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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby Girl 1-ord, Sister to Nathaniel and Zachary

R. writes:
Hi-- Our last name is very "holy" and begins with an "L"!
I am 27 weeks pregnant and scheduled for my 3rd (and last) C-section on February 29th. We are super excited to be having a GIRL after 2 boys. The boys were relatively easy to name--my oldest is 7 and is Nathaniel ("Nate") Thomas 1-ord--with Thomas being my husband's middle name. The younger is 20 months--Zachary ("Zach" or more often "Zach-y") Harrison 1-ord--with Harrison being an honor name for my dad, Harry, who passed away while I was pregnant with Zach.

Compounding our naming dilemma is a series of issues that have come about with the early pregnancy scans (downs syndrome scare, heart defect scare, hair lip scare, etc.) which have all turned out OK so far but caused lots of stress for the first 24 weeks or so and kind of made me worry about naming this baby too soon. (I had 4 pregnancy losses between Nate and Zach as well). Also, my mother has been recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemo right now--causing another set of family stress issues and conflicted feelings about the joy I have in this pregnancy.

Our naming style: We both like longer first names with a nickname that we use every day--but we also use the 3 names (Zachary Harrison 1-ord or Nathaniel Thomas 1-ord) when either child is in trouble (so I have to imagine saying the name in a stern tone while the child is misbehaving!). I am German/Scottish and my husband is Italian/Swedish and so far we haven't been able to come up with any names that "go" with any of these thus our rather traditional "American" named boys. The only issue we had naming the boys was that I LOVE biblical boy names like Noah, Jonah, Josiah, Lucas etc. which, with the last name of "1-ord" really is just too much (Although both boys names do come up in the bible)! We have also chosen "family" or "honor" names for the 2 boys' middle names so I feel pressured to do the same for this one. The problem is that my mom is Kathleen--which I don't love as a middle--but that would be the most obvious choice. I do like Kathryn which is similar to how we changed my dad's name to Harrison as an honor name....I don't know how I feel about it at this point, but it is a possible middle name choice.

For this pregnancy I have made lists of girl names and then my husband shoots them down...he wants to use a name we had "picked" for the first baby that turned out to be Nate--but I don't like the name anymore and it feels dated and already "used up" so I am unwilling to even consider it at this point.

Names I have considered:
Emilia Kathryn--right now is my top contender. I would go with Mia or Mia Kate as a nn. My problem with it is that it is pretty popular--especially when you add in all of the Amelias and Mias...have not pitched to husband b/c I don't want to "lose" it as a name!
Bridget nn Britta or Gretchen nn Gretta--love both but husband does not like. Not sure about middle names with either
Tabitha--love, husband hates "Tabby" or "Tibby"
Daphne, Fiona, Felicity--can't come up with usable nn's for any of these with "1-ord"--husband doesn't like
Abrielle or Briella--like both, but not sure about "Ella" with 1-ord--no idea about middle names for either
Alice nn Ali--like the simplicity, but not convinced it is "the one"
Brynne, Bronwyn, Brynlyn, etc. I like the idea but not the execution of these
I like Quinn as a middle name but it kind of feels like it comes out of nowhere in terms of our naming style...

I don't want a super popular name and would like to stay out of the top 100 but it is not a deal breaker. We have never run into another Nate (mostly Nathan which I dislike as a nn) and we rarely hear of another Zach that is under the age of 12-15. Names we hear ALL THE TIME in our part of the US--and would like to avoid as names or nn's-- are: Abigail, Chloe, Lucy, Lily, Lila, Olivia, Kaylee, Kylee, Leah, Hailey, Hannah, Delaney, Isabella...I like these names and think they are cute, but they are in every daycare, preschool and primary classroom!

At this point I am at a loss--and, I keep thinking I have plenty of time to decide but we are getting a lot of pressure from family and friends regarding the name of this baby as Christmas approaches and I have a baby shower scheduled for January 14th that I would like to have personalized (if possible)! As a side note, I am an only child and my husband's sister has no children so we have the only grandkids in the family....first and last grand-daughter comes with some pressure!


