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A lot of this really is just a question of accents and where you grow up. I'm originally Californian, and I've been told my accent has changed over the years. But I'm still solidly merged with Mary/merry/marry/Carrie/Kerry/carry/wary/Gary/scary etc. I'm also cot/caught merged, Don/Dawn merged, top/dog/father/law/gone etc. merged, all that. The NY/NJ "aw" sound (which sounds like an "oh-ah" diphthong in my ears) doesn't exist in my vowel set at all.
My "sure" rhymes with "lure" most of the time, but occasionally it comes out as rhyming with "her". The t in "often" is silent.
One similar situation I remember came a few years back, when I introduced a new coworker to the team. The team had a huge problem understanding what the coworker's name was, and kept asking for it again and again, and had trouble wrapping their heads around the name.
The coworker's name? Caitlin.
Eventually, it took me telling the mostly-Boomer team, "You're just not used to meeting an adult named Caitlin," and they understood the name no problem from there.
I did not add, "What, did you honestly think your kids would stay children forever?"
Names that are both traditional and contemporary? There's always Jacob. Other names like Owen, Henry, Noah, Ethan, James, William fall in this general category. Come to think about it, I like Max Pagels.
...although now I'm looking at initials, and the last two will be AP. There are words that could be made here, some good, some less so. Max Anthony Pagels is one of the better ones--MAP is not a problem.
Would you have any examples of names that you and your husband (together or separate) like? That should get the ball rolling...
As a name enthusiast and a guy, I can probably explain your husband's reticence. Basically, there's no way to win the name game, and a thousand ways to lose. No name is going to open doors to success, but plenty of names can potentially cause problems. So, committing to a name now is to assign some kind of defeat to his son--even if he has no idea how that defeat will come yet. Thus, it's better not to name him, because ALL names are suspect.
Give it time. He'll come around. He will because there's one thing worse than having a bad name, and that's having no name at all. Eventually, the fear of having a nameless boy will spur him to contribute. What was it like when you were naming Alexander? How did he agree to the name?
But going back to names for your second child... If you're looking for an "ethnically generic" name, then you could choose one for the first name and place Francesca as the middle name. My mother's middle name is Francisca, so I may be biased, but I've got a common first and last name with an ethnic middle name, and it's served me very well. That way, she can freely choose to pull out the beauty of Francesca or put it away whenever she likes.
Also, if you want to honor your grandmother with a baby boy, the names Francisco and Franklin would do it as well. But maybe wait on that until your husband's ready.
I've heard October floated around a couple times for girls, and aren't there a couple of celebrity children names October?
March and August have been used for boys. But July and August come from Julius and Augustus Caesar, so they're names that became months and never actually stopped being names anyway.
I'm reminded of the codenames of a group of MI6 agents from the anime Darker Than Black. "The woman is April, the boy is July, and I am November 11."
It's ironic that the one season that doesn't get used for names is Spring. I guess the sound and secondary meanings get in the way.
I'm going to buck the trend and say that my favorite name is neither; it's Laurel.
It's less popular, but still has a meaning and history. It's softer, looks nice written down, more girly, professional, and upper class. At least, that's the way it feels for me.
Although there is some choppiness in flow in the name Gr@nt Re!d, it is my favorite.
One possible name that would work: Grantham, nn Grant. Yes, you'll get Downton Abbey questions. But just respond, "Listen: Grantham Re!d. Grantham Edw@rd Re!d." I love the sound, it goes great with Av3ry, and... I simply recommend it.
With the Sadie-not-Sarah question, I also thought of Seraphina and Serendipity. However... One way to consider getting around the "Sadie Day" sound is to state that the ending -die in the name actually comes from the last name Day. So, any S name works for Sadie: Samantha Day -> Sadie. Sabrina Day -> Sadie. Just Sadie. Not Sadie Day.
I also combined Lennon (too Beatles) and Sadie and came out with Soledad.
Hm... Lennon, Penelope, Bellamy... Salome? Salem? Too edgy?
Amedea: Confusing, not sure where to put the stress. I keep thinking of Medea and wanting it to be Greek.
Annabelle: Not a name I enjoy, although I know plenty who do. Makes me think of milkmaids.
Aurora: Lovely, slightly mystical while still being grounded in reality. I like this.
Gwendolyn: I always imagine Gwendolyn to be fair-haired (because, well, the name does mean fair-browed), with long hair and glasses. Gives me a bit of a sexy-librarian vibe. I like it.
Madelyn: Not fond of this name, more for the "Mad" at the beginning than anything. I imagine Madelyn as having anger.
Savannah: The name of a friendly, worldly woman. Also as the name of a beautiful iconic Southern city, there is a subtle gentility under the earthy exterior. I like it.
It shouldn't be a problem at all. Aurora has plenty of history as a name; it's just popular at the moment.
I prefer Gwendolyn. I've met enough young Annabelles.
The main difference between -lie and -leigh is the source of the suffix.
-lie is French, so suggests a higher end culture, perhaps slightly dated, but hinting at quaint/vintage.
-leigh is English (not sure if it's Gaelic or Saxon). It suggests a bit more familiar, not as high class, but approachable and a bit more sexy.
Actually, this would be a very interesting topic to get people's opinions on. I'll consider a few more endings:
-ley is English and common. It's less exciting because it was the original name ending to be used, but it's still solid and uncontroversial (less so in a less-traditional name; Adaley looks not-quite-right)
-ly is simple. As the adverb ending it's familiar. Since its common use in web company names today, it looks more modern, but also corporate.
-lee has tradition, but also feels more 80s-ish date-stamped.
-li adds a nonspecific foreign flair, but also can be seen as -i, a very familiar nickname ending. Remember about 30 years ago when all the Nickies turned into Nikkis?
These are, of course, all opinions. All the opinions from people would be good here!
To start, you want the name to be ADD-a-lee, right?
Would you be able to answer the question of what you are looking for in a "great meaning"?
It's from Irish Gaelic. To be most specific, it's shee-(th)ə, where the th is elided (deemphasized, which, to non-Gaelic speakers, sounds nearly invisible). "Shee" is a generally accepted Anglicization of the pronunciation of Sidhe.
(To be perfectly honest, I find the Roman alphabet to be quite ill-suited to describe Gaelic sounds, but it's what we've got.)
A few more ideas: Elf, Faun, Sylph, Mab.
If you want timeless, you can stick with cognates for Liam: William, Willem, Wilhelm, Guillaume, Guillermo. In fact, Guillem is a William, sounds like Liam-with-a-G ("Giam"), and so is uncommon, timeless, and ultimately, still the same name.
It's a bit loaded, but it is a real girl's name: America.
But the real question is, what are you looking for in a great meaning? What sort of characteristics are you looking to give your child?
The first name that pops to mind is Sidhe (pronounced "shee"). Continues the Fae connection, single syllable, all good. For something more Nyx-sounding, you could go with Sith, but then you've got Star Wars to contend with.
Otherwise... Shade, Sprite, Kali (double barreling, though?), Mote, Puck, Sting, Nick...
Oh. Nick. I'm recommending that.