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February 8, 2016 12:01 AM
In Response to Which parent to honor?

Oh, yes, I see: Tante!

February 7, 2016 11:52 PM
In Response to Which parent to honor?

@Miriam: Olya is the diminutive form of Olga, suitable for use on an adult by familiars. (As opposed to a diminutive like Olyushka, which would likely only be used to refer to a child Olga.) It's one of the many odd times that the Russian "nickname" is no shorter than the formal name. An example like Yura as the diminutive for Yuri also springs to mind. I imagine your great aunt was likely still referred to as Olga in formal Russian-speaking contexts (assuming she continued to encounter them in the U.S.).

February 2, 2016 12:56 AM

Echoing everyone else's advice to give yourself and your family some time.

I personally didn't attach to my first child immediately. Nothing dramatic, just didn't have that "we are so in love!" feeling that I see people posting about on social media birth announcements. For example, our dog was a little suspicious when we first brought the baby home and I remember mentally "siding" with the dog...because I knew the dog's personality, I'd spent years with her. But this crying thing? Was a total stranger. 

Why do I mention attachment? Because it wasn't really until my son was about 2 months old and started to make facial expressions and exhibit personality that I felt like I was getting to know him. And it was at that point that I started to call him by name. And he started to seem like his name.

Prior to that, I was a little uncomfortable with his name when I said it to strangers. It's one syllable and is occasionally misheard (something I didn't predict until it was misunderstood by the first nurse we told at the hospital). In retrospect, I think that I would have felt a little uneasy with any name. Simply because I wasn't thinking of this baby as a person with a name, if that makes sense. He was just this thing that came home with us. Until the day he started interacting with us and was suddenly a person who filled out that name. FWIW, I didn't have that experience with the second child, but I think that's because I knew that this thing that just sucks up your energy for days would soon enough give back in interaction and affection and would feel like a person with a name shortly, so I was just kind of able to invest immediately.

Anyway, I guess I just share in case it's useful to know that in one mother's case, it was a while before the first baby seemed to a real person with any name at all.

January 26, 2016 03:05 PM
In Response to Girl choices

Check out the U.S. version of "Shameless" on Showtime for a tough, awesome, decidedly unfrilly Fiona. She's sometimes nicknamed "Fi" which I think is great and not at all princessy. (Though might also be shared by a few Sophias.)


@lucubratrix, thanks for the lovely comment.

My experience at least of getting frightening news about my parents' health is that I temporarily become a child again in that moment. For a second, I feel like my primary connection is to my family of origin. Of course I very quickly remember myself as a partner and parent, but I guess what I was trying to get at is that I think it's really natural to have like a kind of "selfish" reaction to that kind of news that passes with a little time.

My feeling when dumping the patronymic is that even though that tradition comes out of a much more homogenous culture than the U.S., foreigners *do* live there. So, people do survive in formal settings at the bank, in the office, in schools, etc. without a patronymic. I wonder if you could @olympiaalexiou forgo this legal requirement as a part foreigner? (I'm assuming foreign nationals who give birth in Greece are not subject to legal naming requirements?) Of course, it would make your child "stick out" a little bit, but I think that your child will likely be straddling two cultures anyway, if that makes sense. To me, it's the same thing as having a parent who speaks a language other than English in the U.S. and passes along a bit of that minority tradition in your name. It makes you different, but that difference also makes you *you*, so why try to hide it? That's the way I've justified our decisions, anyway!


We are also naming in a patronymic tradition (middle name is meant to be father's name to, as you say, identify who child belongs to), but we broke away from this and named as we liked (albeit with subtle nods to cultural traditions). This was easier for us to do because we live in the U.S., but it did prompt questions from the grandparents' generation. 

I think, as you say, the "foreigner" or "assimilated American" card is useful here. Even if you spend the rest of your lives in Greece, your children will always be a little bit different. (Presumably speaking English at home, holding U.S. passports perhaps?, maybe even watching American films or reading classic American books, etc.). So, I would think it would be okay--from the standpoint of your position in the community--to let their names reflect that bit of difference. My husband and I have thought about this as we consider living outside the U.S. again and that's the conclusion I've come to in breaking from a more rigid naming tradition. So, I would spin the "bad daughter-in-law" into "Greek-American daughter-in-law".

Of course, this doesn't address the primary issue which is having your husband on your side. I think it's very natural to want to hew to tradition in times of grief. I wonder if you gave him a little bit of time to process his father's diagnosis and then begin the conversation about your earlier agreement again if that might go better? 

January 15, 2016 09:39 PM

Ooooh, Karo is an awesome nn. Congrats on having a great name!

