I'm 32 weeks pregnant with twin girls! Wow I'm huge.
Anyway, my husband and I have the standard opposite taste issue, wherein his ideal name is something like Natalie, and mine is something like Ione, Idris, or Cadia - by which I mean he likes things that sound conventional and feminine and I like things that sound...I dunno. Unique and more gender-neutral, I guess. But this puts our compromise zone somewhere in the realm of many of your readers and writers - we're looking for a name that's not too common but still pronounceable, traditional but unusual, and basically the same thing everyone else is looking for. Another compromise possibility is the nature name, Willow, Rose, etc, but our last name is Forrester. So that's a toughie. We want the two names to coordinate but not be matchy-matchy.
Middle names are set (almost), as our family tends to use last names as middle names. One middle name will be my maiden name, Stone, and the other will either be one of his family names, Lawton, or possibly (especially if we pick a gender neutral name), another family name: Louise. They'll have an older brother named Sam (Samuel). (Don't even get me STARTED on that naming process, WOW was it tough, though in the end we went for a name we decided we'd name our theoretical son during a romantic moment in 2002. He's kinda named after Yosemite Sam. Yeah, I know. Moving on!)
So, as this is my way, I created a spreadsheet with LOTS of names, and we each rated each name 1-10, and then we added the scores, and now we have a "short list," to which we are not committed at all. None of my weird name preferences made the cut, as they were all torpedoed and given a 1 by him; none of his cheerleader names made it, either, as I gave them 2's. Though I have to say, looking at this mathematically, that I generally liked way more names than he did. My average score across the names was around a 7, his was closer to a 3.
Here's the list (and the rankings):
First place (18.5 points):
* Edie (which would be short for either Eden or Edith. Edith has family significance, but it really hard to match. I love Eden, but we're not a religious family. Is it too religious?)
Second place (18 points):
Third Place (17 points):
Fourth Place (16 points):
Fifth Place (15 points):
Honorable Mentions (14 points, but with 7-7 splits, meaning we kinda agree on them, I didn't include the 14-ers that were 10-4)
The one fairly unusual name we both like but feel like we really can't slap a kid with is Persephone, or Percy for short. SO CUTE. But so many syllables! And I'm not sure it passes the resume test, even though stylistically it's actually quite similar to Stephanie, right? Also, how the heck do you match Persephone? We do also like Willa and Isadora (the second of which means "gift of fertility," which seems oh so appropriate for one of these very surprising twins.) We'd probably go for Izzy as a nickname, but Sadie is also an option. Our closest winning combo as of yesterday is Eden Stone and Linden Louise. Edie and Lindy. Lindy Lou. Linden, however, is a tree. Could we use it with Forrester? Anyway, we change our minds all the time!
The meanings themselves are not our primary concern, but we don't want to inadvertently categorize or label the girls. For example, we were thinking of Edith Stone and Calla Lawton for a while, but Edith means "powerful in battle," and Calla means "pretty," so........no-go. As a note! I was completely willing to go for Louise, or maybe Louisa, as a first name if I'd be allowed to use the nickname Lua, which I think is beautiful. This idea did not catch on.
Anyway - what do you think? Will we ever find two names that make us both happy? Could you put Persephone on a resume? Should we just each name one and have a completely mismatched Natalie and Idris? Help?
I love the spreadsheet. I love it.
Though Eden is a place name from the Bible, I think of it as a non-religious name that a religious person could use with another layer of meaning---similar to the name Noah, which is fully mainstreamed yet to a religious person would have the added benefit of the biblical association.
I wonder if you'd like a name I've encountered the last few years (that is, I've encountered a single person WITH this name periodically over the last few years, and each time I hear her name I have a positive reaction to it): Eidelyn. It's pronounced like the word eye, then a dah/deh sound and then a lyn---with the emphasis on the eye syllable. The nickname is Eidey, which rhymes with Heidi and is one vowel-sound off from Edie. One reason I think it might be a good fit for your family is that the name is highly unusual/exotic---and yet I, with my generally mainstream/common tastes, find I like it. So I have hopes it will appeal to both of you.
I'd pair it with Lorelei, another unusual/exotic name that appeals to my conventional tastes. Eidelyn and Lorelei. I like how they sound quite different but also have the "eye" sound in common (and the same number of syllables), and I like the visual compatibility of them: same number of letters, the repeating E and I and L.
