My husband Dave and I are due with our second son on September 15th. We've never found ourselves in agreement about names. Our 21-month-old son, Isaac Zygmunt, was two days old before we named him. (Dave suggested Isaac after Sir Isaac Newton, and I readily agreed since it was what I'd wanted my parents to name my youngest brother. Zygmunt is after Dave's long-deceased grandfather, and also the middle name of both Dave and his dad.) We call him Ike. I like the idea of his new baby brother getting a fun nickname, too, but it's not a requirement.
In my opinion, our last name, Kil (pronounced "kill") can be a bit hard on first names. Ones that end in "-en" or "-an" often create an unpleasant combo. For example, Dave recently suggested the name Roman, and I pointed out that with our last name, it would sound like "roam and kill."
Dave, a geek, looks to scientists and mathematicians for name inspiration. (Hence Isaac.) But even more, he loves what he calls "gladiator/warrior" names--Apollo, Leonidas, Maximus, Sinbad. These strike me as names better suited to pets or comic book heroes. Dave loves the idea of Maximus "Max" Kil, but it just sounds too violent to me.
I like the idea of using names from our families. We could name the baby after our dads, Charles and Richard, who both died shortly after Dave and I started dating. I like the nickname Charlie for a little guy. (My dad went by Chuck, which sounds like more of a grown-up nickname to me.) I'd rather not use Richard as the first name because Dave says he'd want to shorten it to his dad's nickname, Dick. (No offense to a great guy.)
Probably my favorite at the moment is Arlo. It first appealed to me in high school, when I noticed a couple famous people with the name. I've been thinking about it again recently, but I held off on suggesting it until a few days ago. Dave didn't shoot it down, but I think he was just being polite because I built it up so much. I tried to sell him on the idea that it sounds similar to Apollo. It's also an Italian variant of Charles, which I enjoy knowing, since my dad was half Italian.
I have long liked the name Atticus (from one of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird). Dave has expressed that it's cool because it has that ancient Roman sound he likes, but I wonder if it's just a little too unusual to actually saddle my kid with.
Dave also likes Xavier; while I find it vastly preferable to his other picks, I don't love it. Names which have been suggested and not outright disagreed upon are Abraham (Abe) and Asher (Ash).
Besides Zygmunt, our grandfathers had/have very common first names, but niftier middle names that might be worked in somewhere: Gardner, Martin, Roland. Oh, and David might be all right, too.
Can you come up with a name that will somehow marry our disparate tastes? Many thanks!
I'm with you on Maximus Kil. The child has geek genes, you said? A name like Maximus Kil is not going to work if he turns out intellectual, quiet, bookish, or skinny. In fact, I can't picture it on a burly football player, either. Or on a doctor. Or on a computer programmer, a teacher, a psychologist, a scientist, or anyone except a pro wrestler or video game character.
The name Atticus leaps out at me from your list, but I wish it had a nickname. It seems like a lot of name for everyday use. But it would make a terrific middle name. Perhaps for this boy you could switch the family name to the first position and do Charles Atticus. Ike and Charlie.
I love Arlo and hope your husband will go for it. I like Arlo Richard, since it puts the name of honor in a non-nickname position.
Another first-name possibility is Edison. I've said it aloud a few times with your surname and I don't think it presents problems there. Ike and Ed is adorable.
I also suggest Augustus. Ike and Gus.
Or Quintus: Ike and Quin.
Archimedes is a lot of name, but the cute nickname Archie makes it more manageable. Ike and Archie.
Darwin is a GREAT boy name, but Darwin has come to represent all of evolutionary theory. The name may now be too steeped in meaning for regular use.
Linus. Ike and Linus.
Tycho was the name of a famous astronomer, but doesn't he sound more like a gladiator? Ike and Ty. [Edit: I've been saying it TIKE-o, but apparently it's TEEK-o. Thanks, Karen! I think Ike and Teek is great.]
Name update 09-25-2009! Sarah writes:
Both you and your readers provided excellent ideas. When we saw Augustus/"Gus," Dave and I were both excited. It really was perfect for both our tastes. The next day Dave's enthusiasm for it waned, but I'll be keeping it for possible future use.
Our new little guy was born on the 15th, and after a couple nameless days, we were getting frustrated. I liked a number of names but had no absolute favorite; Dave had been campaigning for Maximus since before our first son was born. I told Dave we should go with Maximus. He got nervous about my sudden change of heart, so it took another day before we officially committed to Maximus Richard, "Max." I can't imagine him as anyone other than Max now and feel that he'll mold the name to who he is.