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Monday, September 27, 2010

Baby Girl Olson

Natalie writes:
Please help me! We are expecting our first baby, a little girl, October 1st, 2010. Naming her has been a major part of my life for the past 36 weeks. I am a self proclaimed name nerd. I have known just about every name under the sun, as well as their meanings and origins, since I was 10. Names are a giant passion of mine. This makes naming my first child a great excitement, as well as a HUGE burden. I have a very defined name style, which in my opinion is pretty much summed up by three words (although others may not completely agree): Edgy, Sophisticated, and Glamorous.

Our first choice for a name for our baby has been Sophia Natalia Olson. Sophia after my great-grandmother (and the gorgeous Sophia Loren), and Natalia is my favorite version of my name, Natalie (I don't want to use Natalie, though). DH and I really like this name, but I'm starting to have second thoughts. While Sophia is sophisticated and glamorous, it is not edgy... in fact it is losing it's luster a little considering how common it has become. Or am I imagining this? I also think it's important to have back up names in case she doesn't look like Sophia when she is born. Don't get me wrong, I still really like this name....

Other names we like are (we would use either Natalia or Sophia for a middle name):

Eva - pronounced EY-va, we really don't like EE-va. This is also sophisticated but very common, and not very edgy.

Eve - a little more edgy, but not very glamorous. I adore the nickname Evie. Unfortunately, when Eve is said with Olson it sounds like "evil son"

Zoa - I think I like this a lot, but I'm not sold on it. I normally really dislike Zoe because it seems too "out there" for my taste, but Zoa seems a little classier and cooler.

Elle - I really like this, but it sounds odd with Olson. Due to a family feud, I can't use Ella, and I can't stand the thought of people calling her Ellie, but I love Elle.

Shiloh - I think this is adorable for a girl. Unfortunately, I got ahead of myself and named our male dog this two years ago. Plus, my sister-in-law claimed it for her daughter someday despite it being our dogs name.

Noa - I love how fresh this name is. It has been the Number 1 girl name in Israel for a long time. Don't confuse it with the boy name Noah, they are two completely different names with different origins and meanings. Too bad she would be confused for a boy her whole life in America :(

Arabella - I was set on naming her this a few months ago, but I quickly grew tired of how frilly it sounds. Plus Bella is super common again.

I really appreciate your expertise and advice. I need all the help I can get, plus I'm running out of time!!

Normally I think changing a spelling doesn't help much to make a name fresh (Madysyn, for example, is if anything LESS fresh than Madison), but there are respellings and then there are alternate spellings, and in the case of Sophia I think the alternate spelling Sofia puts edge back into it---mostly because of Sofia Coppola. A downside is that it is then no longer your great-grandmother's spelling.

The name Eva---are you saying you'd like people to pronounce it the same as Ava? I think it would be possible, but extremely wearying: either people will say it EE-va or they will spell it Ava, and there will be a steady stream of new people to explain it to. Especially since you actively dislike the usual pronunciation EE-va, I suggest using the usual spelling Ava, or else taking this one off the list.

Another I'd take off the list is Elle: it has a family feud closely associated with it, and it would be hard to avoid the nickname Ellie: even if you talked everyone else out of using it, she might choose to use it herself.

If you like Evie but feel reluctant to use Eve, I suggest Genevieve with the nickname Evie.

So! Hm, is it "helpful" per se to have me shooting down one option after another?

I'd say the best candidate from your list is your first choice, and I'd be torn about which spelling to use: Sofia seems like much more what you're looking for, but I'm super-hesitant to lose the family spelling. Since it's a great-grandmother, I think I would change the spelling: Sofia Natalia Olson looks and sounds wonderful to me.

Second choice: Genevieve Natalia Olson, with the nickname Evie.

For more options, I think I would look for names of glamorous actresses from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s:


Or you could use Harlow, which evokes Jean Harlow while giving you the sound of Shiloh. Downside: Harlow Olson might be hard to say (I mean that it is for me, but I'm not sure if others would have the same trouble).

Harlow makes me think or Marlowe/Marlo, but that might have the same pronunciation problem as Harlow.

Or Lydia? Lydia Natalia Olson.

Or Lena, or Lila.

Or Stella: Stella Natalia Olson.

Ooo, or Nora! Nora Sophia Olson.


StephLove said...

If you've been set on Sophia Natalia for a long time it might be your name and you could just be having last minute jitters. If popularity is a deal-breaker for you, though, it is a top 10 name, a very pretty one, but there you go. For me, Alexandra, Charlotte and Julia have a similar feel and they all go well with Natalia. I'm not sure I'd call any of them edgy, but they are slightly less common.

