What If You Give Your Kid The Wrong Name?

Our daughter Maude, currently a freshman in college, was home over her Spring Break and at one point, we were talking about her full name — Maude Emma Blair. One of our family stories is about how “Emma” was never quite the right fit name-wise. And that we pretty much knew it wasn’t right from the beginning, but we used the name anyway.

As we started our naming adventures, we didn’t know how many kids we’d end up with, but we were picturing a big family. We focused on names from our grandparent’s generation. We wanted them to be simple — easy to pronounce, and to spell. Old names that weren’t in use much anymore. We ended up using: Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty and Flora June as our children’s first names. I love the names individually and as a group (I love the human people with those names even more).

Looking back, we feel like confident namers, but at the beginning of our parenthood, it felt somewhat nerve-wracking. Naming a human being is a serious task. Names are powerful.

What if we like a certain name, but our child grows up and doesn’t like it? So much is unpredictable with names. A name that seems just right today, may end up being the name of next year’s top pop-star (or criminal!) and develop a totally different feel. Which reminds me, a year or so after our Betty was born, the TV show Ugly Betty came out and the title totally worried me for my daughter’s sake. It was a cute show, but I was relieved when it ended after a few seasons. 

When naming Maude, we loved the name and settled on it mid-way through the pregnancy. The baby would be Maude, with the nickname Mimi. But right before she was born we got nervous about the name. Would it be too unusual for her generation? Our second choice was Mabel, and days before the birth we started leaning that direction. We figured we could still use the nickname Mimi with Mabel too. And then, at the hospital, as Maude was born, we had an amazing nurse named Miriam. And for about 24 hours, we thought the name should be Miriam — again, with the nickname Mimi. Ultimately, we came back to the name Maude. It was the right name.

We hadn’t really thought about a middle name for Maude, but the night before we officially named her, we had doubts yet again and decided to add Emma as a middle name — thinking of it like a backup in case she didn’t love the name Maude. 

Emma is a lovely name, but I could see it was about to pick up steam and become popular, and we really didn’t want to use any popular names. Somehow we used it anyway, but we probably shouldn’t have. It was never quite the right fit — an add-on that wasn’t as intentional as it should have been. 

Every once in awhile I’m bothered we gave her an add-on name, but mostly it hasn’t mattered. I figured she could always change it when she got older (she’s old enough now to make any name changes she wants), or she could keep it and have a interesting angle to her name story. : )

Speaking of wrong names, both Ben Blair and I had other names when we were babies — just temporarily. Ben was originally named Troy. And I was originally named Shoshanna.

How about you? Did you enjoy naming your kids? Do your kids like their names? Did you like your name as a child? Do you feel like your name fits?

P.S. — The best nicknames, and the best Grandparent names.

220 thoughts on “What If You Give Your Kid The Wrong Name?”

  1. My husband’s father was not born in the US. He’s 100% Armenian. Having experienced a lot of discrimination himself, he chose to give his sons ‘standard American’ middle names- that if necessary to avoid hatred and discrimination, they could use as their new last names by simply dropping their Armenian names. Thankfully the all proudly kept their last names. It’s still tough at times though- especially in our current climate.

    1. I love hearing they’ve all kept their Armenian names. Here’s hoping that a “standard American name” has a whole different meaning to the next generation.

  2. I have been incredibly interested in names for as long as I can remember. My daughters name is Ann, with the nickname Annie. My middle name is Ann but what set it in stone was our ivf nurse, Annie. She was a force of positivity during a hard time for me and I’m so glad Annie shares her name. I hope we will need to choose more names in the future, but I am worried we won’t find another we love as much.

  3. Great post! One of my kiddos has decided that he has the “wrong name” and doesn’t want to go by any of his middle names (he has three)… oops! How did you and Ben Blair end up with the names you have now? Curious because something tells me I will have to go through re-naming process with my kiddo.

    1. Good question. And I don’t have an answer. In both cases our names were changed about a week or so into our babyhood. So neither of us has memories with a previous name — we just have the stories we were told.

      I can tell you that with Maude, we put a different name on her birth certificate paperwork at the hospital before officially deciding on Maude a few days later. So I remember having to go to a government office in order to change her birth certificate, and the name on her Social Security Card.

      I remember she was only a couple months old at the time I made the office visit, and Ralph wasn’t even quite 2 years old yet, so it was a challenging errand at the time. But outside of having two babies with me, it wasn’t really that complicated. Just the expected red tape.

      Does your son have an idea of what the “right name” would be?

    2. I have a cousin who wanted to change his name before he was of age to do it himself. His parents didn’t fight him about it but set up a trial period where they called him by the name he preferred…during which time he asked to be called by his original name again. Thankfully they hadn’t done the paperwork right away! (Got this story from my aunt.)

  4. I also chose names of our parents generation- which is of itself in fashion. I don’t like to list them on sites like this for secret and selfish fear people will like them and then they will become popular! Our daughters is extremely rare and I checked the year she was born there were only I think 10-15? other females in the whole us that also born to that name. It’s a last name that’s adorable on a female. Our sons is also not popular and the only one in our large Pediatriatian group.

  5. I have never liked my name. It’s a nickname and Im a little embarrassed to use it in Business. When it came time to name my eldest I compromised. When she was 3 days old I was overwhelmed with remorse but was told it was just the hormones. Its a perfectly lovely name but whenever I hear the name I wanted I feel a little pang, which feels silly to admit. Im always a little mad at myself that I didn’t fight harder for it because in hindsight I don’t think my husband cared nearly as much as I thought he did at the time. With my son I was sure and I could not be dissuaded.

    1. I hate that you were told it was “just the hormones.” Drives me nuts. It seems there’s always some excuse not to listen to women, or to doubt their experiences. I don’t know how old your daughter is, but maybe it’s not too late for a name change?

    2. Tiffany (most cliche name of the 80s)

      I had a similar experience. While pregnant I prayed for a daughter after reading bible passage and I wanted to name her after the strong woman I had just read about. My husband thought the name was old fashioned but I loved it. We couldn’t agree so, I compromised— it’s her middle name. But when the next baby came along I stood my ground— no one in my family liked the name I picked but I didn’t care. It’s perfect and five years later none of us can picture my child with a different name!

    3. Fellow Niki here! I can totally relate to not loving my name. And I really wanted to name my first something else but she was really premature and they put such pressure on you at the hospital I just compromised on something just okay.

      1. I’m a Nicole born in 1980 so I knew soooo many other girls with my name. Because of this I didn’t like it, I felt unoriginal, so I vowed to give my children less common names. 😉

    4. Gah!!! That’s where I am! My 6 month old daughter is Matilija. It’s the name of a flower. However we found out that the area it’s native to pronounces it different than we do, and it’s a very common name for things around that city. (Like a water company and a school). So she has a hard name AND we don’t even pronounce it as it commonly is.

      My husband convinced me that was all okay. And I felt so mushy post birth I couldn’t say no. I have a fear of someone in my circle naming a kid the name I really wanted and it crushing me.

