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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Name to Consider: Schroeder

Yesterday we discussed the baby name candidate Brando. Today I have another name I feel like I thought up: Schroeder.

The comic strip Peanuts is what made me think of it. The names Charlie, Lucy, and Violet are all back in style, and I think Sally and Frieda are in our near future. Schroeder is a possibility for parents looking for something truly uncommon.
  1. The name has a pleasing association in Charlie Brown's friend Schroeder, a sweet and sensible piano player.
  2. It sounds a little like the already familiar Schuyler/Skyler---though it's a soft c rather than a hard c.
  3. It has the popular "er" ending, as in Archer and Tanner and Tyler and Carter and Cooper and Hunter and Parker and Sawyer.

Unlike the name Brando, this is a name I'd like to use myself if it worked with my surname, which it doesn't. What do you think of it? Would you use it? Whether you like it or not, do you think it has Name Potential?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby Name to Consider: Brando

You know how sometimes a name will seem to come out of nowhere? The Baby Name Wizard uses the example of the name "Keaton," which a whole bunch of people "made up" all at pretty much the same time. The author Laura Wattenberg writes:
Our tastes, which feel so personal, are communal creations. Keaton? Well, it's a surname ending in "n," a style parents are flocking to for fresh ideas that sound like classic names. K in particular is a hot first letter. And don't forget that almost every parent today grew up watching Alex Keaton on Family Ties. So...thousands of parents across the country have independently "invented" the name for their kids. ...It's frankly unnerving to discover that the quirky name you've always just happened to like is now a chart topper.

OMG, don't you LOVE her? Insights like this one have CHANGED MY LIFE, and completely changed the way I think of names. And it's the same with name revivals: names that have been used before, but not recently. YES, I "thought of" Sam and Max and Joe, and then "suddenly they were everywhere." YES, I thought Isabel was a really pretty and unusual name, and then "suddenly everyone was using it." This is how it WORKS. I felt a lot better once I realized there was no avoiding it except by giving your child a name everybody hates---and even then, you may find you're just a decade ahead of the coming trend.

All of this is an introduction to a name I "thought of." It's a name I FEEL LIKE I came up with all on my own, which means that ALL OVER THE NATION other parents are inventing it too, and in fact I'm sure it has already been used.

Ready? Here it is: Brando.
  1. It's a shortened version of the name Brandon, so it has that "familiar but fresh" feeling.
  2. It brings to mind tough, handsome, manly Marlon Brando.
  3. It has the cool O ending.

Well? Well? What do you think? For me, it falls into the category of a neat name I would recommend but wouldn't use in my own family because it doesn't coordinate with our style. How about you? Do you think the name has potential? Whether you like it or not, does it seem like it could be A Name?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl, Sibling to Nikolas (Kole)

Emily writes:
We are due with baby #2 on July 3rd. We opted to have the sex be a big suprise at birth so now we are struggling to pick a boy's name and a girl's name. Our son's name is Nikolas (after my brother) James (after my father and grandfater) but we call him Kole. We don't want the kids names to sound too similar or be 'matchy matchy' but to be similar styles.

Boy names we like
Kyle (very very matchy matchy and similar to Kole but hubby likes it)

Allen is hubby and FIL's middle name so we would really like to use that with #2.

Girl names we like

Hubbies mother's name is Gayle Ann, my mother's name is Anne Elizabeth. Both passed away a few years ago so we would love to honor them by using parts of their names.

We are open to more suggestions. My sister will be having identical twins in Sept and since I will be caring for all the kids daily I don't want #2s name to be too similar to any of her picks. She would like to name her twins a combination of Haley, Hannah, Brooke, and Katelyn if they are girls. The boys would be Logan and Hunter.

Our last name starts with a D and sounds like Donkey.

