Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A rose by any other name

Names are such an interesting thing.

They define you. You define them.

If you've ever disliked a person intensely, I'm going to bet their name is tainted for good for you. Or if someone has broken your heart, their name might make you flinch. With the converse for positive associations.

I've always wished I had a more interesting one than Lisa. My mom had all these intriguing options picked out, and my dad wanted Lisa, and that's what they went with.

I've considered changing it before, but somehow, it's hard to imagine putting on a whole nother name. A good thing about Lisa, though, is that it's really easy for people to pronounce in a wide variety of languages.

So, whenever someone is pregnant in Nick's office, they immediately start a list of names.

As many of the names aren't necessarily attractive or even remotely normal, I understand that much, if not all of it is for self-amusement. Of which I am of course a huge fan.

But with the random "name him Ryan!" suggestion, I have been thinking about it. And what I'm wondering is this.

Considering what you know about us and our personalities and how all these pieces of us might be blended in a little human...what would you suggest would be a good name for our kid?


  1. Being a teacher, I can tell you names of kids that have been TYPiCALLY bad.........that might offend some people though if they already named their kids those....


    Here are some that have generally been good:
    Owen, Jack, Benjamin, Bradly, Connor, Jacob, Zach, Eric, Stephen, Mitch, Nicholas, James

    I'm sure there are more but those are ones that come to the top of my head right now.

  2. I've been thinking about boy names alot lately-a friend's dad is named Leo and I love that name, or maybe Ethan, Grant or Glen.

    I see something old fashioned but not super popular for your little guy.

  3. I love the name Niko ... and being short for Nicholas (which I'm assuming was Nick's given name) could be cool if you're into juniors...

    We're thinking of names as well and my husband is far more traditional than I am but we both like Lennox Royce for a boy... though I don't think I can wrap my head around a "Lennie" nickname.

  4. Elijah. I'm not sure why, but Elijah.

  5. Xavier? One part whimsical, one part classic and it sounds smart and interesting like Mom and Dad :) From Jules' list I really like Owen - makes me think "open-minded" and you're so wordly.

  6. I am actually a big fan of Xavier and Xander as well.

    Also, Ezra.

  7. While I have no viable boy names to contribute, I have to say that it's great when names are easy to pronounce in other languages. My friends named both their girls that way (Lily and Nina), just in case they were ever to emigrate.

  8. well, of course you SHOULD name him after my *awesome* son, who has the *awesome* name of TREVOR. veddy british. he was always the only one in his class with that name . . . .

    whatever you choose, don't go with a *popular* name, pleeezee!

  9. You could name him your maiden name. It would have a nice ring to it. And maybe you dad's name as a middle name.

  10. Have you not picked out a name? I just assumed you weren't telling.

    I'm partial to biblical names -- Jonah, Micah, Benjamin, Levi. Ezekiel, obvs. But if I were in your shoes, I would probably name him after your dad.

  11. How about Gabriel (gabe for short) or...Benjamin - those are great names. Tyler is pretty good too...

  12. Uff da. That's a big task! Can I suggest NOT naming him Aiden?

    I have always wanted an Alexander. Strong, classic. But my cousin nabbed it five years ago. Rats.

  13. I think what not to name your kid is easier than what to name him. No names that make people wonder if you and Nick know how to spell. And no names that seem made up. :-) I think you have a great list already from previous posters! Unfortunately I don't have a lot of boy names, the one we will use if we ever have a boy is our father's names. But I also really like Cole, Samuel, and Henry.

  14. Choosing a name is so personal, it is almost impossible for anyone else to suggest (although people will certainly try!). I always said that if I ever had a son, I would name him Jack, after my grandfather. It's a good, strong name...and until recently, was not trendy. Oh well. I'll likely never get to use it, anyway.

  15. I like some of these suggestions. Are you thinking of maybe using your dads name as a middle name? You know, no matter what you choose the little dude will not like it until he's 35 years old. Good luck with that. Oh and July 28th. Thats the date I pick if you have a date contest.

