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Friday, February 12, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Niles

Annie writes:
The babe is expected to arrive March 4. Since we didn't find out if we're having a boy or a girl, our list of potential names is pretty long. Our last name, while spelled differently, is pronounced Niles. We both tend to like somewhat uncommon names, but nothing too crazy.

Currently, our top boy contender is Oliver James (which I just saw another mom-to-be mention on the site TODAY). My husband's father's name is James and his own middle name is James and I just like it. Oliver is my husband's best friend's middle name. And I've always loved it. Some of the other boy names we like but have ruled out (for the most part): Mason, Elliot, Finn, Leif, Isaiah, Asher. Mostly we're pretty solid on Oliver James, but still open to discussion.

Now, the girls names are a bit more up in the air. I'd like to use the middle name Lee--it's my mother's middle name and we are super close. But most of the names I choose with Lee as the middle name end up making the name sound like an adjective. For example, my favorite girls name at the moment is Hazel. But Hazel Lee sounds like "Hazily," and I am not sure what that even means. Some other names we love: Amelia (Amelia Lee?), Mabel (Mabel Lee sounds like Maybeline), Sloane, Violet (we've canceled this one for it's growing popularity, but I still love it), Wren, Pearl, Evangeline, Olive, and Harlow. My newest favorite name is Maizey. Some middle names I like in general are: Rose, Grace, Eden. His mother and sister's middle names are Marie, which I like, but I'm not very close to them so that feels weird to me.

Some names my husband likes that I've canceled for various reasons: Zoe, Piper, Lily, and Matilda.

I can't wait to hear your suggestions!

I am totally on board with Oliver James for a boy. It's a great name and would be on my own list too.

When I look at your girl name list, I'm looking for names that go well with Oliver: a name you've settled on is a good measure of your naming style, but also if you have a girl this time you might later have a boy and want to name him Oliver. The name Olive brings you to a decision: which do you like better, Oliver or Olive?

I see what you mean about the Lee issue, but I think it's okay: people are so accustomed to Lee as a middle name, there's a natural pause. The only name it would rule out for me is Mabel, because I agree with you about Maybelline. Another issue with the middle name Lee is that it gives you a triple L sound: almost all your girl name possibilities have an L in them, and your surname has an L, too. Does your mom's first name or maiden name have any middle-name-slot potential?

I looked up the name Hazel in The Baby Name Wizard, and I see that four of the five sister names are already on your list: Pearl, Violet, Mazie, Olive. The fifth is one you may want to consider: Millicent. I completely agree with The Baby Name Wizard's assessment: "It's hard to picture a Millicent in little girl's pigtails instead of white hair...but if you manage, it's a surprisingly adorable image." YES. I can picture it! A sweet little Milly!

More possibilities:

Alice
Audra
Beatrix
Clementine
Clover
Elsa
Frances
Georgia
Harriet
Henrietta
Marley
Romy
Rosemary
Ruby
Ruth
Sadie
Stella
Sylvie
Willa
Winifred


Name update 04-14-2010! Annie writes:
I've been meaning to write you an update for Baby Nihls (Baby Niles on your site)--Amelia Lee was born on March 3 at home! She's actually 6 weeks today and doing great!! (And we call her Millie.)

Thanks again for your help with the naming...I am definitely keeping Oliver James in mind for the next go-round (in the way future).

19 comments:

beyond said...

Oliver James is a wonderful name.
I understand the issue with Lee as a middle name. But remember that middle names are not used daily, and are usually said with a slight pause before. Hazel_Lee, and not hazelee.
From your list I like Hazel and Amelia. (And I adore your husband's choice of Matilda.)
From Swistle's list I like Alice and Elsa.
Here's a few more I can think of.
Blythe
Chloe
Claire
Elsa
Iris
Lena
Louise
Maeve
Phoebe
Quincy
Good luck!

Laura said...

What about.... Hazel Rosalee?

Leslie said...

I love the name Hazel! It would be top of our list if it didn't sound wretched with our surname, so it would be nice to see someone else get to use it. Of your other options, I also like Amelia, Pearl, and Maizy/Maisy. With your surname, I slightly prefer names with more than one syllable.

For the middle name Lee, you could use another name with Lee in it. Examples: Rosalee (as suggested above), Everly/Everlee, Coralee, etc. Another option is to use another name to honor your mom: her first name, maiden name, birth month, favorite gem/flower/ etc.

Or, what about Margaret? Maisy/Maizy is a nickname for Margaret. Margaret Lee Niles sounds fantastic, and you could have a little Maizy!

anonymous said...

our first is due in Sept, and we're planning on Oliver Martin for a boy, and Penelope Anrietta for a girl... Anrietta being a twist on my mother's first name, Henriette... I can't stand it, or Henny for a nickname... ugh! But I love Anrietta, I think it maintains the old-fashioned classy sound, but is a nice update. My husband won't let me use it as a first, but perhaps you'll like it?

