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I would go ahead and use it. Do tell her, but honestly, it is a reasonably common name. Most years, I have a Ben in my classroom as a HS teacher.
That said, wait to tell her until the baby is fairly close. If she's unhappy about the choice, you don't need to be harrangued for nine months.
There's a children's book Stellaluna, which could be lovely. The main character is a bat though.
This explains why I struggled with the spelling of one of my student's names so! Let's say her name was (borrowing from Karyn's example above) Kahniya. It was so difficult to put that H in the middle and not at the end.
I continue to find it fascinating that there are unspoken "rules" to making a unique name for you unique baby. Thanks for identifying this "rule" Laura!
In this vein, I wanted to mention Alt-Left which seemed to appear out of nowhere and only as counterpoint to Alt-Right, a title some seem to embrace.
Oh, I like this nomination!
On the political front, I'd go for 'Drumpf' from the left and MAGA from the right. I'm not entirely clear if this is 2016 (the election) or 2017 (the inauguration).
The words that really come to mind for me for 2017 are 'Fake News', which is not a name at all.
Politics so dominated my news-reading this year; BNW is my escape. I am loathe to combine the two.
I love Ophelia. I feel it is the underused Olivia. It fits right in with Sophia/Sofia.
How about Wolf, Wolfgang or Wolfram for that same grandfather?
I so appreciate the high level of commentary on this board. Thank you Miriam and HNG for raising the bar. It is because of the commentary I come back year after year, even though I'm way past naming actual children.
To me, Ivanka fits the similiar to Irina, but ending in harsher sounds. That said, in 2017, that name comes with many connotations that may distract from your character.
(Pleading in advance to keep the politics off this page; just the name.)
I teach a number of Chinese students who adopt "American" names. Max is a very common choice for these boys. Ryan and Ian are more unusual. You can't go wrong with any of them.
I personally prefer Irene, but I think Irena blends in better with all the Olivias, Sophias, Emmas etc in today's playground
John and Jim are much more my style, but I find this a very approachable list. They are as a group sturdy, rugged names.
Is there a distinct "cowgirl name" style?
This is truly a lovely list for all of the potential names you've listed. Each name you've listed would also be a lovely sibling.
I'm surprised by the number of names for both genders that end in the "lee" sound. (And the variety of spellings to produce it!).
I'd be surprised to meet a female Florian/en. That said, I know quite a few names that have "crossed over" the gender divide and this could be one.
I'm hearing Ace as a dog name....which means it must be right around the corner for humans!
On the one hand, Jolan makes me think of Jolene and feminine. On the other hand, it reminds me of Jalen, a now ubiquitous name in my HS classes. (Both genders, many spellings, a few more males.)
For some reason "Hugh" jumps out for me. Though I rather like Clark.
As a teacher who has had female students named Jonah, Miller, Sydney and all manner of last names, this doesn't raise my eyebrows much, but a cute, feminine nickname will make it wear better.