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Friday, April 30, 2010

Baby Girl, Sister to Adelie

Jennifer writes:
We are due on May 6th and are totally stumped thus far!!! Our daughter is named Adelie, and we call her Addie. We love the fact that it is classic and sophisticated, but with a manageable nickname. Our last name is quite cumbersome (three syllables) so the shorter name option is essential. It is important to us to avoid common names, but we still wanted a classic feel and Adelie fit the bill perfectly. Our leading choice for the new baby girl is Wyndan Rose. We would call her Winnie as a baby/little girl and she could switch to Wynne or Wyndan if/when she wants something more sophisticated. I think Wyndan sounds very elegant and graceful, but fear there is too much of a masculine association. I think it is officially a boy's name, yes? I love the flow of Wyndan Rose, but am not crazy about the fact that Rose is such a common middle name. Our second choice (also a boy's name?) is Quinlan (Quinn). We really don't want to saddle our little girl with a name that is too masculine, however, and we are open to totally new suggestions that fit our criteria. Please help!!

I'm having trouble getting a handle on your criteria. To me, Adelie is a modern invented name and not classic at all. Wyndan is, as far as I know, not an established name (are you thinking of the boy name Wyndham?), so you'd be free to make it a girl name if you wanted to.

I say YES, Wyndan is a very good sibling name for Adelie. They're both invented names; the nicknames Addie and Wynnie are great together; and I don't think Wyndan is too masculine.

I think it's nice to balance an uncommon first name with a more-common middle name, and I agree with you that Wyndan Rose has a nice flow. But I also know what you mean about Rose getting a little tired as a middle name these days, so perhaps we can find some other options. Jane is used pretty often but still sounds good to me. Joy, too: not uncommon as a middle name, but not overused either. Noelle. Kate. Eve. Joan. Ruth. Fay. Jo. I'd avoid any names that emphasize the "Wind in/and" sound of Wyndan, such as May, Skye, Rain, June. I think my favorites are your original Wyndan Rose, and also Wyndan Joy.

Name update! Jennifer writes:
We ultimately chose the name Piper as a sibling name over Wyndan thanks in part to the feedback we got from your awesome site.

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy Dickens!

Name Update!

Update on Baby Boy or Girl Carmody!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baby Girl McG____

Anne writes:
Hi Swistle! I'm due on 5/6 with a girl but have been having crazy pre-term contractions scares so am thinking it's going to be any day now...we thought we were settled on a name but I'm having last minute doubts and am hoping your readers can help!

Our first daughter is Cora Elizabeth, chosen because we just loved the first name and the middle name is a family one on my side passed down for many, many generations. That part was easy. And of course the "problem" is I love her name so much, I'm having a hard time finding another one I'm equally as in love with this time around.

Our last name is a very Irish, 2-syllable McG____ name. It's pretty easy to work with, I've found, but I don't want anything that sounds like a pub name or a heroine in a song you'd sing at such a pub when you've had one too many pints. Hence Molly McG____ is out, even thought I love the name Molly.

Our #1 contender right now is Greta. I adore it and feel like it fits well with Cora, and I'm half German so that part feels nice to honor.

Other options:
Ellen (always liked)
Mary (another family name)
Quinn (new contender I really like - hubby is lukewarm on it at best)
Margaret - but call her Greta. This is my husband's first choice but I have issues with naming her something just to know we're going to use a nickname. Plus it feels REALLY long compared to the rest of our 4-letter names!

In general, I don't like names that have easy nicknames.

Middle name is TBD, but likely using my husband's name (Ryan) since I'm pretty certain I'm not doing this pregnancy thing again and thus a boy is out of the question for us down the line. Our other option was Ramsey, to honor a family friend who passed away years ago.

Would love to know people's opinions on using Greta versus any of our other options, or even throwing new ones in the mix!!


I'm the same as you about nicknames: Paul and I both really like the name Charlie but not Charles, and we didn't want to name the child a nickname OR name him a name we didn't like, so we were stuck and we crossed it off our list. For some reason, though, I feel differently about names that have classically been nicknamed, such as Elizabeth and Margaret. Although it's possible to name a girl Margaret and call her Margaret (and I love that option too), I feel just as happy if it's "Margaret, and we'll be calling her Maggie." Inconsistent? Well, there it is!