Here are some other possibilities to consider if Nikolas has a little brother:


And if he has a little sister:

Annabeth Gayle
Annalise Gayle
Anya Beth
Bethany Gayle
Elizabeth Gayle

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Name More Common Than Expected

Angie writes:
I originally wrote you back in December (Baby Boy or Girl Drizzle) for help with the names Ruth or Penelope if our baby was a girl. Well, baby is a boy and we named him Henry Isaac. While we understood Henry is by no means an unusual name and has certainly had a resurgence, we had NO idea how many Henry's there would actually be. We have met quite a few other Henry's and many of your readers have mentioned Henry as a potential baby name. Even the nurse at our peds clinic who sees an awful lot of babies, said that Henry is the new name around town. Since yourself and your readers were so helpful with our girl's name, I feel compelled to write again for help with our boy's name. I need some nickname help for our Henry. I just don't want him to get to kindergarten and be one of 5. We like both Hank and Hal equally, but neither really sparkle for us or seem to fit our little guy. What are your thoughts and your reader's thoughts on Hank or Hal? What are people's impressions of men with those names? Any other suggestions? His initials as an acronym won't work.

Ah! Paul and I had something similar happen with the name of one of our children. We KNEW the name was common, and in fact we LIKE common names, but we hadn't realized that it was SIGNIFICANTLY MORE COMMON in our state than in the nation at large---like, almost Top 10 in our state, as opposed to Top 50 in the nation. So although we'd signed on for a Popular Name, it was a bit of a worrying surprise to have (1) another baby with the same name in the maternity ward, and (2) another baby with the same name in the pediatrician's waiting room, and (3) another baby with the same name in the waiting room at the portrait studio, and (4) etc.

In his preschool class of about 25, there were two other children with the same name. We started looking into nicknames/variations of his name, but he didn't really want to change to anything else, so we just left it and he went by his first name and last initial---as did the other two boys.

When I registered him for school, the registrar said, "Heh! We've seen a lot of THOSE today!"---and then heard herself and added, "....Er, it's a lovely name."

But! Time for the good news! He hasn't had another child with the same name in his class since preschool. I looked up how many boys were born with his name in his birth year, and compared it to the number of Henrys born in 2008 (the 2009 info isn't yet available), and Henry is only about 1/4th as common.

So I think you can wait and see. If your Henry seems like a Henry and not a Hank or a Hal, I don't see any reason to force yourself into a change. If he IS one of a group of Henrys in his class, perhaps the others will already be going by Hank and Hal.

What does everyone else think? What do you think of the nicknames Hank and Hal, and can you think of other nickname possibilities? Do you have experience with this issue you can share?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Baby Boy Beal

Claudia writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first baby, a boy, in July and although we found a lot of girls names that we liked, we found it very hard to find any boy's names. We both really like Konrad as a middle name. Konrad is a German name meaning “brave and honest advisor” and we were surprised to find that it is a longer version of Kurt (his name).

As for first names, here are the top 5 choices so far:
  • Abraham - Hebrew, “father of multitudes”. Nicknames could be Abie, Bram or Hammy.
  • Henry - English or German, “estate ruler”. Nickname could be Hank.
  • Lawrence - English or Latin, “from the place of laurel trees” also Home of the Kansas Jayhawks! (where I went to school) Nicknames could be Lawry or Lars.
  • Leonard - German, “brave lion”. Nicknames could be Leo, Leno or Lenny.
  • Truman - English, “loyal one”. No nicknames.

_____ Konrad Beal?????

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks for your help on this.

My favorite is Henry Konrad Beal. Let's put a poll to the right to see what everyone else likes best! [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (189 votes total):
Abraham: 22 votes, roughly 12%
Henry: 65 votes, roughly 34%
Lawrence: 45 votes, roughly 24%
Leonard: 25 votes, roughly 13%
Truman: 32 votes, roughly 17%

Name update! Claudia writes:
Henry Konrad Beal was born July 17th, 2009 and we couldn't be happier with the name choice. It fits him perfect.

Name Update!

Update added to Baby Girl Caldwell!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby Girl Foster

Jennifer writes:
My husband and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, on June 24. We are so thrilled, and cannot believe how fast the pregnancy has gone by so far! This might be why we have yet to decide on a name!

After reading countless lists from baby name books, websites, blogs, etc, we think we have it narrowed down to about 4 names: Stella, Lydia, Kate, and Rosalynn. (I just like Kate, not Katherine or any other formal name in which Kate is a nick name). My husband and I both have fairly common first names, so I like these 4 because they are feminine and classic, yet not too popular. Our last name is Foster - which is great because anything seems to go with it, but that also makes it a bit more challenging when we're feeling indecisive!