      My husband later said I could change it, but I’ve found that to be harder than it seemed. He likes it after all. Also my mom likes the name, a good friend likes it, and my two year old says it in a cute little way. All that aside when folks see it on paper they don’t even attempt to read it and distant family members can’t seem to spell it right to save their lives. I have no idea what to do.

      1. Stephanie, Since she is only 6 months old you could just go and change it on the birth certificate so it is spelled like it’s pronounced. I have a hard time figuring out how you would say that – maybe Ma-til-ee-ya? If that is how it is said, it is really beautiful flowing name. Maybe Matileah would be easier? I really love the name Mireille but on a board with several ladies with that name they said is frustrating with all the mis-pronounciations and mis-spellings. It’s Mir-e-elle. But people say Mir-ah-lee. I’m going to spell it Mirielle to make it easier. Anyways, that’s my two cents.

  6. My oldest son’s name is Michael Scott! (He’s in his twenties.) It’s a great conversation starter I guess!!

      1. I really don’t know why now that i named my two daughters i am feeing regretful and wishing i could go back and name them again. i feel like me and my husband went back and forth choosing their names. Can you be honest and tell me what you think about their names? my oldest 3 years old is Katherine Guadalupe.
        my 8 month old is Luna Naomi

  7. We’re 2 weeks away from naming our second daughter (at least 2 weeks away from the due date…) and it’s so hard! I have a strong contender but my husband is only so so on it. We both stand by the name we gave our first though, even though she turned out differently than I imagined she would during my pregnancy (both looks wise and personality wise!). Somehow, the name still fits her. Before I became a parent, one of my friends who had had a son by then, said that no matter what, you will probably experience some kind of second guessing afterwards and that that was normal and ok so that’s always made me feel better about the whole thing.

    1. Yes! That thought actually helps me during many nights when I am stressing out over a parenting decision that I’ve either already made or am trying to make–that no matter what, sometimes I will think it was the right decision, and sometimes I will think it was the wrong decision. Haha! Not sure why I find that comforting, but I do.

    2. I knew what our oldest would be named before I even knew he was a he! I told my husband and he was eh. We talked about other names but right before his birth and especially after I said you know this is his name right? I figured birthing the child gave me the extra edge. 8 years later we both agree it is perfect. That said my husband had more input with the others.

  8. I love the names that we gave our sons. They are unique yet familiar, which seemed to be the right balance for us. As parents who have common names ourselves, we wanted to set our kids apart a bit.

    We have, however, limited our naming ability with any future children – all of our boys’ names (first, middle, and last) have the same number of letters, and we want to continue this trend!

    1. We ran into an issue like that accidentally. Without trying to, our first 5 kids all ended up with 5 letters in their first names: Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, and Betty.

      When I was pregnant with #6, we decided on the name June right at the ultra-sound. I felt a little trapped by the 5-letter thing, and didn’t like that feeling, because we hadn’t intentionally made that plan. So I liked that June had 4 letters and broke the pattern.

      We originally planned on June Beatrice. But I remember being at the hospital and realizing that June Beatrice was the name of Junie B. Jones from the books — and we decided that was a no go.

      Flora was another name we liked, but we didn’t like the sound of June Flora Blair. So we switched it — we liked the sound of Flora June Blair much better — and decided June would go by her middle name.

      Which means that even though I was first avoiding it, she ended up with a first name with 5 letters anyway. That made the kids really happy — even though it was an accidental pattern, they loved having 5 letters in common.

  9. How unique that both you and Ben Blair had different names that were changed after a short while! My husband’s name was Peter James for three weeks and then his parents decided that just wasn’t his name. So they changed it to John Howard. And now they joke that he’s Peter, James and John, like from the New Testament.

    I love my kids’ names and they seem to fit them so well, but I hope that if they want to change them one day that I will be gracious and supportive. I think I would be! I have a namesake name that I don’t love, but it’s my name, too, so I don’t want to change it. But I had many times in my life when I considered changing it and it definitely would have caused some hurt feelings in my family of origin.

    I have always thought it is a little bit weird that for something so personal and permanent, the individual doesn’t get to choose! Oh well!

    1. “I have always thought it is a little bit weird that for something so personal and permanent, the individual doesn’t get to choose!”

      I have had that thought too! And not just first name, but the last name too. We parents usually decide whose surname to pass along to our kids, and I wonder if many kids might choose a different tradition if they had a choice. I have also had this thought about religion–how many of us are born into and educated in one religion, and that can really influence so much of our life.

      There’s a lot of pressure on parents that I never realized before having children! :)

    2. “I have always thought it is a little bit weird that for something so personal and permanent, the individual doesn’t get to choose!”

      Yes! I totally agree.

  10. I have had a fair bit of name regret about our oldest daughter’s name. I didn’t realize at the time that another name–similar in sound, but different in style–was gaining popularity which would cause people to confuse her centuries old classic name with a very newly invented name. But actually in the past year (she is about to turn 7), she has said unprompted on numerous occasions that she LOVES her name, and that she is so happy that we named her that, because that is who she is. So, that has definitely helped me!! :) And I still love the name too; plus, it IS her, AND she is so much more than any name.

    One of my favorite bloggers and naming gurus, Swistle (check out her website if you don’t already–she’s fantastic) says that every name comes with a certain set of baggage, and parents just have to weigh and balance what matters to them. As a Katie born in the mid 80s, my name’s baggage was popularity (always more than one Katie in my class throughout school) and multiple possible spellings. However, neither of those things ever really bothered me.

  11. My husband and I love those old fashioned names, too. Our three children are named Ezra, Oscar, and Violet Fae (named after her great great aunt Violet and her great grandma Fae). I’ve always loved my name because it’s so unique–I’ve only met one other Krisanne in my 39 years!

    1. I have a Violet as well. And her middle name is Jae! J-A-E are the initials of my sister and my mother. How fun!

      1. That coincidence is so amazing!

        I think sound patterns in names are part of our collective consciousness. Certain patterns repeat.. My daughter’s name is Djuna (pronounced like ‘Juna”– after the poet Djuna Barnes), and in first grade we knew girls named Una, Yuna, and Luna.

        We also knew three sets of sisters with similar names: Ellie and Leah, Ellie and Luna, and Ellie and Lula. Ellie was always the younger, and in each set was my daughters’ same age.

        1. I would completely agree with the idea of sound patterns having universal appeal – I taught high school, and more than once had students who shared a first name, and the first few letters of their last names! Two “Hunter Mc…”, two “Elizabeth Sc…”, two “Maddie Bl…” in the same school, and often in the same class.

    2. Stephanie morris

      I love hearing what people name their kids and why. I have 4. Lewis, Walter, Rose, and Bernadette. But Lewis only goes by Lewy and Bernadette only goes by Birdie. I had my girl names planned since i was in grade school. And the only boy named i liked was Rex. And that was Lewy’s name fore the whole 9 months i was pregnant. Then my sister said his name with a hard X AND IT DROVE ME INSANE. so Lewy it was. And it is an absolute PERFECT name for him. We didn’t know Walter was boy so i had a long list of girl names. We were pleasantly surprised to see he was a boy but it took 3 days to name him and my husband ultimately just named him. I was so unsure about the name Walter for months but he his 5 now and he is everything you would think a Walter would be.

