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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby Boy Gottlieb, Brother to Nathan

Laura writes:
Our second son is due on May 9th, and we're having such trouble settling on his name! Our last name is Gottlieb (pronounced Got-Leeb), and our first son's name is Nathan Howard. We almost immediately settled on Nathan and Howard is after my husband's grandfather. If this baby were a girl--and I was convinced it was, based on a dream, completely different pregnancy, and the early ultrasound--her name was going to be Claire Abigail. However, the 20-week ultrasound was emphatically boy, dashing all my pretty pink dreams, and putting us right back on the drawing board.

We've gone back and forth over a lot of names and the front-runner seems to be Eli, but I'm just not sure about it. My husband loves it, but it just doesn't seem "right" to me. I'm not sure I like the sound of Eli Gottlieb (too many eees?), and it just seems so short written out (shouldn't there be more letters?). Also, and this is probably in the way-picky realm, I don't like the reversal of the e & i from the first name to the last. People always reverse the i & e in our last name, and by putting the e first in the first name, I feel like it'll make it worse. It's entirely possible that I'm way overthinking this, so can you and your readers give me a reality check? Does Eli Gottlieb work?

Our other front-runners are Robert and Henry. The baby's middle name will be either Robert or Lawrence after my dad (my maiden name was Roberts, my dad is Larry). Unless, of course, I can get my husband to agree to Robert as a first name, and then it will be Robert Elias.

We're open to other names, here's some that we've considered and tabled:
Tobias (nn Toby)
Josiah (my all-time favorite, soundly rejected by hubs)
Lloyd (I had to give up Josiah to get this one off the list, husband still doesn't understand why I hate it)

We're pretty squarely in the "Timeless" section of the Baby Name Wizard, but I've looked through that list so many times and nothing jumps out at me anymore. So, I guess what I'm really looking for is some other opinions on Eli Lawrence, or to see if there's anything out there that I'm missing.

Thanks so much for your help!

I think what might be called for here is a longer name with Eli as the nickname. I notice you like Josiah and Micah and Noah---do you like Elijah? And you like Tobias; do you like Elias? Both of those take care of any extra-E problem for me.

Or there's Ian: similar levels of E-sound, but without the e-i problem, and without an L and a second strong vowel sound. But maybe Nathan and Ian is too much -an.

Lloyd + Elias brought the name Louis to mind. I love it with Gottlieb and with Nathan. Maybe Louis Roberts Gottlieb.

Or Frederick? Frederick Gottlieb; Frederick Lawrence Gottlieb; Nathan and Frederick.

Or Edmund? Edmund Gottlieb; Edmund Roberts Gottlieb; Nathan and Edmund.

Or Daniel? Daniel Gottlieb; Daniel Lawrence Gottlieb; Nathan and Daniel.

I'm wondering if it would work to use Roberts (with the original S) as the first name? Not only would it be your actual maiden name, it would fit in well with the other surname names being used now.

I also love both Henry and Simon from your list.

Name update! Laura writes:
Elijah Lawrence Gottlieb arrived at 3:52 pm on April 24, 2011. Many thanks to you and your readers for the advice and suggestions. We went back and forth over various versions of Eli, Elias, and Elijah, but when he decided to be born on Easter Sunday and during Passover (I'm Christian, Husband is Jewish), we knew we had to go with Elijah. We're calling him Eli and are so happy to have him in our family!

Thanks again!

Baby Twin Boys Harper, Brothers to Jack

Jh writes:
I am expecting fraternal twin boys. We have a three year old son named Jack. My husband and I like english names. Our short list is:

Thomas (Tom)
William (Billy or Will)
Charles (we only have this name chosen for the nickname Charlie, we both don't really like Charles)

names we can't use:

Our last name begins with H and sounds like Harper.

I love the name Henry but I'm unsure how I feel about alliteration ie. Henry Harper.

Any further suggestions would be welcome.

Since you have your doubts about both Henry and Charles, I vote for Thomas and William. They're great together, great with your first son's name, great with your surname, and they have compatible nicknamingness: Thomas/William, Tom/Will.

Another possibility to add to the list is Edward, though I wouldn't use it with William because of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I like the way it sounds with your surname. Edmund would be a good option, too. Or Simon? Simon and Edmund Harper.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Using the Middle Name "Hank" for a Girl

Katie writes:
We are expecting our first child - a baby girl! I am due May 1. We want to use Hank as the middle name in honor of my father-in-law who recently passed away. Choosing such a masculine middle name has made it difficult. Our choices are...

Esme (not sure if we would include the accent mark or not)

PLEASE give me some guidance!!!

Hank is a particularly difficult middle name to work with even if you were naming a boy. With a girl's name, it is nearly impossible. Was Hank your father-in-law's given name, or was it short for Henry? The name Henry would be significantly easier to work with, especially since it sounds like a surname: Nora Henry DeYoung works just fine.

If you must use Hank (if, for example, it WAS your father-in-law's given name), I suggest using it as one of two middle names. Not only will this improve the rhythm and make the name easier to incorporate, it gives your daughter an option later if she would prefer not to have the middle name Hank.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baby Girl Lupuis, Sister to Luke and Elliot

Julie writes:
I am expecting my third baby on May 3rd. I have two boys, Luke and Elliot and we just found this will be a GIRL! My husband and I have never had to look through girl names before and are desperate for some suggestions. Our last name is french sounding, rhymes with Lupuis but begins with a D. My husband grew up in France, we both have French heritage and would LOVE to incorporate a French name into our family. However, we are not bound to this as I grew up in Ireland and love some of the Irish names too. We hardly ever agree on a name as my husband wants a classic predictable name whereas I want a name that is recognised but not at all popular. I also love a longer fancier name with a cute nickname. The only names we have somewhat agreed on are longer names (that I like) but with a nickname that is simple (which he likes) Sort of a compromise. The middle name will be May, to honor my grandmother.

Here are some of the names we have been considering:

Genevieve (Evie or Eve)
Annabelle (Anna)
Camille (Cami)
Evelyn (Evie)
Lillian (Lily)

PLEASE can you help?

One of my favorite French names is Celeste: Celeste Lupuis; Luke, Elliot, and Celeste. Classic AND not at all popular. It's awkward with the middle name, but no more awkward than Camille, which encourages me to suggest it anyway.

Another of my favorites is Simone: Luke, Elliot, and Simone. Again, awkward with the middle name.

Another of my favorites is Liane, if you don't mind repeating an initial: Luke, Elliot, and Liane. Again the middle name problem. I think it's that a lot of the names I think of when I try to think of French names have the accent on the second syllable (Nicole, Danielle, Monique), and none of those work nicely with a one-syllable middle name. I'm continuing to include them in my list, firstly because you have Camille in your own list, and secondly because sometimes middle names are flexible or sometimes the rhythm is not considered important.

Two more: Corinne and Noelle.

My mother's favorite French name is Esmé (again, if you don't mind repeating an initial): Luke, Elliot, and Esmé. This doesn't work with the middle name at all.

Adelaide is pretty: Luke, Elliot, and Adelaide.

Josephine, too, and I just heard the most adorable nickname for it: Posy (presumably from the rhyming route of Josie).

A non-French option that seems like it would work well is Fiona: Luke, Elliot, and Fiona. And Fiona May is beautiful.

Or Molly? Wouldn't that be adorable with the middle name? Molly May Lupuis; Luke, Elliot, and Molly.

ALL the names on your list are wonderful, I think. It may just be a matter of having one of them grow on you more than the others. My own favorite is Genevieve, followed closely by Annabelle (I usually prefer the spelling Annabel, but in this case I prefer -belle because you're hoping to refer to French ancestry).

Baby Girl or Boy B____, Sibling to Owen and Aubrey

Felicia writes:
We are due 4/26 with our third child, and we are not finding out the gender before the birth. Baby will join older siblings Owen and Aubrey. So our last name is one syllable, starting with B, and it's the word for the make-up that you put on your cheeks.

Here is the pertinent information:
* If Baby is a girl, she will be named Leah Caroline, both names for a grandmother who is in failing health. But, we are stuck on a boy's name!

* We choose middle names to honor family members who have passed away. Possible middle names for boys: Joseph, David, James, Emmett (with Joseph being first pick because it would actually honor two different people, one from each side).

* We would prefer a name that does not start or end with a B, to avoid the alliteration or running together.

* Owen is named partly for the soccer player Michael Owen, and partly because it's the only boy name we ever found that we both agreed on. We did not find out his gender, but if he were a girl, he would have been Alannah Evelyn - Alannah for its Irish and Hawaiian origins.

* Aubrey is named because I just liked the sound of it (and my husband likes the baseball player Aubrey Huff). I actually started out liking Audrey, but got thrown off by the "odd" sound at the beginning. If she were a boy, she would have been Landon Joseph - Landon for the famous soccer player (Landon Donovan) and flyfisherman (Landon Mayer) of the same name. For some reason this time, it just does not seem right to re-use Landon.

