Baby Naming FAQ

The name recos! I am drowning in them. Drowning in the kindness and creativity and…okay, a few kind of weird ones.

I can’t believe the degree to which people–lurkers even–have opened their hearts, minds, and baby naming books to help out a poor, disfunctional infant-namer and her contrarian partner.

I wish I could respond to each of you individually. But then I’d just feel guilty, like I could have spent that time coming up with more names.

So allow me to provide a baby naming FAQ to address some of the general issues:

1) Do you want to honor a relative?

I will tell you my options are limited, me being a Jew and all. While gentiles are blessed with proud, strong family names that pass muster in today’s society, my people are sort of stuck with Irvings and Hetties and Hortenses. Still, we may have an idea or two.

2) Okay so give us the name – or at least the initial.
[edited to add: This refers to the name of deceased family member to honor – NOT the name of the child which we do not have]

Can’t. Family reading. Warring factions. Montague/Capulet level stuff.

3) What about Kayleigh?

I regret that I cannot accept alternaspellings of names. It’s not personal, it’s just that they will revoke my New York City residence status according to city bylaw 188734.16.

4) I always liked names with lots of Ys where vowels should be.

I’m so happy for you!

5) Can’t you just pick a name and tell Nate…tough? Hahaha

Um, no. It doesn’t work that way around here.

6) But you’re the one giving birth!

Stop making a good case.

7) That doesn’t seem fair.

Welcome to my world

8) Do you have any favorite names from when you were a kid?

Debbi. Which is one more outstanding reason why 15 year-olds should not be having children.

9) Hey, I gave you like 7 great names. What about those?

I have 7 great friends who have all used those 7 great names.

10) Hey, I gave you a great name too!

Yeah, that was the name of the woman Nate slept with before me, also referred to as “the herpes scare girl”

11) Nate doesn’t really want to name her Clinton Portis does he? He’s being funny? It’s a joke?

Yes he’s being funny and no, it’s not a joke.

12) I like the idea of a theme – Thalia and Clio is so cute.

Indeed. But unfortunately, an advertising creative naming her kid Clio is like an actor naming her kid Oscar. Only far more gross.

13) What does Thalia have to say?

She’s sticking with Apple. She’s been very consistent on this.

14) Hey, where’d my suggestion go? I know I posted one.

Take it as a compliment that I liked it. I just can’t have any evidence of it anywhere, or Nate will kill the name – far be it from him to ever say his daughter’s name was a suggestion from some blog geek.


68 thoughts on “Baby Naming FAQ”

  1. So, it sounds like you’ve picked it??? Looking forward to hearing what it is – only a few short weeks!!!You could always go with “we’ll wait until we meet her and see what name fits her.” Tee hee!!!

  2. If not an initial, how about a <>theme<>? Are floral names just an example…or is that a desirable category for you?Is your Jewish family Azkhenazim? That’s a whole ‘nother can o’ worms. I had to deal with the not naming after living relatives.<>Natasha?<> Too close to Grandpa Nathan. <>Sophia?<> That’s your Granny’s name. <>Granny’s name is Sandra…<> Ah, but her <>Hebrew<> name is Sophia.When mom started to remove entire letters from consideration, I told her it was enough.I’m insane. I actually forced Super Dad to rank the names and then I combined his ranking with my ranking and created a database cross-referencing the rankings with name meanings…and well, yeah. There is more…but if I revealed it the men in white coats would definitely be on their way.I am assuming you know about the Baby Name Wizard? her blog?

  3. We didn’t name my daughter until she was born, we had names that we thought would work until we met her, then they didn’t work as well. So…we ended up using Nina. We are jews as well and my great grandmother’s name was Lena but some of her grandchildren called her Nina, so it worked out well.We would have named her Eloise but my sister had a dog at the time with the same name. It has a ring…Thalia and Eloise.

  4. For my Ashkenazi kids, we picked just the letter of the family member we wanted to honor, and then did as we damn pleased for the name itself (and didn’t divulge it until the child was born and well and truly named – no possibility for argument!). Oh, and in our case it had to work in both Hebrew and English, so nothing like Moran, Ran, Idit, Shai, Or, etc. Could you imagine an English speaking child with the name Or?Daria might go well with Thalia. Similar but not too close, and you could call her Dari. Other popular girls’ names here are Lia (that’s the real name, not a cutesy spelling, and probably isn’t too trendy in the US), Noa (without an H), Leigh, Yael… And my daughter’s name is Maya, which comes complete with two great theme songs – one in each language. The English one is by Tommy Sands and is about his own particularly feisty then two year old Maya – I didn’t know the song when she was born, but it was worth choosing the name for that alone ;-).

