I have read every crevice of your blog as we try to find a name for our second daughter (and last child), due to arrive in late March/early April and I would be thrilled to the input of you and your fabulous readers. We are stuck!and
Our older daughter is Stella Grace and our last name is Falcon with an e at the end (sounds like Capone). Naming Stella was easy for us, as it was a name that we had fallen in love with many years before we were finally able to get pregnant. We loved the slight Italian feeling of it, and it's meaning of "star", and once we saw her little heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound and my husband offhandedly commented that it looked like a little star, we were sold and never looked back. We did not realize at the time that it had/would become a popular name.
We are having a harder time naming this little girl, I think because we don't have the same type of long term attachment to a name, or any sort of a meaningful connection or story to go with it that makes us feel like "Yes, this is it!" Who knew that naming a daughter based solely on finding a "name we both love" could be so hard!?
I'd describe the name style that we are looking for as having an antique charm with classic sound, being familiar but not too common. We'd like it to be a nice complement to Stella (but not too matchy) with a bonus for having some Italian roots in either the first or middle spot. There are two names that continue to bubble to the top, but my husband and each love a different one more than the other. So we are trying to put them both to the side while we consider other names, as it's hard to imagine choosing a name that either of us is at all hesitant about.
Scarlett Noelle Falcon(e)-this is my top choice, and my husband really likes it, but isn't sold. Our concerns (though minor): Is Scarlett too sexy? Is Stella and Scarlett too matchy?
Ivy Caprice Falcon(e)-this is my husbands top choice, and I like it, but don't love it. I am stuck on the concern that if Ivy becomes a more popular name she could end up being called Ivy F. (IVF) in school. My husband thinks I'm crazy for being worried about this but I can't help it!
Other names we are currently considering:Serena-my husbands current faveGianna nn Gia or GiGiCorissa nn Cora (love that it has a tie to meaning heart in Italian, even if it's loose, as a way to connect it to Stella's star meaning). We are open to other ways to getting to Cora, or maybe just using Cora alone as well. I love Coraline, but we struggle with the movie connection.Caterina Patrice (an Italian version of our mom's names, Catherine and Patricia). This has the meaning we are looking for, but we don't LOVE it, and don't think it's a great match with Stella
Names that we've considered, but taken off the table:
Emilia-I love, my husband does not like itLuciana or Lucia-I love (and my middle name is Lucille), my husband does not like itSeraphina-we both like, but don't like it's nicknames, especially SeraJuliana-we have close friends who just used this
Please help us! You and your readers always give such fabulous advice, and we would be so grateful for a nudge in the right direction. I promise to update with our decision and a picture once she arrives!
Thank you so much,
An update since I last wrote:
We are both still feeling strongly about our first choices (mine: Scarlett, his now: Serena) but neither of us likes that it's not the top choice for both of us. We've continued to brainstorm other names, or other variations of names we've been considering, as well as pairing middle names to see if that helps us. Nothing has emerged as a common favorite, and we're not sure now how to resolve the fact that we have different top choices.
Here is our current list:
Scarlett Noelle-my first choice, my husbands 2nd choice. He struggles a bit with the "scar" part of the name
Serena (having a hard time with a middle. I like Rose and Rae, as a one syllable "sounds" right to me, but my husband doesn't like either middle. Perhaps we'd go with Noelle here?)-my husbands 1st choice, my 3rd or 4th.
Caterina Patrice (versions of our Mom's names as I described below, a sentimental favorite that we've had on our list for years, but it's not our favorite name and we're not sure it flows with Stella)
Ivy Caprice-I still have my "IVF" concerns, and my husband has let go of the name now since he loves Serena.
Cora Noelle - I love Cora, Rich likes it. This has been my 2nd choice for a while, but it's a bit more complicated now as our good friends who love this name just had a miscarriage. We had agreed to both be free to use it, but now I feel like it would be insensitive, especially since it's not our top choice. This is probably Rich's 3rd choice, but he said it's distant to Serena and Scarlett.
Is there any other feedback or info I can give you that would help you to help us?
I think I'd like to start by making one long list of all the first-name candidates from both letters:
And now I'll start crossing off. First I would cross off Noelle, because Stella and Noelle are both "elle" names. (I think it would be a nice tie-in if used as the middle name.)
Then I'd cross off Ivy. I love the name, and I don't think children generally know what IVF is, and IVF isn't an insulting or negative thing, and I don't think the name Ivy is going to be common enough among your daughter's peers for their to be a high likelihood of more than one Ivy per class. But on the other hand, flukes can happen (there can be not one single Isabella in a classroom, but two Isadoras), and the IVF thing would bother me a little too even though I can mostly talk myself out of it, and anyway your husband has dropped it as his favorite so the motivation to make it work has faded.