But! Margaret McG___ is hard for me to say with all those repeating sounds. I think Greta is better (though I wish the Gr sound didn't repeat). It doesn't give me the "Charlie" feeling---I think of it as a stand-alone name as well as a nickname.

And I also really like the sound of Mary Ryan McG___. Sassy and Irishy without being over-the-top. And Molly is a nickname for Mary, in case you want that option without putting it on the birth certificate.

A name I heard recently on a little girl and FLIPPED for is Elsa Jane. Elsa is similar to Ellen, it's German like Greta, and I think it's great with your surname and with the name Cora. My eyes had never lingered on the name Elsa as I went through my baby name books, but as soon as I heard it with Jane and on a real little girl, it became a favorite. Elsa Jane! Adorable.

Update 05-20-2010! Anne writes:
What fun to read everyone's suggestions! I spent most of my time in labor staring at a whiteboard in the delivery room with "Margaret Mary" and "Greta Ryan" both written on it, and in the end she came out and we instantly said "that's a Greta!" So Greta Ryan is here, born May 4th.

Name Update!

Update on Middle Name Challenge: Grant _____ Comon!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baby Boy _____ Isaac Gibson

Mya writes:
Baby boy is due on May 2nd. I have not found a single boy's name I like. Last name will be Gibson and Middle Name will be Isaac (after a dear relative who passed away). My name is Mya and my husband's name is Chris. My father is Russian and my mother is Romanian and I was born in Israel. I want a name that is not in the top 100 and has an ethnic flair. We have considered the names Oliver and Oscar but worried they will keep rising on the popularity charts. If I was having a girl, we would either choose Nina or Paloma--both names we love without hesitation. I am looking for a boy version of one of these girl names and have had no luck over the last 9 months. I am worried we will be leaving the hospital with a nameless baby.

I would suggest Pablo (it has the round warm sound of Paloma), except that gives you the initials PIG. I would suggest Nico (it has the short bright sound of Nina), except that gives you the initials NIG. The middle initial is a problem: I would definitely avoid first names starting with N and P and I would probably also avoid first names starting with B, C, D, F, G, J, R, W, and Z---but that's just my own preference to not have the initials spell anything.

Would you consider Isaac as the first name? I think it's a wonderful name, and great with your surname: Isaac Gibson. I love it.

I'm not sure which ethnicity to pursue for flair. I think I will just look for names that have ethnic flair to ME, and perhaps commenters can give more suggestions.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Middle Name Challenge: Grant ____ Comon

Ashley writes:
Why are middle names so hard?

I'm due on April 26th with my second child, a boy! We're very excited as he will be joining his older sister Claire Elyse (2 1/2). One of each:)
That being said, my husband (his name is Kristopher) and I are having difficulties deciding on a name. Right now its between Lucas and Grant. The problem being that we can't come up with a middle name for Grant. (I like Lucas James, but would be open to an alternative). So I guess my question is....what would you pair up with Grant? Our last name is Comon which makes it kind of difficult.

I'm open also for any other suggestions besides Lucas or Grant. We're more traditional in names and don't want something too trendy. We tossed about Miles, Caleb, Finn, or I like Harper for a boy but my husband didn't.

Oh, I do like Claire and Grant together! Let's see if we can find some middle name possibilities.

Middle name flow is a matter of personal preference, and there are two rhythms I particularly like with the name Grant Comon: (1) a 2-syllable middle name with the emphasis on the first syllable; (2) a 3- or 4-syllable name with the emphasis on a middle syllable. I tried to avoid middle names that were inclined to blend with the strong T sound at the end of Grant (Grant William, Grant Adrian, Grant Owen), and also names that created a double -en sound with the surname (Grant Hayden Common, Grant Owen Comon)---though as you'll see, I wasn't completely consistent: sometimes a name seemed good to me despite having the same issue that had eliminated another name.

Two-syllable with first-syllable emphasis:

Grant Davis Comon
Grant Henry Comon
Grant Isaac Comon
Grant Jacob Comon
Grant Lucas Comon
Grant Michael Comon
Grant Samuel Comon
Grant Silas Comon
Grant Wyatt Comon

Multi-syllable with middle-syllable emphasis:

Grant Augusten Comon
Grant Ezekiel Comon
Grant Isaiah Comon
Grant Nathaniel Comon
Grant Sebastian Comon
Grant Zachariah Comon

And one that didn't fit in either category:

Grant Theodore Comon

To me a stand-out is Grant Nathaniel Comon. I hadn't even planned a list of multi-syllable options until I came to that one, and then I thought "YES!!" and started looking for similar names. But I also like the way Grant Lucas Comon would allow you to use both of your first choice picks.

