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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl Axel Fur, Sibling to Atticus and Avner

M. writes:
We are expecting our third child mid-September, though I think it will show up sooner. We don't know the sex of the baby and I don't have any strong feelings either way.

Here is some background. We already have two boys named Atticus and Avner. Their last name is both of our last names and rhymes with Axel Fur. We didn't plan on having two A-names for the boys and are a little self-conscious about it. We've been pretty adamant that we *don't* want another A name, although in the last few days I've been softening as there are so many great A names! (I also acknowledge that our banning of A names has probably made them even more attractive this round.)

We've done what you don't suggest and know what the middle names will be. The boys have middle names that honour family members (my FIL and my deceased brother) and we'd like to honour a dear friend who is no longer with us. Her middle name was North and we'd use that for a boy. If we have a girl, we're going to saddle the poor thing with two middle names--our friend's first name (Azra) and Joan (which was my Nana's name and also is the middle name of both my mother and my sister). Yes, we're thinking of being crazy and giving the poor child FIVE names! One first, two middle, two last. It's over the top, but I kind of don't care at this point. I am NOT having another child, so let's blow our load on this one!

I've got a long list of girl names that I like and that I think would fit--Harriet being the top contender as far as I'm concerned, with some other names being Lois, Alice, Agnes, Margot, Ivy, Iris, Hazel--but we're still searching.

Boys names are so hard! I feel like there are so many things that we have to consider that no name will work: no A name (but they're the best!), no name that sounds like a last name (as the mn sounds like a ln and he'll already have two lns, poor soul), something not too common, a real name, nothing poncey or with too many syllables. I want it to be strong, a little tough, but something that would go with his siblings. For example, I came across the name Tiernan and thought, that's a good name, but then realized it sounded like a yuppie child's name. I want a name that would be as home on the oil rigs as the theatre as the doctor's lounge. (I know Atticus doesn't necessarily fit that, but...that was five years ago!) Some names that we've been talking about are Ivan, Silas, Callum, Orson (a last name, but I love the meaning: little bear/bear cub, as this baby has very much been one in utero). A names that are suddenly very attractive because they are verboten are: Ansel, Ambrose, Amos, Anders, Arlo.

In the past we have a strong list of about eight names and wait until the baby was born to name him and are hoping to come up with lists that we're both happy with. Also, just to make things even that more difficult, we'd prefer a name that doesn't lend itself to nicknames.

So, as you can see, we're a mess. I would love to hear your thoughts and access the hive mind of your readers.

Thanks so much!

It was my mom who brought my attention to the fact that many people have "favorite initials": one or two initials that tend to be heavily represented in their name lists. One of my mom's is K; one of mine is E. (Most people also have a couple of least-favorite initials.)

If you were planning more children than three, I think I would be encouraging you to avoid A names this time around lest you paint yourself into a corner. But if you're pretty sure you're stopping after three, and if A-names tend to be the ones you love most (rather than ones you feel pressured into using), I find it appeals to me to think of you with your three little A-name children. I think it can be a fun family thing---and with only three, it hasn't gone far enough to seem odd. And it looks to me as if your A-name list is more consistent with your style than your non-A-name list. I think you could go either way: if the favorite name starts with an A, or if the favorite name doesn't start with an A, there are good things about either decision.

My attention was caught by Orson, because although I don't like the way it flows with the other names, I DO like the bear thing. I Googled bear names, and found this list, which has several good possibilities. (Watch out on this and other bear-name lists: the verb "bear," as in "many famous people bear this name," leads to many sorting errors.)

More suggestions, non-A or A, bear-related or non-bear-related?


StephLove said...

It does seem like you are drawn to A names, at least for a boy. I'd go ahead and do it, especially since you expect this to be your last child. I like Ansel, Amos & Arlo best from your list. Or from the As on Swistle's bear list-- Ardal or Arthur.

For a girl I like Agnes, Alice, Iris, Ivy, Harriet and Hazel. Or how about using Azra as the first name and just naming her Azra Joan Last-Name. This might be my top choice as five names does seem like a lot and I say that as someone whose kids have a hyphenated last name. Another girl-bear possibility: Ursula. I'm almost certain it means bear.

vanessa steck said...

