Baby Iris

H and I have chosen the name Iris for our baby due in August. This is our second "final" decision, so hopefully this one sticks. :) For a month or two now, I've been undecided on a middle name. H is happy with several I like, so it's even more difficult. I've narrowed it down to two favorites - please let me know what you think. Ln is J0yce.

Iris Jane - Love the simplicity of this one! I really wanted to choose a name with a nickname option (maybe because I never had that, as a Sara), but even though Iris yields no nicknames I love, I like that we could still call her Iris Jane as an affectionate sort-of nickname.

Iris Olivia - Really love the flow of this one with our ln, and like that we could potentially call her Olive or Olli for fun. (Would definitely call her Iris most of the time.) it bothers me slightly that Olivia is so popular, but I don't think it's a huge problem in the mn slot.



By mk
June 23, 2014 11:41 PM

I like Iris Olivia best. Olivia is not often seen as a middle name.

June 24, 2014 10:26 AM

They're both pretty!

I was never of fan of double names, but my daughter was born and suddenly most of the time she is Ev!e K@te. So I love playing around with the double names now. So Iris Jane goes along with that too.

I like the nickname potential of Iris Olivia: Io. :-)

June 24, 2014 12:20 PM

Hmm. How would you use Io? Eye-oh? 

June 24, 2014 4:02 PM

Yep--just like the moon around Jupiter. :-)

June 24, 2014 4:08 PM

Wow, I'd never heard that. I kind of like!

June 24, 2014 5:08 PM

Io, the moon of Jupiter, was named for the nymph Io who was seduced by Zeus who then turned her into a heifer.  Somehow I don't quite find calling a daughter after a heifer entirely appealing, but tastes vary.  There is also the acclamation Io Hymen chanted at weddings in the classical world (Hymen was the god of weddings).

June 24, 2014 5:19 PM

True, but if you are into astronomy, it's a cool nickname.


June 24, 2014 5:42 PM

I saw that when I looked it up, too. Not the greatest meaning, but considering most people's knowledge of Greek mythology, I think it's probably safe in the quirky category vs. skanky. 

June 24, 2014 7:57 PM

True about people's limited knowledge of Greek mythology, but when little Iris Olivia aka Io goes to look up her nickname, she will find the moon of Jupiter and...a heifer.  Not to mention a potentially embarrassing ancient wedding exclamation.

June 24, 2014 8:01 PM

True enough. Luckily my feelings about Iris Olivia are mostly unrelated to Io, just think it's an interesting nn suggestion.

By mk
June 24, 2014 10:50 PM

I like Io as a name, myth and all.

June 25, 2014 12:06 AM

I think the moon is by far the more dominant association for most people, before the myth. I do travel in astronomy circles a bit, but I also love Greek mythology, and I don't think it's terrible as far as mythology goes - she's just a cow! It's pretty tame for Greek myths! It might give me pause if it were the birth certificate name, but as a nickname - if it ever becomes an issue (say, during a mythology unit at school), little Iris Olivia can go by something else.

June 25, 2014 2:33 AM

Well, there is the slang meaning of heifer--an ugly, fat, undesirable woman.

I do wonder how many of the general populace know the names of the moons of Jupiter or even that Jupiter has moons. Actually that's a trick question because Jupiter has a whole lot of moons and many of them are not named. So how many Americans know the names of the four Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto? I suspect not that many.

June 25, 2014 3:30 AM

Most Americans certainly couldn't name Jupiter's (named) moons in a vacuum! However, I do think people would probably say that Io is something vaguely astronomical (exploring probe? satellite? a dwarf planet?). Similarly, I don't think many people would come up with the cow issue specifically - people might have a sense that it's vaguely mythological, though. I myself was able to say with certainty, "Io was featured in the Zeus Failing To Keep It In His Pants part of the Greek Mythology", but wouldn't have wagered much money on the "I remember vaguely that Hera turned her into something... I think it was a cow!" part of my memory.

If you google any name you come up with something unflattering (thank you, urban dictionary), so turning up the "lover of Zeus whom his jealous wife turned into a cow" thing seems pretty minor to me. I mean, it suggests that Io was anything OTHER than undesirable for Hera to get so jealous as to magic her into a cow, right?

For what it's worth, I think the term heifer as an insult has somewhat abated, and the connection seems tenuous enough not to ruin the name... But maybe I'm just overly fond of dairy products and my own lactase persistence.


June 25, 2014 9:47 AM

Really I am thinking of the child's reaction when she looks up her name and nickname to see what they mean.  When she looks up Iris, she will see rainbows and beautiful flowers (in fact, my personal favorites).  When she looks up IO she will see a heifer.  I am thinking of my own experience.  As a child I looked up Miriam and was devastated to find the meaning 'bitter' (probably not correct, but nonetheless there was 'bitter' on the page).  I was worse devastated when I discovered that my sister's name meant 'pretty love.'  WHen Iris Olivia looks up Io, she will see a moon of Jupiter (not bad) and a heifer (also applied to a fat, ugly woman and not so good).  Obviously not all children are the budding name enthusiast that I was, but I think plenty do want to know about the origins/derivations/associations of their names, and anything 'negative' may will sting.  Although perhaps I am extrapolating too much from my own experience....

By mk
June 25, 2014 12:29 PM

You just never know what kids will like. I was the nerdy kid would loved mythology and could name the major moons. I also hated being called anything but my full name, so none of it would have mattered anyway. Although having a nickname and full name that are both myths is pretty cool.