* We want a boy's name to be unequivocally masculine name, since we have such a feminine surname.

* We really do not have any contenders for a first name, since nothing feels right to either of us so far. My husband is really into soccer, flyfishing, and skiing, so I'm sure he would not be opposed to finding a name from there.

* Although we are both American (going back several generations), my husband's heritage is Lithuanian and Irish, and mine is Irish and German. (We had the Hawaiian name in there because we spent two weeks there on our honeymoon and LOVED it, though neither of us is even remotely Hawaiian.)

* Last but not least (sorry so long!)... I suggested Adam, Eli, or Eric, but my husband was very "meh" about them. He suggested Travis, which I was "meh" about. I don't know why we could both instantly agree on Owen (as well as girl names) but cannot seem to find a boy's name this time that is a good fit.

I know you and your readers can help us though!

I urge you to reconsider Landon Joseph: you both agreed on it, you both loved it well enough to use it if Aubrey had been a boy, it's completely masculine, and it's good with Owen and Aubrey. Think of all your children in a little line, waiting to be born: you had a boy name and a girl name all set for your second baby because you didn't know which child was coming next---and it was Aubrey, so Landon's name is still available, unused, for when HE arrives.

But if it's that you don't feel like using the name anymore, I do understand that: we had a girl name in mind for both our first two boys, and by the time we actually had a girl we were tired of the name.

Lawson is similar: Lawson Joseph B___.

Would you like the name Milo? I love it with Owen because of the repeating long-O sound. Oh, and with Joseph too! Milo Joseph B___.

Or Jasper: a little of the sound of Travis, with more the style of Eli: Jasper Joseph B___ could also go by J.J. if you like double-initial nicknames. I like Jasper David B___, too. It niggles in the back of my mind that both Jasper and Emmett are Twilight characters? If that's the case, I'd probably avoid Jasper Emmett B___, even though it has a very nice sound.

Or Jeremy Joseph B___ would give you the same J.J. if you wanted it.

Or Lucas: Lucas Joseph B____; Owen, Aubrey, and Lucas.

Would you use Emmett as the first name? It's wonderful with Owen and Aubrey. Emmett Joseph B___. I think the rhythm of Everett works even better: Everett Joseph B____.

Name update! Felicia writes:
Leah Caroline was born three days before her due date. Newborn picture is attached. If she had been a boy, I was really pushing for Landon Joseph or Miller Joseph. My husband came out of nowhere with the dark horse contender of Vanek Joseph (after one of his favorite hockey players). But in the end, the decision was made for us since she was a she. :) Thanks for all the input from Swistle and readers. We have gotten a ton of compliments on the name choice.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baby Girl Campbell, Sister to Emerson, Rose, Liam, and Noah

Renee writes:
Hi Swistle, my name is Renee and my 5th (and final!) child is due on the 28th of April. One of my favourite things about having children is naming them, however I'm not having so much fun naming this baby.

My kids names are Emerson "Emmie" Louisa, Rose Susanna, Liam Davis and Noah James. All middle names honour family members, but for this baby I would just like a middle name that ends in 'a' so that it fits in with Emmie and Rose's middle names. I have step-sisters named Jennifer and Rebecca, so if you could think of a name that honours both of them I would consider that, but I don't want to honour one of them, but not the other.

Anyway, as you can see we have an Emerson and a Rose - names that are completely different in style! So honestly, I am feeling a bit lost and I don't really know what name I want. I would like to steer clear of names starting with E, R, L and N, but if I fell in love with a name I would use it, except for E names as we also have a niece named Elli. Emmie and Elli are very similar names, so we would not only like to steer clear of E names, but steer clear of names ending with an 'ee' sound as we also call Rose, Rosie, sometimes too. We also have a niece named Nala, so that is off-limits to us too.

Here is our name list, though none of the names feel like 'the one' or we can't use them:
Mila - I would use this, but my husband isn't as keen on it.
Scarlett - Both like, but don't love.
Grace - I love this, but I would end up calling her Gracie. Emmie, Rosie and Gracie with a cousin Elli is no good!
Ava - We know a couple of little Ava's, so no good for us.
Isabella - Like this, but don't really love.
Sophia - This is my favourite name (apart from my girls names), but Emmie has a best friend named Sophia, and we are very close with her family.

So there you have it. One big mess!!!

I hope you can help us :-)

My sense of order and consistency itches at the idea of giving the first four children family middle names and then not doing the same for the fifth. But I also dislike the idea of trying to honor more than one person with a single name: I think it ends up honoring neither one. This second opinion is at odds with what I have for you, which is a combination name to attempt to honor both Jennifer and Rebecca: Jennica. This is a name I think is cute ANYWAY---a good alternative for someone who loves the name Jessica but felt it got worn out in the 1980s and 1990s. AND it ends in an A.

Rose, Liam, and Noah all have a similar style; since you call Emerson "Emmie," I think that fits right in with the others.

Since you like-but-don't-love Scarlett, would you like Charlotte? It goes well with the style of the other names. Charlotte Jennica Campbell.

If you like-but-don't-love Isabella, I'd suggest Annabella and Arabella---except I don't like the repeating -bell sound with Campbell.

If you love Grace (or any other name with a natural -ie nickname), I think you could reframe the situation: an Emerson, a Rose, and a Grace with a cousin Elli. Only the nicknames repeat the -ie ending, and MANY (most?) nicknames end in that sound.

Along those lines, I suggest Molly. I know, it makes it even worse by repeating not only the -ie sound but the -llie sound! But---Elli is a cousin, not a sister, and Molly seems like such a different name.

If you love the name Sophia, I think you could reconsider using it: I think it's sweet that it's the name of Emmie's best friend, and it's not likely to cause MUCH confusion even if you're good friends with the family. Or you could use it as a middle name, since it ends in A. Charlotte Sophia, Molly Sophia, etc.

Ava and Mila make me think of Amelia. Amelia Campbell is wonderful, and it doesn't have a natural -ie nickname. But because it ends in -a, it's trickier to find a middle name to match the first two girls'. MUST it match the first two girls' names? Amelia Grace Campbell would be so nice. But perhaps Amelia shares too many sounds with Liam anyway.

Clara or Cora would be pretty, and they don't end in -ie or have a nickname with an -ie. But they end in -a, so again with the middle name problem.

In short, I recommend dropping at least one (and maybe both) of your optional restrictions (the "not ending in an -ie sound, either in name or in nickname" one and the "middle name ending with -a" one). I think that combining those (and the problem they create in combination with each other) with the difficulties already inherent in choosing a name to go four sibling names AND avoiding repeating initials AND avoiding any similarities to cousin or friend names, is what's making this so difficult---more like doing a complicated logic puzzle than choosing a baby name. But since I'm also advocating adding an ADDITIONAL optional restriction (giving a family middle name), you know I will be completely on your side if you keep the other restrictions as well. In which case I suggest Charlotte Jennica or Charlotte Ava or Charlotte Sophia---but the -ie thing means you can't call her either Charlie or Lottie. So let's see if anyone else has ideas!

Name update! Renee writes:
First of all, thanks to Swistle and all the comentors (?) for your help naming our baby girl.

A week early, on the 21st of April, Amelia Renna Campbell was born. To the person that suggested Renna - thanks, we love it and so do my sisters - and thanks Swistle and everybody else who suggested Amelia! We weren't 100% on the name before Amelia was born, but once she was here we quickly decided that she was an Amelia. We (mostly me and the kids) have been calling her Mila and sometimes I call her Mila Ren as we sometimes call Emmie, Emmie Lou. We are all in love with her!

(I will attach a picture of Amelia from her newborn photo's!)

Baby Boy or Girl Milchak, Sibling to Maggie Sue

Sarah writes:
We are expecting baby #2 on April 12th and within the last week, I have started to seriously question our "potential" names. Our first daughter is Maggie (Margaret) Sue, last name sounds like Milchak. We don't know the sex of this baby. We are pretty settled on Henry for a boy first name, but I like Daniel for a middle name, my husband likes George (both are family names). We tend to go for "older" names as opposed to new/trendy names. Our girl names... well, we just don't have a clear winner. We like Emma, Alice, Katherine. I think Emma is a front-runner but again the middle name hangs me. Let's face it, I really only use our daughter's middle name when she's doing something wrong or needs to come back to reality.... Margaret Sue just snaps her into attention. I would like #2's name to do the same.

Any and all help/comments/ concerns/suggestions will be much appreciated. I'm sick of losing sleep over this :)

I too get all doubty right at the end. It could mean that the names need re-working, or it could be last-minute nervousness.

