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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Boy Smith, Brother to Declan River

Natalie writes:
My husband Aaron and I are expecting our second son on October 19, 2011... Which may seem far in the future, but when you have absolutely no idea what his name will be, the due date seems all too soon!

Big brother is Declan River. We settled on his name easily, but it was a total one-off; literally the ONLY name in the baby name book that we both loved.

My style for boys is kind of uncommon/old-fashioned/quirky, with a few surnames thrown in - Leo, Dashiell, Gideon, Sullivan, Beckett, and Jasper are all favorites that my husband has nixed. Aaron's favorites all seem to come from three categories: Irish/Celtic (Keegan, Angus, Tiernan), uber-masculine (Hunter, Gunnar, Stone, Magnus) or extremely popular (Aidan, Noah, Liam).

With Smith as the surname, one of my top priorities is staying away from anything too common. I'd rather not use anything distinctly Irish, since we already have a Declan - it's not the direction I want our set going. We want one more after this baby (three total) and I don't want to be stuck in a rut. And the uber-masculine names just don't appeal to me. At all.

We have agreed on a few names, but he always retracts his agreement within a few days, for one reason or another. This is (was) our short list, all of which are now crossed out:

Archer - Definitely our top name, but is now nixed due to Aaron's fear of the nickname "Archie."
Jonah - My second choice, Aaron liked it for a day, then claimed "it's too soft."
Finn - I was iffy on this one due to both popularity and the flow with a 1-syllable surname
Hudson - Just doesn't feel "right" to my hubby, I can't decide if it's too trendy
Holden - Same as Hudson

At 25 weeks pregnant, we're left with nothing. This would have been much easier if he were a girl, as our styles have more overlap - Annabelle, Georgia, Lila, Violet, and Rosemary were our short list, all of which we both like.

So, Swistle, do you see any obvious compromises that I've missed? Is there any hope of convincing him that Archer won't be called "Archie," or that Jonah is a strong name? Please help!

I know we are avoiding Celtic, but the name that sprang to mind is Aidric. It's similar to Aidan, but way less common. Aidric Smith; Declan and Aidric.

Callum is another Celtic-choice-even-though-we're-supposed-to-be-avoiding-Celtic. What I like about it is I don't think it SCREAMS "Celtic": it's Celtic enough to go well with Declan, but not so Celtic that I think it would be incompatible with non-Celtic names. Callum Smith; Declan and Callum.

Felix is one of my own favorite quirky names, but I'm worried the X blends too much with the S of Smith.

Another favorite is Milo---but I suspect you will like it and your husband won't. Milo Smith; Declan and Milo.

Or Hugo? Hugo Smith; Declan and Hugo.

Another I like is Ruben. Ruben Smith; Declan and Ruben.

Can I talk you into one of my new favorites? Pascal Smith; Declan and Pascal.

I think Archer is such a great choice for you. I think he might indeed be called Archie, but I think Archie is adorable. Perhaps you could still use it as a middle name, where it won't be nicknamed: it's nice with River.

Jonah's main issue is that soft-A ending---used almost exclusively for girls in the U.S., except for biblical names. Jonas is a little better, but it blends with Smith and there are the Jonas Brothers to consider. Josiah, maybe, or is that getting too close to Joseph Smith?

Judah sounds stronger to me, but with the surname it sounds like Judas. Jude Smith works, I think: it's a 1-1 syllable name, but Brad Pitt and Sean Penn carry it well. Jude Archer Smith; Declan and Jude.

Or Judson, nickname Jud if you want it. Judson Archer Smith; Declan and Judson.

Or Griffin. It has the Finn you both liked, but it's longer. It's more common on the Social Security charts (#231 to Finn's #300 in 2010), but I suspect that's a deceptive figure, considering how many people use Finley, Finnegan, Phineas, etc., to get the nickname Finn. (Which you too could use, if you wanted to.) I won't suggest Archer as the middle name for this one (initials), but the middle name slot would be a good place for a name you'd both agree on except for a major issue (i.e., maybe a name you'd both love if it weren't so popular, or if it weren't too Celtic). Griffin Smith; Declan and Griffin.

And I know Finnegan is kind of Celtic, but it seems like a good way to make the name Finn a little longer. Declan and Finnegan is a pretty dashing pair of brother names.

Or Haskell. VERY uncommon, yet feels familiar from it's use as a surname. Haskell Smith; Declan and Haskell.

Name update! Natalie writes:
Our little guy arrived via emergency c-section on October 12, 2011 - although it was very scary at the time, we are both doing wonderfully now. His name, Asher Wesley, fits him perfectly. We have gotten compliments on his name from nearly every nurse and doctor we've seen, and our family and friends have reacted to it very well also. He's 6 pounds, 15 oz, and 19 inches long... seems so tiny compared to his big brother, who was nearly 9 pounds at birth! Big bro Declan (almost 2 years old) is just as head over heels as we are, constantly wanting to kiss his "beebee Ashoo."

