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I love Judith!
I'm really starting to fall in love with midcentury "old lady" names like Joan, Barbara, Judith, Margaret, etc. Names that are strong, feminine, and classic and yet sound fresh compared to the sea of Isabellas and Olivias.
One thing I've started to realize with name popularity and top 20 lists is that it's not so much that everyone is so unique, it's that everyone is looking for a unique angle on the same few names.
So while not that many little girls have Ella on their birth certificate (and thus show up on these lists), when you consider the additional popularity of Eleanor, Eliana, Eloise, and other names where Ella is an obvious nickname, as well as Ellie, Elle, Elena, and on and on, names that amount to the same thing as Ella are probably collectively as popular as the Jessicas and Lindas of previous decades. Everyone thinks they are being "unique" because they used Ariella to get to Ella as a nickname, but you're still one of five Ellas in school at the end of the day.
I recently had a conversation with someone who was just not grasping that Aoife and Eva are pretty much the same name, and that very few people are going to meet an Aoife and even know that it's not Eva. Aoife is a great name! But it's not actually unique.
This may be narcissistic of me, as a Sara/h, but I feel like the popularity of Sarah has to have been an inspiration for this.
Also, fun fact, the reason for the H variation in so many names -- especially Biblical ones -- is because the Hebrew letter Aleph is usually transliterated as "ah" as opposed to just the vowel A (which doesn't strictly have its own letter in the Hebrew alphabet). So in the Bible, especially traditional Anglophone translations of it, names that end in an Aleph are rendered Sarah, Jonah, Isaiah, etc. instead of Sara, Jona, Isaia, and the like. As a Sara, every Israeli I've ever met has been confused about the spelling of my name and why the H would be left off when the "correct" spelling is Sarah.
I'm pretty sure Nora isn't a Biblical name, and that the H is directly inspired by Norah Jones. No idea how she ended up with the extraneous H, though.
Are we totally sure that the name in question isn't actually Sigrid?I work in a yoga studio, and one of our most popular instructors is named Sigrid. On my first day, one of my coworkers said to me, "Sigrid's class is at 11, so be prepared for it to get busy around then." I definitely heard "The secret class is at 11..." and assumed there was an off-schedule class only for people truly in the know. Or possibly that someone had come up with a way to fuse the new-agey self help book The Secret with a yoga class. Nah, turns out it's Sigrid!
I'm in love with Arlo Desmond, but I will admit that it's because I love both of those names and my husband vetoed both for our baby.
For the girls' names, I think it depends what your personal style is. There's a range of nature/boho, classic elegance, and creative/totally fresh stuff so that it's hard to know whether you guys would rather have a Florence Vesper, a Rowan Sage, or a Delta Noelle. All of which feel really, really different to me. I also LOVE the name Astrid and am dying for other people to use it and for it to become more common. So any combination with Astrid gets my vote.
Thanks! This sounds about right to me, after my husband and I tentatively decided that Egon is definitely the name and we've used it here and there (I told my hairstylist, he gave it as his name at Starbucks to take it for a test drive). It seems like, at least at the moment, in noisy and distracting public situations, people who aren't already familiar with the name want to hear it as one of the "Aiden" names. Pretty sure my stylist thinks we are naming our baby Eden or Edam or something, due to the noise of hairdryers and such. However, I think almost any name can be misheard in a situation like that, so I'm not too worried about it.
To me the problem isn't that it might be "confusing" (though it might, I'm a little confused just reading about it), but that the bottom line is that your kid will have a birth certificate with her full name on it. One name will be the first name, and the other name will be the middle name. Period. You can call her what you like, obviously, but there WILL be a specific correct answer to which order to use the names in and what her first vs. middle name is. It's not something you guys can both have your own way.
On the other hand, there is one obvious compromise: one parent picks the Official Birth Certificate Name, while the other picks her informal call name (i.e. what you guys call her at home day to day). Give your husband Celine Ariella, then you guys can have Ari as her nickname even though it's actually from her middle name rather than her first.
This is fascinating. I'm also from the South and knew about embroidering/monograms (I've already been asked about our son's future monogram AND THE KID ISN'T EVEN BORN YET, not to mention that we're not royalty and I don't expect to ever need anything monogrammed for our child), but it's fascinating that this has expanded to other types of personalization.
I also associate wild abandon in creative name spelling with the South, now that I think about it. After growing up in the South I spent time in major cities on both coasts. The children of people I went to high school with are all Kynnleigh and Madysyn and Braedon, while the children of people I went to college with in New York and am friends with now in Los Angeles are Miles and Isadora and Lillian. Unique naming, sure, but spellings tend to be fairly standard.
I had a whole theory on non-WASPy people from lower class origins taking on names like Leslie, Jordan, Courtney, etc. as a sort of class status trickle-down effect, and then, a few decades later, parents of girls feeling like they could do the same thing with those names.
But then I googled Karmen Smith. He looks like he's in his 30s or 40s, and wouldn't fit the same demographic of the other men I've known with formerly-male names (all of whom are from a non-WASP ethnic background and aged between 60-90 now). Also, Carmen isn't a posh British surname type of name at all, so there's no trickling down to be done there, really. Not to mention that Carmen is a name like Dolores or Consuelo which honors the Virgin Mary. It has a pretty firm history as a female name. So my theory, while maybe reasonable for someone like the actor Courtney B. Vance, doesn't apply to Karmen Smith.