I suspect that either middle name you choose for Henry will work equally well and be equally satisfying. We were down to three middle names for our fifth child, and we finally narrowed it to two, then back up to three, and ack! But when I think of it now, I think any of the three would have been very good choices, and I think the same about George and Daniel: they're both family names, they both work with the first name and surname, and you'll probably be happy with either one.

With Margaret (Maggie), my favorite sister name is Katherine. Would you use a nickname, so it would be, for example, Margaret and Katherine / Maggie and Katie? I like Katherine Jean: Margaret Sue and Katherine Jean. Or Katherine May? Or Katherine Ava? Katherine Jane? Katie Ava doesn't work as well, but Katie Jean, Katie May, Katie Jane---all cute.

My second favorite with Margaret is Alice, and it is only the smallest smidgen behind Katherine, mostly because of it not having a nickname compatible with Maggie (maybe Allie?). I like Jean again here: Alice Jean Milchak, Maggie Sue and Allie Jean.

With Emma, I think I'd use the middle name Katherine. This gives you Maggie Sue and Emma Kate---or, for reprimands, you'd have the full Emma Katherine, just as you have the full Margaret Sue.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl, Sibling to Ivan and Gwendolyn

Shannon writes:
I'm having a lot of difficulty coming up with a girl's name for this baby. I think we are set on a boy's name. Here's some back round information:
We have two kids, Ivan Bradley and Gwendolyn Ruth. Gwendolyn goes alternately by Gwen or Gwendolyn. I'm pretty sure that if this baby is a boy we will name him
Nathaniel Jeffrey. I feel like Ivan, Gwen & Nate sound good together.

My husband is sick of me changing my mind and really doesn't want to think about names until the last minute. I dread going to the hospital without a solid choice for either sex. We've talked about the name Veronica for a girl but it's such a strong name and I think people either love it or hate it. I've even read on some boards that people automatically assume someone with this name is stuck up or a total b*tch. I'd hate for people to have that snap judgment of my daughter!

Here are some parameters for names. I like names that are clearly male or female. I'm not a fan of anything with questionable spelling and/or of the Greyson, Braiden, Makayla, etc. style. I'd like a girl name that is similar to Gwendolyn. Feminine not trendy and has room to be played with nickname wise. I'd really like to avoid anything that is incredible popular right now. Ivan and Gwen are names that, in my opinion, are different enough without seeming pretentious or trendy. I realize Nathaniel is more popular than my kid's names but I feel it's a solid choice. Jeffrey is my father's name.

Anyway, I'm due 4.25.11 and I don't know what I'm having. But I guess I need more help with a girl name. Thank you very much!

I think Veronica is great, and I think every name will have its own set of people who will say unpleasant things about the name as if their own personal dislike of it means the name itself is objectively bad. "Reminds me of a stripper," they'll say, and add "Sorry!" as if they feel bad that their individual association obviously rules out the name permanently for everyone. (Perhaps it is obvious I feel a little PRICKLY on this topic. Veronica = "stuck up b*tch," MY FOOT.)

Another possibility is Victoria, though I don't think it goes as well with Gwendolyn. Maybe Cordelia, or Isadora if you don't mind repeating an initial.

I wonder if you'd like Francesca? I think it goes well with Gwendolyn: similarly feminine and unusual, and with lots of nicknames (Frannie, Frankie, Chessie).

Or Imogen?

Ooo, or Anastasia? Or Willemina/Wilhelmina? Or Philomena? Josephine?

Or Minerva?

Name update! Shannon writes:
It's a Girl! Despite her due date, she finally arrived on the morning of May 1st. Thank you again for including my question on your blog. There were so many beautiful names suggested. My husband loved them too. In the end, I think your post gave me the confidence to go ahead and name my daughter Veronica. Thank you, thank you! So her name is Veronica Jane. Jane is a family name after my Aunt Jane who is a really cool lady in her 90s. True story, while filling out the birth certificate info as I was chatting to my husband, I nearly wrote "Mars" as her middle name. Whew! Glad I caught that one.

Name Updates!

Update to Baby Boy or Girl Hill, Sibling to Brody!
Update to Baby Girl, Sister to Avery Caelyn!
Update to Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Cameron, Jacob, and Amelia!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Boy Jones

Katie writes:
Please help us! My husband and I are expecting our first baby on April 23, 2011. It is a boy and OF COURSE I have a sturdy hand full of girl names that I love, but boy names are hard. Jones is such a plain last name that I want something different to make it unique. I think his name should have more than one syllable and definitely not start with a J. Anytime we ask for suggestions people find plenty of names that DON'T work, but rarely do we find names we like. We also have to be careful that his name doesn't make him sound like an NFL linebacker!

I like the middle name David, after my Dad, but I'm not sold on it.

Some names we like are:


Some newer contenders are:

Rhys or Reece
Oliver (?)

We would LOVE some suggestions!

Thanks so much!

I would like to swiftly steer you away from Addison. In 2009, there were 10,567 new baby girls named Addison in the U.S., and only 240 boys---and I can almost guarantee that every one of those 240 boys has a teeth-clenching road of "No, I'm a boy" ahead of him. The nickname Addy/Addie, the similarity to the names Madison and Allison...I suspect this name is going fully to the girls.

I suggest Anderson instead. Or Dawson, or Edison, or Erickson, or Harrison, or Lawson, or Tennyson, or Wilson. I think Anderson and Wilson are my favorites from that list. (Normally Lawson is a favorite of mine, but Lawson Jones has a little too much cowboy in it for my tastes.)

Because you have two of my own favorites (Oliver and Henry) on your list, I'll mention a few of my other favorites: Milo and Leo and Isaac. I like the repeating O sound better with Milo than with Leo: Milo David Jones is wonderful. Or Isaac David Jones. (Isaac might be getting too common for what you want, but I'm encouraged to keep it in the list anyway by Benjamin, which is even higher in the ranks.)

Another name I like is Everett, and I think Everett Jones is a very handsome name. Elliot Jones would also work well.

One way to help narrow things down is to look at your list of girl names and choose one or two that right now you DEFINITELY want to use, and see which of your boy name choices are best with those girl names. Also, check to make sure that none of your boy name choices eliminate any of your girl name choices: for example, if you wanted to use Eva, you'd want to avoid using Evan.

Baby Name to Consider: Story

Jennifer writes:
I'm not due til the end of April (the 22nd), but of course, I've been dreaming of baby names since high school. Husband and I can agree on our top 8 girls and boys names, but our top three out of that list are totally different! We have already agreed on Jean as the middle name, after my grandmother, and last name is Haide (pron: hide). I tend towards longer, feminine names that have options for cute nicknames, like Sophia and Penelope. His favorite is "Story". I like it, but I have concerns that it won't pass the "playground test". Also, no nicknames? (sigh) We've decided not to ask any family or friends for opinions, but I do want to get some objective feedback about "Story Jean Haide" as a name. What do you think? Thanks to you and your readers in advance!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl Mills, Sibling to Elias, Jacob, and Dylan

Taylor writes:
My husband and I are expecting our 4th child together soon- due date is April 17th to be exact. My husband's name is Jordan, my name is Taylor and our last name is Mills. We have 3 other children together: Elias Caden, age 6 and twin boys Jacob Harrison and Dylan Riley, age 2. With our previous pregnancies, names were not a big challenge at all. Eli's name was determined by 20 weeks, and with the twins, we walked into delivery with 2 names for each of them and decided there. This time around we are struggling, partly because we seemed to have used all the names we loved with our first three kids. To add to the situation, we decided that we would let the gender be a surprise.

Our 3 boys each have a family middle name, so names that are in the running to use are:
Francis, Nicholas, Oliver, Samuel, Isaac, Vincent, Matthew, Reagan, Adele, Juliette, Morgan, and Danielle/Daniella.

We have a very short list of names, but nothing we truly love so far:


Names we cannot use due to family/friend use:
Molly, Camden, Isabella, Katherine/Katelyn/Kate, Henry, Amelia, Evan, Ella, Savannah, Cooper, Lindsey, Hanna, or Lily

Please help us!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby Girl or Boy Shameer, Sibling to Sebastian

Robin writes:
My husband and I are expecting a baby soon – due date is April 7, but I’ll probably be induced at 39 weeks, so two weeks, tops. We have a son named Sebastian. We have lots of great boy name ideas, but we’re really struggling with girl names. Last name starts with a C and sounds like Sha-meer. Current frontrunners are:

Scarlett (Probably my favorite, my husband goes back and forth – do you think this is going to get very popular? That’s my only concern.)

Other names that we like but maybe don’t love are:

I like Noelle a lot and my husband likes Annabel a lot, but the feelings are not mutual. We both like Nora a lot but can’t use it. I want the name to be a “real” name, no funny spellings, no surname or place names, etc. Do you have any other ideas? I feel like I should have a better list at this point, and my husband and I seem to have stalled out on discussions, so time for a neutral third party! Hopefully you can help!