Name update 04-27-2010! Ashley writes:
Thank you Swistle!

You did an amazing job with suggestions. A few of those we actually had in the running as well:) And I greatly appreciate all the comments from your viewers. What an fabulous network you have!

Well, my son decided to come a week early and was born on 4/17. After much discussion in the recovery room (and many votes from the nurses), we decided he looked more like a Lucas than a Grant.

We ended up naming him Lucas Ryan Comon and so far it seems to fit him.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baby Girl Smith

Jen writes:
We are having our first baby, a girl, and can't seem to come up with the perfect name. (due date May 5)

With our last name being so popular, we are keen to have something a little interesting, without being too crazy.

I am half Swedish and have seriously considered a Scandinavian name. I have always loved Annika but my cousin's wife has that name. Damn! :)

We also quite like Astrid and Annelie in the Scandinavian theme.

Other than that we have recently become fond of Ivy but are not sure if Ivy Smith is too short of a name.

The middle name will be Michelle, after my mother.

My husband is fond of Mia, Ella, Molly and Maya but none of these seem quite right to me.

Ideally I am wanting something that gives a nod to my Swedish heritage (which my husband is also keen on) or something a little alternate/bohemian without being too out there. I also have a preference for names that lend themselves to a nick-name.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

If you've always loved the name Annika, and if your husband likes it too, I don't think a cousin's wife's name would have to rule it out. She's not a close relative, and she's in a different generation. Sometimes parents will choose not to re-use a name already in use (either to avoid confusion or because they know it will bug someone else), but names are multi-use items and the existence of another holder of the name doesn't automatically take it off the options list. The name Annika meets all your requirements: it's a little unusual, it's great with your surname and with Michelle, it has nicknames, it's the nod to your heritage you're looking for. If you will allow me this moment of bossiness, I think you ought to consider using it. If it feels awk to say, "Um, but it's not like we're naming her after YOU" to your cousin's wife, you could instead make a point of saying, "Oh, I've always loved the name! I think I was 12 [or whatever] when I first heard it, and it's been on my list ever since!" Subtext: "Um, but it's not like we're naming her after YOU."

If, however, your husband doesn't like it, I think Ivy Michelle Smith is a great name. It doesn't have natural nicknames and it lacks the heritage you were hoping for, but it's great with your surname and it's unusual.

I had a little trouble making the list of Swedish names I wanted to make. I used the Nordic section of The Baby Name Wizard, and also poked around a little on various baby name sites---but name origins are so iffy. One site says a name is Swedish, another says it's German, another says it's Greek. Any site might list a name's variation/spelling as being from the original name's country---even if that country has never used that variation/spelling. When we did a post about Scandinavian boy names, commenter Ashley mentioned this site, and I looked there too. So here are some possibilities that MIGHT BE Swedish, or might just be popular in Sweden without being Swedish in origin, or might be respellings of Swedish names, or might be mistakes!

Evelina Michelle Smith
Fredrika Michelle Smith
Jannika Michelle Smith
Liana Michelle Smith
Lina Michelle Smith
Linnea Michelle Smith
Malin Michelle Smith
Maren Michelle Smith
Marika Michelle Smith
Quinby Michelle Smith
Selina Michelle Smith
Stella Michelle Smith
Thora Michelle Smith
Viveka Michelle Smith

I really like Evelina. It's a beautiful name with lots of nickname possibilities. I also love Malin and Maren. Well, and Liana and Linnea. Well, and most of the list, really.

And now for a list of name possibilities that I intended to be non-Swedish, but it's VERY POSSIBLE I will have slipped up.