Also, we've got Eloise Antonia as a close second for our girl name. nn Ella or Lu or Lucy.

Jan said...

Go for Violet! It's #184 on the SSA list for 2008 while Oliver is #118.

Tracy H. said...

I wouldn't worry so much about how the first name sounds with Lee because how often do people really get called by their first and middle names? I would fall in love with a first name first then decide if you still want to use Lee or not. Just don't rule out first names you love just because they don't sound good with Lee.

StephLove said...

Oliver James is a keeper, I think.

For the girl name, you seem most enthusiastic about Hazel and Maizy, so I'll start there. Hazel Lee Niles. You know, I think it sounds fine, really. And I like the previous commenter's suggestion of Margaret (nn Maizy).

Violet is rising in popularity, but it's not crazy popular. I only know one personally. She's two or three. Violet Lee Niles is pretty.

From Swistle's list I like Clementine, Rosemary and Ruth, though Ruth might be a bit short with one syllable middle and last names.

My suggestion is Clara-- Clara Lee Niles.

StephLove said...

Oliver James is a keeper, I think.

For the girl name, you seem most enthusiastic about Hazel and Maizy, so I'll start there. Hazel Lee Niles. You know, I think it sounds fine, really. And I like the previous commenter's suggestion of Margaret (nn Maizy).

Violet is rising in popularity, but it's not crazy popular. I only know one personally. She's two or three. Violet Lee Niles is pretty.

From Swistle's list I like Clementine, Rosemary and Ruth, though Ruth might be a bit short with one syllable middle and last names.

My suggestion is Clara-- Clara Lee Niles.

Annika said...

What about using one of your other middle name ideas as a first name? Grace Lee, Rose Lee, Eden Lee. All sound lovely and none run together into a single word. Rose Lee does make me think of another name--Rosalie. Which I love a lot, and think sounds great with your last name.

Anonymous said...

Love Frances!

stellafide said...

I think Hazel Lee sounds fine, but more commonly you will say/hear Hazel Niles, which has a lot of LLL sounds. As someone with a lot of L sounds in my first and last names, it's hard to hear and say a lot of times and doesn't have a nice aliteration in my opinion. Swistle gives some great suggestions that I like a lot with your surname and boy name. Best wishes for a healthy, happy baby!

Anonymous said...

Violet Lee or Evangeline Lee -- my Fave

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I agree with everyone else about Lee -- there's a natural pause between a first and middle name, and Lee is well-known enough, as are the first names you like, that people will recognize the names as separates and won't push them together.

As far as Violet goes, I agree that I don't think it's *that* common. I have never met a Violet in my entire life, and the only one I even know of is Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's daughter. Violet Lee Niles is a really nice name, I think.

Oliver James is great too. I say you keep Oliver James, and maybe don't go with Olive for a girl.

Anyway, so my vote is for Violet.

Carolyn said...

I know you have Lee as your chosen middle name, but after seeing Maizie and Hazel, I wanted to share another idea. Margaret Hazel, nn Maizie.
Since you like Violet but are worried about using it, I'll also suggest Daisy, which is another nn for Margaret (Marguerite is the french word for "daisy").

Frazzled Mom said...

One of the boys in my daughter's playgroup has a 3 month old sister named Hazel. She is one of the cutest little peanuts ever.

While I don't think Hazel sounds wonderful with Lee, I don't think it sounds terrible either, and if you don't feel your Mom's first or maiden name would make a good middle name, I would go ahead with Hazel Lee.

Sylvie from Swistle's list is one of my personal favs. But with the middle name Lee, I would use Sylvia with the nickname Sylvie.

With all this said, I suspect your close commitment to a boy's name and your struggle committing to a girl's name means your probably having a boy! I'm no psychic; I only say that because I know I'm having a boy in March and before we were certain of the sex, we settled on a boy’s name, while the girl's name was a struggle. I KNEW what I wanted to name our daughter, but my hubs wasn't on board and none of the compromises worked with him.

Miette Miel said...

What about the name Eva? I saw the most adorable little girl today and her name was Eva. Good Luck.

LB said...

I love Oliver James. I have an Olivia (a rash post-birth hormone high, hate how popular it is!) already and wish I had chosen something else so if we have a boy one day I could have named him Oliver! James flows really nicely with it too.

Also love Maizey Lee for a girl! I think it flows really nicely together. Sounds cute for when she's little and I can see an adult professional names Maizey.

Joanne said...

I like Stella, Stella Lee.

Stitchify said...

Interesting! "Oliver James" is a song by the group Fleet Foxes. Nice name and would be cool to have his 'own' song =)