This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baby Boy, Brother to Cruz Ezekiah

Nichole writes:
I am due with our second child - another boy! - at the end of May. I am very superstitious about name-stealers and prefer to wait until after the baby is born and named to announce a name. And if my husband had his way, babies would leave the hospital and remain unnamed until their personalities start to show through. So, naming babies is a big deal around these parts! Needless to say, naming our first son was a very tough task. We went to the hospital with an "iffy" first name and just a vague inclination toward a middle name - and no backups whatsoever.

We are both the last in our families to have children, so all male family names were used a decade (or two) ago. I also had a set of very specific criteria for names (which I kind of laugh at now). A friend's response to our criteria was to consider naming our son after my MIL. In the rest of the world, Cruz is a boy's name, but in my husband's Hispanic family, my FIL's sister goes by it, as does my MIL. So, it was an honor name after my son's grandmother. It felt so unconventional and we were hesitant. When we finally decided on Cruz, we cautiously tried it out on strangers in our birth class. We got a little braver and told some close friends who were also expecting their first child before finally telling his parents. Everyone liked the name except my in laws. My FIL was hesitant, but my MIL was panicked and not nearly as "honored" as we had expected.

We had shared with my MIL a girl's name we picked out before we knew we were having a boy. Long (long) story short, literally from the moment he was born, she started to call him by the girl's name we had picked out until I got testy with her and told her that she'd ruined that name for any future girls, and asked her to call him by his name. She wasn't trying to be difficult; we found out later that she just never liked her name, particularly the way it sounded on her father's angry lips. They now exclusively call him "Ezzie", which is a play on his middle name (Ezekiah), and which we love and use as a NN as well.

For our second boy, we've chosen the name August Malachi, in keeping with an honor first name and a biblical middle name. August is an indirect honor to my grandfather, my MIL (again) and my husband - all born in that month. We've decided we will try and force the NN from birth as "Kai" - again playing on the middle name - primarily so we can avoid the NNs "Gus" or "Auggie" as much as possible. Both those NNs are borderline dealbreakers for us!) Are there other options for a NN that we're not considering?

The very few people we've shared our chosen name with have not had what I would call positive responses. A close friend asked "can we reopen the name for discussion?", which made me laugh, but also made me worried. Once again, we have absolutely no backup names and no "short list" to speak of. My husband doesn't feel like we need a backup name and is convinced that it's THE name, but I'm starting to worry we need a backup, just in case. I feel a slight sting every time I see or hear Cruz's name used in any context other than a given name (as surnames, street names, etc.). It's a bit ubiquitous for my taste and I worry over the same thing with the name August. We consistently have good reactions to Cruz's name, but the reactions we are already getting to August make me hesitant. I would love to hear what your other readers think!

Thanks so much!

I suggest switching the names: Malachi August. Here are my reasons:

1. Trying to get people to call a child a nickname of the middle name seems like a tough sell. In Cruz's case it happened out of necessity, as a solution for a difficult situation, but it's not something I'd try to do on purpose unless I had a very compelling reason (such as being forced to use a family first name I hated).

2. It seems like an especially tough sell if you want them NOT to use the natural nicknames of the first name. If you strongly dislike the nicknames Auggie and Gus, putting August as the middle name avoids that issue while still using the honor name. And the middle name slot is a great place for an honor name. And you WANT to call him Kai!

3. The name Malachi is currently more commonly used in the U.S. than the name August, but if it bothers you to hear incidental mentions of the name, you will definitely hear the word August used more often. And the number of emails we're getting here from people who want the nickname Gus makes me think the name is likely to get more common---and that the nickname Gus will get more intuitive.

4. It would be nice to have a consistent pattern (honor name, then biblical name), but with only one child a pattern hasn't been firmly set---especially since I can't find the name Ezekiah in an (admittedly brief) online search of the Bible. I suggest changing the pattern from "honor first name and biblical middle name" to "one honor name, one biblical name."