Thank you so much for the help in finding the perfect name! I can absolutely say that Swistle and commenters are where we got his name, we may never have settled on it without you all.


JCF said...

This may or may not be helpful, but my oldest is also named Declan, though we didn't end up going with other distinctly Irish names with subsequent kids. We have Eleanor (who would have been Elliott had she been a boy) and Miles.

A few others we had on our list:
Julian (love this and would have used it but for my husband's best friend since HS using it).

I do love Archer; I hope It will grow on your husband!

Sarah said...

Natalie, you and I have almost the exact same list of names for boys! So, I'm going to offer you two of my favorite names that I could never use due to conflict with our last name and a family name:

Anders (may run too much with Smith however)

Fenton and Declan. Fenton Smith. I love!

With that said, I feel like "Archie" can be avoided and Archer is wonderful. My brother is an Andrew and growing up, my parents were adamant that he was an Andrew and not an "Andy". My brother became adamant as he grew older and stood his ground when school started. I believe that if you nip a nickname in the bud early enough, it's a non-issue.

Carolyn said...

I like Carter as a sibling name for Declan. Although it's getting common, I don't think it's nearly over-saturated.

Other ideas:

Joanne said...

I have an Anthony and he is never called Tony, if that helps. I think if you call a child something, and stick with it, you can avoid the unwanted nickname. My sister's name is Laura and she NEVER wanted to be Lori and she never was.

Do you like Asher? It's close to Archer but there's no threat of Archie as a nickname. I have a friend who liked a lot of your options and she has a Jasper and an Oscar. Do you like Oscar? So many great options, best of luck!

brooke said...

I like Swistle's suggestion of Jude.

I also agree with Sarah and Joanne about the nickname not needing to be an issue. I have a niece named Addison that has never been called Addie. Her name is Addison and that's that.

Nicole J. said...

Based on your letter, it sounds like the best name for you would be quirky, strong, with little/no nickname potential or an agreed upon nickname.

I think Asher is a great suggestion, Joanne, and fits this criteria.

Are there any other -er names that you can both agree on? You say that you like Jasper, he likes Hunter, and you both like Archer, except for the nickname.

So what about Baxter or Sawyer or Turner or Evander?

If you both like Finn but you think it's too popular, what about Flynn?

I actually really like one syllable names for you because I think that they read 'strong' for boys and eliminate nicknames. So what about something like Grey or Knox or Roarke or Reid?

Sorry for writing such a tome but I find your particular criteria so interesting. Declan is a fantastic name and I'm sure you'll find something equally wonderful for your son.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I love the suggestions of Asher, Everett, Fenton, and Aidric.

If you are looking for a few more, here are my ideas:
-- Alaric Smith. Declan and Alaric.
-- Amos Smith. Declan and Amos.
-- Abram Smith. Declan and Abram.
-- Blaine Smith. Declan and Blaine.
-- Dalton Smith. Declan and Dalton.
-- Landon Smith. Declan and Landon.

Anonymous said...

Finn and Hudson are both names from Disney's "Cars" if that matters to you. (Finn McMissile and Doc Hudson/The Hudson Hornet)

I do like Griffin and the nickname Griff, but "Griff Smith" sounds like a tongue twister. Plus you'd end up with the two syllable choppy name.

My favorite is Archer... Best wishes, I hope you find the perfect name!

Natalie said...

Thank you Swistle for your advice, and thank you all for your replies! This has spurred a really productive name discussion with my husband. Still no definitive answer...

I really like Asher, and he likes it okay, but when I start to suggest middle names for Asher, he always wants to flip the combo.

I suggested Asher Flynn, he wants Flynn Asher. I suggested Asher Rowan (this is an awesome combo for me, ties into both the Celtic and nature aspects of Declan River) but now he wants Rowan Asher.

I don't like Flynn or Rowan enough to use as first names, though. Ah well, we're making progress!

kimma said...

Some more suggestions that I think of as traditional, masculine names which are not overly popular...

Byron. Declan and Byron Smith.
Conrad. Declan and Conrad Smith.
Ewan. Declan and Ewan Smith.
Damon. Declan and Damon Smith.

Just in case you're willing to consider another Irish name I ADORE Cillian at the moment. (Pronounced Kill-ee-an.)

kimma said...

I also just wanted to add my two cents that Archie is an avoidable nickname. I absolutely do not tolerate Kimmy as a nickname and people only have to be told once.

rach said...

This is very uncommon, but how about Thatcher? Thatcher Smith, Declan and Thatcher. Or Harris, Parker, Jedd, Abel, Bennett, Canaan, Emerson, Grant, Levi, Truman, Tucker, Weston, or Zane. Best of luck!

caycecol said...