  5. No clio? What about D&AD or Cannes or One Show or or or. I worked with an ad guy who named his son after the president of our agency. Gross.

  6. No more names from me. I gave you my best. I gave you THE best. 😉I feel quite certain that this FAQ could only have been written by a 30-something-week pregnant woman, and that’s not because it’s about baby names. It’s the attention to detail, it’s the nesting instinct as applied to blogging.You make me laugh.

  7. Yes, it sounds like you guys may have narrowed in on a name. Now, how are we doing on a stroller, a baby room and all the actual birth details? It’s hard to believe that you will soon be the mother of two!

  8. I feel your pain. Even now I’m reluctant to divulge our name rejects because it was such a harrowing process. And, while I love my daughter’s name, I still cringe a little when I hear some other mother calling her daughter the same thing.Naming boys is just easier.(Oh, and if all your friends and family haven’t stolen your favorites, a pharmaceutical company will. Thank you, Allegra…!)

  9. It sounds like you have a name. Congrats! I’m with you on not revealing it. Someone in your family will always dislike your choice and people are much less likely to bitch *after* the birth certificate has already been issued!

  10. Apparently I need to start a blog since I am due in 16 days with boy number two and we are incapable of coming up with a name either. We have lots of rules as well and it is just not working for us. So, if your kind readers would like to weight in…

  11. Nope – no names yet. Lack of clarity in writing often comes when you post at midnight. Heather – I know, how awesome are my readers? Feel free to take any of their suggestions. Some are boys names. I wish you a speedy 16 days.

  12. Since Clinton Portis isn’t going over so well, I took the liberty of researching some alternative names which, at least thematically, may appeal to Nate. Please feel free to consider any of these in your upcoming draft:Samari RolleAshton YoubotyTakeo SpikesElvis DumervilJamaal FudgeStockar McDougleTebucky JonesD’Brickashaw FergusonChukky ObobiIgor OlshanskyNa’il DiggsFlozell AdamsKabeer Gbaja-BiamilaAtari BigbyGibril WilsonPlaxico BurressArnaz BattleShelton QuarlesRichie IncognitoAnd if it must be a Redskin you can also pick from:Rock CartrightAde JimohPierson PrioleauJames ThrashAntwaan Randle-ElSurely there must be something in there. That’s how Chiki Okeafor’s mom came up with hers…

  13. P.S. When I was fifteen, I wrote the world’s most boring short story. Nothing happened in it whatsoever, because the whole point of the story was simply to write about a girl named Kayleigh. I really liked that name then.

  14. We just looked through a naming book after making certain rules:1. it had to go with the last name. Ours being Italian, mediterranean was best. But when spoken, it couldn’t sound like a cartoon character.2. Nothing made-up and trendy. Starlita, etc sound like strippers. Just pick something old that’s not used much.3. Nothing that’s been used more than once in recent family history. Our family reunions already resemble a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Meet Nicky, Athena, Athena, Nicky, Nicky..).4. Before you can veto it, you have to have a good reason. “I just don’t like it” isn’t one. You need to back it up with why (it sounds like a toothless hillbilly, etc.)We liked Gracia for a girl…it’s an old, old family name.

  15. PS. Kayleigh—shouldn’t that be spelt Ceilidh or something like that? It’s gaelic I beleive and their correct spellings are always a bit odd.

  16. I work with someone whose middle name is Linnian, which I think is pretty in the mouth but not on paper; I was going to name one of my girls “Linnea” (Lin-AY-uh), but then some bastard friend of ours named their kid that first.And THEN, I was set on “Madeleine,” and another friend of mine was a little more pregnant than me, heard my name, and STOLE it! The outrage! The tears! Now, of course, I have two girls with names that are just right for them. The older one, in fact, has a name that used to be a boy’s name, but has made the transition within the last 20 or so years.It’ll work out.