Does your mother go by Kate? That would make such a good middle name, though perhaps not with 1-ord. Or just changing the dated-sounding -een to a current -in sound might help: Kathlin is pretty. Also, Kathleen is how the U.S. initially translated the Irish name spelled Caitlin (which is pronounced more like Kathleen)---but since then we've also adopted the pronunciation KATE-lin for Caitlin. You could use Caitlin as a middle name, if you think your mother would feel honored by it.

But that's always my sticking point with changing honor names: DO people feel honored, when it isn't their name? It seems like it's a double issue: first, it implies their name wasn't liked enough to use; and second, they might not feel honored by a name that doesn't feel like theirs. But people vary hugely on this, and some people are honored if even their initial is used, so this will depend on how things are in your own family and with your own mother. It helps that you've been through this already with your dad's name, and have had a chance to notice your family's (and especially your mother's) reaction to an altered namesake name.

I am in favor of leaving it Kathleen: I think over time it will grow on you, especially if -een names make their expected comeback in the next generation or two. (Little aside: my mother considered giving me the middle name Grace after her grandmother, but couldn't stand to give me such an ugly name. A generation later, here it is sounding lovely again and I would love to have it.) And I love middle names that add to the nickname possibilities: just as with Kathryn, Kathleen gives you Kate to pair with the first name.

Or, you could drop the idea of an honor name. It's fairly common for families to run out of honor names they want to use, and also for families to prefer a different naming style for the girls than for the boys.

If you like Emilia but it's too common, I suggest Emeline. (I'm thinking of the emma-LINE pronunciation rather than emma-LEEN.) Emeline Kathleen 1-ord, or Emmie Kate, or Emma Kate.

Or Anneliese? It's German, and pretty, and I like it with the brother names: Nathaniel, Zachary, and Anneliese; Nate, Zach, and Annie.

Would your husband prefer Margaret over Gretchen? You could still use Greta, but it also opens up the possibilities of Meg, Maggie, Daisy, etc. Margaret Kathleen 1-ord. DAISY KATE. Maggie Kate. I love this name. I want it for myself.

Instead of Tabitha, would you like Agatha or Meredith or Meribeth or Bethany? I love Meredith 1-ord. Meredith Kathleen 1-ord, Merrie Kate.

Emilia and Briella make me think of Camilla. Camilla Kathleen 1-ord; Millie Kate or Cammie Kate. Same possible issue with the surname as Briella, though: a little bit of a ill-la-la with the surname.

Name update! R. writes:
Felicity Kathleen was born on February 29th and is a happy little Leap Day baby! My mom was initially not on board with us announcing that we were using Kathleen...but now she seems pleased with the honor name (I think her "mood" about it also coincided with ending the chemotherapy--once she started to feel better, she was much more pleased with our decision). We still have not figured out a nickname that we agree on--but Zach (our 2 year old) calls her "Dee Dee" for Felicity and Baby, and so far that is her only nickname! Thank you for the input and help (and note that the headband below was a gift--but too funny not to share with the interwebs!)


Anonymous said...

If you like Ali how about Alison?
Alison Kathleen is pretty. :)

My parents would have given me this name but gave it to their first dog instead (a problem a lot of people have, I think!)

Beth said...

I love all of Swistle's suggestions: Meredith/Merrie Kate! Margaret/Daisy/Maggie Kate! Anneliese/Annie Kate! Emeline/Emmy/Emma Kate!

I don't think you can go wrong. Please be sure to write back and let us know what you decide.

Do you like Penelope/nnPenny or Nellie? Felicity is on your list and Penelope appears on several 'sibling' list suggestions for Felicity.

vanessa said...

I would definitely use Kathleen. Especially if your mom is ill (and I'm sorry to hear that) it seems to make sense to use it.
A great nickname for Felicity is Fliss. I like it with your surname. Felicity Kathleen 1ord. Nate, Zach and Fliss. Fliss 1ord. So cute!
Agree Ella is too much with your last name. Oddly, I like Lola with it. (I'm surprised too!) I actually find myself really liking that--Lola Kathleen 1ord, Lola 1ord, Nate Zach and Lola. I like it!
Margaret Kathleen/Maggie Kate is pretty darn cute.
Theodora Kathleen/Thea Kate.
Annabelle Kathleen/Anna Kate
Juliana or Juliette Kathleen; Julie Kate.

let us know!

Barb said...

I love Tabitha (is it in the Bible? I can't remember). And if your husband doesn't care for Tabby or Tibby as a nn, what about Betsy?