For middle names I like Rosalynn, Nichole (my sister's middle name), and Jean (both of my grandmother's middle names). Do you think that you and/or your readers could help us make a decision?

I accidentally put this one in my spreadsheet as a due date of JULY instead of June! ACK!! Let's get some polls up FAST and even if it is TOO LATE and the baby is already named, we will still have fun with the polls and the comment section! I like Stella Jean Foster and Rosalynn Nichole Foster. Polls over to the right! QUICK! [Polls closed; see results below.]

Poll results (223 votes total):
Stella: 66 votes, roughly 30%
Lydia: 75 votes, roughly 34%
Kate: 53 votes, roughly 24%
Rosalynn: 29 votes, roughly 13%

Name update! Jennifer writes: "She surprised us all and came a month early on May 25!!! We decided on Stella Nichole Foster and it seems to suit her : )"

Baby Boy or Girl P.

Kinsey writes:
I am pregnant with our first child, gender unknown, and we are having a very hard time deciding on names...mostly because of a few dilemmas. Here it goes...

Boys- Since I was 16 (not kidding) I have wanted to name a first born son Henry Scott and call him Hank. Hank is the part that I LOVE! I've just always envisioned that to be my son's name. It also turns out that I married a Scott...perfect! Well, 2 years ago my first cousin named his son Henry. He goes by Henry, not Hank, so I still thought I would use the name. BUT just last week, another first cousin (on the other side of my family), named his baby Henry too. But again, he's not going by Hank. Would it be so wrong to name a baby Henry, since he would go by Hank?? we are close with the cousin with the 2 year old henry...but not the other cousin. My husband is Joseph Scott, and goes by Scott, so I suggested just doing Joseph Hank and calling the baby Hank...but he doesn't like that. He thinks we have to use Henry to get the nickname Hank. what do you think?

Girls- My best friend's last name is Layne. I have always LOVED her last name and wanted to use it for a girl's name for many years. I even wanted to change it up a little and use McLayne. It's different and sounds girly to me, without being too much (I'm not a super girly girl :-) but my husband is not a fan of having Mc at the beginning of a first name and for that reason says no way to McLayne. AND, in the last 2 months, my sister-in-law and a good friend used Layne as their new baby's middle names. I know since they used them just as middle names I could still use it, but it takes the fun out of it for me. I like having something just a little different and had that picked out for so long. And another problem is that my husband and I do not agree on--and LOVE-- any other girl names at all. NONE. Layne is the only one we both liked a lot. what are some other names that are different, without being weird?? maybe even other take-offs of layne? we would more than likely use Leigh as the middle's my sister's middle name.

I'm SO BUMMED! I love playing around with baby names and thought I had my first choices set in stone and now it's all messed up. i definitely want something semi different (i know henry is WAY popular, but hank does not seem to be and before those 2 people close to me used Layne, i hadn't heard that either.) HELP!

I do think it's still fine to use Henry, even though a couple of family members have used it. You were planning to use it when the relatives you're close to chose it, so I don't think it changes anything to have LESS-close relatives choose it. And it helps that the two other Henrys are on opposite sides of the family, since then it won't feel to everyone else as if there are Henrys all over the place. If I were you, I would go ahead with your Henry Scott plan for a boy.

AND I think you should go ahead with Layne if the baby is a girl. You could go with the spelling Maclaine, if your husband's objection is to the capital letter in the middle of the name. You could also name her Elaine, Elaina, Elena, Alaina, Alayna, Lainley, Melayna, Delayne, Delaney, Helene, etc., and call her Layne or Laney. You could also name her Lail or Layle or Laile (rhymes with Gail).

But I think if I were you I would stick with what you originally wanted: whatever you choose there are bound to be duplicates, so it's best to choose what you want most---and "Layne" is the name/spelling that has the significant meaning for you.

Name update 09-12-2009! Kinsey writes:
just wanted to let you know that Joseph "Hank" was born on Saturday September 5th. he came a little early, but we finalized his name the night before heading to the hospital. as you can see, i convinced my husband to stick to the same pattern of his own name and then only use Hank, not Henry. we love it. thanks for all the comments and advice. i finally have my Hank, without him being "just another Henry" in our family. yeah!!