The graph for Scarlett's rising popularity looks scary:

(screenshot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)

Nevertheless, if you're asking my opinion, which you are, I don't think it's going to get Very Popular. I think it's going to stop rising soon. My GUESS is that it will stay in a comfortable position: common enough so people won't be shocked or say "WHAT'S her name??"---but always a little unusual, and never a Top 10.

I'd put my vote with Camilla, though. I think that is such a pretty name, and so underused. Corinna would be pretty, too, or Corinne. I also like Camille, which makes me think of Simone and Celeste. Camilla also makes me think of Romilly.

Oh, I too love Noelle and Annabel! Other possibilities: Abrielle, Arabella, Giselle, Elodie, Eloise, Ellery, Elowyn.

I also like Elise: Elise Shameer, Sebastian and Elise.

Nora makes me think of Rory, Nina, Maura, Laura, Willa---and of Cora, which is similar to the Clara you like.

Instead of Scarlett and Charlotte, would you like Violet? Violet Shameer, Sebastian and Violet.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baby Girl Michael, Sister to Aubrey

Jenn writes:
Our 2nd little girl is due April 20, 2011 and we can't decide on name for her. We have one child, Aubrey Lynn, and are trying to find a name that goes well with Aubrey and a name that goes well with our last name (Michael) and that's really all our requirements (oh and we don't want it to rhyme w our names Jenn & Nate). I am also having a hard time with the middle name. At first we were set on Lee because Aubrey has my middle name (Lynn) and Lee is the middle name of both grandmothers. However, I don't want the middle name to dictate the first name if that makes sense, I am open to other middle names, I really just want it to go with the first name. I am more open to different names that the hubby is but he surprises me sometimes with what he likes so I hesitate writing this.

First names we are considering:
Reagan (has been our top name for awhile and like the way Reagan Lee sounds)
Claire (really like this name but don't like it w/ middle name Lee so need to find a middle name to go with it)
Macy (not sure about the -ie sound....don't want it to be too cute w Aubrey)
Elliot (hubby not sure about this one, is it too masculine for a girl?)
Mckenna (I like it but hubby does NOT)
Presley (again not sure about the -ie/ey sound w Aubrey )
Avery (we were going to name Aubrey this but not sure about having our kids names start w the same letter? We think we want 3 kids:)

Names that are out bc of friends kids/animal names/relative names etc:

Thanks for any help and suggestions!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Girl Haid, Sister to Daniel Henry

Bethany writes:
We are expecting our daughter to arrive in the middle of April. Our last name is Haid, as in Hyde... not Hey-d, and it is more likely mispronounced than pronounced correctly. I would love to have a name for my daughter that helps in the pronunciation, rather than makes it more difficult. Names like Aiden, for example, are terrible with our last name because of the German vowel pattern.

My name is Bethany, no nickname, and my husband is Daniel, nn Dan. Our son is also named Daniel, a family namesake that has been given to the first son for seven generations now. I have some remorse in naming him after this strong family tradition because I worry it will leave other children from feeling so connected or make them feel less important. I notice this trend in my husband's family's Dan's siblings. However, it was hard to justify not having Daniel Haid #7! Anyway, his full name is Daniel Henry Haid, a name I do appreciate because I think it sounds presidential, strong, and has a good flow. I do often call him by first and middle names, but I probably will never call him Dan, Danny, etc. So we need a name that sounds nice with Dan, Bethany, and Daniel.

If this girl were a boy, I would want a similar strong, presidential sounding name. Maybe Abraham or Solomon. Maybe named after MY father, David Douglas Haid. However, as for naming a girl, I feel really stuck! I don't feel especially compelled to use another family name, but it might be nice to have some sense of the namesake tradition, even if just middle names.

My husband has only mentioned that he likes two names: Elsa and Anna. He says he likes that they are shorter and doesn't mind that our last name is short, too. I think these names are nice, but I don't love them. I do like longer names, ones that are frillier, with more consonants. I suggested Eliza, Elise, Elisa, Annelise/Anneliese, Joanna... and he likes them, but does not love those names. I worry that if we choose Elsa, the nickname Elsie will be dowdy and ugly sounding to my ears. I also don't really like the name Anna because of having a house with a Dan, Daniel, and Ann/Anna would be too much rhyming!

Names that I like (as well as the ones above) are: Vivian/Vivianne, Beatrice, Catherine, Elinor, Mirabelle (middle?). Alice (too short?), Elizabeth... some of these names are family names on my side, which might be nice as a family namesake tradition. Nice, but not necessary. He hasn't really endorsed OR vetoed these names, but when I told him this list all he said, "Oh, Catherine... Kate! That is a nice one." So another really short name!

We both don't want to choose a name JUST because its popular or JUST because its unusual. We both don't really love the top ten girls names right now. They are very nice, but we both were the only Bethanys or Daniels in our classes in elementary school in the 90s, and that was nice!

Names that are out are Ava (we named our first daughter lost in pregnancy this), Rebecca (I like, but its my mother in laws name, and it would be logistically ridiculous to have another set of Daniel and Rebeccas living in the same house... plus, I don't NEED to have a namesake), Charlotte and Emma (BFF just named her girls this in March), anything with a vowel pattern that doesn't really match Haid.

Other trends I noticed in our naming: It doesn't have to be Biblical or historic, but that is nice. We like both modern and traditional names. We want a good flow with first and middle, like our son's name... so a name with repeating first consonants is totally okay.

Can you help us think of a good name solution for our daughter? I am VERY open to totally different suggestions that we might not have thought about. We've been through the Baby Name Wizard (both editions) several times, and still we have the big question of "what shall we name the baby?".

I agree with you about Anna: it's such a great name, but I think it's too much with Dan and Daniel.

I think Elsa is a very pretty name. I'd never considered it until I heard it on a friend's niece: Elsa Jane. I immediately loved it and wanted everyone I knew to use it on THEIR babies. I don't think you'd need to use Elsie any more than you have to use Danny, and if you DID use Elsie I don't think it's ugly (which is not to say YOU won't find it ugly, but sometimes it helps to have other people saying they don't feel that way about it). You could call her Elsa Jane, just as you call your son Daniel Henry. The one downside of Jane as a middle name is that it works against (or at least not FOR) the correct pronunciation of your surname. I'm trying to think of a long-I middle name, but you know what's hard to find? Long-I middle names. There's Jane, Jean, Joan, and June---but no Jine. Elsa Adaline or Elsa Madeline might work.

I wonder if you'd like Amelia? Amelia Haid. I like Abigail Haid even better, but that has the -ai- problem.

Or Clara is similar in style to Anna: Clara Haid, Daniel and Clara.

In keeping with the presidential theme, I wonder if there are any First Lady names that would be pleasing? I like Hillary Haid. Daniel and Hillary. Your choice of Elinor/Eleanor works for this, too, and your husband might like the nickname Nora or Ellie.

I like Frances, too, and Helen, and Ellen, and goodness, I hardly knew ANY First Lady names before looking at this list. Did you know Lady Bird Johnson's real name was Claudia? Or that Pat Nixon's real name was Thelma? Or that Grover Cleveland was a grown-up when his future wife was born, and in fact he was the one who bought her baby carriage? Well, I am getting a little off track.

Name update is here!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Girl Goldstein, Sister to Aerin

Cam writes:
We are excited to welcome a second girl to our family on/around April 18, 2011, but we can’t get traction on her name! We just had a girl two years ago, and agreeing on her name was a big enough challenge! She is Aerin R-----. Think of our last name as “Goldstein,” but it starts with a “B.” We love Aerin’s full name. The problem is that my husband and I vetted so many names with her; we have very different tastes; and I would like to avoid common names.

My dream is a fresh, pretty, interesting, but non-trendy name. My husband would be happy with names like Jessica or Mia (too common for me), but he will defer to my choice if he likes the name enough. Why is this so hard? I like names in theory, but end up rejecting most! Any new ideas, or thoughts on our existing options, would be much appreciated!

Current short list:

Sela (a Hebrew name – my husband’s favorite of the ones I’ve suggested)

Isla (I LOVE this one, but we are both nervous because of the likely mispronunciation issue)

Serena (seems long to say, but sounds perfect with our last name)

Names liked in theory …



Eden (LOVE, but already used by close friend)


Ivy (LOVE, but my husband rejected as a stripper name, which I think is crazy!)





Other facts:

We live in a big city. I am Southern, and my husband is Jewish.

“S” names are good because they would honor my husband’s grandfather (who was Sidney, but we don’t love the girl’s name Sydney except as a middle name).

Middle name could be Adelle (strong family associations), a “J” name like Juliet, Sydney as mentioned above, or something totally different.