The Mrs. said...

I agree that Kathleen will come back in style (and the Katherines of today will wish they had it!), and it is very fitting to honor your mother.

Abriella and Alice remind me of Lydia for some reason. Lydia is also in the Bible (a seller of purple cloth in the book of Acts). Lydia Kathleen 1ord sounds lovely. Speaking of lovely, Lydia 1ord is a nice alliteration! Nicknames could be Lyddie or DeeDee.
Sylvia also comes to mind. It's definately not in the top 100, is classic, and has an elegance to it. Sylvie is a sweet nickname. Sylvia Kathleen 1ord.
Delia (DEEL-ee-ah) Kathleen has a similar feel to it.

Best wishes to you and your growing family! Very excited to hear that all is well with your daughter. Please let us know what you and your husband decide!

Jessica said...

Maggie Kate! Swistle, you're making me want to change my daughter Margaret's middle name!

gail said...

To my ear, Emilia and Amelia are essentially the same name with variant spelling, and both are quickly gaining popularity. If you add in the nn Mia, you're practically in the top ten. But if you love the name, I'd still go with it. She will be the only Emilia in your family!

I like Swistle's suggestions of Camilla and Margaret and Annaliese, and also love Kathleen as a middle name.

It is tricky to find longer girl names that are a good match for Nathaniel and Zachary yet not in the top 100. I searched, and found:

Johanna (#440)
Miranda (nn Mira)

Good luck!

Jen said...

Is your mother's middle name any more pleasing? We use middle name honor in our family. My grandmother, my mother, my sister, and I all share the middle name. And my sister and I, should we ever have girls, would continue that.

Or perhaps her maiden name might be nice? Or you could look back further in her lineage to maybe her Grandmother?

Swistle's suggestions are awesome, particularly I think Margaret Kathleen is a very good fit for your criteria.

StephLove said...

I think Kathleen makes a great middle name. (I like middles with the emphasis on the second syllable in general).

I think it fits with a lot of the names on your list and with a lot of Swistle's suggestions (I love Alice Kathleen and Meredith Kathleen), but if you need something new how about Susannah?

Nathaniel, Zachary & Susannah. It's longish with a nickname and not overused. It is Biblical but not in a really notable way, similar to your boys' names. Susannah Kathleen 1-ord. Nate, Zachy and Susie.

Elisabeth said...

I love, love Swistle's suggestion of Emeline. It's just such a beautiful name. I also really like the previous posters' suggestions of Sylvia and Susannah, and would like to add that you could use Annie as a nickname for Susannah as well.

Other suggestions...
Adelaide nn Addie/Adele/Della
Cecilia nn Cece
Evangeline nn Evie

I'd use Kathleen as a middle name, unless it really doesn't work with what you pick, in which case I suggest Kate.

Conn Family said...

Seeing the biblical tabitha (with unwanted nicknames) reminds me of Talitha. This name is also found in the bible- it means little girl. It's got a similar style (IMO) but doesn't give way to tabby. You could call her Tali (rhymes with callie) for short if you like that option. Talitha Kathleen or Talitha Kate seems like a good name that fits in with your other children. I like how you'd honor your mom with the middle name. That is very special.

KWILY said...

I just want to agree with everyone who thinks you should keep Kathleen as a middle name! I wouldn't change a thing about it. First name options: Mary! Mary Kathleen shortens to Mary Kate! Why nobody uses Mary nowadays surprises me. It would be so fresh on a little girl these days. I like the idea of Sylvia too. Nina is also one of my favorites.

Natalia said...

I can't really add new ideas, I just want to say that Margaret Kathleen is my favorite for you! I love Maggie Kate and I think it goes really well with your boys' names.
I also like Mary Kathleen and Susannah Kathleen.

Jodie said...

I'm going to suggest this name: Emilyn
It is my aunt's name and she was named as a way to honor two people (and she's 85 and I've only ever met one other Emilyn--and it was spelled Emmalynn, which is how it is pronounced).
You could call her Em or Emmy, or even Emma if you wanted to.

Good luck on the leap year baby!

AirLand said...

I love these:


Any would go great with Kathleen or Quinn as a middle name.

What about Brigitta instead of Bridget?

liz said...