  16. This surprised me, but for some reason, I thought Maxmilian - Max for short.

    Or Theo. I like Theo a lot.

  17. oh, names. so fun, so stressful. it's way easier to name someone else's kid! :) I love mrsmac's suggestions. I'm not necessariy into theme names, but I think having some meaning behind it is a good thing - so our friend who's a fabulous, grammy nominated musician(bluegrass) named his kids Hayden, Miles and Ella after great Jazz artists. I love those boy names, but the -ayden names are popular now and i'm with the other commenter on NOT using them.

    we have first names we just love and middle ones with meaning- my grandmother's name for one girl and my best friend's for the other.

    i like traditional names too, but I see you all with something traditional, yet European/ wordly as others have mentioned.

    I do like Charles/ Charlie now and Jack too. It's tough with boys. you want something that he could use if he were a president or a quarterback. or is that just me and my sports and politics oriented self? :)

    How about Andrew which I've always loved and can't use b/c my brother in law is a drew? or Daniel? which is traditional, not popular and translates well in most languages?

    ok, appartenly it isn't any easier to name someone else's kid.... good luck! can't wait to hear what you pick - I'm sure he'll be exactly what he's meant to be whatever you pick!

  18. mysterygirl!6/23/2009 2:15 PM

    Is it wrong that I sort of imagine you having a kid with a wacky but awesome name, like Thor? Maybe. Do you have any Irish anywhere that would justify a Seamus? Why are you friends with someone as weird as I am?

    Max or Leo would be fun.

  19. for some reason the first name that popped into my head was Oliver.

  20. Good question, but hard to answer, as there are endless choices and it is so very personal. I have always wanted a boy, but had an easier time thinking of girl names. I adore the name Ethan, its popular, but not overdone. I also like James and Quinn too.

  21. SWEET! i have to second the name Oliver. that's always been my favorite and it's always been my "if i have a boy i'm going to name him that" standby. it stands the test of time. it's strong, it's classic. it's tough to rhyme with. it's good.
    ... and i can't use it as a family friend just used it and i don't want to be seen as the copyier so i hereby give it to you.

    and on another note i hated being named Jennifer growing up, every single girl in my generation is a Jennifer, i wanted something original. then i found out my parents almost named me Priscilla and i was happy to be a Jennifer. and as i got older i really enjoyed how common it is and it's hardly ever misspelled and never mispronounced. just don't get me started on the whole 2 N Jen thing...

  22. well you know i gravitated toward the more unique names for my kids, AND i enjoy the fact that my own new name/drag name/nom de plume is impossible to pronounce.

    i honestly felt though that i sort of intuited kids names when they were in the womb, like i had a deep connection to who they were and could divine what their names should be.

    but that may have been the hormones talking...

    anyway, here are a few that come to my mind for you:













    Elvis ;)

  23. I can see you naming him Astaire.

    My personal favorites are Isaac and Micah. Unfortunately, I'm having a girl so I am going with Harlow Jade instead of Isaac, which I was so truly in love with.

  24. P.S. I said wordly and meant Worldly :)

  25. OK, the poster above? xuxE? Really needs to be reported to the authorities for child abuse. Oh, and Lennox Royce? Sounds like either a brand of crystal glasses or car model.

    The first rule of boys' names is don't give him one that'll get him his ass kicked on the playground. Second, take the top 20 or so names from the past couple of years and throw every one of them out. Pick something from the 20-60. Third, don't give the child spelling anxiety with strange letter choices.

    That said: Brian, Robert, David, Michael, Patrick, Sean, William or James. If I'm feeling a little groovy: Nathaniel, Alexander, Andrew, Thomas or Timothy.

  26. My husband, a former teacher, would say name him anything but Austin. Every Austin he had (and there were several) was severely autistic.