However, this gives us a middle name problem. If you feel the way I do about initials that spell things, Eidelyn can't be with either Louise or Lawton---but with Stone, maybe it sounds like "idol in stone"? One option is to find another spelling. Idelyn, for example. Idelyn Louise and Lorelei Stone. (I think I'd copy one of my friends here: she had one of her twins be the "older/firstborn" twin and have the less-significant family name, and the other twin had the more significant family name---so they each had something special.) Or maybe Eidelyn Stone is not a big deal, since they'll hardly ever be said together, and maybe only sound like "idol in stone" to people with a lot of Sunday School in their backgrounds.
Another option would be to abandon the family-name middle names, and do each name like this: your favorites from his list as first names; his favorites from your list as middle names. I love family names, so I'm reluctant to push this---but something like Phoebe Idris and Eliza Ione might work very nicely, or Eliza Penelope and Annabel Persephone.
I want to put a huge positive push for Persephone---but I think what I really want is for it to get more common so we can all use it without worrying about it being too odd. (I think I would spell the nickname "Persey" or "Persie," to increase the association with the full version.) You're right: it's so similar to Stephanie, there's no reason it shouldn't be used---and yet it isn't used. I think I would pair it with Seraphina or Felicity or Philomena or Willemina or Anastasia---another long unusual name. With nicknames Percy and Sera, or Percy and Fliss, or Percy and Phil, or Percy and Willa, or Percy and Annie. There's also Sophronia, with the adorable nickname Phronsie (I remember this from The Five Little Peppers). Percy and Phronsie. And I think Isadora goes well with it too: Persephone and Isadora, Percy and Izzie.
Or do you like any of those sibling-name-for-Persephone names together, without Persephone? Felicity and Anastasia is my favorite set. Felicity Louise and Anastasia Stone. Or Felicity Lawton and Annabel Stone.
To me, Linden with Forrester is fine. I knew Linden was a tree, so I can't explain why it doesn't bother me. It just doesn't, that's all. I like Linden and Phoebe together (a phoebe is a bird, which goes nicely with tree) instead of Linden and Eden: the repeating -den endings of Linden and Eden bothers me a little, and also the way one girl gets three letters with her -den and the other gets only one. (I put the tree/-den things in the same paragraph because I think it demonstrates nicely the huge subjectivity of baby-naming. The next person reading this could think "WHAT!! But to me the tree thing is a big problem, and the 'number of letters' thing is ridiculous! And I LIKE the twinniness of the matching endings!")
I think Lyra and Calla are beautiful together. Lyra Stone and Calla Lawton.
Or Iris and Calla. Calla Lawton and Iris Stone.
I also love Penelope and Annabel. Annabel Stone and Penelope Lawton. Annie and Penny.
Isadora ("gift of fertility") would be nice with Felicity ("lucky, happy"). Izzy and Fliss.
From nowhere: Imogen Stone and Bronwyn Louise. Beatrix Lawton and Genevieve Stone.
I'm getting a little overwhelmed---so many great names, so many interesting combinations! What would the rest of you pair up?
Name updates! Maddie writes:
Welcome to baby girls Clara Roberts and Phoebe Stone Forrester!
Based on everyone's input, I actually pulled hard for Persephone/Persey (and I agreed with you on the spelling), but even though my darling husband actually suggested it, he was not to be persuaded. Which is fine, I love their names. We ended up with what I would describe as classic names that I also love. They go well with my son's name, and I think they also go very well with each other.
There were a couple of external factors. For one thing, Sam arbitrarily decided that one of the babies was named Fifi, which we were not okay with, but we took his opinion into consideration when we named Phoebe.
Clara's name was a bit of a come from behind victory - we talked about it for the first time on the way to the hospital. We liked it with Phoebe and the middle names, too (Roberts is another family name). We also got a kick out of naming Baby A Clara and Baby B Phoebe. I'm completely in love with it now, even though originally I thought it was a touch too feminine for my tastes. It edged out Calla, which my husband didn't think coordinated with Phoebe.
There's also this:
Origin of the name Phoebe: Feminine form of the Greek Phoibos (bright one), which is derived from phoibos (bright).
Origin of the name Clara: from the Latin clārus (bright, clear, famous).
Not matchy-matchy, but kinda fun, right?
(Phoebe is on the left/top, in the pic).