Bethan Michelle Smith
Bianca Michelle Smith
Bronwyn Michelle Smith
Cordelia Michelle Smith
Elodie Michelle Smith
Emerin Michelle Smith
Felicity Michelle Smith
Imogen Michelle Smith
Lorelei Michelle Smith
Mirren Michelle Smith
Sabrina Michelle Smith
Verity Michelle Smith
Willa Michelle Smith

(Phoebe and Petra and Philippa would have made the lists if they didn't make the initials PMS.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl Rouse

Rosemary writes:
We are expecting our first baby at the start of May 2010 and don't plan to find out the gender in advance. We've sorted out a boy's name, and thought we had worked out a girl's name - Annalie Hazel Rouse. However we are now having second thoughts due to the issues raised here! Swistle Baby Names: Analeigh

"Emily" would be a good alternative, but that's my new sister-in-law's name and we also have a niece named Amelia. Sadly that rules out "Amelie" as well.

Another option might be Freya, but Freya Rouse seems like more of a mouthful than Annalie (could be I'm just not as used to it).

Olivia would be nice but as it is extremely popular here it is not an option - we do not want there to be another girl in her class with the same name.

We quite like "Ebony".

Thanks for your help!

Addalie is very similar to Annalie but avoids the, um, issue. Natalie is another such choice.

Emmeline is similar to Emily but less common, and I think it's particularly wonderful with your surname.

Ivory is similar to Ebony in that it reveals my '80s-music childhood.

Abilene is a name I just saw in a book and thought "Hey!" Same rhythm as Annalie, and nice and unusual.

Here's a name I'd never heard until I saw it in The Baby Name Wizard: Bellamy. So pretty, very similar to Emily, and with the nicknames Belle and Bella.

Some more possibilities:


Name update 07-04-2010! Rosemary writes:
Just to let you know that Philip Tristan was born on 16 May, and that had he been a girl we would have chosen the name Leonie Hazel!

Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Name Update!

Update on Baby Girl, Sister to Kaia and Kaybrie!

Baby Boy Mason

Hope writes:
My husband and I are due with our 5th child on April 27th. Our other children are Luke Samuel (10), Anna Elizabeth (8), Elise Marie (6), and Jack Robert (4). In the past we've never had trouble with names, but the fact that this is another boy is making that process more difficult for us! I think I would have been a little more adventurous with a girl's name, but my husband and I are both more comfortable with boys names that don't seem 'trendy'. I thought we'd look to go in a direction that wasn't so short and snappy since we have a Luke and a Jack and my husband's name is Sam.

So far, we like William (Will), and Andrew (Drew), I guess this takes us back to the one-syllable names, but they still seem softer to me. I have liked Ian, Reid, and Evan, my husband, not so much. I also really like Nathan, Anderson, even Harrison, but none of them sound good with our last name, Mason. We would love advice on a first name that is traditional, but current, and goes with our other kids names.

We haven't thought much about middle names yet.. in the past we've tried to use family names, (Samuel, Elizabeth, Jack, and Robert), but we're not tied to that. We've sort-of run out of boy family names we'd like to use, with the exception of possibly my little brother's name which is Jay. I'd love to use that if it doesn't seem to short for a middle name..? It sounds like an initial when it's pronounced, but I don't know if it flows well on paper.

I immediately think of the name Isaac. It's definitely traditional, but it's surprisingly current: it's been in the Top 50 since 2001, according to the Social Security Administration. It's great with your surname, and I love your brother's name as a middle name: Isaac Jay Mason. Isaac does have the same hard-C ending as Jack, but the other sounds in the names are so different.

Another possibility is Nathaniel. You mentioned Nathan not being good with your surname, but Nathaniel is great: Nathaniel Mason, maybe Nathaniel Jay Mason. And if he wanted a snappy name like his dad's and brothers', he could go by Nate.

To modify another of your options, we can take the problematic -son sound off Harrison and make Harris. Harris Mason, maybe Harris Jay Mason.

Another possibility is Nicholas: Nicholas Mason, maybe Nicholas Jay Mason, and with the nickname Nick if he wants to be like the other guys in the family.

Noah would work well: Noah Mason, maybe Noah Jay Mason. It's short like the other boys' names, but it's softer.

I like Oliver for you: Oliver Mason. Very traditional, yet currently...current. I wouldn't use Jay with it because of the initials O.J.; maybe Henry instead? Oliver Henry Mason.

In fact, I like Henry as a first name, too: Henry Mason, maybe Henry Jay Mason. Traditional but current.

More suggestions for the Masons?