    I'm a fan of Alexander and calling him Xander. Although I like the suggestion of Xavier, that was my 1st cabbage patch dolls name and it is my cats name, so I couldn't do that. Picking a name is so personal.

  27. Jules - You really do have inside scoop, being a teacher. I like Owen a lot. And of course I love Nicholas, and Benjamin too, but he's Maude's boy.

    Mary - I had a great-uncle Leo. It's a nice name, and one you never hear.

    Tracee - Yah, Nicholas is a good name, but I'm opposed to Jrs. My dad used to call him Nikolai, which I found charming as well. And Lennie would be a hard nickname, I have to agree.

    Anonymous - Elijah. Hmm. There would always be a place set for him at seders, no?

    HKW - Xavier is a name I never think about, although I like Xes, I really do. And I love Owen. And I love both the idea of being thought of as wordly and worldly. :)

    Jenn - You know, I've never, ever encountered an Astaire. I do like Isaac a lot. And Harlow Jade is really pretty.

    Lemmonex - Xander! I knew a Xander when I was a kid, although I think in my mind he was always Zander, which would be misspelling.

    Susan - This is most definitely true. It took me a long time to figure that out as a plus, but it really is. And Lily and Nina are both names I love.

    LJ - Ah, that would make the Brit side happy, wouldn't it? Trevor is definitely very unusual here. As for popular, I can't promise. There are names I love that are really common now.

    Sarah - Yes, absolutely.
    Wendy - The funny thing is, for the longest time I didn't know hwat was biblical, since I'm so biblically ignorant. I do like some of them. And I like names with personal meaning a lot.

    Kate - I like the name Gabriel, but used to know a big jerk named Gabe. I could appreciate him as a person, but he was a jerk. And Benjamin, taken already.

    Katie - You did NOT just say uff da! That makes me want to hug you! I like Aiden, but I think it is very common now. And I love Alexander, which like Lemmonex suggested, can become Xander.

    mrsmac - I LOVE Cole. And no, no wierd spellings or made up ones for us.

    Fearless - I dunno. I suppose it is impossible to suggest, but I love doing it for other people. My dad's brother is named Jack. I love that name, and it really is strong.

  28. Lynn - Hahaha! I am sure you are right - he'll hate it until well into adulthood. And July 28 is yours.

    Dagny - I love Max, although I think I like it more from Maxwell. I used to know a Ted, short for Theodore, but Theo is nicer.

    Carrie - I went on a date with a guy named Hayden years ago, and just loved his name. Alas, he had no idea where Bangladesh was, so we couldn't go out again. I do like names wiht meaning. And you are so right! The name needs to be totally solid - able to be president or a quarterback!

    mystterygirl! - Um, because you're awesome. And I gotta tell you, being mostly Norwegian, Thor is not actually odd. And I do have some Irish, but I'm not so partial to the S names that you pronounce SH. Like, names like Siobhan make me crazy.

    Sgt Social Worker - Oliver I like, but Ollie I do not.

    rel - Yes, I know, very very personal. But fun to ask how others see you and what they see fitting your kid. :) Girl names are so much easier, I think - I had a girl's name nailed down years ago.

    notsjoenny - Yes, true - very hard to rhyme, which I think is probably important. I don't see why you can't use it too, though.
    I am with you - much prefer Jennifer to Priscilla!

    xuxE - Oh, I love you. And in my head I pronounce it shoo-shee. No?
    I'm not an unusual name person, but I do really like Dax, and Harlan as well, although with Nick's last name, that would be a big heavy one. Finn is charming - my friend Jane's nephew is Finn. So cute!

    Jenn - I have never, ever encountered an Astaire. And I like Isaac, but really not Micah. And Harlow Jade is pretty pretty!

    FoggyDew - Nonononono! xuxE is a really good friend of mine! You, my friend, are just a lot more traditional - I can so totally see you and your heritage in your name list. And this is why people tell you not to tell others your name preference(s) - someone is always going to hate your choice!
    I agree that you don't pick a name that will get him beaten up, even if Sue in that Johnny Cash did wind up the tougher for it. I'm sure he was (fictionally) scarred for life.