  12. We chose somewhat unusual first names for our boys because they have a common last name (my husband’s). It was so hard to pick names, especially for boys! And somehow we ended up with two 4-letter “E” names for our two boys, despite that not at all being our intention. It was only after we wrote them down that we saw how similar they look. We also gave them each two middle names – the second middle name is my last name. This is a family tradition on my husband’s side and I love it.

    1. Our son Oscar has two middle names, but the he’s the only one. His name is Oscar Stanley Groberg Blair. Stanley is my maiden name, and Groberg is Ben’s mom’s middle name.

      Interestingly, I found boy’s names much easier to choose than girls names. I’m still not sure why that is.

    2. And on the flip side… We chose somewhat common first names for our boys because they have a difficult last name (my husband’s). :-) Yes, boy names are so hard! I also really wanted names that wouldn’t be shortened into nicknames. (Tom, Phil, Nick, Matt, etc.) I wanted their names to be their names. My youngest is named Nathan, and I was a little nervous about him being called Nate, but I decided I was okay with it if that happened. As it turns out, one of his best friends is named Nate, so the fact that he’s Nathan has worked out! Nobody is tempted to call him otherwise. :-)

  13. As an 80’s Ashley, I wanted my girls to have non-trendy names. My husband’s rule was that their first name needed three syllables and the middle one needed one, so they had automatic singer-songwriter names. Our oldest is Elena Gray, and we only knew the Romanian pronounciation of Eh-lynn-ah. Alas, the Spanish pronounciation is Alaina, and much more common, particularly with Elena of Avalor. So, she always has to explain. We assumed we’d call her Ellie, since my husband had always wanted an Ellie, but she just came out and that wasn’t her name. I mostly call her Leni.

    Our middle daughter was always going to be called her middle name, which is Maeve. It totally fits her-she’s spunky and mischievous and sweet. However, her first name is Celia, and it was the wrong choice. I knew it as soon as I saw her, and tried to convince everyone it was wrong, but ultimately I let it lie. We had a few choices for first names, but Cecelia was playing when I bought my pregnancy test, so that seemed to say it was meant to be. Every time a teacher writes Celia on something, I sigh. It is a beautiful name, though, and she likes it.

    Our youngest was adopted from Ukraine and has Down Syndrome. Her birth name was Ksenia, but we knew she would never be able to pronounce that the way someone could actually understand her since it was such a foreign name (it’s pronounced ks-en-ya with a nasal ny for the y, kind of like the beginning of gnocchi). So, she’s Althea Jane, and we call her Thea. As it turns out, she can’t say Thea either, so she calls herself Bea instead. We met her, and they immediately took us to fill out paperwork and needed her middle name. We literally just came up with the least intrusive middle name on purpose so we couldn’t regret it later since we had one minute to decide. Also, her biological grandmother visited her every week and called her Sooshka, which is a nickname for Ksenia. 90% of the time at home her sisters and I call her Soosh, or Sooshie, and the rest of the time I call her Thee. My husband mostly calls her Thea, though.

    In odd news, I have a hidden name power, in that I often know what a baby is going to be named before their parents’ announce it. I think there are just things about some people where I know their tendencies. It has gotten the point that it is kind of creepy though-I’ve guessed about six, and they’re all pretty unusual. Sometimes I wonder if they need prayer, so when I know about one and feel it strongly, I use it when I pray.

    1. My younger sister’s name is Thea (not even Althea, just Thea) and it could not fit her more perfectly. I’ve never met another Thea, although I think it’s a lovely name. My grandmother, who is French, calls her Tea (like Tea Leoni) because in French there is no “th” sound, but we all think Tea is lovely as well and we just go with it :)

    2. Our youngest is named an old family name: Theodosia. She is called Theo for short (not my choice!) But pronounced in German like where she was born, like Tay-oh…

    3. What a beautiful story ashley! And what an awesome super power to have, so crazy cool!!

      gabby, idea for future post on special needs children that have been adopted and the journey their families have taken. I nominate Ashley, if she would be willing to share.

      God bless your family Ashley and Soosh! I love the name Ksenia!!

      Im really a Christina but nicknamed myself Tina as a child and it stuck at home but always went by Christina at school. I like both my name and nickname but pet peeeve the people that call me Christine. While that too is a beautiful name. It’s not my name!!!

  14. When our first daughter was born, it took us 3 weeks to land on the right name for her! My husband is Swedish, but we currently live in the US. We wanted a name that was unique and strong, but still easy to pronounce in Swedish and English.

    We needed time to get to know her, study her, and connect to her. After 2 weeks of sleepless nights, I continued to feel pulled towards one name over and over — Tuva, an old Swedish name that is the female version of Thor. Tuva is also a word in an old Swedish proverb that roughly translates to, “a small tuft of grass can overturn heavy carts.” The “tuft of grass” is ‘tuva.’

    When our second daughter was born, we decided on one Swedish name, Alva, after two weeks of being with her. But, something was not right in my gut. I hated how the name was pronounced in the US, compared to the Swedish pronunciation. I had a few tough months, where I really didn’t connect to the name, even though its a lovely name….long story short, we ended up changing her name to Elsa when she was 4 months old! I thought everyone would think I was crazy and indecisive, but our friends and family were so supportive and embraced the new name immediately. Elsa was my grandmother’s name, who I was very close to. It also happens to be a Swedish name, so it felt right all around, and my heart was happy :)

  15. It’s funny because since having our second (and last) child, our son, I find myself longing for other baby names! So it kind of feels like there’s some sort of regret in the name we gave our last child. At first I thought maybe it was regret over his name, since it is pretty unusual for an American boy (he is Ashley David), but that didn’t feel totally accurate. Especially since when I look at him, there’s is certainly no other name for him. He just IS our Ashley boy! But still, that feeling of “oh I love xxxx!” Or “I wish I’d had a yyyy!” feels kind of overwhelming at times. Maybe it’s because we feel pretty certain we won’t have more kids? And it’s just sort of a feeling of missing out? Maybe the finality of it all is making me wish I had other children to name? Who knows!

    1. You are definitely not alone. A few years ago, we had a discussion about the “Names That Got Away.” So many people have a list of favorite names that’s longer than the actual number of kids they have. It’s fun to hear how they sometimes come up with ways to use the names — for pets, or as nicknames.

  16. I don’t know that I have much to add, except my name is Phronsie Yvonne. I spell it and tell the story every day. (Look up the Five Little Peppers). I was the last kid in my class to learn how to spell my name. And there were times I didn’t love the teasing and nicknames. I can’t imagine having any other name. Sometimes names just fit/work, and there is no reason why. They just are the right name.