Name Update!

Update added to Baby Boy or Girl Car!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baby Boy McScottish

Vanessa writes:
I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant and on hospital bedrest hoping and praying for every additional day. Needless to say I have lots of time on my hand. I stumbled upon your site and I'd love your input. My husband and I have agreed not to reveal any names candidates or choices until after we name him. This has made the process that much more difficult.

Ok, so I'm VERY picky when it comes to names. I don't like names that are too popular, can be shortened into nick names and initials are important too.

So our son's name is Jameson Richard (last name is McScottish name). That was really the only one we could agree on. Naming baby boy #2 had proven to be much more difficult. He is due August 11 but could arrive at anytime. My son wants to name him "sister" but that's just not going to work. Our girl name from last time around was Theresa which we will most likely use if we have more children. So the two boys could have a sister names Theresa as well.

So here are our top choices - please give me your thoughts, impressions, if you know anyone named these IRL...

Connor Declan McScottish
Connor Joseph McScottish
Declan Patrick McScottish
Declan Thomas McScottish

I'm also open to suggestions. Oh, and "B" names are out because the initials would be BM. Although my MIL didn't think of that when she named my husband who got teased all through grade school. She actually told me I was being too picky about initials, and that's when my husband told her that kids did make fun of his initials...

I love the name Declan, so that's my vote. Let's put a poll over to the right for the four top candidates. [Poll closed; see results below.] And it would be nice if we got a lively discussion going in the comment section---bedrest SUCKS, and we'll see what we can do to entertain!

Poll results (227 votes total):
Connor Declan: 26 votes, roughly 11%
Connor Joseph: 49 votes, roughly 22%
Declan Patrick: 53 votes, roughly 23%
Declan Thomas: 99 votes, roughly 44%

Name update! Vanessa writes:
I wrote to you back in June asking for name help for "Baby Boy McScottish" We had been told he would not make it to full term, but lo and behold, he was born yesterday, August 6, at 39w2d and I was induced at that!

After several more brainstorming sessions, we decided on Declan Thomas.

Thanks for all your help. I loved reading everyone's suggestions. Should we have the pleasure to name another baby, I'll be back to ask for help!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby Girl, Sibling to Clarissa, Theodora, and Susanna

Jemma writes:
I'm due with my fourth daughter any day now (due date is June 15th) and I'm having terrible trouble finding a name for her. I've already used all the names I love on my first 3 girls and haven't found anything new to love for this little one. Help! I tend to like longer, more feminine names that can be shortened to a cute/spunky nickname. All the (first) names that I've ever really loved have also ended in the letter A, but that trend doesn't have to continue. Her middle name will be either Greta or Erin, depending on what sounds best with whatever first name we find, and our last name is Howard.

My other daughter's are named Clarissa Brynn (nn Clary), Theodora Elise (nn Thea) and Susanna Lisbet (nn Zanna).

Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Baby Girl Caldwell

Melissa writes:
My best friend K is due with her third child, a girl, in less than a month but baby could arrive any day given that K's babies always arrive very early. K and her husband, J, really like unusual/unique names. Their eldest son has a made up name (rhymes with Tyson, starts with a K sound). Their second son is Declan which is a "real" name but still pretty unusual. Their last name sounds sort of like Caldwell.

Here are the notes I got from K:

First name contenders:


I don't like common names but I do want names that people can read and pronounce (except siobhan because i do like it) I did find another I liked "Brecklynn" but realized it sounds like Declan so it won't work.

Middle names in contention are: Leigh, Grace, Rae, Schae, Emmeline, Reamy, Amelia, Hazel but that's just to give you a further sense of her taste. K isn't too worried about middle names and prefers to worry about the first name right now.

Notes about names from J:

J has a longer list (that I don't have) but apparently the names are in the same ballpark (unusual). One name I know he likes is Callie (or some variation thereof) but K is not a big fan. J likes to pay attention to how the names flow as a whole and having similar sounds in first and last names (like "K" sound or "L" or "R") Their last name does have an "R" sound since it isn't really Caldwell.

Finally, commentary from Melissa, the friend. I think K's family likes names with a hard "K" sound in them. All four names in the family have a "K" sound in them and the last name has a repeated "K" sound. So, even though I wasn't asked, I think Kinley and Coralie seem like strong contenders.

