Thursday, May 9, 2013

Names #2

from here

As much as I love names, I’m not enjoying having to choose one for this baby. I could easily name a boy right now, but none – NONE! – of the names I’ve collected for girls excite me anymore, not even the one I was super attached to at the beginning of the pregnancy. I’m not worried about having an unnamed child for a little while, despite the fact that we’re related to people who feel very strongly that this is unacceptable, although I do worry that if we haven’t picked a name a week after this little bub arrives it’s because I haven’t felt like any are right, and that we’ll choose one just to have her named and then I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering if we should have gone with another option. I’m also aware that this is possibly the last big thing I’ll ever name, as the current plan is that any future children will be fostered (and therefore already named), and I’m not a huge fan of pets. SO MUCH PRESSURE.

My parents-in-law come for dinner each Monday, and the last few meals together have included baby name time (initiated by them), in which they offer name suggestions and I reply with reasons why each wouldn’t work (“Too popular,” “Reminds me of one of my stepdad’s puppets,” “Too popular,” “That was our dog’s name,” Waaaay too popular,” etc.). One benefit of these sessions, besides confirming early on that my in-laws will probably not like the name we choose, is that I’ve acknowledged the underlying rules governing whether or not a name is worthy of consideration. I’ve finally put these in writing, and figured I’d post them here in case they inspire any readers to name our kid.

The rules:

I like names that are gentle but strong. Not too flimsy (Kitty, Bunny, Milly, Lacey*) or harsh (Ingrid, Gretchen, Morag, Imogen**), but a perfect combination of gentleness and strength. Like ‘Moses’, but for a girl. And not biblical. And the name can’t have the stress on the same ‘o’ sound as Moses (‘Ramona’ is therefore out), nor can it have a nickname that rhymes with Mo’s – I don’t want no ‘Mo and Jo’, for example. And it can’t be the same as any of our friends’ or families’ names, or the names of their children or their pets. Nor can it be too similar.

I don’t really want the name to start with the ‘a’ sound in ‘cat’ (Alan and I have this one covered), and I don’t really want it to start with the letter ‘M’ (it would seem too much like an intentional thing then, and I immediately judge as idiots families who give all of their kids names that start with the same letter, especially when that letter is also the start of their surname [Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, for example]).

It can’t appear in the Australian top 100 baby names lists from 2012 (such as this one [for New South Wales only], or this one [nationwide]), nor can it be too similar to any of these names. I thought I’d found the ultimate helper in, but I really need a search that takes all of the above into consideration before offering suggestions; unfortunately I’ve come across none that have a ‘gentle but strong vibe’ box to tick. When I’m feeling particularly large and uncomfortable, realising there are still twelve-or-so weeks until the baby arrives makes me want to cry. When I’m thinking about the fact that this little girl will eventually need a name, the end of July starts to feel alarmingly close and I’m thankful for all of the time we have left. 

There are quite a few Monday night dinners scheduled between now and then, so Im not giving up hope just yet.


* I’m seeing a pattern here – I do tend to shy away from two-syllable names that end in ‘y’ or ‘ie’ for little girls for fear that they close the door on the potential for rock-stardom in adulthood. Also, apologies if one of these is your name. Please tell me you‘re a rock star.

** I have a friend whose father is Danish, and one of his middle names was Krogstrup, which looks awful but sounds much softer and nicer when he pronounces it. Does Morag work the same way? I can’t imagine how anyone could call a teeny baby Morag.*** 

*** A Morag will read this and wonder how anyone could call a teeny baby Moses. Touché.


  1. I'm name-obsessed without having anything to name. We loved a name a few years ago, only to see it become super-popular. But I read some advice that said that even if the name you choose isn't popular now, it might become so after you choose it, so best to go with something that you like on its own merits.

    I'm curious... why nothing biblical?

    1. I don’t mind if the names we choose become super-popular a few years after we choose them. I don’t necessarily want a name that will never be too common, I just don’t want my child to be one of seven in her year at school with the same name. Or even one of three. I liked being the only Annelise I knew of (ironically I ended up with a stepsister with the same name, but that’s a different story). I'm unable to consider a name without thinking about where it sits on the popularity charts - knowing it's on the list taints it for me. And I don't even study the list! I just listen out for names, and if I hear the same ones too often, I know they're lurking there somewhere.

      There are two reasons we have to avoid a biblical name. The first is for the same reason I don’t want another ‘M’ name: it’s theme-y, and I don’t like name themes in families, I just think it’s a little tacky. Secondly, we’ve used up our quota. If biblical names are rated low, medium, high or very high (and in my head, they are) Moses is in the very high category. You can have a few biblical names per family if they’re low ones, like Elizabeth or David, and a couple if they’re higher (Noah, for example, is currently high but will become lower the longer it spends in the top 10; you could have a Noah and a Hannah), but each family is only allowed to have one biblical name if it’s a very high one, and we used ours up. This is why I don’t think there should be families with both an Isaiah and an Ezekiel, though I know it happens; they’re flouting my one-very-high-name-per-family rule.

    2. Grand Daddy suggests for his Great Grand child TAHLIA
      or just to be different SHE - AESHA

    3. I'm not sure if these are serious suggestions or not, but I'm going to go with the advice from your email ("Please do not choose a name that is outrageous to pronounce") and rule out at least the last one...

  2. Replies
    1. I considered using SAMPA, but decided against it. :D

  3. I can suggest 'Louise' - classical (as in most people can spell it) but not currently super-popular (I think there were only two Louises in my school when I went through, though a lot of people seem to like it as a middle name), and although I'm obviously biased I think it fulfills the 'gentle but strong' criteria. It's served me well for nearly 3 decades...the only downside is the predictable toilet jokes in primary school :P

    1. I used to really love the name Louise, but unfortunately the reference to my stepdad's puppets isn't a joke - he had a dark-haired puppet named Louise, and I still link the name to him speaking in falsetto. (I also met a Louise a few years ago who looked very much like the puppet, and that was how I remembered her name each time I saw her.) The Lou nickname does get around it, which is why I've never linked you with the puppet. Until now... ;)

  4. Never commented before but I agree with lots of your 'rules'. I I have 2 biblical boys. Unusual biblical but still biblical. And one girl - Zoe. She is in the popular list is Aus, her passport country, but unusual where we have lived. I love the name Xanthe. She would be my next non existent daughter.

    1. Hey Bec, nice to meet you! It seems we have similar taste in names - I really like Zoe (although, as you say, it's getting more and more popular here in Australia, and I don't think "Moses and Zoe" flows well) and I LOVE Xanthe! It's on my short short list, but my husband thinks names that start with 'x' are pretentious - he rejected Xavier for a boy for the same reason. :(

  5. Such a belated could always try Zanthe ;) I think Moses and Zoe sound fine. Our Zoe is the only one in the family without a biblical name, though our friends in Greece remind her that the word zoe is in the NT often. Hope your list is being narrowed.

  6. I disagree!!! you have to keep the biblical names all together!!!!