    1. I remember reading those books! My great-great-great (maybe even one more great) grandmother on my maternal grandmother’s side was named Sophronia Aramentha, and I always thought it would be neat to use a name that was both literary and had family meaning.

    2. Phronsie was on my list for a long time after I read those books. It made me happy to see your name before even reading your comment.

  17. My original name on my birth certificate was Baby because my parents couldn’t decide on a name. Like in “Dirty Dancing” or “Jane the Virgin”. Also, my parents didn’t give me a middle name—I am grateful because I just kept my maiden name as a middle name.

    1. Same here. I didn’t have a middle name growing up, and I use my maiden name as my middle name now.

      Funnily, among me and my 3 sisters, two of us didn’t have middle names, and two did. So it wasn’t a consistent thing. Among my own 4 daughters, three of them have middle names, but Betty does not. She’s simply Betty Blair. I remember we liked the alliteration — like a superhero alterego name.

  18. My husband and I wanted a name for our son that could be in any language. His name was really hard for his Austrian grandparents to pronounce and he was so close to them, so I think that’s weird if your own parents can’t pronounce your son’s name. With a Dutch-Canadian-Austrian-Australian background, a name in our family should be multi-lingual!
    So we chose David, because its in every language (like Dawit in Ethiopian, where some of his cousins live). So no matter where he travels its easy. He’s in French Immersion and so his teacher and classmates prounce it Dav-eed, so it’s already worked! If we still lived in Australia, he’d probably be called Davo but right since he was just talking, he’s always insisted “My name is not Dave, it’s David”. Sometimes people ask “how’s dave?” and I have no idea who they are talking about. I wonder if he’ll ever use that?
    Also, his middle name is Jacob (after my grandfather), so he can change to DJ if he wants (but I hope he doesn’t). We got so many positive comments on his name, so many “I love how classic it is”, since a decade ago everyone we knew had really random unknown names for their kids. We also realized there’s a whole bunch of 50-70 year old Davids but hardly any currently.
    I always love these types of posts, thanks for sharing!

    1. I considered David for two of my boys and decided against it partly because it wasn’t right for them but also because if the dreaded “Dave”

      1. It really worried me too, so it is neat how he on his own was pretty set on the full version. Even more horrendous to me was “Davy”… because everytime I think of the song from Davy Crockett…
        And the language name challenge was okay if we used more common biblical names :) even though that wasn’t a priority for my husband.

  19. I’m really curious about Flora June. I’ve been following since before she was born (!) and am interested in how it works it using her middle name as her “main” name- both in person and on things like paperwork/school, etc. we names our last baby Hazel Jane, intending to call her Hazel, but somewhere along the way, she turned into Janie. We call her that almost exclusively, but use Hazel occasionally. We just recently moved and I have no idea how to introduce her!! She’s just two, so I can’t ask her her own opinion!

    1. Another good question! Mostly we don’t even think about it until there’s a new school or new teacher. We have to let her teachers know that she goes by her middle name, and when we forget, it means that on her cubby or coat hook, will be labeled Flora instead of June.

      On paperwork, we just fill it out as first name: Flora, middle name: June. No big deal. And at this point she knows that when we go through passport checkpoints, or if she’s holding a plane ticket, that she needs to answer to the name Flora.

      1. I go by my middle name as well (and for the same reasoning as June – “Lydia Caroline” sounded better than “Caroline Lydia”!), and I agree that it has not been that big of a deal. I even kept it that way when I got married, which would have been the prime time to change it – it just feels normal and like me. Also, my maiden name and my married name are the same word in two different languages (Black and Swartz), so moving my maiden name to the middle name spot would have sounded odd :)

    2. Our son learned that Theodore was his “doctor name” when he was about 2. He’s always been a Teddy. Adults know that’s a common nickname, but I remember having to specifically teach him to respond to Theodore as well.

  20. Serious business! My husband and I have different accents (his – American, mine – Australian) and we pronounce certain sounds VERY differently. We took this into account when naming both of our children.
    Funnily enough, we had 3 names of each sex on the list for each child but both times chose names that were never on the list a few days after they were born. We’d always thought to use grandparent’s names as middle names… which ones, neither of us knew!
    It just felt nicer for us to get a feel for our babies before we named them. It drove people (ahem, my mum!) nuts not having a name for a few days but it was our choice.
    Now we have our Evan Martin and Claudia Audrey. But honestly, they could be X & Y and I would still love them endlessly.

    1. “It just felt nicer for us to get a feel for our babies before we named them. It drove people (ahem, my mum!) nuts not having a name for a few days but it was our choice.”

      I like that thinking. It makes sense to me to bring your baby home and take some time choosing a name.

      I love the names you ended up using!

    2. Ha, same here! My Aussie husband LOVED the name Connor and really wanted that. But he pronounces it “CAW na” and I pronounce it as Connor with my Canadian accent, so that was struck off the list completely. We couldn’t have a name we pronounced differently!

      1. Ha! Yes, my son has a friend Conner … we giggle when my husband calls his name. Not that this was ever on the list but Karl is one that has an unusual pronunciation – with the American accent it sounds like Coral, Aussie it sounds like Caahl!

  21. Susan Magnolia

    Our daughter is an Emma. My partner chose it from a manga series based in Victorian era England. Also we both like Emma Thompson. Her middle name is Clover which I picked from Yotsuba (another manga). She was named even before she was conceived. :) I knew Emma was really, really popular so I figured Clover could work out as a back up. She goes by both equally but it could always change.

  22. My birth name is technically a nickname, and one that combined with my birth last name was almost a “naughty” joke (it would have been horrifying in jr. high) and the step last name turned me into a sing songy cartoon persona ala pretty much anyone created by Stan Lee and his affinity for alliteration. Hubby’s name (first and last) is a historical person, VERY common even to this day, and is included in a nursery rhyme, so insert eyeroll here.

    By the time I had kids I had learned to love my name, but I admit that due partially to the era we named our first as a “Jr.” (yes, after the historical nursery rhyme – oy) which has been a decidedly bad move in this age of internet, the poor guy has been constantly mixed up with his father (and strangers) in all things legal (credit, purchases, school records, etc.) When we got around to our 5th child I was out of ideas and went to my grandmother (who hated her name) and asked for advice. She gave a name I had only heard once before and it went very prettily along with her one and only sister, so there. Done. Until we officially signed on it and were told that of the 27 babies born that night, 25 were girls and 23 were given the exact same name. I was completely unaware that this was very popular a soap opera character. Yikes. We should have changed it, but we didn’t. She was a pretty good sport, although during her first 2 years of college she went by her middle name.

      1. Let’s just say – it’s equivalent to “Cathy” in the 50s, “Lisa” in the 60s, or “Jennifer” during the 80’s. : ) -mother of the year.

  23. We named our daughter after my husband’s grandmother. I had always loved a shortened version of the name so when he told me his grandma’s name it was so easy. It turns out that she has the same spit fire personality so it was perfect.