I would prefer NOT to use a nickname.

If I gave birth today, “Sela Adelle Goldstein” would be our frontrunner. But I can’t help but think that Sela doesn’t sound “strong” enough, AND I worry about people hearing “seal” when they hear it (insert seal barking noise!). Thoughts?

Thank you SO much!

Ivy a STRIPPER name? Oh, I wonder if he's thinking of Drew Barrymore in Poison Ivy? She was a bit, er, provocative in that movie. And the DC Comics character Poison Ivy also dresses scantily. Maybe Iris instead?

If you love Eden but can't use it, I suggest Haven. It's similar in sound, and I think the association is nicer: less paradise/nakedness/temptation, more safe/comfortable/protected.

If you're worried about the seal in Sela, I wonder if you'd like Celia? It has the same sound in it, but because the name is more familiar, the "seal" is less noticeable. Or Cecily and Celeste are both very pretty. Or maybe you'd like Selah? According to The Baby Name Wizard, that's the Hebrew name (pronounced SAY-lah), and Sela is "an unrelated biblical place name." If that's true, that would let you keep the S and the Hebrew while losing the seal.

If you like Isla but want to avoid the tricky pronunciation (though it's getting common enough that I think soon most people will know how to say it), maybe a rhyming name such as Lila? Or I think Mila is so pretty, and that might remind your husband of his frontrunner Mia.

Serena doesn't seem too long to me.

Name update! Cam writes:
Our dear baby girl, Isla Adele, arrived nearly two weeks late, at the beginning of May. I was about to lose my mind waiting for her! My husband and I had numerous conversations about names as we waited for her to arrive, and yet we still didn’t name her until just before leaving the hospital. All along, I loved the name Isla the most, but we were afraid of the pronunciation issue. (We pronounce her name “EYE-lah,” but it reads like “IZ-lah” or “EES-lah.”) Finally, we decided to go with the name we loved, even if it might get mispronounced when people read it. We figure that “Isla” is short and simple, so it’s easy for people to remember once they hear it. Plus, we like how it sounds with her big sister’s name, Aerin.

The Swistle input was super helpful, both in making me feel good about our ideas, and in giving me new ones. I was really frustrated about our inability to choose a name while I was pregnant, but reading the responses to my question (and many others) was informative and just plain fun. I thought it was interesting that so many readers liked Sela (my husband’s first choice). I admit I still sometimes wonder if we should’ve picked Sela instead of Isla, but I just don’t LOVE it the way I love Isla. We get a ton of compliments on Isla’s name. I just hope she likes it when she grows up!

P.S. My husband never retreated from his view that Ivy is a “stripper name,” but we all know that he’s wrong about that! :)

Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Lela and Lennox

Heidi writes:
So we are having a bit of a dilemma. Its the age old theme, our first two children have names starting with the same letter and now that we are expecting our third should we continue with this unintentional trend?

Let me explain:
My name is Hyacinthe, nn Heidi and my husbands is Joel the youngest of 5, all beginning with J. Our 3 year old daughter is Lela Grace ( Lee-lah) and our 1 year old son is Lennox Joel. From the moment I knew I was pregnant with my daughter, she was our Lela Grace. I never even considered other names, never opened a baby name book, never thought about the fact she could have been a boy.

Then we found out we were pregnant and having a boy this time around and we can't agree on any names whatsoever. I jokingly call him "Lennox Lewis" the entire pregnancy since I started feeling him move before I was even 3 months along and he never stopped kicking or punching. So the name we had picked out was Carter Joel ( we both felt meh about it but neither of us hated it) and then he was born and we looked at each other and said, he is definitely a Lennox, so it stuck and we have nicknamed him Knox.

And now we are expecting again and we can't agree on any names at all. My husband really likes Lorelai Joy if we have another girl and I am leaning towards Beatrix Ruby, nn Trixie but we aren't really sure about either. Boy names we have none...I told him I would name the boy Huckleberry Malachi if he doesn't keep vetoing all my choices and not giving me any of his ideas! Joel prefers nontraditional names as he was always Joel M. through school and I obviously have a very unusual name!

Any suggestions? We are open to any name ideas that would sound good with Lela and Lennox.


I'll answer your more general question first. If you have two children whose names start with L, this is your Deciding Moment: there's almost no pressure to use an L name after only two, but there's significant pressure after three. If you DO plan to have more children, this would incline me toward helping you find non-L names now. I think I would avoid Lorelei in any case: Lela and Lorelei is so much L.

It's hard to find names without knowing the surname, but the section of The Baby Name Wizard I'd turn to first is Exotic Traditionals: both Lorelei and Beatrix are in there. Your joking middle-name choice of Malachi would be a really good first name, I think: Lela, Lennox, and Malachi. I also like Aidric: Lela, Lennox, and Aidric. For girls I like Imogen and Averil. Isis from this section makes me think of Iris.

I think for boys I might then turn to the Last Names First section: Archer, Baxter, Darwin, Forrest, Miller, Patten, Redford, Tillman, Turner.

For girls I might try the Short and Sweet section: Calla would be nice because its L sound ties it in to the other names. Or Cleo or Esme.

Or for both, I might look around in the Why Not? section, which has Beatrix and Lorelei as well as Lennox, plus Archer, Calla, Cleo, Esme, Forrest, and Turner. I like Cecily, Coraline, Elodie, Penelope, Willa for girls; Clark, Keane, Malcolm, Ruben, Shepard, and Wilson. Ruben makes me think of another possibility: Rufus.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Name Updates!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl or Boy Luke-With-a-D!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Schloff!

Baby Girl DeHart, Sister to Ty Noble

Haley writes:
We are expecting our second child, a girl, the middle of April, and I am going out of my mind trying to find a name for this little person. When we named our son it was 100% painless, it’s a long story but we just knew that his name was Ty, I think because of that this time around is twice as painful. Our style is pretty all over the place. We want something that is familiar, and classic, I don’t mind popular, but would like to avoid trendy or top 10. My husband and I both have very classic names so I don’t want her to be the odd one out with a bizarre name. A good nickname is very important, I tend to shorten or nickname those I love. Her middle name will be Jen or Jennifer after my amazing mom!
Here is our list so far:

Atley - I love this name, my husband hasn’t vetoed it but has issues with it. For me it has alot of what I want, not overly girly, but still able to be feminine. A little spunky, plenty of nicknames, and definitely not top 10. I also feel like it goes well with Ty. My problem with it is that every time I tell someone this name they either make me spell it for them or spell it themselves to make sure they have it right. Is it so unusual that it falls into the strange category? It has a familiar sound to me but maybe that’s because it has been rolling around in my head for months now.
Addison - This is my husbands compromise to Atley, I do really like the name, but I am having a hard time getting over where it sits on Social Security website.
Josie - Husband likes, I am meh--
Emery - I love, husband is meh
Elsa - Husband is undecided and I am afraid it might get butchered a lot.
Anistyn - Nickname? Not sure I like Ann or Annie
Austyn - Husband likes, I can’t get past no nickname
Lucy - Struggling with the nickname Luc (loose), and it's top 10 in our area.
Hattie - We are both a little meh, but it’s still on the list
I guess I should also include our three year olds suggestions of Tyla and Cactus

Vivian - (I cried when husband vetoed)

Names we love that we can’t use:

After rereading this I realize that I really am all over the place. Guidance please!! I keep thinking that I just haven’t heard the right name yet, and maybe its also a little because my husband really isn’t loving anything either. Of course maybe I am just way over analyzing this whole thing….(me??, no way!) Thanks so much for any suggestions! I can’t wait to settle on a name so that I can dream about something else at night. :)

Atley is indeed a highly unusual name: according to the Social Security Administration, it was given to only 22 girls in 2009. That's the same as the number of girls who were named Christopher that year. I think with names of that sort, it's good to have a quick-reference to help people incorporate it: in this case, something like "It's like Ashley, but with a T instead of an S-H." Or if you went with Atalie/Ataley, you could say "Like Natalie without the N."

Padgett comes to mind: it doesn't solve the classic/familiar issue at all, but it's similar to Atley and I think it's such a cute name.

Or would you like Shelby or Brinley? They have some of the sound of Atley, while being more familiar.

If Addison's popularity is the main sticking point, I suggest Adelyn and Avelyn and Emerson, and perhaps Adeline and Evelyn.

A name similar to Emery is Everly, which makes me think of Ellery, which makes me think of Ellis, which makes me think of Hollis.

I think Elsa is wonderful with your surname: Elsa DeHart. I don't THINK it would get butchered---or at least, I can't see many ways to mispronounce it. And it's good with Ty. This is my favorite from your list.

This is a little out of nowhere, but would you like Paisley? Paisley DeHart; Ty and Paisley. There aren't a ton of easy nicknames, but I can picture saying Paisy-Daisy.