I think if you love it, you should use it exactly in the form that you love! We're going the opposite way and naming our baby something very unusual, and I've heard a lot of comments about how "weird" it is and how our child will be teased for having such an odd name. So it's really important for me to remember that having a name you love and that fits your baby is the most important thing!
You make a good point about popularity not being what it used to be. On the other hand, I can think of a lot of other baby Avas in my life right now. It really is a very popular name.
I also think something like Lawrence, Raymond, etc. would be the way to go here.
I like Raymond and don't think it's dated per se. I've known a few young Rays in my day (mostly millennial peers, not babies), and they wear it well. I think it might be in the category of names like Doug, Gary, Todd, etc. where we're just not hearing them as much anymore because they've been replaced by Liams and Aidens. Ray doesn't feel "old man" to me in the way that Ron, Jerry, etc. do.
Hmmm, searching for Larry brings up Lars, and clicking over to Lawrence suggests Lorenzo and Loren/Lorne as alternative takes on the name. Any of those sound good?
I think it's a nice enough name, and I wouldn't tell anyone not to use it.
However, as someone named Sara Catherine, I have one caveat: all of those names are very popular for babies right now. Which means that she will always be one of several Avas in any group (school, ballet class, soccer practice, girl scouts, junior year abroad, the marketing department of a pharmaceutical company, etc etc etc for her whole life). Having gone through this myself, I would have really liked a middle name to go by, or to draw from in some way. Instead, my middle name was just about as common as my first name, so it was no help at all in that regard. I've always just had to go by my full name, last initial, or just Sara Who Sits In The Third Cubicle On The Right. If your daughter's name was Ava Elizabeth, or Ava Joan, or Ava Delphine, she might enjoy having something a little more distinctive to fall back on if she needs it.
Please nobody tell my husband that Dune is a name you can give a baby now.
When we got married, my husband and I decided to hyphenate our last names (both of which are short and simple). Our child will also use that same hyphenated last name. The double barrelled last name has added some important considerations in terms of choosing a first and middle (alliteration became a big issue, because our "maiden" names both start with the same letter), but all in all we are very comfortable with the name our baby will carry.
On the other hand, we had this conversation while engaged, and was very much a dialogue between two people who were both willing to consider the other person's feelings. My husband didn't have any particular attachment to his birth surname and we both share the opinion that women shouldn't be required to take their husbands' names. I think there's a huge difference between two people who are both on the same page about married surname choice and two people who are in a fundamental state of discord about the issue. I'm not sure how I feel about your real issue, which is going against your husband's wishes, and what you had previously agreed on, to change your baby's name. I don't know your husband, but based on my knowledge of how most people behave, this is not a topic that people tend to change their minds about AFTER everything has been discussed and decided multiple times already.
What's your overall middle name philosophy, here?
We're giving our son a very unusual first name, so we've decided to give him a middle name that is a lot more common and "wearable" if it turns out that he's the kind of kid who wants to blend in and never spell or explain anything (we're currently narrowing it down between either Miles or Milo, so I feel your pain!). I've known other people who have given their child a more ordinary first name and then either experimented a bit more with the middle name or assumed it would never get used at all. To me, Amos is more usable as a first name, in a pinch, than Ames would be.
Is Ames a family name? I'd probably assume so if I met a little Austin Ames.
If we're going only on flow and how the name sounds spoken aloud, I like Amos better personally.
Then again, I have a friend with a toddler daughter named Bernie (short for Bernadette). I've been a little surprised at how fast we've jumped from "old fashioned" names that call to mind the mid 19th century, like Amelia and Henry, to names that recall the early 20th century, like Evelyn and Ira. Which I 100% suggested to my husband for this baby, but he didn't go for.
I wonder if we're in an old fashioned bubble, where within another five years we'll be naming babies Linda and Gary again (I already think Barbara and Judith are ripe for new baby naming), and then suddenly in 2028 we're back to Alexis and Jason and Tiffany.
Not for rhyming reasons, but there were so many names I loved that we couldn't use just because they weren't a good fit for our last name. Ah, the things you don't consider when naming your hypothetical future children as a teenager...
Beatrix was our top girl choice! I don't think it sounds too old fashioned at all, in fact I was a little worried that it would end up in Emma, Olivia, Ava territory within a few years (or like that brief vogue for Abigail/Adeline type names a couple years ago). I like it because it has a lot of good nickname options and passes the "Supreme Court Justice Test" well (e.g. we could have a cute little girl named Bibi or Birdie or Trixie and then she could also conceivably go into corporate law without people cringeing at her resume.) My husband likes it because it's the name of the main character in Kill Bill.
Yeah, this is definitely what I was alluding to. A family with two children named Chloe and Max would not call to mind the Kardashians. A family with four children named Cora, Cassidy, Chloe, and Claudia would. The name Chloe itself is a great name! The name Chloe as a deliberately alliterative sibset name is suuuupppperrrrr Kardashian-esque, to me, as someone who doesn't follow reality TV or that particular family but who is about as aware of them as your average American.
Oh, and as a side note re Catherine/Katharine, we definitely wanted to avoid alliteration in general, so anything with a hard C/K sound was out. Kaylie would have been equally vetoed along with Catherine. Not to mention that Catherine is the spelling that has always been used (it's my middle name, my mom's first name, and my maternal grandmother and great-grandmothers' middle names as well). Not to mention... we're having a boy. Who we're definitely not naming Catherine. One of my brothers is going to have to step up to the plate to carry on Catherine.