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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Levi, LEE, and Eu-JEAN

Annie writes:
Hi Swistle! Long-time reader, first time question-asker :)
My husband and I are due with our first child in late November/early December. We had names picked out for a boy and a girl two days after we found out I was pregnant - Miriam Georgianna for a girl, and Levi Eugene for a boy. The first names are ones that we both just really like, and the middle names are family honor names that are important to each of us that we use. Actually, the middle names were decided upon before we were even married. Our last name sounds like UR-lick, but starts with an E.
Early ultrasounds have shown that there's a high probability that this little one is a boy. We know that  it's still early and not set in stone, but our sonographer said he'd give us a 90% certainty that it's a boy (but typically only gives it a 70% certainty at this stage). So the possibility of us having a little Levi Eugene is becoming more of a reality. When we picked the name Levi, we knew that there would be a connotation with jeans but it didn't bother us. However, I realized a few days ago that his initials will be LEE, another brand of jeans. Also, Eugene sounds like "you-jean"....yet another jeans connection. So I guess what I'm asking is: is this name too...denim-y?  My husband isn't bothered by it, but he has a tendency to sweep concerns under the rug when he's got his mind set on something, only to be bothered by it later (which he fully admits). I can't decide how I feel about it. One moment I think it's unusable, and the next I'm laughing at myself for overthinking it.
I know it's still really early, and we have plenty of time to decide, but I'm afraid that if it turns out that we decide the whole denim thing is too wacky for us once we get closer to our due date, we'll end up getting really stressed out about something that should be an enjoyable process. With the last two initials being -EE, we realized right away that we'd be challenged finding a first name that didn't result in initials that spelled something silly-sounding or just downright mean. Some outside perspective would be really helpful, especially since we're not planning on sharing the name with family or friends until after he's born.
Thanks so much!

Oh dear: now that I've seen it, I can't un-see it! Levi eu-JEAN! The initials LEE bother me less, but along with the other two things the initials do give the whole package a sort of final-blow feeling.

It sounds to me like the decision is going to be about what is more important to you for the first baby boy: using the name Levi, or using the honor name Eugene. The way you've written about it makes me fairly certain the middle name wins this round. (I would take some comfort in being possibly able to use Levi for a second boy.)

I would suggest Eli instead, but I'm not sure Eli Urlick feels nice to say, and the initials EEE are so distinctive I can't figure out if they're a plus (cool! fun! interesting!) or a minus (EEEEEEEEEEE!!).

Liam might be nice, and the LEE and Eugene together aren't a problem to me without the Levi.

Milo keeps coming to mind, but I'm not sure it fits with the style you're looking for, and it may not work with Miriam. Milo Eugene Urlick; MEE. Or Miles? Miles Urlick. I think that works better with Miriam than Milo does.

Louis has some of the gentleness of Levi. Louis Urlick.

Or Leo? Leo Urlick.

Or Jacoby. Jacoby Urlick; JEE.

Well, or you may not really need suggestions at this point. Many people wait to find out the sex of the baby before starting the name search, and there is still time to look for another name you like. From us I think what is needed is a poll, for the group perspective/feedback you can't get from friends/family. Let's have one over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]


Kimberly Peschka Bilder said...

I didn't pick up on the denim-y aspect of the name until you explained it. And, you probably won't call him "Levi Eugene" except when he's in trouble. But like Swistle, I can't un-hear (un-read?) it, and I think it would bug me to use the name. Which is sad...because it's a great name!

Ruthie said...

I don't think I would have ever made the connection if you hadn't explained it (especially the Eu-JEAN part of it).

I could see this bothering me while pregnant, but quickly fading after the baby was born, and then reading about it in my journal when he was 5 and wondering about how bad my memory was because I had completely forgotten ever thinking about it.

AirLand said...

I don't know if I would have picked up on the connection or not, but I don't think it bothers me.

Like the poster said above, how often are you going to use both his first and middle names?

Go for it!

Leslie said...

I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out, and honestly, it still doesn't seem like an issue to me. I think Levi has enough familiarity as a name to lose some of it's "jeans brand" connotations, and Eugene sounds very handsome with it (and maybe it's just that I'm a very visual person, but I'd be much more likely to think "gene" than "jean(s)"). If Lee was your last name, it might be stacking the associations a little thick, but as initials, it also strikes me as a non-issue.

I can understand why you're thinking about it, but I think Levi Eugene "Urlick" is a very handsome name, and absolutely useable. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Oh no! I love the sound of Levi Eugene, but now I think I'd feel like I was giving the child a jokey name. It's ruined for me.