I think Kiefer is an adorable name for a little girl---but again, nickname issues. Keef? Kiki? Efie (I'm imagining it sounding like Evie)? And the -fer means Jennifer as a middle name won't work. (Perhaps Cactus instead?)

I think Winslow is gone for boys, which makes it excellent material (with good nicknames) for girls.

Name update! Haley writes:
Our little girl Ally Jennifer DeHart made her debut on April 12, 2011. I was so hoping that everyone who told me the second I saw her I would just "know" what her name was would be right, but not so much. My husband and I had gone through both of the hospitals name books twice and still nothing we could agree on. My husband really wanted to name her Austen, but she was so little and sweet I felt she really needed something more feminine, I was pulling realllllllly hard for Elsa, it just seemed to fit her but my husband just didn't like it at all. So the name we settled on as we were walking out the door was Ally. Looking back I had thrown that name out early on because we have friends, who also happen to be our neighbors, with a baby girl who is named Alee. But in the end the name is everything I wanted, It's a traditional name that's not too trendy, everyone was really shocked, they said "That wasn't even on the list!!" haha! I am so glad its over, thanks again for all your help and the help from all the readers, it really did help!

Baby Girl Christie, Sister to Greyson

Meghan writes:
Hi! My name is Meghan and my husband and I were hoping you could help us with picking a name for our little girl expected to arrive in mid-April. We have a two year old son named Greyson James and our last name is Christie, spelled and pronounced just like the girls name. We almost immediately agreed on our sons name and it suits him perfectly. His middle name, James, is the same as my husbands and is a family name on his side. We would like to try and use a family name for our daughter's middle name as well but if we find something else we love that is negotiable. The family middle names we are considering are Lynn, for his grandmother, and Katherine, for my great grandmother. Right now I think we are having a problem similar to many other posts in that we do not agree on many names or one of us finds a fault with almost every name the other comes up with. We agree that the name should not start with "C" or "K" and should not end in "ie" or "y" as this sounds a bit sing-songy with our last name. Here is a list of names we are currently seriously considering:

Harper- I love this and think it would sound nice with "Lynn" as a middle name but my husband says he cannot see himself using this name on a normal day to day basis.

Rowan- My choice as well, however, he concedes that he does like this but that it sounds too much like his sisters name (Rohanna).

Ella- We both have always really liked this name but are concerned with its popularity. I do not want her to have a name that she will have to share with someone in her class, etc. I am also concerned that if we were to use this that it does not go well with Lynn as a middle name and my husband does not like it with Katherine. Do you think Ella Lynn is too many "L"'s or double letters?

Lastly, here is a list of other names we have considered but discareded broken down into his list and mine:

My list:
Selah- pronounced Say-La, husband will not even consider
Alivia- too popular even though it does not start with "O".
Adalynn- we both agreed on this at first but now feel sort of indifferent towards it.

His list:
Eva- we know many Evas and Avas
Evelyn- too popular
Leonna- Sounds too old fashioned to me and we know someone with a daughter named "Lianna"
Adrianna- I vetoed this one.

We would love to hear your opinions and any feedback on the current names/ suggestions of other names would be great! Thank you!

I don't mind the repeating double letters of Ella Lynn (in fact, I like it), but I don't like the repeating L sounds, or the way the two names run together. I do love the sound of Ella Katherine. But I would advise against Ella for you in any case, since popularity is important to you: Ella was #14 in 2009---much more common than Evelyn and Eva.

I think one of the only problems with the name Harper is there's no nickname for it: otherwise I would suggest your husband use the nickname until he adjusted to the full name. I wonder if you'd like Juniper instead: it's similar, but has the easy nickname Junie. Juniper Christie sounds great to me, and I like it with Greyson.

Rowan is so good with Greyson, too. I wish I could suggest Romy or Romilly as possibilities, but they both end in Y. Rosella? It has the Ella you like, plus the Ro sound. Rosella Christie.

Or Bronwyn? It has the feel of Rowan, but won't be too similar to Aunt Rohanna. Bronwyn Christie sounds wonderful to me. Bronwyn Katherine Christie; Greyson and Bronwyn.

A name my mom recently encountered is Elowyn. It's similar to Ella and Rowen and Evelyn. Elowyn Christie. It doesn't work well with either middle name possibility, I don't think; are there any other names of female relatives you could use?

Fiona, too, has some of the sound of Rowan, though it increases the femininity. Fiona Katherine Christie; Greyson and Fiona.

Name update! Meghan writes:
Sorry it has taken so long to write with our name update! Just wanted to let you know our daughter, Ella Catherine, was born on April 21, 2011 and was a tiny 5lbs 12oz. My husband and I decided that in the end popularity was not as much of a factor as we once considered. Ella was the original name we both loved and after discovering that Catherine was not only my great grandmother's first name but my grandmother's middle name (thus the spelling change from K to C), we knew we had to use it! We absolutely love her name and think it suits her perfectly! She and big brother, Greyson, are doing great! A big thank you to you and the other readers for all of your suggestions and advice!

I have also attached a picture!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baby Boy Schmit, Brother to Isaac

Cynthia writes:
After reading some of the other requests for help I find myself in the same boat as a lot of expectant mothers - my husband vetoes every name I suggest. I have literally read a book of 10,000 baby names front to back, having given him an entire page full on names of which he promptly crossed off every one except for Ivan and Oscar. We have a 3 1/2 year old son named Isaac Joseph, and this new baby boy will be our last. I know people often pair Isaiah with Isaac, but we both don't care for it. Ivan doesn't really appeal to me - it sounds a little harsh. Oscar is OK, but we're not in love with it. Our last name is Schmit. I seem to prefer simple names like Jack, but I can't have people saying that you don't know Jack Schmit. My husband vetoed Sean, Jude, Drew, and Shane, among others. Two syllables would also be ok, but nothing long like Jeremiah. We prefer names that aren't made up, too trendy, or with annoying unique spellings - he's already going to have to spell his last name for everyone who will insist on putting a "d" in Schmit. Unfortunately, I've had some anxiety and depression issues in this last trimester and don't want my child to be affected by what I've been through so maybe a name that lends itself to happiness, strength, and peace would be best.

I know this isn't much information to go off of, but any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

I suggest Ian. It's similar to your husband's chose of Ivan, and it's also simple, easy to spell and pronounce, and not trendy.

Name meanings are tricky: I have a big box of baby name books, and a name that means one thing in one book can mean something completely different in another book, and another thing still if I look it up online. But I will put a few I've heard of here, and maybe we can get input too from people with more expertise in meanings.

If you'd like the name to mean happiness, the name that comes to mind is Felix. I'm not sure that goes well with your surname, though: Felix Schmit is difficult for me to say.

Frederick is one of my current favorites, and it means "peaceful leader": strong and peaceful both. Jeffrey/Geoffrey/Jefferson mean "God's peace." Noah means comfort and peace. Aaron means strength, and it's neat how Isaac and Aaron both have a doubled A. Gideon means wise strength. Leo means lion, which connotes strength---and also wisdom and peace, for those of us who grew up reading the Narnia books.

I suggest Milo. It means strength/soldier (for its associations with the archangel Michael) but also mercy.

Baby Boy, Brother to Naomi

Naomi's mom writes:
I'm hoping you might be able to help us out before the arrival of our son (due date: April 5).

Our daughter is named Naomi, a name we picked because it sounded equally fit for a cute little girl and a wise old woman. Also, we are Jewish, and we liked the way it spoke to our heritage without being obviously/exclusively Jewish. Now we are pregnant with a boy, and we're thinking of naming him Leo, which is another one of those names that could either belong on a cute little kid or a distinguished grandparent. My husband likes the way "Naomi & Leo" sound together, but I'm having doubts. First of all, even though I love our heritage and would like to represent it, the combination somehow feels TOO Jewish. Second of all, somehow when I hear them both together I just think of an elderly couple. Is this just an idiosyncrasy of mine, or will other people likely get this impression too? Other names we're considering are Theodore (but we'd call him Ted / Teddy), Dylan, and Sebastian. On it's own, I'm most drawn to Leo (love it, love it, love it), but as a sibling set with Naomi, I'm most drawn to Teddy or Dylan. What do you think?

(By the way, our son's middle name will most likely be James. Our daughter is Naomi Leigh.)

Thank you so much!

I LOVE the combination of Naomi and Leo. LOVE IT. It's my favorite of all of them. To me it's like "Emma and Max": a sibling set that sounds perfectly modern in an appealingly vintage way. Theodore and Sebastian are tied as my second choice. Dylan is by far my least favorite with Naomi: I think of Dylan as purely modern (no vintage feel) and a surname name, while Naomi is ancient and traditional.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Boy K____is, Brother to Violet and Jane

Katherine writes:
I wrote you about 16 months ago for help naming my baby daughter. I can't believe it, but I need your help again! I thought I had the perfect name, and now that I am close to my due date I am so unsure and anxious about the whole thing.

