him Finn - and I think both are adorable. either way though - I think Finn or Griffin sound fabulous with Michael Walker as the finishing names... good luck!

Rusti said...

PS - they also call him Finney sometimes instead of Finn, but I don't know how often they actually call him Griffin (I believe the mother wanted "Finn" and the father wanted a longer name, so they compromised on "Griffin" knowing they would call him "Finn")

Susan said...

I think the decision of whether to use "Finn" if the baby is dark depends not so much on the literal meaning of the name but on how you THINK of the name -- whether it just seems like a "blonde name" or not.

Before I was born my parents decided to name me Debbie if I were a blonde and Susan if I were a brunette. It had nothing to do with the meanings of the names -- they just thought Debbie was a "blonde name" and Susan a "brunette name." (Even though birth hair is sometimes deceptive, my mom was pretty sure she would be able to tell by the eyes, which she says look purplish and opaque in newborns destined to be brown-eyed.) All three of my brothers are blonde, but when I was born my eyes were purple, so Susan I am -- and sure enough, I have dark-brown hair and eyes. I think it's a fun story! So if you just feel like a little Finn would be blonde, I say find a "dark-eyed" alternate name.

Frazzled Mom said...

Susan, I have to laugh at your parents' image of Susan and Debbie, because I have the opposite impression. In my mind Susan is a blonde and Debbie (or Deborah) can be either blonde or brunette.

I think my image of Susan comes from Susan Olson who played Cindy on the Brady Bunch and is very blonde.

Not that one image is right and the other is wrong, I just find it funny how people see names differently.

Anonymous said...

What about Finnton? I'm sure I read it in something Irish-y once.