August and Malachi are both great names, but it sounds like for your family it makes more sense to have Malachi in the first name slot. Let's have a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name update! Nichole writes:
Just wanted to update you on the arrival of our second baby boy.  We carefully weighed our options after reading all the comments & suggestions we received from the post.  Then, on the very same day, we both had a dream about this boy and knew exactly what his name was supposed to be.   August Malachi came into the world following a fast & furious labor.  We think it suits him perfectly (even if the peds office just told us the name is very popular locally). He will go by August with nn being Mal or Kai.   Thanks so much!


Anonymous said...

Seeing that August is also a month, you'd have to deal with hearing his name as a non-name a lot :) Also, I think Auggie and/or Gus would be the immediate nicknames people would go for - Kai seems less obvious.

I like Swistle's suggestion of switching it and I think Malachi, nn Kai is adorable. Cruz & Malachi are good sibling names as well.

You've chosen great names for your sons!

liz said...

I like Malachi as a first name as well. Especially since it repeats the hard C in Cruz.

What great names you picked!

AirLand said...

I think Malachi goes much better with Cruz than August (as a first name).

I love August- it's a great name (I like the nicknames Auggie and Gus though). But, if I didn't like the nicknames, I wouldn't call him a nickname of his middle name just so people wouldn't call him Gus or Auggie. I think if you name him August and don't like the nicknames, just insist he be called August.

I also get the feeling that you maybe didn't like August that much in the first place and hearing some negative opinions made you not like it even more. Even though you don't have any backups, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board.

StephLove said...

I agree that reversing the names ameliorates both problems. As the mother of a child with a month name, I can tell you that you'll see it everywhere once you have a child with that name. I actually like that, but obviously you don't.

Nichole said...

Thanks Swistle and all commenters so far. You've got me thinking!

1) My husband's name is Michelangelo. Michel for short. Do you think this too close to Malachi?

2) I've also considered Marek as a possible backup first name. Thoughts?

3) My husband has started calling the baby "August" which has previous been a big no no in our house (the whole "meet the baby first" thing). The exposure has me liking the way it sounds, but I am worried about common uses.

4) Swistle, you are (of course) correct. "Ezekiah" is not exactly a biblical name. What we did is take the H off of Hezekiah because it was too strong a sound and used the rest, which we thought had a much nicer sound and flow.

Lauren said...

I think Malachi and Michel are different enough, especially if the baby is mostly called Kai.

If you choose August I think you will fight a losing battle to keep him from being called Gus. It's so much harder to explain a middle name nickname. Good luck!

christine said...

I don't think Malachi and Michel are too close. But then I like August, and don't think it's too much to either insist that people call him August. BUT you won't be able to stop people from calling him Gus once he gets older and starts school.

I really like Malachi and I like Marek too. Marek August is pretty great.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

How about Augustino, nn Tino?

Anonymous said...

First off: you have wonderful taste in names. But I agree, 110 percent, with Swistle - if you want to call him Kai, you should flip the names and make Malachi the first name with August in the middle spot. To convince people to use a nickname from his MIDDLE name will be almost impossible and will get very old, very fast. Every person I've known who goes by their middle name wishes their parents had just given it as their first name. (I have A LOT of experience with this.)

You have to keep in mind, too, that he might not even want to go by Kai - he could choose Mal, or just prefer the whole name. (I like Mal because of Firefly, but you might not.) Or some awesome nickname you haven't even thought of might pop up. But I do think August is a great name - Auggie grows on you, and so does Gus. (See Covert Affiars/Psych.) I have heard August used for girls (!), but I think for now it's firmly in the boy camp.

Anonymous said...

Oh! And I don't think Malachi is too close to Michael, especially if you plan on calling him Kai. I do like Marek, and it could be better if you want more control over his nicknames. (I can't think of an obvious nickname for Marek.)

Canadian Army Wife said...

Love both Marek and Malakai as first names.