We have a c-section scheduled for April 3rd. This is our third baby, and our first son. We have two daughters, Violet Claire and Jane Mirabelle.
We do plan on having more children. I am Katherine who goes by Kate/Katie to many, and my husband is Andrew. Our last name starts with a "K" ends with an "is" and sounds a lot like Alpaca.

Immediately when we found out we were pregnant, we started calling this baby Thomas (before we even had a confirmed gender). Thomas was not a name I had ever considered in either of my other pregnancies, and wasn't on any of our lists. Neither of us knows where it came from, but it just 'felt' like our baby - so we have been calling him that (to ourselves - we don't disclose names). When it came time to settle on a name, we both realized that we are having a hard time getting away from the name.

I had a very broken childhood home and was raised primarily by my maternal grandparents and my father. My father and grandfather (who is now deceased) were two incredibly good, and important men in my life. My grandfather is no longer living. My grandfather is Walter L (no name, no period - it is just "L" - the rest of his siblings have other parts of the alphabet, seriously) and James Leslie. My husband has a similar childhood situation and is very close to his father, James Andrew.

Family names we would like to use: Walter, Leslie, James

My biggest issue is that we love the name Walter and Thomas equally and they both seem to go so well with our families' names. See!

Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Thomas
Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Walter

I feel like I will be a bit sad no matter which one I choose!

Names for the baby that we have are trying to choose from (in their current ranking order):

Walter Thomas - If we named him Walter Thomas we would call him only Thomas. My husband and I are both a bit hung up on calling him primarily by his middle name. We have asked friends who grew up going by there middle names, and they all said it didn't bother them. We like the 'sound' of this name the most. Thomas Walter just doesn't work for us.

Walter James -WE BOTH LOVE THIS NAME SO MUCH! It works so well with our family names : Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Walter. It also honors all of the important men in our lives. For me, Walter is such a great, rarely used name. But, is Walter too much of an old-man name? Are we the only ones who love it? The other issue with this is that it obviously means we would not use Thomas - which just feels odd to us since it is what we have been using the whole time. I don't know if this is because Thomas is the perfect name for us, or if it is because that is what I have been using and maybe if I had been calling him 'doodlebug' or some other name that I wouldn't be having the same issue right now with calling him something else?

Thomas Leslie - my husband does not like Leslie.

Thomas James I am not crazy about this due to the triple 'S' ending - Thomas James K_____ is. My husband would use it, but isn't crazy about it either. If we can't get past not using Thomas and he is born on my dad's birthday (as currently scheduled) then we might use this one.

Complicating issues for us is that the baby is scheduled to be born via c-section on my father's birthday. This could change, of course. If I use Walter Thomas and he is born on my father's birthday then I am certain I would feel sad not honoring my father, who I adore, in some way. That leaves me with Walter James (no Thomas).

The other minor issue is that Violet is named after my husband's grandmother, and this baby will be named after a family member. However, my younger daughter Jane is named after a character in a book and I worry that this will cause resentment? hurt feelings? feeling left out? I am not sure if this is something I should worry about, or not.

My husband, at this point, is most agreeable because he just wants me to STOP IT and pick ONE. The only one he is not okay with is Thomas Leslie. I am afraid that the day the baby gets here I still won't be any closer to decided on a name, or will wish I had chosen the other name.

Thank you, again, for your help!

It is highly unfortunate that the name James is so close to Jane: otherwise I would say that if the baby is born on your father's birthday as scheduled, he should be named James, end of problem. As it is, we are left with using it as a middle name. Or with using your father's middle name, which is already a significantly smaller honor/namesake---but also his middle name is unfortunately Leslie, which is no longer a boy's name in the U.S., AND is a name your husband doesn't want to use. This is a significant pickle we are in.

Meanwhile, you love both Thomas and Walter. Because you plan to have more children, you could choose one and save the other for a possible future boy. But in this case, my guess is that saving the name Thomas wouldn't work, since it's specific to this pregnancy. To me this is a strong mark in favor of using Thomas and saving Walter. It will be sad to leave the name Walter behind, but there will be sadness either way, and if you save Walter there is the chance of going back for it later.

Let's start by assuming the baby will be born on your dad's birthday. The only name you can use that will honor your father is James. Then let's assume that if either Walter or Thomas must be saved for another child, that only the name Walter is saveable---meaning Thomas must be used now. This gives us Thomas James. I don't mind the repeating S at all, I think because the middle S is actually a Z sound.

This name is not at the top of your list. It seems to me, however, that you don't want to make either of the trades required to change it to something else: you don't want to sacrifice honoring your father, and you don't want to give up the name Thomas (assuming I'm right that it would be weird to try to use Thomas for a boy other than this one). Mathematically-speaking, Thomas James is the name. Violet, Jane, and Thomas.

I don't think you'll be sorry about using Thomas: it's been "his name" from the beginning, and that's a great story. I don't think you'll be sorry about using James: it's your beloved dad's name, and the baby is born on your dad's birthday, and those are both great stories too. I think you might indeed be sorry about giving up either of those names for a name that has no great stories but is just one you prefer or MIGHT prefer.

HOWEVER: if you decide that, for example, "Thomas K___is" is too rhymey for you to want to use it AT ALL (for this baby OR for any future baby), in that case I think you should use Walter James: a name you love, followed by your dad's name.

"Walter Thomas but call him Thomas" doesn't make sense: it fails to honor your father, AND it adds a totally unnecessary "going by the middle name" complication. Going by a middle name makes sense if the first name causes namesake confusion (two people in the same household with the same name) or if it's a disliked name used for reasons such as tradition---but in this case it would be merely to change the sound (not even the rhythm) of the name, and it would have the net result of totally sacrificing a name you LOVE: this child wouldn't be known as Walter AND you wouldn't use Walter for a subsequent son.

You could also use Walter James Thomas K___is: it uses all three of the names you don't want to give up.

I don't think you need to worry about Jane feeling left out or hurt. Or perhaps I should say it this way: I don't think you should sacrifice your desire to honor important family members only for the sake of the off-chance that doing so will cause a potential negative emotion in an already-named child. Jane has a good naming story too, and perhaps a future child will "even things out" by also receiving a non-family name.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I apologize if you see an annoying text-covering ad at this site today. I opted out of that campaign, but there was a little mix-up. BlogHer is working to fix it as soon as possible. It will go away after less than 10 seconds, and there's a "close" button to the upper right (off of the ad, and a little hard to see against the blue background).

Baby Boy J. (Rhymes With Bronson)

E. writes:
We are due 4/2/11 with our first child, a boy. We are still struggling finding some names that fit our child. I tend to like vintage names while my husband tends to like modern ones.

Some names we have put on our short-list are:


We hesitate to use Henry because of its popularity. With our VERY most common name, rhymes with Bronson, I fear Baby Henry would be one of thousands.
I really like Nicholas, nn Cole, and it doesn't seem as popular as the Henrys will be.
Emmett is one we just recently fell upon, but my name is very similar- sounds like Em-uh
Samuel seems over-used, especially in our town. Loads of Sams seem to be at the preschool these days.
And Patrick gives a nice nod to our love of Ireland. We traveled there last year just before getting pregnant. But there are no nice nicknames. Paddy, Pat and Rick just seem uncolorful.

The middle name would possibly be my maiden name, 2- syllable word starting with T and ending in M. It's a nice gender neutral name.

Other names that I love but haven't convinced husband about:
Dock (family name and means 7th son of 7th son, does not appear on most baby name sites at all)

My husband likes these, and I will never agree to them:

Can you help us come up with some alternatives for our short-list? We plan to name the baby after we meet him, but it would be grand to have a few more names to choose from, seeing as we are so undecided about any one of them.

Thanks so much!

It is true I had male friends AND a brother so my associative powers might be uncommonly attuned, but I caution against Dock J___son: with a surname that can be used as a slang term for a Certain Male Part, I would avoid a first name that rhymes with another slang term for the same Part---especially when the whole name together, if it were Doc instead of Dock, is the name of a company that sells a Certain Variety of Adult Product.

It's hard to compare the popularity of Henry and Nicholas: Henry is #71 and rising; Nicholas is #32 and falling after spending a decade in the Top 10. Samuel is #27 and holding pretty steady.

I wonder if you'd like other Irish names? Another name that reminds you of your trip, maybe? Or: Brody, Connor, Corbin, Declan, Eamon, Evan, Finian, Flynn, Garrett, Grady, Ian, Keegan, Lorcan, Neil, Nolan, Owen, Riordan, Ronan, Tiernan. Do you like Riley any better if it's Rylan, or if it's spelled Reilly? Or Carrick better if it were Cormac or Kendric?