Oooo this is tricky! I'm with Swistle, though--I'd go with an A name, because you seem to love them and this is your last child. Especially if it's a boy--I feel less strongly if it's a girl, but for boys I'd REALLY encourage you to use an A name.
And of the A names you've mentioned, I love Arlo SO MUCH. Atticus, Avner, Arlo. Love. I also really like for you:
Auden--this is my other favorite!
Avi--oh won't work with Avner, though. Maybe Ari?
Allen--hmm. doesnt fit.
Aidric--oh, I like this!

FOr a girl, if you want to go for an A name, I like

Otherwise, harriet is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, LOVE Iris with your boys' names!

Atticus, Avner, and Iris. Ooh!

I really like Arlo for a boy, and yes, it would be a whole lot of 'A', but if that is what you gravitate toward, why apologize for it? I also liked Ivan at first, but I think it's too similar to Avner for me. Orson is really not my style at all, but I can see it fitting well with your style.

Anonymous said...

As a mom of 3 boys I am going to encourage you to use an A name if it is another boy. I like Arlo the best but I am also drawn to Ambrose...that is probably purely bc I once knew an Ambrose who went by Ambers and he was a true gentleman.
As for a girl I don't feel like Harriet goes well at all. I love the previous suggestion of using Azra as her first name.

Mrs S said...

I like Ursula, Iris, Orla and Ayla for a girl. But I wouldn't give her 5 names. It's too much. For a boy I like Arlo a lot or Ezra?

changelivlife said...

I have to disagree with Swistle on this one. I think Orson is fantastic with the other names. It is far and away my favorite from the boys list. From the Bear list, I liked Auberon, or Oberon if you really don't want an A.

For girls, the suggestion of Ursula was fantastic!

Good luck to you, and please don't forget to let us know.

Swistle said...

changelivlife- I think I wasn't very clear the way I phrased it: I mean I don't like Orson with North and Axel Fur. It's great with the brother names.

Anonymous said...

Im new to your website and after doing some looking around, I just have to say I dont know how you find the time Swistle! Several blogs, twitter, and 5 kids! WOW....your kids must be really independant for you to have the time to devote to these blogs etc, Im sure it must take hours upon hours as these posts are very in depth and research is obviously done. My three kids take so much of my time that I hardly can even check my email! Interesting blog BTW.

Lauren said...

I really like the other A names with your first two. I realize that I don't get an actual vote but if I did I would vote for Azra Joan and Arlo North.

If you can't stomach another A name, would you consider North as a first name?

Laisha said...

I'm also partial to another A name -- especially if its another boy, for some reason. And those boy A names rock. My favourite is Arlo, followed closely by Ansel and Ambrose -- in fact, I may like all those in equal great measure!

Of the non-A boy names, though it didn't click immediately, Orson might be perfect. I think it goes very well with Atticus, Avner, and quite well with middle name North. Because I know your real last names, I don't think it's awkward with them. I like the connection with both "bear" & Orson Welles. I wonder why that name isn't used more often?

For some reason it seems like if you don't use an A name, you *should* (read: could!) use a name that starts with a vowel. I don't think Ivan is it though -- too close to Avner & too *common* in comparison to your other boys' names, perhaps? I could be swayed. Silas goes stylistically but Callum seems like it's for another family! May I also add this for consideration: Edwin?! I know, a bit dorky at first, but I think it's got great moxie & potential.

Okay, on to girls. Because I know you & the girl whom you're honouring with your chosen middle names, I would absolutely not use Azra as a first name. As I'm sure you know, it would be very strange for those of us who know both families - though very lovely & perfect as a middle name honouring her. (But I'm sure you feel the same way.)

Again, I love your vowel names for girls, especially Iris and Ivy -- & I adore the suggestion of Ursula as well. I've a feeling Ivy will be more popular in a couple of years than will Iris, if this makes a difference either way.