Zoa and Zoe make me think of Zora and Zoli (I've only hear this once. It's a little girl in my daughter's preschool class.)

I also liked a lot of Swistle's suggestions, particularly Genevieve.

Good luck naming your daugther!

Maria said...

I think Sophia is a beautiful name, but if you are worried about popularity, what about Rafaella or Sonia? Similar styles, but much less common.

Patricia said...

Sofia Natalia Olson for sure!

I think it doesn't matter if you use another spelling of Sophia, just as you're doing with Natalie: your daughter's name will still reflect your great-grandmother's name. And actually, Sofia may be a better match with your surname Olson

Usage: Norwegian, Swedish, German...
Variant of SOPHIA

Using the spelling Sofia gives the name the Edge you're seeking.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... edgy, sophisticated, and glamorous. I do agree that Sofia looks edgier, but the sound, of course is the same. What about Scarlet? I also like Greta from Swistle's list.

Jess said...

On the Noa thing, our next-door neighbors have a daughter named Noa (the father is Israeli) and while I'm sure she encounters some confusion on the issue from strangers, I find that the name really works on her, and people seem to get used to it quickly. Also her family sort of informally refers to her as "Noey" which I think is adorable. So I would say if you love the name (though it sounds like there are others you prefer), don't necessarily let the Noah issue rule it out!

Patricia said...

Agreed that the "edge" could be lost when Sofia is pronounced, but with the family connection, I'd still stay with Sofia or Sophia.

However, you could go one step further and use Sonia, which is the Russian diminutive of Sophia. Sonia also is used in the Scandinavian countries and sounds well with Olson.

Sophia Natalia Olson
Sofia Natalia Olson
Sonia Natalia Olson

Any of them would maintain the special family connections you've put together with Sophia Natalia. Each name sounds sophisticated and glamorous, but if you really *need* edge too, Sofia or Sonia would add that.

(I know a young girl named Sofie [given name], who was named for her Norwegian great-grandmother. For me, the name of this Sofie *does* have edge; even when I hear it spoken, I think, Sofie, not Sophie.)

beyond said...

Maybe Sophia (Sofia) is the answer. Sophia and the other names you mention make me think of:
I really like Lyra from this list. It's Edgy, Sophisticated, and Glamorous. Lyra Natalia Olson, Lyra Olson.
Good luck!

Christine said...

I was going to say: Genevieve! YES!, but then saw Rafaella and think that it is amazing and would work perfectly. While I love the name Sofia I find Sofia Natalia Olsen kind of unwieldly. Genevieve works better to my ear, as does Rafaella. Good luck!

Abby@AppMtn said...

Would you consider Nell? Kind of like Elle, but much more daring, I think.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

As an alternative to Sophia, I like the suggestion of Rafealla. It, to me, has the same style and alure that Sophia has. I DO feel that the popularity takes some of the edge off the name. Which is unfortunate because Sophia and Isabel where my two first choices if my second baby was a girl. But it seems the whole point in the name Sophia is to name her after your GG. Not simply to use the name. I don't see how changing the spelling changes anything other than the way the name looks on paper. It doesn't make it a different name, or make it sound different.

In place of Sophia, I LOVE the suggestion of Scarlet. It meets all your criteria and it is also very timeless, which I think is a good match. I think it has that same mysterious and beautiful vibe that Sophia has. I might also suggest Evangeline if you like the nick name Evie. She could also be an Eva or an Eve if she (or you) wanted. It fits your criteria AND a couple of your name choices into one! I think it, when spoken, is an amazingly beautiful name.

Anonymous said...

If you're concerned about Bella being "super common" at #58 on the Social Security baby names list...aren't you concerned that your top choice (Sophia) is the #4 baby girl name? The "edgy" spelling, Sofia, was at #36 so...its more common than Bella also.

I like the alternative Scarlet that someone else suggested. You could use Sofia as the middle name: Scarlet Sofia Olson.

Anonymous said...

I had just heard of the name Noa for girls, and when I read your idea of Zoa, I thought I'd suggest that. Then as I read on, I saw that you already have thought of Noa. So that's my choice. I love the edge and the No- sounding name. Other names in this vein I like are (Nova, Nolie, November etc.)

Swistle said...

Anonymous 12:31-- She already said she is indeed concerned about the popularity of Sophia, but that it's her great-grandmother's name. And I understood her concern about Bella to be about ALL the various Bella names: many Isabelles and Isabellas go by Bella, making it significantly more common than #58.

Rachael said...

I suggest Raquel for you. I think it meets your criteria. However, if you don't like that, I agree with everyone else about Sofia. BUT, she will spend her whole life explaining that it's "Sofia with an F." I've had to do that with my name. I also really love Lyra, as suggested above. Good luck!

pseudostoops said...