Thanks, Swistle and readers, for any help you can provide in naming this baby! Bring on the unique girl names.

And then, Melissa writes:
I wanted to update you on this swistlebabynames submission. As of yesterday I spoke with K and the c-section is scheduled for June 25 (although they are still thinking she'll arrive before that) and the names are narrowed down to Raemy and Briony with likely middle name Emmeline. She'd still welcome input from Swistle readers if you have time to post this one. :)

Name update 06-26-2009! Melissa writes:
Since I submitted the request I thought I should submit the update. Also, I think photos should be required with updates :) Anyway:

Baby Girl "Caldwell" arrived June 25 and was named McKenna Emmeline. So much for their "finalist" names. The whole family is doing great.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colin, Claire, Keegan, and ___?

Kim writes:
Ok, so we are down to the wire and have not been able to come up with a boy name yet. We have a Colin, Claire and a Keegan. Things are already starting and the dr says it might be this weekend. We like Irish names but nothing too far out there. We are not crazy about names in the top 100 either.

other names we are considering are: number is the ssn ranking; bold ones we like, not bold are on the list but not really in the running but not crossed off either.

Cade 293 ( how do you say this one?)
Calden (Cal for a nickname) n/a
Callum (ditto) n/a
Camden 219
Clinton 755
Cullen 769

Keane n/a
Keaton 357
Kellan 882
Kevin 39
Kian (rhymes with Ian) 664
Kieran (husband likes but it sounds too much like Karen to me) 571
Killian 836
Kingston 355 (jumped from 942 in 2006!)
Korrigan n/a
Knox n/a
Kylan (we have a friend with a girl named this so to name a boy???)776

My husband still likes Liam since this is boy number three he is still trying to get that name but I am not crazy for it. Especially since it is popping up everywhere! I like the name just not in our sibset: Colin, Claire, and Keegan. I really like Quentin but he is not fond of it and so we are stuck.

I pronounce Cade with a hard-C sound, rhyming with Wade and Jade.

To my ear, both Kian and Keaton sound too similar to Keegan---but as with most naming issues, this is an entirely subjective thing. My favorite from your list is Callum, even though I find myself tempted to choose a K name to make it come out "even"! But I'm not sure---is Callum too similar to Colin?

What does everyone else think? What name would you choose for the fourth child?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy R____son

Tiffany writes:
So we're about to have numero dos (due date June 20), and we're "waiters," so we don't know the gender yet. We love waiting, but man, picking two names is HARD. I think we've finally narrowed it down, and I'm hoping for some feedback and a vote.

Our first child is two, and his name is Matthew Cole, which we love. We'd picked Matthew while dating in college (although it was kind of a joke back then, because we'd planned on Matthew Zerubbabel - oh, and did I mention it was a Bible college?), and it stuck with us through the years. Cole is my husband's middle name, and bang, we were all set. If Matthew had been a girl, we would have named him Annalise May; Annalise because - well, it's a beautiful name that we actually agreed on, and May because it's my grandmother's middle name (and mine, too, which is a bonus). My husband still loves this name if we have a girl, but I'm kind of leaning toward Amelia, which he thinks is too much of an up-and-comer and will soon be trendy. What do you think? Can we have a poll about which name the readers like best - Annalise May or Amelia May?

For the record, other girl names we'd discussed were:
Hannah (not thrilled with it)
Faith (
Jane (a bit dull with our last name, unfortunately)
Lily (too popular; doesn't feel like "our baby," and I'd expect her to have green eyes...)
Sara(h) (also boring with our last name, and I know someone with the same exact name)
Emmeline, Cecily, Sadie, or Charlotte (hubby hates 'em all)
Mary (I hate it)
Margaret (both like it, but don't want our first two kids to have the same first initial - saving it)
May (same initial; I want to use it as a middle name, at least, before my grandmother dies)
Elizabeth (my sister-in-law's name, so it's out - and I'm kind of mad about that, because man, what a great name!)