  17. my oldest son was named by my sisters drunk b/f, middle is a III, and youngest was named after both of our closet grandfathers. If I had ever had a girl, she would probably still be nameless. Once I had a kitten and we named her cat, because we couldn’t think of a name. Girl? or the ever trendy Gyrl..don’t sweat it, maybe when she arrives, she will look just like a —–. To be honest though, and I’m sure it’s been suggested, I have always like Hope.

  18. He called us blog GEEKS?Sheesh.That almost is as bad as when my best friend inquired if I have ever met any of the “intelects” (and please note HIS spelling) that comment on my blog.There must be a reason why we keep them around. (Well, obviously you are legally obligated to keep Nate around…but me, no such tethers to my asshat.)Good luck to ya.Although, Clinton Portis is kinda growing on me.

  19. I missed the last post but I am going to delurk now to throw my name out there-HopeI know there are some Hope’s in the world but I have yet to meet one in person.Good luck!

  20. well.Look like “me” got there with Hope 1 minute before I did. But since that is really my name, I’m putting it out there 🙂

  21. As Azkhenazim you don’t have to tell your family the name until after the baby naming. Which can be in the first month of the baby’s life. So you have PLENTY of time, really! I used Kolatch’s Hebrew Name Dictionary, available in all the better Judaica shops, to choose my kid’s names. They have really beautiful names, and some really harsh horrible ones. But they also have the origin of the name, and the derivatives, as well as the definition, which I found comforting.I like Eliana and Eliora, which both go nicely with Thalia. Just be thankful that you didn’t have to use the initials I did. H and G. Oh my lord, the choices were so limited.

  22. At least you can honestly say you don’t have a name. I’ve been lying for months because I know that the name we picked will get ridiculed unless I reveal after the baby is born and THAT’S HIS NAME SO BACK OFF. He’ll be here in less than two weeks. I’m huge, and miserable. Bleah. You?

  23. Husband and I learned our lesson back when we thought our soon-to-be son would be a daughter: NEVER tell the family your ideas, unless you wish to suffer, suffer, suffer. None of them liked any of the names that husband and I agreed on, and our favorite (Hildegarde–very nice with our Germanic last name) arroused levels of rudeness and derision I wouldn’t have thought possible from my loving relatives. Baby-naming brings out the worst in folks!We’ve chosen our son’s name, but we’ve also told our family that they won’t learn it till the little boy arrives. Their present whining is much more tolerable than their previous exclamations of disgust or promises (seriously!) to mock our child if we “name the kid THAT, eeeeewww!!!”Best of luck to you!

  24. I want to know who the cool blog geek was that gave you a great suggestions! I might need his/her services in the future!

  25. I don’t think I’ve seen this one in the list, although I may have missed it… but my name is Lavinia. Kinda goes with Thalia in the whole “-ia” thing. I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t run into many others. Different but not SO bizarre that people point and stare. And since I’m done with the baby thing (got a boy) and my brother didn’t see fit to name his only daughter after his sister (*gasp*), I think maybe it stops with me, so I’d be happy for you to have it. 🙂

  26. Oh, because a suggestion from a blog geek is SO much worse than a suggestion from an improv geek 😛 All right, Clintonia Portia: We’ve all had great fun with this little guessing game, but, I think now would be a good time to tell your Mama what your real name is, already, before you wind up getting named Lexus or something. (Make sure you shout loud enough so your Daddy can hear too, okay?)

  27. Hey, if Apple is good enough for Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s good enough for your kid. :?)You’ll find the right one, I promise. Maybe you should follow my standard dating/shopping philosophy/advice…it’s when you not looking that you find the perfect thing.

  28. I have a lovely friend called Lida (pr. Leeda). It’s Eastern European i think. If she weren’t lovely I mightn’t like the name though. I dunno. Can’t tell any more. It’s funny how that works. I don’t think I could truly ever like a Marina, although I suppose Marina’s all right as names go.

  29. Food names rule. I still think one of the best names ever is Sushi, but definitely not the alternaspelling Sue-She.

  30. I had to laugh at “Debbi”! During my pre-teen angst, I hated my name, Kate. So I began to research how I could change my name. Thank goodness I was terrible at research…

  31. As long as you don’t give the poor girl a stripper name, she will do just fine.Glad you’ve got one!! 🙂 Hoping all is well.Carrie

  32. All righty, so I know that Ketchup just isn’t sticking. And so I’m guessing that that means that Mustard and Mustyrd and Relish and Relysh are out. And Chutney, too, I suppose.And, too, the fruits, all vetoed. I get it.Time to consider the meats, then. Bologna? Prosciutto – Prosci, for short?