  24. My only naming regret is that we didn’t give our daughter my name as her middle name. Our son got his dad’s middle name as his middle name, but we gave our daughter “Claire” as hers. It was trendy and we later found out my grandmother’s sister’s middle name was Claire, but I regret not giving her MY name. It seems like it’s much more common to pass down male names from father to son, but I think we need to pass down our names to our daughters as well. Maybe when she gets a bit older I’ll be able to talk her into “Audrey Colleen!”

    1. My older daughter shares my middle name – Marie- and our younger daughter shares my husbands middle name -Ryan. I love that they each got one of our names, even though the baby is a girl. I’ve regretted going with Marie for our older daughter though. It’s so boring. I wish I’d mixed it up a little with her middle name, but I do think it’s sweet we get to share. He funny thing is, our first names are similar (Aliesha and Allie), a fact that totally escaped me until a few months after she was born and every time I tried to write her name on a form I accidentally wrote my own!

  25. I have a long list of names I’d love to use, but feel more and more like I’ll never get to apply them; I’m 36 and very single. I keep the list on my phone, and visit them from time to time. I’ve always had an easier time coming up with girls’ names than boys, but tend toward old-fashioned names that skew towards British/UK. I have a family name as my middle name, and hope I can convince one of my nieces to use it in the future-I don’t want to be the one who “loses” the name.

    1. Don’t give up hope, you may find yourself using one of those names in the future. I met my husband when I was 36 and we just welcomed our daughter this January a month after I turned 44. Life rarely turns out the way you think it will (sometimes it’s even better than you imagined).

      1. I met my husband when I was 36 and we had our son one week before I turned 42. Never in a million years did I think that would happen! You just never know….

    2. I would love to hear a story about having kids later in life. I’ll be 36 next month, and my husband and I are both at the, “But by the time the kid is x years old, we’ll be y years old!”

      That said, I’d always choose being an “old” parent over being a young parent.

  26. We swapped our middle and first name choices in the operating room minutes before our son was born. In an effort to distract me while his colleagues prepped for my emergency c-section, the anesthesiologist asked what we were going to name the baby. I told him that my husband and I were keeping our choices secret. He convinced me so I blurted out our girl choice (coincidentally Cora June to be called Junie) which went well and then our boy choice which did not. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and said “Huh?” By the time my poor husband got suited up in his scrubs and walked in, I was screaming, “We can’t do the boy’s name! No one gets it.” He couldn’t exactly argue with me at that point. So, our sweet boy has the opposite of the name he was supposed to have and the exact name he was meant to have. It’s perfect for him.

  27. My husband and I had trouble naming our children too. We wanted simple names that wouldn’t be shortened into nicknames (so that they would always be called by their full names). Little did we realize that short, simple names were the upcoming trend in our country, and now our kids share their first names with at least one person in each of their classes!

    When I was younger, I hated my old-fashioned, very Arabic name. But, when I introduced myself to elders, I would often get compliments on how it is such a beautiful classic, and how ‘they don’t name children like the old days anymore’. LOL. Now, after 36 years, I’ve learnt to just live with it!

  28. I’m one of seven kids and my parents went totally gender neutral for names. I absolutely love my name – just imagine the shock when I go to job interviews and they’re expecting a guy ;) I now live in Germany (originally from the USA) and my name is super confusing to Germans – they can’t pronounce the “J” properly and address me as a guy for everything! In Germany it’s actually illegal to give a completely gender-neutral name. If you have a gender-neutral first name in Germany, you have to have a middle name that denotes whether you’re a boy or girl ;)

    My boyfriend is German and has a former aristocratic last name (it’s one of the “von der…” names) so it is so hard to pair first names with it! Secondly, we want names that will end up working (and easily pronounced) in both German and English!

    1. “In Germany it’s actually illegal to give a completely gender-neutral name. If you have a gender-neutral first name in Germany, you have to have a middle name that denotes whether you’re a boy or girl ;)”

      So fascinating!

    2. Because af your last name the Germany assume your German, too, and pronounce your name the wrong way. That must be nerve wrecking.

      Greetings from Thuringia!

  29. My son is named Caleb which is really common in the states but now we live in France and NO ONE can pronounce it. They usually think we’ve meant to say Callum. This is our forever home so maybe he will shorten it to Cal when he’s older. It’s his choice but I feel so bad for him that his name is such a challenge right now.

    1. Oh. That’s rough. I’m trying to think of what the nearest French equivalent is…

      That reminds me, two of my French friends, Caroline and Clementine, both came to Alt Summit to help out this year, and neither one likes the American pronunciation of their names. : )

  30. I love my daughter’s first name. We decided to call her a shorter version of it but I always feel like I only use her full name when she’s being a bit naughty! I often wonder if I should have fought harder for the other name I had in mind for her ‘Beatrix’ which we could have shortened to Betty or Trixie oh well :)

      1. So true! I realized that I only used my son’s middle name, a derivative of my family name and a name I love, when he was being naughty. When he was a toddler, he got very angry with me, stomped his foot, and said “Mommy “. After I stopped giggling, I vowed to stop using his name in a negative tone. I realize that I dislike mine so much because of the tone it was said in so often when I was a child, otherwise I was called a nickname (that had no connection to my name). I now use my son’s first+middle name as a bit of a term of endearment with him.

  31. I often think about this with my eldest, we named her a very unusual name that at first i think family and friends struggled with. As they got used to it, everyone seems to love it and developed shorter cute nicknames. However as my daughter started school she was very insistent that her full name be used on all paperwork not her nickname. After about a year, tiring of writing her full name in cards to her classmate she shortened it to her first and last initial- AJ and has asked to be called that ever since. It really suits her and despite some initial trouble in remembering its just become her name.
    However the reaction of everyone has really surprised me, many people cannot get their head around the change from her shortened name to AJ. I even had my mother ask if an exception could be made as “I’ll never be able to remember to call her that”. My daughter is fairly gracious about it but I passionately defend her right to be called what she wants to be called (my mother got a firm no on her request!). For me its great to see her owning her own name in a way that expresses herself and it annoys me if people want to disregard that.
    Her name originally came from my suggestion, although my husband liked it instantly, I expected to feel a pang of sadness but actually I feel proud. I personally have never been a fan of my name but could never find another I liked better and I feared the fuss created in changing it. I love that she is finding a way to make her name hers, at some point she may revert back or have another nickname but right now it suits her perfectly even though i never would have thought of it in a million years!

    1. “My daughter is fairly gracious about it but I passionately defend her right to be called what she wants to be called (my mother got a firm no on her request!). For me its great to see her owning her own name in a way that expresses herself and it annoys me if people want to disregard that.”

      Love that!