As for boy names, we were stumped for a looong time. We tossed around Benjamin and Noah, but they've both been taken recently by people we know. We'd also discussed Nathan, which I like but don't love, plus it's one of our friend's names (as was Matthew, actually, so it'd be a little weird to do that twice). And Nathan is a bit sing-songy with our last name, which begins with an R, has three syllables and a "-son" ending (which, in our part of the world, is usually pronounced "-sin"). The same problems apply for Jonathan. I also love Henry, but my husband thinks it's too trendy, and we talked about Adam (not crazy about it) or Theodore (Teddy would be adorable as a baby, not so much as an adult... and Theo will forever be a Cosby).

The name we're currently pretty set on is Abraham. Is that too out there? Is it sing-songy? Does anyone know any babies named Abraham? We plan on calling him Abe, and it seems adorable - Matthew and Abe, Matt and Abe, Abe R--son. The middle name will be Michael after my father and brother: Abraham Michael R--son. So, Swistle and readers, what do you think about Abraham? Too long-beardy or top-hatty? Or can we totally work it?

I think we're set on these three names, but we'd be interested in hearing alternate suggestions. I don't know if any will work, since I've scoured my "Baby Name Wizard" and "The Baby Name Bible" a million times and nothing else feels right, but hey, you never know. As you can see, we lean towards Biblical or timeless or classic or "antique charm" sorts of names, and I don't like anything too newfangled or with weird spellings.

Thanks so much for your help!

Amelia and Annalise are both great. Amelia is currently more common than Annalise: in the top 100 currently, as opposed to Annalise's #702 (source: Social Security Administration). Let's have a poll over to the right to see which name is more popular with our group.

Now, on to boy names. I think of biblical names as falling into three basic groups:

1. Names that appear in the Bible but don't have an immediate association with it (e.g., John, David, Matthew, Aaron).

2. Names that used to have biblical associations, but now are commonly used with no intended association (e.g., Noah, Isaac).

3. Names that still have primarily biblical associations (e.g., Jedidiah, Solomon, Nicodemus).

Not only are these groupings totally subjective, but they SHIFT all the time. Back when I was in school, naming a child Noah would have been a startlingly religious thing to do. Now, it's a name that can be used with no religious associations intended.

Abraham is a name I think is shifting. I think right now it's making a move from the Solomon lunch table to the Isaac lunch table, and may already be sitting there: it's in the Top 200 and continuing to rise.

Abraham has another strong association in the U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. A second strong association keeps a name from being too one-note.

If you want something more similar in popularity to the name Matthew, you could go with Isaac. Matthew and Isaac (Matt and Zac, or Matt and Ike) make great sibling names, and I think Isaac Michael R____son sounds terrific.

If you want the nickname Abe but want to get there via a shorter route, you could go with Abram: Matthew and Abram, Abram Michael R_____son. Or Abel, though maybe that's too much L with Michael.

For a nickname similar to Abe, you could name the baby Gabriel and call him Gabe: Matthew and Gabriel, Matt and Gabe, Gabriel Michael R_____son. Again, maybe too much L with Michael.

Drifting further and further from the original plan, Caleb seems like a good choice: Matthew and Caleb, Caleb Michael R____son.

I myself am partial to the name Daniel: Matthew and Daniel, Matt and Dan, Daniel Michael R____son.

Also---and I'm taking this from your "top hat" reference---I like the name Lincoln: Matthew and Lincoln, Matt and Linc, Lincoln Michael R____son.

Okay, so we're having TWO polls: one is a vote between the names Amelia and Annalise, and the other is a question about whether the name Abraham is "too long-beardy or top-hatty." [Polls closed; see results below.]

Poll results for "Which name do you prefer, Amelia or Annalise?" (261 votes total):
Amelia: 120 votes, roughly 46%
Annalise: 141 votes, roughly 54%

Poll results for "Is Abraham too long-beardy or top-hatty?" (245 votes total):
Yes: 114 votes, roughly 47%
No: 131 votes, roughly 53%

