Hello! My husband, Scott and I are expecting our first baby, due October 13th! We found out that we are having a boy and are very excited! The only problem is coming up with a wonderful name that we both like and know he will love as well. My husband and I both want his name to be cute and fun for when he is a little baby and boy and something that transitions to masculine when he is adult. I LOVE LOVE LOVE all old fashioned 50’s names for boys, but my husband is not as keen on them as I am. I loved the names “Graham”, “Reid” and “Grady” but my husband hates all of them. He says they are not “manly” enough. We did however come to an agreement on two names…. “Jack” and “Oliver.” I really wanted to name him Jack after my grandpa who I was deeply close with, who passed away a few years ago. My grandpa’s name was actually John, but everyone called him Jack. However, my sister also recently had a baby boy, born July 12th and they decided to name him Elliott Jack. They used the name Jack as a middle name because her husband’s father’s name was Jack, but now I feel like I can not use it since she did. I also feel she might be offended if I use Jack and we really do not want to step on anyone’s toes. So that leaves us with the name “Oliver” which we both love! However…we have had several people express how much they hate it. We have decided to use “Jonah” as the middle name, because we both like that name and feel it flows nicely. The naysayers who do not like the name (including my own dad) say he will be called “OJ” (which I hate) and “Ollie” (which I don’t really care for but my husband LOVES!) I know if we name him Oliver, my husband Scott is going to call him “Ollie” all of the time.
I should explain how the name Oliver came up as a suggestion as well. For the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was incredibly sick with “morning – all day” sickness. I would see everything I ate again… it was awful. But, for some weird reason the only thing that I always wanted that made me feel better instantly was to eat Green Olives. I eat about a half a jar of green olives everyday! My husband joked that all of the Olives would turn the baby into an Oliver (I thought for sure I was having a girl) and apparently they did because we are having a BOY! Well… the name sort of stuck and now we are in a bind since a lot of friends and family are not on board. We would love any suggestions you would have for us! It’s less than three months away now, and I would love to have his name settled for sure! Please help us!!
Thank you so much!!
P.S. I should also tell you that we have an English Bulldog named Ruby.
There are two basic and widely-experienced issues here: the sister-used-the-name issue, and the some-people-hate-the-name issue.
I think you should talk to your sister. My own temperament wouldn't stretch to asking her outright if she'd mind if you used the name Jack, so I won't suggest the direct approach to you either, but you could raise the subject casually and then gauge her reaction. Like, bring up the subject of baby names, mention a few names you're considering, and then say, "We were thinking of Jack, after grandpa..." and see if she startles or if her eyebrows go mad-shaped or if she says "But WE used Jack!" And then if necessary you can back down quickly ("But then you used it, so THAT'S out! Ha ha! Obviously! Ahem!") and be no worse off than you are now. Or maybe she will say, "Ohhhhh, how sweet!" or "You totally should!," and then think how happy you'll be.
For one thing, she used it as a middle name, and the middle name is just not the same as the first name: people don't tend to feel as possessive about it, and it's much more common to have duplications---especially in an extended family where a bunch of people might want to honor the same ancestor. For another thing, she was honoring her father-in-law, perhaps mostly because it was something her husband wanted to do, whereas you'd be honoring your grandfather. It would be hard to argue that once one person has been honored, no one else with that same name may be honored, not even someone from a completely different family. But if she DOES in fact argue that very thing, at least you know for sure she feels that way, instead of possibly giving up the name for nothing.
Or, you could use John. It's definitely not as satisfying as using the nickname your grandfather mostly went by, but it WAS his given name, and you'll know it's "after grandpa." And it may be better than not getting to name a child after him at all. And John Kaufman has a wonderful sound.
As for people hating the name, it is a sad thing about baby-naming that EVERY SINGLE NAME has some people who hate it. EVERY name. There are no exceptions: the name you give this baby WILL be hated by some people. This doesn't mean I'm in the "Screw what everyone else thinks, it's MY choice!!" camp---far from it. I can easily empathize with their desire to love the name of an important baby in their lives---and I can easily picture how I'd feel if the name of an important baby in my life was one from my "Ug, I can't STAND that name!" list. But because every name will be hated by some people, it depends on things such as WHO hates the name, and HOW MANY of them there are, and WHY they hate the name, and how likely they are to come around to it with time, and how likely they are to hate ANY name I like. People from other generations classically dislike the names the current generation of parents is using: their complaints are typically that a name is weird, or that it's old-personish. (We will likely feel the same about the names of our grandchildren, although it helps that we are keeping our baby-name muscles exercised here.) And sometimes people just have completely different naming styles: perhaps you don't like the names they used for THEIR children, either---and yet they still used those names, perhaps without consulting everyone first.
In the case of your nay-sayers, it sounds like their primary objection is the initials with the chosen middle name. Is this something you could fix without stress? If your reasons for using it are just that you like the name and it flows nicely, are you willing to save that name for a possible future child, and find another name you like equally well that flows nicely but doesn't start with J? This might not stop the objections, of course: sometimes people who don't like a name come up with "legitimate reasons" for not liking it---but if those reasons were removed, they still wouldn't like it. But it's worth a try, if it's something you'd be willing to do. There are lots of two-syllable names with a similar flow:
Oliver Eli Kaufman
Oliver Ezra Kaufman
Oliver Henry Kaufman
Oliver Leo Kaufman
Oliver Levi Kaufman
Oliver Matthew Kaufman
Oliver Micah Kaufman
Oliver Noah Kaufman
Oliver Phillip Kaufman
Oliver Riley Kaufman
Or it's a great place for a name one of you likes that the other one likes okay but doesn't want to use as a first name. Oliver Grady Kaufman, for example. Or it's a good place for a family name: perhaps Oliver Scott Kaufman.
Another thing to keep in mind is that people tend to come around to a name even if they disliked it at first. In fact, it's common for them to say later on things such as "When I first heard the name, I HATED it! *merry laugh of how hilarious this is now that they love it*" and "What are you talking about? I ALWAYS loved that name!" Once an actual little sweetie-biscuit is on the scene, the name has an entirely different feel to it. (In fact, you might find you end up loving the nickname Ollie: we've had commenters mention on nickname-related posts that they've completely changed their point of view on a nickname they thought they couldn't stand, once the child was born and turned out to be Exactly Right for that nickname.)
It sounds like you have several really good reasons for using the name Oliver. I think at this point it's a matter of whether you think your dad and the others will get over it, and/or how important it is to you to have unanimous agreement in your circle about your child's name. If you decide to use Oliver, I'd suggest saying to your dad (and to others) gently and with a touch of affectionate humor that you just want to give him the heads-up that you're planning to use the name he doesn't like, so he should start bracing himself for that. And perhaps you can soothe him with a different middle name (perhaps HIS name would work?).
Also, I have one name suggestion: if you like Graham and Grady and Reid, I wonder if Grant would be manly enough for your husband.