    Tia - I just feel like Austin is so over-used.
    And yes, very personal. But so fun to solicit thoughts! :)

  29. My favorites in recent years have been Cody, Jesse, Michael and Theo. I'm also very fond of old family names -- I just found out an ancestor of mine was named Rufus. How cool is THAT? ;)

  30. Such a good list! I'm partial to the names Luke and Maxwell (both of my grandfathers), but then I read the other commenters and Luke rhymes with puke so now I'm reconsidering (j/k). I love the name Owen - it sounds like it's high on the contenders list.

  31. I like Eli, Everett, Bjorn, Oscar, Lucas. I agree though...names are very personal, and I also think naming after relatives or people you admire is nice as well.

  32. Like Sarah noted above, I love the idea of your maiden name followed by your father's name. I am also a fan of Othello, Huck, Liam, Oscar, and the previously noted Xavier.

  33. To be honest, Ryan is one of my favourite boys names. Along with Aaron and Steven. (Ironically, I knew a family with boys called all three of these names).

    A name I WOULDN'T advise is Derek. I've went out with two of them and between the pair of them they put me off the name!!!

  34. Lori Bouzane6/23/2009 4:51 PM

    I like Simon...

    I named my children names that are not popular or well known and while I love them...they are always being called the wrong name. And when they are...they are too embarassed to tell people. Sheesh I never thought of that!

    I named my son Kyler because I love the name Kai but wanted a two syllable name.. but he is always called Tyler...oops

    I named my daughter Danya...a name of a girl I sort of knew in High school but always loved her name. Danya is called Dayna, Dana and Tanya. Cripes.

    So...if I had a third I would go with something simple...Simon. (-:

  35. I always imagined you having a kid with a name like "Raphael" (ridiculously common in Brazil, but not common here... And still has a nice ring to it)

  36. Well you know I'm partial to Owen...:) The other name we seriously considered for Parker was Grahm (but 2 year old Owen would just giggle every time we said it and say "cracker!")Whatever you choose, he will become the name and you will wonder how you could have considered anything else!

  37. I just started dating this really sweet guy who has a son called Flynn. I think that is a nice name.
    My nephews are Thomas, Ashley, Brody,Bastion,Luke, Robert, Daniel.
    I liked Oscar when I was preg with Ben.
    Or Ross, its an older name, not so common but easy to pronounce and strong. Whatever you call the boy I am sure it will fit him nicely :)

  38. Promise it's not something he has to constantly correct people on. My name is spelled Caroline, which most people (on the East Coast anyway) pronounce Caro-line, but my parents say Caro-lynn. It's forever a hassle, either spelled wrong or said wrong. Interestingly, in Minnesota, where I go for college, people get it right a lot more... I don't know why, but I love it.

    As for thoughts of your own name, I agree. I never loved my name, but I can't imagine being anything but, not even to change the spelling or the pronunciation. It's mine. Caroline. That's me.

    It amused me a lot the other day that the guy said Ryan, because that's my top boy name choice! Ryan, Josh/ua, Daniel, Nathan.

  39. Like Go-Betty, I have to agree with Bastien (Neverending Story!) and Ross (which is my brother's name). Personally, I have never met a Sam that I didn't like and every man I've met with that name has been particularly open and warm-hearted. Casablanca doesn't hurt as an association either.

  40. Jack popped into my mind. So strong. He could be one of those "John nicknamed Jack" people.

    Why is it that Jack is a nickname for John?

    I'm Sally and people always say "oh you're a Sara! Sally is such a cute nickname!" Um, what? Why? No. I'm Sally. Also, one of my sisters is named Sara. Very confusing.

    ...So on second thought, if you do go with Jack, just name him "Jack nicknamed Jack."