June 24, 2014 2:46 PM

As a Sara, it's a shame you were never able to use Sally or Sadie.  :(

First, in my family, an Iris would likely get nicknamed to Ris, which I think is cute.  Rissie or even Rissa also seem reasonable I think.  Any of these could be used regardless of the middle name.

I lean more towards Iris Jane I think.  It sounds both sweet and mature.  I think it will work well on both a little one and an adult.  I also love the way Iris Jane sounds, either as a full-time double barrel, nickname or just when she's in trouble.

Iris Olivia is also pretty.  But Olivia feels trendier than Jane and makes the name less exciting for me.  It also doesn't work as well as Iris Jane if you decide to do the double barrel approach.  I'm also not a fan of using an occassional nickname based on the middle.  It seems a little forced to me and I think it's likely that the nickname wouldn't stick for most people.



June 24, 2014 3:27 PM

Thanks for the input! I agree with almost everything you wrote, minus the Ris/Rissie/Rissa nicknames. I am NAF, and would prefer she just be called Iris than any of those.

Totally agree that Iris Olivia sounds a bit trendy, and that's very opposite our naming style. It's a shame, because Olivia is an old name, and I hate that it's so IN right now. I had a friend when I was in elementary school named Olivia, and I've always loved it. We wouldn't use Iris Olivia as a double-barrel - that really only appeals to me with a super short middle. I can totally see how calling her Olive/Olli could seem forced, too. 

I'm leaning more toward Iris Jane. My main hesitation is that H and I have always felt that a 3+ syllable mn flows better between Iris and J0yce. Maybe it shouldn't be a consideration, though. We'll rarely ever call her by all three names.

June 24, 2014 3:59 PM

I prefer the name Jane to Olivia, but I prefer Olivia for you! I think Iris Jane Joyce sounds sort of... redundant? harsh? IDK. The Jane Joyce just throws it totally off. I do think Iris Jane is adorable though if not for your last name.

For flow, I think Iris Olivia Joyce is really beautiful!

Not everyone feels this way but I think the middle name should be where you pack in some meaning. It shouldn't just be for how it sounds or just because you like it. Perhaps you could use a family name? Your favorite flower/flower at your wedding? A place you have been that was special to you? A femininized version of your husband or father's name? Just some thoughts that could make the name really feel perfect for you.

Another option to balance the sweetness of Iris Jane and flow of Iris Olivia - Use a longer middle name with a well used nickname. Iris Elisabeth Joyce can be called Iris Beth. Iris Katherine Joyce can be Iris Kate. Oh, I love Iris Kate. Just an idea!

June 24, 2014 4:03 PM

I love the idea of a middle with more significance, and we've tried and tried to think of something, but nothing works. Either it doesn't go with Iris, or there are other reasons it's not usable. I like Elizabeth and Katherine, but my stepdaughter is Kathryn Elizabeth (and SIL is Elizabeth, and H's ex-wife's mn is Elizabeth). Our other top choice for a girl was Edith Magnolia. Magnolia is significant to H and I, but paired with Iris, it's just ridiculously flowery. My grandma's name is June, which I like, but a) I'm not that close with my grandma; b) the double-noun thing kind of bothers me, and it sounds slightly country vs. Jane, which is more neutral. I guess I'm just not big on naming after a family member in general. I do like the idea of a mn with significance, but after 7 months of thinking, we're still coming up empty-handed. 

By mk
June 24, 2014 10:54 PM

I think choosing a name because you and your husband love it does have meaning and significance. If Jane or Olivia are your favorites, go with one of those!

June 25, 2014 2:11 PM

I understand having a pretty name in the family that you like, but you really aren't that close to the person. I have two grandmothers. Our first daughter will have my favorite granny's name as her middle, it is Sylvia and I have always loved it. She is awesome and practically raised me. Other Granny I barely know really but love the name Meredith. So I see why you would feel reluctant to use June.

I agree with others that truly loving the name is enough significance. I just always associate it with all the random babies who have middle names Anne, Marie, Grace, etc. just because mom and dad weren't very creative. Sometimes these names run in families though. In my family generations have the middle name Ann, even though it is really just a filler to sound cute when called.

I LOVE Magnolia. Love love love. Would you consider it for a first name? It is so wearable. You can call her Nola, Meg, Mia, or Maggie. Just a lovely name. I also LOVE Edith Magnolia. I agree Iris Magnolia is over the top floral, unfortunately. 

I really don't like Jane because of your last name. It just doesn't work and I am surprised so many others here don't seem to mind. I think they just aren't thinking of the last name. Our last name is Reed and it would be like me naming a daughter Lana Ray Reed or something like that. Two one syllable names that start with the first letter have the most choppy flow possible. 

Iris Olivia is beautiful for flow. I would take one more look at Edith Magnolia though. I think Edith is making a come back and feel fresh on a little girl. I also love the nickname Eady. Good luck choosing! 

June 25, 2014 6:53 PM

There are basically two reasons why I don't think the surname Joyce rules out Jane as a middle name: (1) James Joyce, and (2) middle name flow is vastly overrated.

July 1, 2014 5:09 PM

Agreed on both counts. :)

July 1, 2014 5:09 PM

I LOVE Edith Magnolia, and if we have another daughter, that will most likely be her name. I like Magnolia as a fn, but not as much as Edith or Iris. Iris just seems to *fit* this time around, and I've promised H it's our final pick. Thanks for your input. :)