  33. Ok, so I am a lurker, but might come out of hiding soon when I get my new blog going, because I am trying to be cool like you. Anyhoo, we aren’t due for another 5 mo. or so and we found out it is a boy. So the fun begins, as do the hubby beatings until the agreement is on my side 😉 Good luck!Luanne

  34. Not wanting to throw fuel on the fire of your lack-of-name-fustrations (but I’m going to anyway), I thought I’d mention the option of naming the kiddo some unpronunceable symbol, kinda like the artist formerly known as Prince. That way you could call it (insert unpronuncable symbol here), and give yourselves ,say, 6 more months to come up with a suitable alternative. Like John. Or Jennifer.

  35. Speaking as someone with a ‘weird’ name, don’t choose a name that’s *too* unusual. Growing up, I SO wanted to be named Laura (as in Ingalls Wilder). It was only in high school that I came to appreciate the unique aspect of my name, instead of the strangeness. Even today, people ask how my parents came up with it. For the record, they were both in the Army at the time, but deep down, I think they were really hippie-wannabes.The exotic names didn’t carry on to our boys – son #1 was named after his grandfather and great-grandfather, and #2 has hubby’s and my middle names. Exciting bunch, aren’t we? Suggested girl names: Kylie, Carly, Ellise, and Madison. Good luck naming her!

  36. Ooh ooh, Margalit just reminded me of something! If you are sticking with semi-traditional Ashkenazi naming, you can use the HEBREW first initial – gives loads more possibilities, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a vowel. Our son Itai (an Israeli name which sadly became way too trendy after he was born) was named after my grandfather Arthur. Aleph (Hebrew “a”) can be just about any vowel name. Or you can name after “insert dead relative”‘s MIDDLE initial – that’s what we did with our daughter. Still got a name we liked, but we weren’t so limited in our options. In fact, my parents named me Robin just because they liked it, and gave me a middle name after a relative.Worst comes to worst, you can always call her “hey whatsyourname” until she gets old enough to decide for herself that her name is going to be Hildebrant Yellowfeather or something equally ridiculous.

  37. I laughed when I read the “irving and hettie” comment. My grandfather died when I was pregnant with Max. His name was Irving. (Actually, his name was Isadore, but he hated that and always went by Irving.) Max’s middle name is Isaac, after him. The funny thing, though, is that my dad heard some thing on NPR about all these kids in NY being named Isaac and Irving and Sylvia, etc. because the Jewish great grandparents were dying off. I guess there is a run on “I” names now, and MAN is that ever a tough letter. My grandma is still mad that Isaac is just Max’s middle name, and not his first.

  38. We named our daughter Isabella Marina, she mostly goes by Frizzy Izzy or just plain Izzy. Sometimes her siblings call her Bella-Marie.. she smiles big when she’s called that. I truely think she likes her name, even if she is only two years old. My name is not common but I love it, hello I’m Claudia.

  39. I cannot stop.Emanuelle (Emmanuelle)EvangelinaAdeliaSharonMimosaCameliaHibiscusSome comics:LucilleGildaRitaMaybe too Italian?PricillaFrancescaCarlottaCharlotteCarmelia

  40. Hibiscus????Do kind of like Gilda, have to say. How about shirking the whole “has to be unique” thing and go with Debbi after all. Or “Becky.” Or “Krystal”? Alexis?Fallon?Sammy Jo?Claudia?Blake?Prince Michael of Moldavia?

  41. you might try revisiting names that you used to like then decided they were too popular or too trendy or simply too TO. Levi got him name after we booted it off the list long ago.. then we said “F-that, it’s back on the list” then we saw him and damn if he wasnt a Levi Dean. My favorite girl name? Safiya (saa fee yah) it means pure serene best friend. What more could you hope for your second child to be? best wishes deciding. I’ll bet when you see it, you’ll just KNOW.

  42. Joy’s comment cracked me up! And so did the suggestion of “Chutney”, which was the name of the character that Linda Cardellini played in “Legally Blonde”-the girl who shot her father and had the bad perm!Hey, maybe you could name ideas from your Word Verification! What do you think of Tpymic?