  32. I did not like my, then unusual name as a child. No one could pronounce or spell Megan in the 70s. But I grew to love it. It is spelled the Welsh way and my mother was from Wales. I gave my own daughters unusual (but spellable and pronounceable – I thought) first names with traditional middle names. Paisley Charlotte Emma loves her name. Tamsin Penelope Jane does not. She often gets Tasmin instead of Tamsin. I did have some regret over not spelling it Tamsen after I saw that spelling but told myself to stop second guessing myself. She also does not like Jane. She considered going by Penelope when starting high school but chickened out. She will be starting university in the fall and is considering going by Penelope when she starts. She will always be Tamsin to me or TamTam as I called her when she was little. I love the name and it took some time to come up with a name that I thought went well with Paisley. Originally, I wanted Chesley (a small town my Dad had lived in) but no one else liked it. I actually came up with Tamsin in a dream, but it is a real name – English and a derivative of Thomasina. My husband liked it as we had a very good friend named Tom. As an aside our dog is named Penny. I always wanted a child named Toby but my mother said it was a dog’s name. As I went to name the dog a friend said Toby sounded too close to my husband’s name Tony (George Anthony, but called Tony from birth) and I regretfully had to agree he was right.

  33. Random comment:
    During a particularly bad night with my first baby ( then only days old), I woke up at 2:00AM for a change/feeding completely convinced that we should’ve named her “Annie.” I was devastated and hormonal and teary and tired. A few hours later, I couldn’t figure out why I’d freaked out, much less why I’d fixed on the name “Annie.”

    Hormones, man.

  34. I feel like we named our daughter the wrong thing all the time. Her names is Kinsley, and while that name is cute for a little girl, I struggle with how that will translate when she is a full grown adult. Part of the reason we named her that was because of the meaning of the name and because the doctors told us she was going to have a short life due to some birth defects, so we didn’t necessarily think about longevity, but three and a half years later she’s still here and thriving, and I constantly worry if Kinsley is going to be too young of a name for someone who is 30 years old and working somewhere and trying to be professional. Hopefully someone with the name of Kinsley will read this and ease my soul on the matter.


    1. Hi Paige –

      What an incredible story! And honestly? It’s going to be fine.

      Names grow up with their generation. Sometime back in 1938, Betty, Dorothy and Joan were little girl names. Now they’re the grandmas. All those Jennifers, Kellys, and Michelles from the 1970s? They’re grown-up, capable women today, even though they must have sounded impossibly young back then. I serve on a board with an incredibly capable Kaitlyn – whose name was still pretty unusual when she was born! And we’ve started to meet lawyers and accountants and nurses with names like Taylor and Kayla.

      Everyone is quick to dismiss names that don’t pass the Supreme Court Justice test, but honestly? I’m not sure Sandra would have passed once upon a time …


  35. We didn’t find out the sex of our children before they were born.

    For child number 1, I had a boys name and a girls name with middle names all settled. First born was a boy.

    For child number 2, I had a new boy’s name but I was having second thoughts about the unused girl’s name. We chose a different girl’s name on the way to the hospital but we picked a filler middle name. I like how it all sounds together.

    For anyone still choosing names, these are the two books that helped me most:

    The Secret Universe of Names
    This book was really interesting. For example, a name like Catherine, which is related to names like Katie, Caitlin, Kathleen, etc. are not all grouped together as they often are when researching the meaning of names.

    The Perfect Baby Name
    This book is based on the sound/rhythm and how well names fit together. In our case, my husband’s single-syllable, English sounding last name which we gave our children wasn’t sounding right with certain names, and this helped me understand why. It’s not a book of rules, just explanations that helped me narrow down my choices.

  36. I always knew that I wanted to adopt and I always knew that I would name my daughter after my father, Louis, who passed away when I was a child. I liked that Louisa was a more traditional name and I also liked that it was a name that could be easily pronounced in may languages. My “plan” was to call her Lou or Loulou as her nickname however, at the ripe old age of 3, she announced that she did not want to be called Loulou. “Please don’t call me Loulou. My name is Louisa”. So there you have it! LOL It is the perfect name for her and I have to say she gets many compliments on it.

    1. I got that today! ‘My name isn’t Margs, Mama, it’s Margot! Don’t call me Margs please.’ To be fair it was just a throwaway nickname anyway, normally we use Moomie as a pet name :)

  37. Names are so powerful. My name, Lee, is spelled with the traditional male spelling, but I am female. If someone does not know me personally, they almost always assume I am male and address me as “Mr”. I was even assigned to an all-male dorm when I went to college. So when people (especially in the South, where I went to college) would see my middle name, Rebecca, they would assume I went by that. Some even went so far as to call me “Becky Lee” I hated that name. When I got married, I dropped Rebecca like a hot potato and took my maiden name as my middle name. I still deal with “Mr” ALL the time, especially professionally.

    When I was naming my daughter, I wanted a feminine name and my husband suggested “Kaylee” and we loved it, it is perfect for her. I had always had my mind set on giving my first-born my maiden name as their middle name. So now, my daughter’s and my name are identical except for the first “kay” in her name. This was completely unintentional and I didn’t even realize it until she was several years old LOL. Her middle name does not really suit her, she is very unlike my father’s side of the family, and I will not be surprised if she changes it someday.

  38. I love names–everything about them. When pregnant with our first we were thinking in the same vein as you and Ben, we wanted uncommon names that weren’t made up or too ‘out there,’ so we focused on the older generation. We liked O names, but knew too many Olivers. Oscar came up, but I laughed it off (probably due to the connotation with Oscar the Grouch). Six months later it had grown on me, and we went to the hospital with two names in mind: Oscar and Henry. Oscar won, and is a perfect fit. That said, my husband (who is a 3rd) wanted to keep the traditional first name as a part of our son’s name, so his middle name is Joseph. I was worried about the initials ‘OJ,’ but my husband pointed out that his peers probably wouldn’t be familiar with it the way we were. The very first text we received after announcing the birth said ‘the juice is loose!’ My husband may have felt a little sheepish, but it hasn’t come up much since.

    My 2nd was easy. I knew before I even got pregnant again that I wanted an Archie. I have no idea why, but it was so set in my head that I told my husband. Sure enough, our 2nd was a boy, and because we found Archibald a bit too much for our tiny guy we went with Archer. He’s Archie through and through :)

  39. I changed my name legally when I was 28, after knowing my whole life that my given name didn’t fit.

    My mom had a long, ethnic, and unusual family name that she felt was burdensome once they left the city for the Jersey ‘burbs. She gave her children short, easy, thoroughly American – and very popular! – names. Wouldn’t you know it? I hated being one in a crowd, and started reading baby name books pretty much the minute I could read.

    But here’s the thing: I love my mom. She’s amazing. And the story being my name is deeply meaningful – even if it wasn’t the right fit. A name is a gift; we give it with all good intent, and hope the recipient loves it as much as we do. But that’s all we can do, right?

    It can be a little jarring to go through a name change, but I’ve never doubted it was the right thing. I feel like me now, and even though I’m not sure my mom will ever understand, I think she knows that it doesn’t reflect my love for her.

    As for my kids? They have family names, inspired by the same tradition that my mother’s family used. In fact, our daughter is named after my mom! #fullcircle

    1. “A name is a gift; we give it with all good intent, and hope the recipient loves it as much as we do. But that’s all we can do, right?”