August isn't bad but I personally have never been a fan. I would say try out a few names around the house to see what seems to flow and sound the best and then wait to see the baby to make the final decision!

Anonymous said...

Yes I have to agree with Swistle. I have a friend who had a name picked at for her son, [Italian name] [Dad's first name]. Her MIL flipped and argued with them for months to switch it, even up until the baby was born. After he was born they caved and flipped it, the problem- they planned on calling the baby by the Italian name. Now she has to constantly correct people that his name is Italian name, even the MIL, because she does not and did not want the baby to become a "little Daddy's name". She regrets her choice and wishes she had kept it the way she had planned.

If you want him to be Kai I would just make Malachi his given name, that way you avoid any nicknames you don't want from August becoming the norm. I think both names are great Cruz and Malachi, Ezzie and Kai, sound great together.

StephLove said...

I like Malachi, but I think Marek's a good choice for you, too.

I heard of brothers named Cruz and Sol (Spanish for sun) once if you are still looking for ideas.

The Author said...

My kids go by their middle names at home as their nn, so for me, keeping Kai in the middle is not a big deal. But, wanting him to not go by Gus or Auggie would make me agree with Swistle that it should be moved to the middle. I also don't think Malachi is too close to Michael.

I also second Swistle's suggestion of changing your pattern to "one honor name, one biblical". I feel painted into a corner with my girls' names. We did the first names as professional names that can't be shortened, and the middle names end in the "E" sound as a comfort, nickname. The only girl name we agree on for the next baby is backwards from the precious two and it makes me feel like we can't use it. I wouldn't change their names, but it makes me feel obligated to keep the pattern up.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me but I feel like  Ezekiah might be a little close in sound to Malachi. Will little Kai feel like his nickname is just a part of his brother's name?

Emily said...

I do agree with the idea to switch the names but I disagree that it will be impossible to give him the nickname Kai if his first name is August. I know quite a few people whose NN doesn't sound a bit like their first name and it still sticks. In my opinion people don't even have to know it's from his middle name (besides the grandparents maybe!)

Anonymous said...

I know two different boys named August and I have never heard either of them referred to as anything but August...for what it's worth. I think Ezekiah and Malachi are perhaps a bit close with the nickname Kai. I would also think Ezekiel would be out...

Swistle said...

Clarification: Ezekiah is the older child's middle name, not first name.

Anonymous said...

I had a good friend in college whose given name was Elizabeth Carlyn. Her parents wanted to call her Carly, but felt it was too juvenile for a doctor or a lawyer, so they decided to give her a longer name, but only call her Carly. It worked fine, and most people didn't even know Carly wasn't her given name. Those who did know never, ever called her Elizabeth, Liz, Beth, or anything of the sort. Another good example of this sort of NN style is Tina Fey, whose given name is actually Elizabeth Stamatina. So it can and does work, but there is a catch! If you plan to call him August yourselves, I wouldn't suggest going this route. It's too confusing. The "NN based on the middle name" thing only works if the person can say "Hi, I'm Kai," not "Hi, I'm August, call me Kai." You'd really need to commit to calling him Kai, otherwise you will end up with a Gus or an Auggie down the line.

Having said all that, I love the name Marek!

Marie said...

Malachi is a great name. I wouldn't worry too much about hearing it elsewhere. Malachi August! Malachi! Cruz! Get in here and finish your dinner! Heh.

Mary said...

Which name do you love most? I may be misreading your post but it sounds like you're focusing on what others *may* call your child and what they will think rather than what you love regardless of what others may think . It sucks that people didn't appreciate what you tried with Cruz. If this baby is your August, then that he will be :-) if you also prefer Kai over August then go for that- just make sure it's because you love the name Kai and not because you worry about nicknames being taken out of your hands again and people start calling him Auggie or Gus, or Mal if you go for Malachi. Or accept that it may be that to his grandparents he becomes Gussie bit that to you he'll be August.

For what it's worth, I think Marek is also fantastic! Marek August has a very nice ring to it.