I know a 3 year-old Archer and have never even thought about calling him Archie, nor have I heard anyone call him Archie. It's a darling name and I think the nickname is totally avoidable and not a good reason to relinquish a name you both love.

sara m said...

I like Joel for you. Joel Archer Smith. Uncommon enough for Smith, but not soft or Irish :)

Annie said...

For what it's worth, it would never occur to me to call someone named Archer "Archie", unless I was told that was what they went by!

Another suggestion to add to the (great!) pile: Arlo

Carmen said...

I also would NEVER think to call an Archer "Archie", unless the parents did.

My son's name is Kieran, and I also liked Brennan, Callum & Julian, although those are certainly Celtic.

The Mrs. said...

How do you feel about Logan or Corbin?

Declan and Logan
Declan and Corbin

Neither are prone to nicknames, and they have the same style as Declan, different initals, and the same-ish level of popularity.

I agree with Swistle that Archer might be the perfect middle name to compliment River.

It IS pretty overwhelming to have a due date racing at you when you don't have a name selected. I'm sure you and your husband will get this all hammered out soon though. :) All the best to you and your growing family!

Megz said...

I would like to suggest Mason for you. Surname/Occupation name, not Celtic but still British, similar to your husband's choice of Magnus. Declan and Mason Smith.

Good luck.

StephLove said...

How about Theodore (nn Theo)?

Kas said...

I love the name Archer! Its on the top of my baby name list atm! But i would use the nn Archie as i think its really sweet! But i think if you named your son Archer i dont think people will shorten it to Archie unless you and your husband do! My son is Lincoln I call him Linc but everyone else calls him by his full name!

Can i suggest Rory or Alex!

I love the suggestions of Asher, Flynn, Mason and Theodore! Good luck and Congrats x

Anonymous said...

Can I just saw how much I love your first son's name - Declan River is perfection! I am sure you'll find just as great a name for your second son.

I like Archer, Declan and Archer have a nice ring to it. What about Archer Magellan?

What about other saint names?

I like the suggestion of Kieran - Declan and Kieran..

Declan and..


ellipsisknits said...

ooh, I really like Asher Rowan too.

Just start talking about Jonah and Jasper whenever your husband suggests flipping it.

Nicole Trager said...

OOO, I second Thatcher and Corbin suggestions

Natalie said...

Dear, dear Swistle + readers, I cannot thank you enough. We have definitively agreed on Asher as the first name! I never thought this day would come! :)

Now on to middle names... I'm still rooting for Asher Rowan, he likes Asher Rylan (ugh), Asher Lachlan (eh), and Asher Wesley (okay).

Swistle said...

Ooo, I like Asher Reed/Reid. Nice with River. Declan River and Asher Reid.

Kas said...

I secound Asher Reid, its perfect with Declan River!

Nice choice by the way Asher is a great name!!

Anonymous said...

I will second another commenter in saying that I would not shorten Archer to Archie unless I heard the parents do so. I may, however, be tempted to shorten it to Arch, which I quite love. Similarly, I would be tempted to shorten Asher to Ash. Generally, I try to call children what I hear their parents call them, though, and Archer is a great name!

I'll add my two cents as the parent of a Jonah. We too worried it was too "soft" or girlish by North American standards (esp with girls we know being named Emmett, Ezra, and George - seriously!) However, we have a somewhat masculine last name & gave him a "masculine" middle name *just in case*. With my propensity to nick-name, he is often called Joe or Jones & each name -- Jonah, Joe & Jones -- suits a different part of his personality. Unlike a name like Ezra, I've yet to meet or hear of a girl named Jonah, perhaps because it might be shortened to Joan, which doesn't seem that hip these days. Likewise, he's never been signed up for anything & been expected to be a girl when he shows up (I know of parents with boys named Jordan and Morgan who are often assumed to have daughters.) A big advantage to Jonah as a name, in our books, is that it's a familiar name to many people but we meet so few of them (perhaps due to the concern of it being a soft name for boys.) I've met more boys with other names on our shortlist in common (e.g. Dashiel, Hudson, and so many Finns). I also like that the name has a "soft" side, as I think all boys and men should - the hard side is amply emphasized in our culture. SOOO, I think with the options of Joe & Jones as nicknames, and the fact that the name isn't even uncommonly used for girls, that Jonah should still be on the list, but I'm very biased toward it because it's the perfect name for our guy.

In summary: my votes are for your top two -- Archer or Jonah!

Rae said...

Ooo, I love Aidric! It's similar to Aidan with a celtic feel.

Since you love Archer - what about Adler?

Best wishes!

Erin said...

Congrats on your beautiful baby boy. Its funny, Im on the march DDC and was perusing the birth stories of other DDC and thought this name sounded familiar - I realized I had just read it on Swistle's blog this morning! Asher Wesley is a great name!