      That’s beautiful. And I’m glad you were able to change your name.

  40. Gabby did you know with Flora June that you would call her June? My husband’s family would want our potential son to have a first name which is not what everyone calls him and I told doesn’t sit comfortably with me (probably due to the first son of the first son thing they go on about). It is beginning to stress me out enough to want to find out the gender (when I would actually like a surprise) so interested to hear in others (especially girl’s experiences) many thanks

    1. Yes. We always knew her everyday name would be June. Before I saw your question, I actually told the story in a comment above (sorry for the repeat!). She was originally going to be June Beatrice. But at the hospital, as we were filling out paperwork for her birth certificate, I suddenly remembered the Junie B. Jones books and looked up what the B. stood for. It’s Beatrice.

      We decided June Beatrice was a no go, and changed directions a bit.

      1. For whatever reason I remember your kids playing an April fools joke before June was born, announcing that she’d arrived with a name something like Flora Bethany? I’ve wondered, was Flora an option before that, or did you go with it only after they used in their prank?

  41. I love reading about this stuff. Long ago when we were trying for biological kids, I quietly pondered names and tucked the short list (Lucinda, Vivian, Lydia, Samuel, Archer, and Nicholas) away in my mind for the day they perhaps might need use. But…things happen. We ended up pursuing adoption, and our two came to us as toddlers, so they already had names. But I do remember the thrill of learning those first initial emails about them, and hearing those names for the first time, tumbling them around in my mouth with our last name (they are sort of awkward sounding against our last name, but that is what it is! ha!).

    1. “But I do remember the thrill of learning those first initial emails about them, and hearing those names for the first time, tumbling them around in my mouth with our last name (they are sort of awkward sounding against our last name, but that is what it is! ha!).”

      This comment made me smile so hard.

  42. My dad named my first daughter, Lyndsay- Marie I wanted her name to be Hyphenated like mine. My middle daughter was just baby and our surname for a few weeks. I have terrible mum guilt about that, but we chose Chloe Jane. I fell in love with the name Kayleigh as soon as I knew I was having a girl and picked Anne for her middle name After my Nan, her middle name is also Anne.

    I hated my name growing up; I was the only child in my class who had a hyphenated name. I love it now :)

  43. I never liked my name-it just felt too cutesy. We did fairly long, classic names for all four of our kids. Interestingly enough, we’ve never used nicknames for them-but once they got to high school their friends shortened their names. It’s weird for me to hear them referred to as “Liz and Ben” (my oldest 2) because around our house with our family and family friends, they’re still Elizabeth and Benjamin-but I always figured that day was coming! When we named them I did the “CEO naming test”, which since the 90s has clearly changed to more trendy names.

      1. I really didn’t. Maybe if I’d had the foresight when I went to college or started working? But once I was an adult, it just seemed liked it was just “me.” An aunt of mine now goes by a nickname she picked up as an 70 year old at a retirement community-which just cracks me up. So maybe my new name is still out there awaiting me ;)

        1. I love my name Heidi because I feel like it rides a nice line between classy and fun. Also, you really can’t say the name mad…you just sound like you’re joking.
          There were several other Heidis in high school–including 2 others in the alto section of the choir who were much more popular than I, so I literally never responded unless someone tapped me.
          I love your thought about a possible new name in your future! Kind of fun to think about! It’s not over yet!

  44. My 15 year old daughter’s name is Alexa, which I still love and she really likes. But who knew when she was born that Amazon would call its very popular personal assistant Alexa as well…. now there are times my Alexa just has to leave a room because too many people are talking about Amazon Alexa and it drives her nuts! And yes she’s heard the jokes before… Needless to say we will not be getting an Amazon Alexa for our home!

    1. I was wondering about that the other day. When Amazon went to name their product, were they looking for a name that was easy to pronounce for the most amount of people? Did they look up stats on how many people are already named Alexa? Did they test the product name? I wonder what their thinking was?

      1. I was just talking to my son about this earlier today, so we had to look up the story.

        Also, re: what to do if your name is Alexa and you want an Echo: “For those people who are named Alexa (or something similar), or have pets with that name, and feel that they can never own an Echo, [Amazon] says not so. There’s a setting in the app that lets you choose between two other “wake words”: ‘Amazon’ or ‘Echo.'”

    2. In the same boat here with my 7-year-old named Alexa!

      My husband bought one of those things, and we call it Echo.

      But I secretly hope it will crash and burn when the next tech comes out to replace it.

  45. I’ve always loved my name. Though it’s a common name, the spelling (Elisabeth) is uncommon in the United States, which I’ve always loved (I do NOT like the name Elizabeth). I’m actually named after my great-grandmother, whose name was spelled Elizabeth, but my parents had really fallen in love with the names Elisa and Beth. They thought they would call me Elisa, but for some reason, they ended up using Beth instead- and it’s what I generally go by, though I do love Elisa! Something I love about my name- it’s in many languages. I currently live in Moldova (in a Romanian-speaking community), and while the pronunciation and spelling is a bit different it isn’t too hard for people.

    My older brother was supposed to be Jessie, whether he was a girl or boy, but right before he was born, my parents changed their minds- and thank goodness, as my brother (Chris), is definitely not a Jessie-type!

    My sister’s name is Heather Liz. She’s never liked her name- although I think she’s beginning to like it a bit more recently. She was born in the mid-90s, and Heather had been really popular in the 80s but not at all in the 90s. She also has always hated that her middle name is a nickname for my first name (my mom just really, really loved her grandmother, Liz!). For a long time, she didn’t realize that the Liz she was named after was the person my mom called Mimi- when she finally realized that around the time she started college, she started to like it more. The original Liz was spunky, dependent, stubborn, and a really interesting, cool person, so she appreciates it more.

      1. I never, ever used it before the Peace Corps, but here all Moldovans call me “Elisabet”. They can’t pronounce the ‘th’ and I found I much preferred “Elisabet” to “Bet”. Now I’m thinking I kind of like just going by Elisabeth (though the pronunciation is just so pretty in Romanian: eh-lee-suh-bieht).

    1. My name is also Elisabeth with an S. I have always hated it and having to correct people’s spelling all of my life. It was supposed to stop people from nicknaming me Liz so I have had every conceivable nickname you could think of but at the end of the day Liz was the only version of my name that doesn’t make me cringe when I hear it. And when the topic of middle names comes up and people find out mine is Grace people kind of do a huh head tilt and I’m like I know not me at all.

      1. I decidedly didn’t like Liz when I was a kid and would get very angry when people would try to use it, saying “My name does not have a ‘z’! You can’t call me that!”. My middle name is Hope, so our names are actually quite similar!

    2. I’m also Elisabeth. My mom didn’t like the z and I agree the s is prettier. But I have always been known as Betsy and the nickname made life confusing sometimes. I made a point to give my kids no-nickname names.

  46. I love hearing about names! I love when people put thought into the names they chose and hearing about the stories behind them.