Name update 05-09-2010! Hope writes:
Thank you for your advice about our little guy's name! William Jay Mason was born on May 1st. Having everyone's input really helped us to make our decision. Thanks!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baby Boy Henderson

Erica writes:
Here's the critical data: The baby is a boy. He is our second and last child. Our daughter is named Madeleine Louise Anelda after both of our mothers. In my husband's family, it's traditional for the son to get the father's first name as a middle name. Therefore, the boy's middle name will be Gerald. Our hypothetical last name is Henderson. Got all that?

Here's the list of names that we've agreed on thus far:
Dexter – Dex
Malcolm – Mal
Oliver – Ollie
Samuel – Sam
Phineas – Fin

Our three top contenders are Samuel, Xavier and Dexter. I also like Jasper, but that name requires the addition of a second middle name to break up the J and G sounds, so we can skip it.

Just to give you some more insight into my naming preferences, names on my list that didn't make the cut were:
Beckett (Beck)
Cooper (Coop)
Lucas (Luke)

We had pretty much decided on Dexter as the front-runner. Maddie latched onto it and calls her baby brother Dexter exclusively. (That's going to be fun if we chose another name.) Dexter was my idea, and at first, I loved it. However, as time as passed, I feel less and less sure that our son will be a Dexter. I'm also feeling unsure about ALL the names on my list. I think that there's this magical, perfect name for him out there but I just can't find it.

Does this just make me a normal pregnant woman or should I continue scouring the internet and emailing friends (ahem!) to ask for advice?

OH SO NORMAL! I mean, I've heard there ARE women who are just like, "Hm, what should we name the baby? How about Paul? Yes, that's a nice name." My own mother-in-law was that way. But if we are measuring normal by what I'M like (and why shouldn't we?), then you are VERY VERY NORMAL.

With two of my children, we had a list of finalists and then I thought of the magical perfect name---a name that we hadn't ever considered before, which became The Name within 24 hours of us thinking of it. With the other three, we had a list of finalists and gradually one became the winner---but without ever seeming like the Lightning Bolt Choice. In all five cases, I had SERIOUS DOUBTS about the name that only increased as delivery approached. I would lie awake thinking, "IS this the name? DO I like it more than the others? Is this a GOOD name for the child, or will it seem crazy as soon as I put it on an actual baby? What if it's too popular? What if it's not popular enough and no one likes it? Fret fret fret fret fret!"

So let's fret together for awhile about your baby boy's name. I see your point about Jasper Gerald, so I tried to think of names that were similar to Jasper but didn't have that problem. The first one I thought of was Asher, Asher Gerald Henderson---but I know your actual surname, and I don't think Asher is good with it, do you?

The more I think of it, the more I think Jasper Gerald is fine. Gerald is a family name and everyone will know it, and it's rare that the first and middle are both used. If you want to strike it, I'll understand (I like a good flow, too), but if you want to use Jasper I don't think it's out of the question. I even kind of like the double J sound, as I did when one of my friends in high school was Jennifer Jean.

Well, but let's find more names, because what you need is MORE names to fret about, right? And because sometimes introducing new options can bring out your loyalties to one or another of the original contenders.

Dexter makes me think of Baxter. Declan makes me think of Duncan and Deacon.

Rowan makes me think of Ruben. When I first heard that name a couple of years ago, I thought "!!!!!!!!!"---and then put it with my surname and cringed. But it's really good with yours! Ruben Gerald Henderson.

Another name that gave me that sudden rush of appeal is Miller. It's a bit of a reach, but so familiar as a surname I think it brings it into the realm of reason. Miller Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Miller.

I like Emmett for you: Emmett Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Emmett.

I also like Carter for you: Carter Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Carter.

I LOVE Archer for you: Archer Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Archie. OMG LOVE. I don't know why I think it's good with your surname when I don't like Asher with it, but there it is.

And it's not perfect with the middle name, but I like Grady anyway: Grady Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Grady.

Corbin is a teeny bit rhymey with your surname but I like it anyway: Corbin Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Corbin.

I think the name Keegan is wonderful: Keegan Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Keegan.

On a different track, I like Louis: Louis Gerald Henderson, Maddy and Louis. I think Louis sounds like a sweet little boy and a dignified adult in the style of Oliver and Theodore.

From your list of finalists, my favorite is Samuel. Sam Henderson; Maddy and Sam.

A note to readers: I KNOW Erica, so I've found it particularly difficult to choose names for her to consider. I'm BEGGING you to help with this one!