Since you like Emmett but it's similar to your name, I wonder if you'd like Everett instead? I love that name, and I think it's so dignified with your surname. I also love Elliot.

Since you like Alfred and he likes Carrick, would you like Frederick? I love that one, too, and think it's so underused.

Name update! E. writes:
We had our Baby Boy on March 31, 2011. We named him Andrew Porter. My husband never could come around to our top picks, so he chose Andrew out of the baby name book, and I chose Porter from the book as well. Neither has any family significance, but he definitely looks like a Drew.

Name Update!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Pascale-Hague!

Baby Boy Chapman, Brother to Grey

Cassie writes:
I'm so excited to get your opinion because my husband and I cannot agree on anything. Our last name is Chapman, and our son's due date is April 2. However, my first son was born almost 4 weeks early so we're thinking it will be sometime in March. Our first son is Grey Toban. We love Grey's name and knew early on this was the only contender. Toban is my father-in-law's name, so this started the concept of using a family name for the middle name. So, the only thing we can agree on this time is that the new baby's middle name will be Thomas after my father, ________ Thomas Chapman.

Both my husband and I like less common names, as we do not want our child to be in a class with four other children with the same name. However, my husband loves older names, names that remind me of old men. He also loves "Branch", which I don't even think is a name.

Here are his favorites.


I like quite a few more names, as I keep trying to come up with something that we both love, but he's got his mind set that unless I go with one of the names above he's just going to be settling.

Liam, was my number one choice early on, but I've decided this is way to popular.
Haden, was actually a name Tim came up with, and we both liked, but it's kind of fizzeled.
Emerson, was the same situation as Haden
Julian (Tim and his family do not like.)
Max or Maxwell

After reading a few of your blogs I really like the names Henry and Corbin. Tim seems to be thinking about both of these, as it takes him a bit to decide whether he really likes a name.

I would be so grateful if you could help us pick out a wonderful name for our second son! I don't want this to be just a name we settle on when we both love our first son's name so much.

Some names similar to Branch:

Similar to Edmond:

Similar to Gordon:

And a few more:

With Grey, I particularly like Wade, Louis, Redford, Clark, and Vance.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baby Boy: Oliver, Hazen, Luca?

Adrienne writes:
I've been reading your blog for quite some time but never thought I would find myself in this predicament. Yet here I am! My husband and I are expecting our first baby, a boy, on April 1st. Yes an April Fool's baby! We have some name ideas but are not feeling very confident in any of them. We like unique names (doesn't everyone?) but at the same time don't want people to wonder what the heck we were thinking... Because of our surname, the first name probably shouldn't end in an "s".

Our list includes:

- Oliver: My husband and I both really like this but I feel like it's rising in popularity very very quickly. My husband is probably favoring this name the most out of our list. It sort of reminds me of Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch though. Also, is it too English/pretentious sounding?

- Hazen: This name doesn't appear on any baby name list. This one has a special association for us. The day we were engaged we went to Hazen's Notch (a trail/state park) in Vermont. We thought the name was so unique and said that if we ever had a son we would name him this. Now I think we're both wondering if it's too out there/weird?

- Matteo: I like it, husband only likes the nickname Teo but not the full name.

- Matthias: I like, husband sadly hates.

- Luca: A name we considered for a very long time but ultimately we started envisioning it more on a girl.

- Lucas: I really like this name but it ends in an "s" which would run into our last name. Not to mention it's extremely popular.

- Tobias: We love the nickname Toby but the full name reminds us of the character from Arrested Development.

Other than the above list, we are lost! So with that said, what do you think? Any suggestions? We're also stumped on a middle name although I think Oliver Hazen has a nice ring to it. Swistle please help! I'm a super indecisive person struggling with naming a human being. Not a pretty combo. I'm so afraid to give this little boy the wrong name that I can't commit to anything! Thanks in advance!!!!

Still no name for our baby but I am starting to strongly consider Luca again. I'm just afraid that it would be seen as too feminine despite being a boy's name. I don't want him to deal with "but that's a girl's name!" growing up and I know this is a possibility considering my husband and I were definitely thinking of using that name if we were having a girl as well. My husband's family is from the town named Lucca in Italy so it is a nice connection for us. Thoughts?

Still totally lost and with just over 5 weeks to go, I'm trying to hold myself back from breaking into full out panic mode.


In one of those interesting baby name coincidences (as when a child is named Isadora to avoid being Isabella M., and then there happen to be two Isadoras and no Isabellas in her class), I know a little boy named Hazen. He's been in several classrooms with one of my sons, starting in preschool, so I've had some time to form an impression of the name. My impression is that it definitely works (the -en ending helps it to blend in with other such names), but that it's good to have a story for why it was chosen---which you have, as do the parents of the Hazen I know. Last year, according to the Social Security Administration, 36 boys and 5 girls were named Hazen. I'd be a little concerned that the rising popularity of the name Hazel (as well as to a lesser extent the name Haven) will affect the perceived femininity of the name Hazen.

If you like Matteo but your husband only likes Teo, I wonder if you'd like Theo? It's given as a stand-alone name, but you could also use Theodore. You might also like the name Milo, or the name Leo, or the name Nico, or the name Hugo.

I know that Luca is a boy name---and yet, it sounds and looks feminine to me. It reminds me of an issue we recently discussed: that certain traditionally male names (Noah, Micah) have sounds and endings that would make them girl names if they weren't boy names by long tradition---and some of these names are rising for baby girls, including Luca (72 new baby girls named Luca in 2009, up from 58 in 2008, up from only 19 in 2001 and 6 in 1999). I would avoid Luca because of this---especially with the popularity of the name Lucy enforcing the feminine look.

If you like Toby but want to avoid Tobias, I wonder if you'd like Tobin. Or Corbin.

Oliver is one of my own favorite boy names. I think it has a pleasingly British sound. It's true, though, that it's rising in popularity. Maybe you would like another of my favorite boy names: Simon. I think it has a similar style, but it's hanging around in the 250s without moving much. The repeating-S initials might not be ideal, however.

Perhaps Ian? It's such a great name, and it's been pretty stable: in the Top 100, but not rising.

Or maybe you would like Frederick, or Franklin, or George? I think these get overlooked, and yet they fit in nicely with the Olivers and Henrys.

And if you really want something different, I suggest John. It FEELS like it's so overused, and yet...I've run into as many children named John as named Hazen. This experience doesn't line up with the statistics, but I think it was my friend Mairzy who speculated that this is because many boys named John are namesakes who go by a different name.

Name update! Adrienne writes:
Apologies it's taken SO long for me to send an update. After much fretting and list writing of pros and cons for each name, our precious baby boy made his grand debut into the world after a harrowing induction on March 29th. I waivered on his name for a moment as he was born to David Bowie's "Young Americans" (a favorite artist of mine for years) and almost thought we should give him Bowie as a middle name. My husband brought me back to reality though and after a couple hours of studying his face, Oliver Hazen just clicked for us. My sweet Oliver has given us so much joy these last 6 months and though I do see that his name is becoming more and more just fits him so perfectly.

Thanks for all the help!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Using the Name Natalie for a Baby Who Isn't Born at Christmas

P. writes:
One of my husband's favorite names for a girl is Natalie. I think it's a lovely name, but I get stuck on the meaning: it means "born at Christmas," which our child most decidedly will not be. SSA indicates that Natalie ranked at #16 for girls in 2009, so clearly many families are using it for babies born nowhere near Christmastime. But I feel like eventually the child will want to look up the meaning of her name, and finding out that her name means "born at Christmas" when she was, in fact, born in March might be a little confusing/disappointing. Do you think "Christmas baby" when you hear the name Natalie?

I think of it only in one direction: that is, if I am trying to think of names for a Christmas baby, I immediately think of Natalie---but if I hear the name Natalie, I don't think "Christmas baby."

Also, I'm not sure WHY it means "born at Christmas": I recognized "natal" as being connected to childbirth, but adding an "ie" at the end wouldn't give it a Christmas connection. I found online that the name Natalie comes from "Natale Domini" and "Dies Natalis," both of which mean Christmas Day---but that's because they both translate as "the day of God's birth." Dies and Domini are the God part; Natale and Natalis are the birth day part. So the INTENTION of the name Natalie was to have a name in honor of Christmas---but the roundabout method for doing so means that the part they ended up actually using was "birthday."

This is one of many reasons I find name meanings (or often "meanings") unimportant. I definitely think you can go ahead and use Natalie for a baby born in March, just as you could use Melissa for a baby who wasn't a bumblebee, or Lily for a baby who wasn't a flower, or Roman for a U.S. citizen, or Rufus for a baby with brown hair, or Isis for a mere mortal.