  41. That's easy. A child needs a strong name. Therefore, if it's a boy: Conan! If it's a girl, Conanette!

  42. oh - xuxE is pronounced "zuh-ZAH" like "ta-da!" because i'm just difficult like that. :)

    but honestly, you can't predict which schoolyard antics will ensue - kids can be evil geniuses at finding ways to be cruel. it's really the kid's personality that determines where they fall in the elementary school "Lord of the Flies" Darwinian cesspool, not their name.

    and even then, school popularity is certainly not the be-all end-all anyway. tons of kids have trouble fitting in when they are young and blossom as individuals later on. there's nothing wrong with a kid not fitting in as long as deep down they love themselves and have support at home.

    so i say don't dream about your baby boy's future locker room trials and tribulations when you decide on the name...dream big! bigger than that stuff!

    maybe he'll be an entrepreneur/head of a cool company; rock star; world explorer, amazing artist; brilliant scientist; president of the united states - who knows! just pick the name that's right in your heart.

  43. i'm so happy that you posted this question because i think it's so interesting to read how surprisingly passionate your readers are on this topic! anyway, it's a tradition in my family (and seems to be in a lot of families) to make the middle name a family name, either your maiden name or your father's name, so i'd definitely recommend that. as far as first name, i think it's really important to have a flexible name, one that has the possibility for nicknames that can be given as you get to know the little guy's personality. cuz you know, there's a big difference between a max and a maxwell, or a dan, danny and daniel, etc. that being said, my suggestion is wesley, with wes as a nickname. that has been my favorite for a long time.

  44. Alex. It just fits for me. I can't begin to explain why..

  45. Cyrus? From what I know of you from the blog I'd want something a little exotic sounding, but not too crazy.

  46. I'm a big fan of Milo, Miles, Jude, and Sam.
    When I was a kid, I was the only Hillary I knew. I HATED it. I wanted to be one of the 5 Jennifers or 6 Jessicas in my class. Now I love my name. I can't imagine being called anything else. Plus, my last name is pretty uncommon which means that whenever I want something with my first + last name (email addresses, profile names, etc) my full name is almost always available for me to take.

  47. Sebastian, Xavier or Mikhail. I have no reasoning behind these suggestions, it's just what came to mind when reading your post.

  48. Joseph. I don't know why, but Joseph.

    I think growing up with a unique, or "boys'" name, gave me character. I was made fun of terribly in elementary school, but now men claim to find my ambiguous name attractive. I don't mind getting mail for "Mr. Brett [last name]," but I do hate it when people I've met- ie clients- spell it "Bret."

  49. Henry and Hank for short.

    That was the first thing I thought of.

  50. My mother named one of my brothers Adam. It's a good strong, classic name that won't be pronounced or spelled wrong, it's not too popular or long and it goes with pretty much any name you have for a middle or last. My brother is Adam Charles, his twin is Edward Seth and my other brother is Jordan David.
    As for associating names with people you don't like, our neighbor had a dog named Oliver-we didn't like him or them.
    Also, if you go with Adam you will have all 3 of you with 4 letter names, symetry is nice.

  51. Just don't name him Fucking Timmy, okay?

    Friends who have recently had babies named theirs Quinn and Grant. I like Graham, Noah, and Sam.

  52. take your top three picks, stand outside on your porch and yell the name out loud at least 20 times. if you still like it, keep it. if i were yelling, "(insert odd name here) - come hoooooommmeee" it would just feel weird.

    and i'm a "lisa" too. i've liked it because it's not odd but it's not overused.

  53. I would say to also make sure the abbreviation of his name doesn't spell out something embarrassing.

  54. hahaha marie very good point! you don't want a monogramming disaster on your hands!

    i would just say whatever you name him, have some type of significance/story behind it - it's always fun to hear the stories of "why" people are named what they're named. (and hey, the postal worker thing totally counts as a great story!)

  55. My dad's name was Rufus. I don't know how it was for him...he went by Doc, but it sucked for me in school. I never told anyone his real name: ) That said...now I kind of like it.


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