Meg said...

I don't think it bothers me. Plus his initials would spell a nickname for his first name, which I kind of like. Good luck!

Ali said...

I think that Levi Eugene is lovely. I was sort of convinced that the denim-y theme could be a problem as I was reading, but I agree with Ruthie that it wouldn't stay a problem once it's actually your son's name?
So: if you can enjoy the process of looking at other names, maybe keep looking and if something else clicks, great! But if you end up liking Levi best, I don't think that the combination of Levi and Eugene (and LEE) should be a deal-breaker.

Alice said...

When I was reading your post, I stopped suddenly when I read Levi Eugene, not because of the demin thing but because of the actor Eugene Levy. I actually looked back at the title to see if your question related to naming him similarly to the dad from American Pie. I realize the name you like is LEE-vy and his is Lev-ee (I assume), but for some reason, that's the first thing I thought of! I think the demin thing is actually kind of cool (but I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out). Hope this doesn't complicate things further for you! It's very possible I'm the only one who would have noticed this. :-)

Meg said...

I don't think it's a problem. I have two daughters (1 and 3 years old) and we use their middle names and initials so infrequently that I wouldn't worry about the connection. It's obvious once pointed out, but I think few people would make the connection on their own.

Liz said...

Use it! I didn't notice the denim theme until you thoroughly explained it. Plus, how often will his whole name be used anyway? I doubt that in those instances people will ruminate about it long enough to form the connection. People will probably hear his whole name and not even think twice.

Lindsey said...

Even reading the title with all three "issues" side by side, I didn't make the connection, and I don't think most people would either (are Lee jeans still popular?). I think Levi Eugene is a great name--go for it!

M.Amanda said...

Unless you use his first and middle names together often, I wouldn't worry about it. However, like Alice, my mind immediately went to Eugene Levy and had a hard time not saying Levy in my head (and hearing his distictive voice) every time I saw Levi. But maybe that's a connection that wouldn't be so easy to make when saying the name rather than reading it.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't bother me at all, even after having it pointed out it is not the first thing I hear when I say the name, and I don't notice it all visually since Eugene isn't spelled jean. And like a previous poster, I like that his initials will spell a nickname for his first.

Crafty Beth said...

I'm with the people who wouldn't have noticed it had it not been pointed out, and after reading your post it still it doesn't bother me one bit. If that was my child's name and someone mentioned it to me, I would just explain that we loved the name Levi and Eugene was a family name we always knew we would use. I would totally go with Levi Eugene...if YOU can get past it.

Anonymous said...

I would not have noticed unless you explained it. Even reading all 3 names in the title... it never made me think of jeans.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't bother me at all. Levi is a great name. I've had a student in class named Levi and didn't once think of the jeans. Use it! Great name! Also, Gene is not Jean. Certainly not visually and not even in my head. :)

Janelle said...

I don't think it's a problem at all. Unless you plan to use his middle name all the time, I don't think most people will notice. If they do, it'd most likely be in a "ooh, how fun/funny!" way, not a teasing/mean way. Plus, Levi is popular enough as a given name now that it's not only associated with clothing. Use it!

Anonymous said...

I doubt I would have noticed the jean connection had it not been pointed out. That said, kids in school might pick up on it.

I liked Swistle's idea of using Jacoby Eugene as an alternative though.

Best of luck!

leitia marie said...

My DS is uncle calls him Levi Jean/Gene all the time. (His middle name is Harper.) It is not a big deal, but I immediately thought of jeans when reading it. A lot of people associate Levi with jeans, but just as many associate it with its Biblical roots. You will likely get some comments on the name with he is first born...but if you can deal with that-it is not a big deal. I so go with it if it is a name you love. LEE is not an issue at all to me. Also, for what it is worth, we have Simon picked out if our second is a boy so that is a suggestion for you. Good luck!

Annie said...

Thank you for all the feedback, everyone! It's been helpful to have outside feedback...we really appreciate it! For now, we're going to stick with Levi Eugene. Your comments helped reassure us (me) that it'll probably be pretty rare that anybody picks up on the unintentional "jeans theme", and if they won't be the end of the world :)

The Eugene Levy connection cracked us both up, especially since my husband is a fan and neither of us picked up on it. Just goes to show how naming "issues" for some people are totally undetectable for others.

Swistle, several of the names you suggested were ones that we had thrown around when we were first brainstorming. You are REALLY good at this :)

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

My mind went right to Eugene Levy as well! To many associations for me to think its useable.