Then I'd cross off Everly. I feel like it's an outlier among your other name choices. (It might work very well as a middle name, however.)
I would cross both Cora and Corissa off the list, out of sensitivity toward your friends.
That leaves us with:
One thing I've noticed about a second child's name is that it can give spin to the first child's name. If a couple has a child named, say, Esther, it's difficult to tell yet how to take that name: is it more of a biblical/devout choice, or is it more of a hipster choice, or is it a family name, or WHAT? The second child's name can tell us more information: a little sister named Ruth tells us one thing, and a little sister named Matilda tells us another.
Stella is for me a name like Esther: I can picture taking it a few different ways. The name Scarlett clicks with the name Stella for me, I think because of the movie association (Gone With the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire, respectively, plus the additional impact of the actress Scarlett Johansson). For me, using Scarlett puts a red-lipstick/Hollywood spin on both names.
With Gianna and Caterina, the name Stella instead spins more Italian: strong and pretty.
With Cora, the name Stella would have spun a different way: still strong, still pretty, but more sweet/vintage.
With Serena, the word-name aspect is brought to my attention. (I might also have noticed it with Cora.)
And so on. The names on your list all work very well with Stella, I think---but in quite different ways. One exercise that might help you narrow things down is to talk about what kind of images you get when you picture each of the possible sister pairs. Which set can you most easily imagine as Your Family?
I thought perhaps in this next paragraph I'd say which was my own favorite name from your list---but I'm finding it very difficult to choose. When I did the exercise where I pretended to cross off each name in turn, the one that gave me the most pain was Caterina. I think it's beautiful; I love it with Stella; I love it with your surname. Most of all, I love that Caterina Patrice would honor both grandmothers in one shot. Imagine the happy weeping! And each girl would have a special story about her name.
I was reading over your letters again to see if I could figure out which name was your joint favorite, but what seems to be the overall theme is that none of the names strike both of you as being just right. Perhaps we'd have more luck looking for names that are similar to the ones on your list.
Let's look at Scarlett, for example. Violet, Charlotte, and Skyler are all similar, though of course quite different in style.
Calista also seems similar to me. Stella and Calista. They do share several sounds, maybe too many sounds. I'm picturing introducing them ("This is Stella, and this is Calista") and sometimes the pairing seems to have too many sounds in common and sometimes it just seems very well coordinated.
Now I've gotten distracted by the Italian section of The Baby Name Wizard, while looking to see if Calista is by any chance Italian (it's Latin, so sort of pre-Italian, and also Greek). Oh! Oh oh oh! What about BIANCA? I love that name, and I think it goes beautifully with Stella! Stella and Bianca! Oh, I want to go back in time and have two girls and use those names! Stella Grace and Bianca Noelle.
Or Claudia. One of my favorite girl names was Claudia; it was unfortunate that Paul had a Significant Claudia in his past. (She was a very nice girl, but he still didn't want to use the name for a daughter.) Stella and Claudia.
Or Elena is lovely, and somewhat similar to Serena. Stella and Elena. The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says that the meaning of the name is uncertain but may be connected with the words "ray" and "sunbeam"---what a nice coordinating meaning with Stella's! But again, perhaps they have too many sounds in common.
Selena is similar to Serena, and may mean "moon." Or the spelling Celina may tie it more to the meaning "celestial." (The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says both names are of uncertain origin.)
Carys would be pretty. Stella and Carys. It does make me think of Stella Maris, but that's not negative.
Or Geneva: a little like Serena, a little like Gianna. Stella and Geneva.
With Serena, I like the idea of the middle name Noelle. I also like Celeste or Corinne. Or to coordinate with Grace, I like Kate or May or Pearl. Oh, or Joy! I love Serena Joy, unless that's getting a little too wordy.
I see I never answered if I thought Stella and Scarlett were too matchy. I think if you were planning more children, I might worry that the combination would make you feel like you had to choose something equally well-coordinated for a third child; because you're stopping at two, I don't think they're too matchy.
It's true that it may come down to one of you liking the name more than the other does. I think that must in fact be typical: I think it's less common for both parents to love a name equally. Sometimes retrospect takes care of these things: if one parent loves the name almost as much as the other does, it may feel to them later on as if they always loved the name just as much.
One way to make things feel more balanced is this: let the preference tip the other direction for the middle name. So for example, if you end up choosing your husband's favorite of Serena, perhaps the middle name could be one of your favorites such as Luciana or Rose or Scarlett.
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