Penelope or Ava?!?!?!?

Hi All!

My husband and I both love the name Ava Louise (Ava-Lou as a nickname) for our girl due in January. However, i have really been feeling drawn to the name Penelope the past few months (middle name would be Mae). 

My husband does not like Penelope enough to name our daughter this and I continue to try to convince him. I like that it's less common than Ava and is longer which I think pairs nicer with our 5 letter/1 syllable last name.  

i DO love the timless, classiness that Ava offers but I think Penelope excited me a bit more and everytime I hear of a little Penelope I like it even better!

What are your thoughts on both names? Should I keep trying to convince my husband?? 

Thanks for the help :)



By mk
November 14, 2015 11:19 PM

No, I would not try to convince him. He doesn't like the name. If you prefer a long name, perhaps there are others you both like? Or perhaps Penelope as the middle name: Ava Penelope.

November 14, 2015 11:22 PM

That's a nice thought but I am set on Louise for middle name if we use Ava so we can call her "Ava Lou".  It's also my grandmas name. And I would  try "saving" Penelope for the 2nd girl if the opportunity presents itself. 


November 14, 2015 11:32 PM

I am most interested in which name you all like better, why and if I shod overlook popularity and the fact that Ava is so short.....


November 15, 2015 12:19 AM

I love Ava Louise. If you both really do love it, I think you should go for it. Calling her Ava Lou also lengthens it and differentiates her from other Avas she may encounter.

November 15, 2015 2:55 AM

You love the name Ava. Your husband loves the name Ava. I think your baby's name should probably be Ava. It seems like an unnecessary use of emotional energy to try to change your husband's mind about Penelope when you have a great name you agree on.

If you want a longer name for your daughter, have you thought about longer variations of Ava? Avabelle, Avalon, Avonlea, Avaliese, etc. have the length you like, but your husband you stick to calling her Ava if he likes.

November 15, 2015 3:13 AM

You asked that we not say which we like best, so I'll just focus on two things. One, if your husband doesn't like Penelope I wouldn't try to get him to like it. As for Ava, there are a lot of three-letter names and it doesn't seem short.  I wouldn't worry about the popularity; popularity today isn't the same as it was 30 years ago because people use a larger variety of names. Jennifer was #1 in 1974 there were 63,000 girls born with that name when in 2014 the top name had 20,000. I agree with you that Ava is a classic, timeless name.

November 15, 2015 4:18 AM

I really like Ava and adore Ava Lou.

i would say the you are unlikely to change your husband's mind before January. If you chip away at him, he may be ready by baby #2. Although I wouldn't hold my breath; Penelope has a very different style from Ava (or Lydia, which I think you were also considering). To me it sounds much more formal, almost patrician, and I imagine it on someone upper class, although the nickname Penny does reduce that a little.

November 15, 2015 10:44 AM

Good advice..thank you!I have heard the stats on popularity now-a-days not being what it used to be and that does make me feel better :)  I think there is a good chance we will choose Ava, however I feel myself almost liking Penelope even more than Ava lately.  We only plan to have 2 kids so this may be the last time we can use Penelope. I do like the proper feel of it. Husband says it sounds like a cartoon characters name and doesn't think she could be taken seriously with the name Penelope.   Its so frustrating bc soo many people I've talked to love it! Do you feel Penelope is too "out there"??? On the subject of lengthening Ava- what other suggestions of longer versions or names similar to Ava do you have....? (I'm not a fan if Avalon). 

November 15, 2015 11:06 AM

I agree with previous comments that you shouldn't try to pressure your husband into liking Penelope.  He doesn't like and is able to articulate reasons why he doesn't like.  He also does have names he likes, so at this point, Penelope should be off the table.  However, this does not mean you have to go with Ava.  

Since you plan on calling her Ava Lou anyway, have you cosidered doing a double barrel first name, with Penelope as the middle?  Ava Louise Penelope is nice.  

As for ways to get a longer version of Ava, I really can't think of many.  Perhaps Avis?  More of a stretch, but there is also Maeve.  If you are interested in Eva instead you could do Evangeline or Genevieve.

November 15, 2015 12:01 PM

Is it possible that this is a case of wanting what you can't have? I know siblings that had babies a few weeks apart. They hadn't discussed names prior to announcing and the name chosen by the first parents was one of five names (but not even the top two) on the other parents' short list. Suddenly the second parents felt very upset and started to like that name the most, but ultimately realized they were wanting what they couldn't have and were able to fall in love with one of their other choices all over again. I think many people encounter this in many areas of life and names is definitely one of them. Just something to consider -- do you REALLY love Penelope more, or is it possible that part of that love is because you feel like you can't have it?

I tend to prefer shorter names, so I think Ava Louise is just perfect. I don't dislike Penelope, but I strongly prefer Ava Louise. It sounds like you are drawn to longer names which is another reason you're fixating on Penelope. While my personal taste would leave it as Ava Louise, there are longer versions of Ava to consider. Avalyn, Avaline, Avalina, Avalie, Avarie, Avalaine.

Good luck!

November 15, 2015 12:14 PM

You may have a point... Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!!

November 15, 2015 11:52 AM

Last year, Ava was given to about 15500 baby girls in the USA, which placed it fifth. Thirty years ago, fifth place was Sarah, with nearly 25000 babies; Ava's usage roughly matches Amber, which placed 16th.

If you both love Ava, name her Ava. Putting the pressure on about Penelope is only likely to make him dislike it more and more. Changing a spouse's mind about a baby name is possible, but it's usually a long-term project (like, on a scale of years, not months), and must be subtly done.

Longer version of Ava: Avelina and variations. The most common version last year, at rank 948, was Avalynn. It is probably influenced by Avalon and Evelyn, as well as the long-established pattern of -lyn(n) names for girls.

November 15, 2015 9:19 PM

I think spousal changes of opinion have also been known to happen on shorter time-scales, most notably when it's time that seems like it goes on forever because it is spanning a difficult labor. Having had turns at being the non-laboring spouse, I can attest to the fact that after that you experience you'll pretty happily cede anything to the person who has just produced your child from their loins.

But I personally (like when I was giving birth) would not have wanted to use that as a pressure point because I really wanted our kids to have names that both parents felt positively about, rather that one parent liked and the other felt obligated to carry along with.

I love Penelope, too, but Ava is also a fine choice. I like Avelina best of the Ava elaborations, or perhaps Aveline, and Avila has just been suggested in a separate thread... but I think that there is nothing wrong with choosing just-Ava. It makes a very fetching pairing with Louise, and I think there's something (quite a lot!) to be said for a name that both parents like.