Name update 01-14-2009! Tiffany writes:
Hi Everyone!
My husband and I LOVED reading your thoughts on Abraham and the Amelia/Annalise debate. I checked obsessively for more comments, and I'm definitely writing in for our next kiddo! To finally give you the update, we had a GIRL! Annalise May was born on June 23 and was a healthy 7 lb., 10 oz. I was still torn between Annalise and Amelia when we went to the hospital, but my husband was staunchly pro-Annalise, so I went along with him. Even though it took a little while, it feels like "her" (and she never felt like an Amelia). For being as popular as it is, almost no one we talk to has ever heard of it! We're usually complimented on it, and I'm so glad we chose it. Thanks for your votes and comments!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl, Sibling to Darsie and Elise

Shannon writes:
We have two girls, Darsie and Elise, and we're expecting a third child. We have a boy name that we have had picked out since before Darsie - Robert, but we are totally stumped on girls names. We want something that goes with Darsie and Elise (dubbed Robdar and Elrob while waiting to know their sexes), obviously. I like two syllable names but am not really picky. Nothing too modern and popular - no Bailey, McKenna's, etc.

Pardon me for listing and leaving, but there is a 2-year-old who will be recharged and ready to destroy my house again soon.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby Boy or Girl Car

J. writes:
I am getting so frustrated with this whole naming thing! If we have a boy we're in trouble! My husband loves Lincoln, and I don't mind it, just don't love it. A few problems I have with it are that it starts with an "L" as does our oldest son Landon and I'd like all our kids to start with different letters. (Other kids are Rachel and Seth.) Also, our last name is a spelling variation of Car. Don't know if Lincoln goes with that, partly for the 'k' sound, partly because of the line of vehicles of the same name!

We both really like Madden, but I worry it's too close to Landon. Hubby thinks it's fine, but I'm just not sure. Some days I totally want to name my baby Madden, some days I think I'm crazy for even considering it! (And don't bother suggesting Maddox as an alternative, I don't like it.)

I desperately want to use Emmitt, but Hubby has nixed it. I'm terribly disappointed. He thinks it'd be cute for a baby/little boy, but not good for an adult. Citing Emmitt Smith doesn't help! He keeps thinking of the old crazy guy from Back to the Future. Does anyone have stories of how they got their husband to come around? That would be ideal!

For a girl we've chosen Danae. For a middle name I'm thinking Lauren, though the middle names of Rachel and Seth start with "L"s too. Is it weird if 3 of my 4 kids have a middle name with "L"? It wasn't planned, I just happen to like "L" names. Hubby likes Danae Morgan. To me, an ideal middle name for Danae would be two syllables with the emphasis on the second syllable, like Rachelle, Marie, Leanne, though I don't like those in particular. Any other suggestions? We're really short on time!

Boy names similar to Emmitt/Emmett but without the crazy-old-scientist association:

Barrett Car
Beckett Car
Bennett Car
Elliot Car
Everett Car
Garrett Car
Merrit Car

Boy names with miscellaneous tie-ins:

Adrian Car
Daniel Car
Elias Car
Ethan Car
Evan Car
Gavin Car
Griffin Car
Henry Car
Jasper Car
Jeremy Car
Joshua Car
Malcolm Car
Marshall Car
Miller Car
Milo Car
Nathaniel Car
Nicholas Car
Nolan Car
Phillip Car
Quentin Car
Theo Car
Timothy Car
Wilson Car
Xavier Car

If you decide not to use Madden as a first name, perhaps it would make a nice middle name. Emmitt, too, would be a good middle name option. Ooo, or Lincoln! Some of my favorite combinations:

Daniel Emmitt Car
Elias Lincoln Car
Elias Madden Car
Elliot Madden Car
Everett Lincoln Car
Henry Lincoln Car
Nathaniel Madden Car
Nolan Emmitt Car
Phillip Madden Car

About the middle name for Danae: I think it's fine if three of the four kids have matching middle initials. If it were first-name initials it would catch my attention, but I find I don't have the same reaction with middle names.

Danae Brigitte Car
Danae Geneva Car
Danae Elizabeth Car
Danae Estelle Car
Danae Joelle Car
Danae Jolie Car
Danae Larissa Car
Danae Lissandra Car
Danae Lisette Car
Danae Louisa Car
Danae Louise Car
Danae Lucille Car
Danae Lucinda Car
Danae Melinda Car
Danae Miranda Car
Danae Nicole Car
Danae Noelle Car
Danae Rebecca Car
Danae Sophia Car

Some of my favorites are Elizabeth, Larissa, Lissandra, Louise, Melinda, Rebecca.