I, too, was going to suggest Evelyn as a source of the nickname "Evie". I really like it with Olson, too.

Caitlin said...

I came to suggest Evangeline, nn Evie, and see that someone else thought that'd work too!

I like the suggestion of Rafaela, too. I just heard of someone using this name with nn Rafa, which I think it adorable. It has an edge while still being sophisticated, glamorous, and something people have heard of.

Luella is adorable, too.

The Mrs. said...

Rafaella is lovely. Raquel is sharp. Genevieve is classic.

Noel has interest and comes with the darling nickname of Nolie.

Estelle has glamor with the nickname of Stella... or Elle.

Seraphina is elegant and has the delicate nickname of Sera and the edgy nickname of Fina (FEE-nah).

Deliah (DEE-lee-ah) has charm, edge, and class and come with the nicknames of Dee and Leah.

Ilia (EE-lee-ah) sounds very fluid with Olson, is unusual, and sounds like a Mediterranean zephyr.

You two will pick just the perfect name for your sweet daughter. Best wishes!

Amy said...

What about Zia instead of Zoa? it's less of a mouthful with Olson. Otherwise I vote for Genevieve, nn "evie"

Carolyn said...

I like The Mrs' suggestion of Estelle with the nn Elle! Other ways to get to Elle: Gabrielle or Brielle, or even Eleanor.

My other favorite is Sofia with the f. Then you could also call her Fia, which would make her name stand out from all the other Sophies.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I lke the suggestion of Estelle with the nn Elle. My niece is named Elle and she is never referred to as "Ellie", granted she is only 2. I like the name Sonia for you.

Gretchen said...

I love the name "Nola" ... it is kind of close to Noa, but would fit better stateside.

Good luck!

Sandy said...

Perhaps Zarina or Novalee?

Megz said...

From your list I definitely like Soph(f)ia Natalia the best. It sounds like it really is the name for you.

From Swistle's suggestions I really like Genevieve and Brigette.

Has Noelle already been suggested? Kind of like Noa and Elle combined.

As far as sophisticated and glamorous go, I think of Sapphire, Ruby or Emerald (nn Emmy). Scarlet as has already been suggested would fit in this category too.

All the best with your baby girl.

Natalie said...

Thank you all for your fabulous suggestions!

I found a new name that I think I love, but your opinions of it are most appreciated! What do you think of Siri Natalia Olson? Siri (SEER-ee) is Scandinavian, meaning "beautiful victory". Do you think that is sophisticated and edgy?

I do love Scarlet(t), and it would definitely be a top contender if it wasn't for my husband insisting on calling her "scary"... ugh. I also loved your suggestion of spelling Sophia "Sofia", but I think ultimately we would go with Sophia.

It is definitely between Sophia Natalia & Siri Natalia. Which do you think is best??


Frazzled Mom said...

When I saw your requirements were "sophisticated, edgy, glamorous" and then I saw you were considering Noa, I immediately thought of Noor, as in Queen Noor. I am unsure if I like Noor Natalia, but there you go.

And I meant to post this suggestion a couple of days ago, but those two little kiddos have kept me occupied.

Anonymous said...

When I saw Noa, it reminded me of a friend's name- Chanoah. It is a "real" name, (native American for "white dove") though it sounds interesting and fresh. Her nickname is Noa, and it is SO cute. She loves her name!

Kate said...

If you like Zoa and Ella, how about Zella?

Patricia said...

Between Sophia Natalia and Siri Natalia, I definitely prefer Sophia, no 'contest' at all for me, because:
1. Sophia has been what you want to name your daughter, your first choice
2. Sophia is a beautiful, classy, classic name
3. Sophia has meaning for you and your daughter as your great-grandmother's name
4. Siri is a compromise name for you, not your first choice, and all because of "edge" it seems, but Siri doesn't have the sophistication and glamor of Sophia, nor the long history.
5. Siri sounds like the name of Tom Cruise's daughter (for a minute I thought that Siri *was* the name and then I remembered that the preschooler who favors high heels is called Suri). I think others will confuse the two names too, with a Siri sometimes called Suri.
6. Siri is a cute name, but Sophia is a beautiful, substantial name.

I can't think of *any* good reason for you to use Siri instead of Sophia. And I have a hunch that you'll have 'name regret' if you don't go with the name that has been your first choice for your little girl - Sophia Natalia Olson, a beautiful, classy name with special meaning for you and your daughter.

I noticed that your due date is today. Please let us know what you named/name her!

Adey said...

I like the suggestions of Genevieve and Nola.

You might like the name Nolana (pronounced No-Lawn-Ah) if you like Noa. You could even do Noa as a nickname, or Lana (Lawna)