Agreed, the two middle names will make this quite the name! I say go for it, though (as you likely will!) Some of the names will be dropped from some forms of ID (eg the second middle name & first last name, if it's not hyphenated to the last-last name!) Later, she can choose if she wants to keep all or some of the names. Have you thought of this when thinking of the placement of the two middle names? If Azra is the second middle name and is dropped from some forms of ID, does that make a difference to you?

Okay, I'm going on. My favourites so far are:
Arlo North
Ambrose North

Ivy Joan Azra / Ivy Azra Joan
Iris Joan Azra / Iris Azra Joan

That's enough from me!

The Mrs. said...

Your boys' names are great!! Atticus and Avner... spectacular!

If you like 'A' names, go for the full sweep. Ansel could be a famous naturalist photographer or a burly German. Either one is a fine image. Atticus, Avner, and Ansel.

Otherwise, how do you like the name 'Hendrik'? The Hudson River was named after Hendrik Hudson, brilliant explorer and excellent ambassador. It doesn't lend itself to nicknames (Hen? Drik? Nope!). Atticus, Avner, and Hendrik.

For a sweet daughter, the name Agnes is SO fantastic. I knew the most wonderful Agnes; she was the epitome of a lady... gracious, thoughtful, dignified. Atticus, Avner, and Agnes.

Best wishes to you and your growing family. Please keep us up to date! :)

Frazzled Mom said...

I looked at the link of bear names, and from there the link of girl bear names. Ursula is on the list "Little she-bear" and that name is fantastic!

But I found some other great girl names: Calista ("Great Bear Constellation") and Orsa ("Little she-bear").

I saw Ayla on the bear list, and was going to suggest it as an A name, but read the description and saw first-hand what Swistle was saying: Ayla - "heroine of Jean Anel's 'Clan of the Cave Bear' series."

Ayla would still work with the boy names and I see someone else suggested it.

There are so many great boy names on your list. Personally I like Arlo and Amos the best but I feel Ambrose would go better with your other son's names.

Library Lady said...

If you love the A names, Go for the whole "A" team. Either boy or girl, I would pick an A name.

the hills said...

please do arlo! it fits just perfectly with your strong, unique sons names. i'm always lost on girl names. which is probably why that's all i can seem to have. haha

the hills said...

ooo or ansel!

Anonymous said...

If you like Orson, you might also like Orison. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the bear connection but it does have it's own nice meaning (a prayer).

Anonymous said...

Arlo Dov North <3

Rae said...

If baby #3 is a BOY - I'm on the "A" name bandwagon!

My favorites with Atticus and Avner are:
Arlo, Arlin/Arlen, Aidric, Alton.

What about using Bear as a family nickname?

If baby #3 is a GIRL - I must say that I love, love, love Azra Joan Last-Name. LOVE IT!

Best of luck!

Emmy Jo said...

Congratulations on your third child! My son has a "bear" name -- his middle name is Arthur -- and just for fun, I've looked up other bear names to consider pairing with his for future children.

A few names that have not been mentioned are forms of the Greek name Arkadios, which derives from a place name meaning "bear." The girl version would be Arcadia. Arcadia Axel Fur. Arcadia Azra Joan Axel Fur. (It sounds like a lot of A's, but it's probable your last name doesn't actually start with A.) Atticus, Avner, and Arcadia.

For a boy, I like the Russian form, Arkady. It's pronounced ar-KAH-dee, though I suppose it's uncommon enough that you could choose to pronounce it however you wish. Arkady North Axel Fur. Atticus, Avner, and Arkady. I really like the way this sounds with the brothers' names.

Good luck!

(Oh, and I know what you mean about wanting to find a name that would working on either the oil rigs or the doctor's lounge... except that I word it that I want to find a name that would work for equally well on a colonial American farmer's child or a member of a European royal family. And I only figured this out AFTER I had my son, Julius -- whose name doesn't quite have the sweet simplicity of the Colonial era.

m said...

Thanks for all of you weighing in! Baby is now five days late and no signs of showing up any time soon. You've made realize that a third A name is *not* a problem and that it is more important to have a name we love than fitting or fighting a theme.

I'll definitely send an update when we have news. Thanks again for all your thoughts on this. Very much appreciated.