I agree with keeping Kathleen in the middle and ditto the name Margaret which has so many many nicknames!

KWILY said...

I forgot to mention that I know a girl who's named Aubriel which is basically pronounced Aubrey-Elle. Thought you might like this. Nicknamed could be Aubrey or just Bree.

christine said...

I love Margaret for you....but I guess at this point, if your husband is vetoing all the names you suggested, maybe it's time for him to make a list? Maybe you'll like a name on there...or not, but at least you'll have a better idea of what he likes/doesn't like.

Best wishes for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

My name is Emma Kate! And if you like nicknames which have a tendancy to regularly reference the middle name it's a great one! My Mum almost exclusively calls me Emmy Kate which is just really heartwarming to hear. Even though Emma is a popular name there are lots of names I get called - Em, Emmy, Ems. Good luck with choosing! I vote Maggie Kate - super adorable!

Anonymous said...

Like a few others, I vote for Kathleen as a middle name. I think it's a gorgeous name & more unique these days than all the variations of Katherine. Plus, you can still shorten it to Kate. I think it works especially well as a middle name. For first names, my favourites are Emilia, Annaliese, Margaret, and Josephine and these all work so well with Kathleen - Mia Kate, Anna Kate, Maggie Kate, Josie Kate. I believe my favourite is Annaliese Kathleen 1-ord - absolutely gorgeous. So many wonderful options!

Auntie G said...

As a Gretchen, may I not use Gretchen. It is a lovely name in German but it will be pronounced in English, which is decidedly less lovely. And it lends itself to awful nicknames.

Greta, Gretel, Margaret are delightful options that work as well in English as they do in German.

Jan said...

How about Bethany nickname Beth? Or Sabrina nn Bree?

Rachael said...

Thank you for all of the great suggestions! We can't use Margaret b/c we have a close family friend that stands in for a "grandmother" type and I think that wouldn't sit well with my mom...isn't life complicated? I am loving the suggestions and am seriously thinking about Kathleen, Kathryn and Kathlin for middles although my husband likes Caitlin...he isn't vetoing anything but Gretchen (again) b/c he is vehemently set against that name! I will let you know what we decide!

Thank you--R.

Anonymous said...

How about Talitha (Tali, Tillie, Lila) as an alternative to Tabitha?
Daphne, Fiona and Felicity are completely gorgeous, but I can only think of Fifi, Lissy or Flick (which I think is an horrifying thing to do to such a pretty name). Finia could work for Daphne, but it doesn't really shorten it.
Alice, nn Ali, is perfection. Alice Fiona or Alice Kate= love.
A few more suggestions:
Milla/Millie (from Millicent or Camilla/Camille)
Philomena (Mena)
Elfrida (Frida or Elfie)
Beatrice/Beatrix (Bea (!!!), Trixie)
Luella (endless nicknames)

Mary said...

funny how we think of similar things :) I also immediately thought of Talitha. Ta

Talitha Katelyn - biblical, not common, and very cool("And he took the girl's hand and he said to her, “Little girl, arise.” Mark 5:41). Talitha also refers to two stars in the Ursa Major constellation.

Kathleen is a version of Katherine, so what about Elodie Katherine?

If you love Mia, what about

Miriam (Mia or Miri)
Malia (Mia or Lea)
Camilla (Mia, Cami, Milly, Mila)

I like how Mia would work well in Italian, Swedish, German, and English.

What about

Adriana Kathleen - Adri, Ana, Dia
Alice or Alicia Kathleen, Lissie?
Rosana Kathleen, Rosie, Ana, Annie
Vanessa Kathleen
Eleanor Kathleen, Ellie, Nora
Virginia Kathleen, Vera, Nia, Ginny

CJ said...

I think the earlier suggestion of Susannah is perfect.

Anonymous said...

Tallulah? I actually quite like how it sounds with your last name.

Patricia said...

Congratulations on your darling baby girl Felicity Kathleen. I think it's wonderful that she has your mom's name as her middle name. As for a nickname, I'd call her Lissy, especially within the family and at least while she's very young. Best wishes!

Lise said...

My goodness, that is one beautiful baby. And she has a lovely name.

Anonymous said...

My name is Rachel Kathleen and I always liked it when my mom called me Rachel Kate. Congratulations on your beautiful baby!