Update 06-23-2009! J. writes:
Our sweet baby boy arrived on June 20. The day after I sent in my email to Swistle, before it was even published, my husband just gave in and said we could go with Emmitt. I made sure he was sure, and told him he could then choose the middle names for our girl and boy first names. So if it had been a girl we would have gone with Danae Morgan, and for a boy, Emmitt Lincoln. Since we were very sure it was a girl we didn't discuss Emmitt much more. When he came out, we were overjoyed, and I again asked my husband if he was okay with Emmitt. He assured me he was. We then had to quickly discuss the spelling because I hadn't thought we'd need to finalize that. We did choose Emmitt because, even though Emmett is the more common spelling, we like that Emmitt is exactly how you pronounce it. And my husband said a few hours later that it totally suits him. Thanks for all your input!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: Sibling Names Going Together

An interesting discussion got started in the comment section of Sunday's post Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Jonah. One of the main questions of the post was whether Jonah and Ezra were too similar as sibling names, and a discussion started about whether sibling names need to go together at all.

Stephanie wrote:
I'm just not in the has-to-go-with-the-sibling's-name camp. There are limited years that they will be known as a duo (sad as it may seem to us now). In my adult life, most people I meet don't ask to hear my siblings' names so they can decide if they 'go' with mine!

And then Frazzled Mom added:
Stephanie just eloquently explained my feelings about siblings' names going together. I've always said, as adults your kids aren't going to be putting each others names on their business cards! But I agree complementary siblings are a bonus, and might be considered in a tie breaking situation where you love two names equally.

Really good points, you guys!

There's a spectrum of how well names go together. Madison and Mikayla are the same style. Madison and Sadie are different styles but compatible. Madison and Brooklyn on one hand go together perfectly---but on the other hand, now the place-name style is getting a little strong. Madison and Addison are matchy. Madison and Velma aren't the same style at all.

But---style categories are so subjective. When you were reading the paragraph above, maybe you thought "Madison and Mikayla are a terrible clash!" or "Madison and Sadie are the SAME style!" How many times have I suggested a sibling name and you've thought, "I really don't think that goes together at all"? A lot, probably. What sounds like "the same style" to me or to you is going to depend on where we live, what we grew up hearing, what names are common in our families, what names we like and dislike. This is one of the ways in which sibling name coordination DOESN'T matter much: even if you choose names that go together, other people may think you didn't.

A problem is most likely to arise when a family uses the same style for all their children---except one. A family with four girls, say, named Alissandra, Anastasia, Arabella, and Carson. Possibly Carson will feel she really dodged a bullet on this one, or perhaps she will feel left out. The overall effect, though, is "one of these things is not like the others," and other people may wonder why. Perhaps they will think this means the family really wanted a boy. Carson may wonder about that herself.

It works better if it's the first child whose style is different, especially if that child is a namesake. Carson, named for her mother's maiden name, followed by Alissandra, Anastasia, and Arabella---well, that's different. A boy named Wisdom, followed by brothers Matthew and Ethan and Joseph---well, sometimes people start out with one idea about names, and then change to another idea.

While sibling names needn't coordinate, a family with a daughter named Madison may want to avoid the name Addison---not because a future coworker will care what Madison's sister's name is, but because rhyming sibling names can be a hassle during the time when the family shares a household.

Or let's say a family has one son named Michael and another named Ulysses. Any reason this is something that will plague them as adults? Nah. But they'll be children for a long time first, and during that time they are going to get sick of discussing it with every nosy Swistle parker.

A good explanation (as with "Carson is her mother's maiden name," above) goes a long way to oiling a style difference. The twin daughters of former U.S. president George W. Bush are named Barbara and Jenna, and those names are very different styles. But the girls are named for their grandmothers, and so in that way they DO go together.

I also think style differences matter less if a family has one style for the girls and a different style for the boys. A family with an Alissandra and an Anastasia can easily have a Mark and a John. A family with a Jenna and an Erin can easily have a Saul and a Jonah. It's common enough for people to have different style preferences for boys and for girls, so it doesn't strike that "Why so different?" note.

Where do you stand on the issue of sibling name coordination? Where on the spectrum are you?