  43. You are giving me a complex. I am a Jennifer. I moved to Italy where I am the only Jennifer and for the first in my life I call a friend and say, “This is Jennifer.”Please, for the love of your unborn child, do not name her Madeleine or Ava or Emma or any of those. They are lovely names. So is Jennifer. But it sucks to share with half the country.You got some great suggestions. I wish I had more, but alas. If my son had been a girl, I would have named him Juniper. (That was before Sweet Juniper! Now the name is taken, at least in my book.) Someone suggested Iris, Georgia and Gemma. All names I like very much.Good luck. I’m sure you’ll find the right name for her.

  44. You just crack me up. Oh congrats on your Top Mom blog award. very cool. So happy for you.

  45. See that line? Go WAY over it. (And this is good), just name her Blogger. Think of the confusion. “I was out with Blogger today…”“Your blog?”“No. Blogger.”“The site?”“My kid.”“Who is your kid?”“Blogger!”“You are making no sense.”Classic material for a blogger. Or a Blogger.Hey, gimmie a break. I AM a JENNIFER.

  46. Just be careful of “The Katies.” I was just talking to a woman who has a daughter named (pretty normal, old-fashioned) Katie. She is on a soccer team with EIGHT other Katies or derivitives thereof: Katelynn, Caitlynn, Katrin, Kayleigh, Cally, Calista, Kaylynn, etc. All the kids have nicknames or they don’t know who is being called on during the game. Holy friggin’ moses.

  47. When I was 15 my name of choice was Tamela. Seriously. Or if they were boy/girl twins, Britt and Brett.That was before my drug years, so I don’t even have a good excuse.

  48. Hey Crouton Boy is not a blog geek… He and Sarah helped us come up with < HREF="" REL="nofollow">this<>

  49. I thought of another one. I am only sharing this with you because I like you. I love this name for a girl but I could never use it because my husband would never be able to pronounce it correctly. Still, I don’t ever share it with anyone. This is the first time. Tate.

  50. Liz, you’re totally cracking me up. I admit I just learned about the honoring a relative by using an initial thing (there aren’t a lot of Jewish people in small-town Iowa where I grew up, so I’m totally handicapped here), but that does add a level of skill to babynaming that I didn’t have to think about. You came up with Thalia, which rocks, so I’m sure you secretly already have this totally killer name and are now just torturing us by giving us something to do other than work. Think about what to name your kid! ha! I love it.

  51. You do realize that after all of this discussion, there’s going to be even MORE discussion after you have the baby and give her a name – whatever name that turns out to be…

  52. When we tell people that my son’s middle name is Walter, they always ask who we named him after. Naming the second was definetly harder, we had already used up our favorite name so coming up with another was not fun.I really like Naia, which is my neice’s name. I like to call her Naia Papaya.

  53. I don’t have any baby name revelations, but leave it to you to teach me a new word.“Recos.”I love it. Is that what all the young kids are saying these days? Damn, I feel so out of it.

  54. Ok– I’m quite pathetic. I’m lurking through your comments section for baby boy names. Sad, sad, sad. (I realized that I don’t know if Thalia goes by your or Nate’s last name?!) I liked Finn until put with our last name (stop laughing). And liked Penn. Yes, my son, the artic bird. Frig. That’s almost as bad as Richard Johnson (I worked with him; we referred to him as Dick Squared).

  55. Audrey, Elise, Carys, Caroline, Cecilia, Violet, Acima, Alessandra, Keely, Sabine, Owen, Riel, Emily,Lorelai, Siri

  56. I have a (Dutch) friend Thalia, whose sisters are called Rosa and Carmen. Such pretty names!I also like Davina or Davita (did you ever read Chaim Potok’s Davita’s Harp? sigh…), Vivianne, Celeste, Germaine, Naomi, Leah, Daphne, Matthea, Salomé, Damaris, Elisa, Rivka, Nora, Thirza, Yara… And I absolutely love Noa (not Noah). It’s a very popular (Hebrew > name for Dutch girls (top 20), but I don’t think it’s in the American top 1000.They’re all classics, but not overused like the Sophie’s, Emma’s, Emily’s, Hannah’s and Olivia’s of this world.

  57. Someone’s probably always said these and/or you’ve thought of them and/or you rejected them but I just thought of (flower-name wise, which is probably just an example, not really something you want):HyacinthAzaleaDahlia (this was one of my faves, but Super Dad ended up vetoing it at the end)That was more disclaimer than comment, but there ya go.

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