    Growing up, I didn’t always like my name “Karla” because it’s different… and I later learned that the majority of women with the name are from the black community, and it felt odd to me since I’m white. But I’ve grown to love it because it’s not common… and I think names that begin with “K” are pretty. Ha!

    I now have four children and I spent a LOT of time thinking about their names, coming up with lists of first names, middle names, and variations. I considered family names, but mainly wanted them to be special and imbued with meaning. I wanted something that wasn’t common, but also wasn’t so out there and hard-to-pronounce – I didn’t want the name to be embarrassing or hard to live with.

    Ironically, our first ended up being named Gwendolyn just because we both liked and agreed on the name! Such great nicknames, too – Gwen, Gwenny, Gwendy-loo, etc. Her middle name is Grace; happens to be a family name, but has a special meaning since we’re Christians.

    When we had our second, a boy, I got hooked on the idea that a 3-syllable first name + a 1-syllable second name sounded the best. We named him Josiah, both because it’s a strong biblical name and because one of its meanings is “the fire of the Lord” (and my hubby is a fireman, to boot!). I don’t like Joe as a nickname but figured I would put up with it if people ended up calling him that, thinking I would push Joss as an alternative… but my kids now call him Jo Jo, which is sweet. His middle name is James (also a strong biblical name, and Josiah James has a Jesse James ring to it).

    Our third, a girl, was given my second choice on our girl’s name list: Adeline. It’s sweet and old-fashioned and I love the nickname Addy (although now it’s become pretty popular). Her middle name is Faith.

    We had a miscarriage tucked in here, and since we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl, I struggled with what to do about a name. I ended up using one name – Shiloh – which is gender-neutral and means “peace.”

    Lastly, a boy. I find boy names harder and, on the heels of losing a baby, I struggled even more with this one. He’s Gabriel aka Gabe, which means “God is my strength” middle name Asher meaning “blessed; happy.”

    I still have a girl’s name picked out, though I’ve been told we’re done having kids (*sad face*). It’s Evelyn Joy aka Evie. The old-fashioned name goes along with my other daughters, has a sweet nickname, and the middle name is self-explanatory. :)

    There were lots of other names we loved but nixed because they were already in use, shall we say – e.g. Benjamin, Samuel, etc. My sister-in-law has seven boys so she used some of the good ones!

    1. We just named our baby Everly, but we are calling her Evie most of the time (pronouncing it Eh-vie, not Eee-vie). I love both of her names.

  47. I love this!! My grandma had 5 kids and changed two of their names. My uncle because his initials were WAR and they were mennonite and against all war and my Aunt was renamed because my Grandmas mom didn’t like what they named her.

    My 3 kids all start with the letter A (not intentional) and the claim to all love their names (Abby, Annie and Abe)

    My grandkids have the BEST names Stella, Lucy, Mabel and Harper, Everett and 2 week old Morna.

    P.S. Annie was on living with kids earlier this year.

  48. We have a 5-year-old daughter named Miriam. I’ve always loved how it sounds and what it means.

    When she was learning to talk and was asked her name, she would excitedly say “ME!!……ME!!!” and so she became Mimi.

    Last year she asked everyone at her preschool to call her Miriam because “Mimi is for grandmas” (ha! so many of her friends call their grandmother Mimi) and we’re back to Miriam. I secretly hope one day she’ll let me call her Midge. ha! Love that nickname for Miriam.

  49. My husband and I didn’t agree on any names when pregnant with #1 and we didn’t know the gender, so we just didn’t talk about it much and figured we would have time to figure it out later. She was born very sick and although our hospital had a NICU they weren’t prepared to deal with some of the issues so as they prepped her to be sent to a different hospital I walked down the hall to the NICU to see her. I remember standing in the hallway, hormones raging, crying that she couldn’t leave without a name. (and we wanted her to receive a blessing from elders in our church) I remembered a name my husband mentioned when we were first dating and our daughter is Sophronia. She goes by Sophie to just about everyone but at 8 years old she loves her name and it fits her perfect. The only trouble I have ever run into is in Kindergarten the computer login was their name, they used Sophronia instead of Sophie so early on she had to learn to spell the full thing.

    I feel like most of the time siblings names work best when they are the same style, if you give one kid an old fashioned name and the next one a trendy name it doesn’t seem to fit. I’m pregnant with my second daughter now and am trying to find a name that fits with the style of Sophronia. Something old and long with a good nickname. We have an idea but aren’t settled yet.

    1. One of my favorite baby name sites has a feature listing “sibling names” for any name you enter in their search. Here are some of the fun options people have posted for a Sophronia sister:

  50. Our naming choices are definitely dictated by a lot of baggage! We gave our daughter both our last names as her surname, double-barrelled – which I absolutely stand by, it makes me so happy hearing both my name and my husband’s in her full name – but it’s on the lengthy side! And my husband’s name is very Germanic and consonant heavy.

    Then, because his family on one side are Jewish, there’s a family tradition of using the same initials as deceased (and beloved I assume) relatives. It’s really important to my husband, but tbh a bit weird for me because I haven’t met any of these relatives so those initials have no personal significance for me. With our daughter it all worked out ok – husband stated a preference for M or A initials, we both fell hard for Margot and her middle name, Josephine, is for Jo March from Little Women.

    But with a potential second daughter we run into trouble! My husband really, really wants to honour his aunt. I can’t think of a single A name I like enough to use as a first name. And as a middle the A leads to lots of really unfortunate initials.

    Oh and the other side of my husband’s family are Italian, he and our children have Italian citizenship and so the name has to be recognisable in Italian as well as British and American English! It’s all just TOO MUCH. Maybe we’ll have a boy and it’ll all be ok 😂.

    1. What about Arden? My son has a girl in his class named this and a friend just named her daughter the same, but its not common but also lovely.

      1. I’ve actually considered Arden, it’s one of the few names I keep returning to. (The others are Agatha, Anya, Ada and Anouk, all over the shop!)

        I think the only thing that makes me pause is that it feels like a newly invented name to me, and I wonder if it’s weighty enough to pair with Margot? It’s so pretty though.

        1. I think Arden is a lovely, powerful name. Arden was the magical forest in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” which always seemed mysterious and wonderful to me. When I looked up the name, I found this: “Arden’s only appearance on the US Top 1000 list has been the three year period from 1929 to 1931”
          so it is definitely not a ‘new’ name.

    2. My name is Annie (well, Ann, but I’m only known as Annie) and I have always loved my name. It’s common in the sense that everyone knows it, but very rarely do I ever meet another Ann/Anne/Annie under the age of 60. We named our daughter Alice, which is another A name I love that would be cute with Margot. Good luck! :-)

      1. Annie is great, very cute on a kid but a sassy, ageless name for an adult! Alice is such a classic too – but still very, very popular in the UK, where we live. Funnily enough it’s also an anagram of my name, Celia.

    3. I love Arden, and, not for nothing, I love it partly because I like unisex names, and I had a HUGE crush on a boy in my second grade class named Arden.

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