January 15, 2016 03:30 PM
In Response to Sarabeth

I think it's a lovely name and actually looks appealing as one word (which I often don't think of mash-up names).

If you don't know a lot about mid-2000s cheesy American pop country (and, really, who does?), you might want to listen to this Rascal Flatts song:

It's not a bad association, I just heard the lyric "Sara Beth/ is scared to death" in my head when I read the name.

January 14, 2016 03:14 PM

That's interesting because in the U.S. I'm only familiar with the Oona spelling.

It's a name that I've run across a couple of times in under-5 settings and then I've long been aware of it via Oona O'Neill Chaplin. As @MK notes, her granddaughter is now a working actress, known to me as Robb Stark's ill-fated wife (RIP) on GoT. 

I think the spelling is elegant and has a long history of use. I personally strongly prefer it.

January 12, 2016 05:40 PM
In Response to Expert Advice

Fwiw, the actress who plays Arya Stark on GoT is named Maisie, which is a nickname for Margaret. I'm a nerd, so that wouldn't bother me, but just throwing that out there for you!

January 8, 2016 11:24 PM
In Response to Need A Third Opinion

I offered this suggestion on someone else's thread, but just wanted to throw out Vika (VEE-ka) as an alternate Victoria nn again. It's the traditional Russian nn, but I think it sounds spiky and fresh in an English-speaking context.

Also, I think V names (along with Z) are awesomely nicknamed as just "Vee". I also love the letter and would love to call a kid just V.

January 8, 2016 11:18 PM

I encountered a baby Vada at the playground the other day and wanted to ask if there was a My Girl connection! That movie was definitely my first contact with the name!

January 2, 2016 07:01 PM
In Response to Schuyler

My pop culture reference for this is the song "The Schuyler Sisters" from the musical HAMILTON:

I must confess, pre-Hamilton, I didn't know how to pronounce the name....

December 19, 2015 03:11 AM

Ha, yes, to be clear, I'm not suggesting naming a child *after* that character! (Though, no spoilers, but I do think the association becomes more interesting as the series goes on!)

I can see your point that the Birdie comes directly from Betty. For some reason, it made sense to me to add Birdie to the long list of nicknames that come out of Elizabeth with rearranged or added letters like Betsy, Libby, etc.

December 17, 2015 11:22 AM

On Mad Men, Don Draper called Betty (Elizabeth) "Birdie" as a pet name. Elizabeth is perhaps too traditional to fit with Nova, but I always liked Birdie as a very intimate nn for Elizabeth.

December 10, 2015 12:19 PM

I love the flow of Acacia with your surname. I actually know a female Acacia in her 30s so it sounds very namey to me. And I have never connected it to more conventional names like Alicia. It sounds so entirely different when spoken aloud.

Wonderful choice to go with a brother Cypress, I think!

December 9, 2015 08:04 PM
In Response to Kardashian-West

I think a lot of the negative response to Saint Laszlo was actually that they spelled it LaZSlo. Which doesn't feel to me like a spelling that's hinting at an alternate pronunciation or expressing some bit of personal style. It really just looks like a typo. 

North and Saint kind of fit as a sibset, I think. Of course, they're both so dependent on always being used with the surname.

November 20, 2015 01:57 PM

Grandparents-to-be--and others who do not spend time around young children--are often pretty out-of-step as regards the current naming environment. My mom also objected to names that would have been unusual when she was naming me but are now considered on-trend vintage revivals. (I stopped discussing potential names with her after that first very negative conversation early in my first pregnancy!) 

All this to say, I think Asa and Ezra would be very much at home in a classroom filled with names like Silas, Elijah, and Henry. I personally know two little Ezra's under 5. So, don't let your mom's idea that these names are old dissuade you. 

November 18, 2015 09:50 PM
In Response to Albertine?

Hahaha, yes, it's VEE-ka.

The advantage to me of Vika is that it is not tied to a particular time period like Vicky (which is overwhelmingly a 1950s, 1960s Linda kind of name to me) and Tori (which I personally strongly associate with the 1980s and 1990s, probably because of Tori Spelling). Vika feels like a fresh alternative to those nns, in my view.

Understand it's not to everyone's taste but suggested it because I assumed OP's daughter is Nata$ha. Perhaps I misunderstood.

November 16, 2015 02:18 PM
In Response to Albertine?

I think Birdie is such a charming nickname for A1bertine! She would really have the best of both worlds with that combination.

Perhaps you've already thought of this, but I wonder if you'd like Vika, the Russian nickname for Victoria? For me, it doesn't feel as dated as Vicky or Tori. I also think Vika would be a nice complement to your daughter's name (assuming it's the Nataly@ diminutive I'm thinking of).