Mum to Jo1y0n Max, Rup3rt James, Th0masina Adele, and Wi1fr3d George.
Annika is a great name, but I think that enforcing the pronunciation you like will be very challenging, because many people will say OHN-ih-kah rather than ANN-ih-kah and that's the kind of correction that people won't be able to hear or replicate. I'd endorse it only if you could feel very zen about the fact that they are potayto-potahto variants and that both are "right" ways to say the name, even if you personally use ANN-. (This is actually a feature of a lot of international girls' names: Lucia and Helena are international favorites that both have this issue, although there I think more people can actually hear the difference between the different variants so it might be more doable to get some degree of compliance with your preferred pronunciation in the circle of people who know your daughter well.)
International names that DON'T have the pronunciation squishiness are hard to come by: Adriana, Camilla, Natalia all have more subtle variations in pronunciation. There might be a reason that Sophia/Sofia is such a breakout hit! Maybe Miriam or Marina?
Have you thought about Tamsin as a nickname, such as for the longer Tomasina? That spelling is definitely one that people who hear my daughter's name default to, and I think that the h-less spelling also has more of an international feel to it. It's a name that I have really loved: it's uncommon and my daughter is the only one people have met, but it's familiar and always very well-received, doesn't get misheard as anything else, and the pronunciation is very straightforward. At least where I live, and names like Josephine and Eleanor are in full swing revival, Tomasina feels like a very natural fit with the trends while remaining distinct.
And the list goes on with less popular names, obviously.
I'm so thrilled to hear, austindillon! I'm sorry you got to experience the drama associated with birthing larger babies, but I'm so happy that all's well that ends well! Thank you for the fabulous update and for letting us in on such an enjoyable naming journey!
I think the only thing I have to add to this conversation is that the German word is actually pronounced using sounds not easily made by most native English speakers. It's NOT like Rick-ter at all. So, hearing Rick-ter definitely brings to mind earthquakes and not judges to me... and I'm a native German speaker.
So much agreement with what you had to say here!
I definitely wouldn't change the family name: as a naturalized immigrant, I feel stronglty that becoming an American does not mean giving up your ancestry, and that I wouldn't change a surname unless you are estranged from your family and you particularly want to sever connections with them.
And I want to upvote what cm2530 has to say about how Lu is really already a dream crossover name. I teach at a university where a substantial fraction of my students are Asian-American, and Lewis/Louis is a name I've encountered not infrequently in that setting. So I would leave it as Lu, confident in the fact that it is an excellent name choice that many American parents are giving, and be prepared that people might spell it Lou sometimes especially if they hear your name without a surname or without other context. Most English names get misspelled, though, so that's hardly a vote against it.
I think Violetta and Serafina are the ones I've seen repeatedly on small girls in the US. They're also pronounced in pretty much the same way in Spanish, so i think they'll be very easy for Americans to pronounce correctly when seeing them. They might not get spelled reliably that way when heard (Seraphina is a little more common than Serafina, Violeta is about twice as common as Violetta) -- but ultimately most names have spelling variations and even the rare names without spelling variants can still get spelled in very interesting phonetic best-guess ways. "Serafina with an f" or "Violetta with two ts" are easy as far as spelling clarifications, and not at all a burden.
Celestina I think would get pronounced via Spanish pronunciation rules much more frequently, so I would only use it if you could be very zen about the Che- first syllable being pronounced as "Seh" almost all of the time. I think if you're able to use "Che-" yourselves but be unbothered if people at the doctor's office and the restaurant say "Seh-", then it's my favorite of your names. It's not a WRONG pronunciation, it's just a different language pronunciation, and one that reflects the dominant US languages of English and Spanish both. I have a brother named Jacob, whose name was pronounced differently "DSHAY-" vs "YAH-" in the first syllable depending on the language that someone was speaking. Both languages were used with fairly equal frequency in our home, he was the English pronunciation outside of home, and it was never even a little bit confusing to him as a lifelong US resident. I think it could maybe be a harder sell if you don't actually speak Italian... some people might switch to CHE- in response to your pronunciation, but some people might not.
I know a Chiara (my age) as well as a lot of Kiras and Keiras and Kieras, and the name is much less exciting to me than the other choices on your list, so I probably wouldn't find it worth the pronuncation hassle (I think people who see Chiara written out probably will say chee-AH-rah, as I did when I first encountered the name as a teen).
I like Afton, especially with this story behind your using the name.
I was aware of the Swedish word mostly from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, which were blockbusters written by a Swedish journalist (and featuring a Gary Stu protagonist). In the novels the Aftonbladet, the national evening newspaper, regularly features by name. (Characters are always reading the Aftonbladet or there's discussion of what the coverage in the Aftonbladet is.) I was curious and looked it up and the name indeed means "evening paper", and "blatt" is the German word for leaf/sheet so I assumed the Afton part was the evening bit.
It's long been a female-leaning unisex name, with periodic male use... so I think it's absolutely fine for both a boy and a girl.
I might personally opt for a less gender neutral middle name, but I also think that it's fine as you proposed it as Afton Lee, too: I know that there's an increasing interest in not conflating sex and gender, and thus there's a philosophical movement behind just naming a baby a name that can be their name regardless of what their gender identity ends up being.
The name really surged in 1981-1983 for girls in particular: any thoughts about the trigger? Did a recording of the song come out then? (ETA: ha, found it! There was a female character with the name on Dallas in that time period: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afton_Cooper )
The Roberts surprise me, too... and I have a Rupert, which is basically the same name, but something about Robert comes across as very surprising, even as I live in an area with lots of Walters and Winstons and other fusty names. I wonder how many are III or IV!
Well spotted. As of last month, Laura Wattenberg isn't with BabyNameWizard.com anymore -- she's still coming out with the fourth edition of the Baby Name Wizard book in the spring, but she's no longer affiliated with the website.
However, Laura is working on a new website because she hasn't in fact retired from name-blogging. In the meantime, you can follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Baby-Name-Wizard-author-Laura-Wattenberg-567131097095255/) or on twitter (https://twitter.com/BNW).
Adorable toddler mispronunciations either are outgrown but fondly remembered *or* they stick and become enjoyable family nicknames. My 23-month-old was tasked with announcing the name of his new baby sister to grandparents and it was adorable/hilarious. I wish "Baby Tamvina" had stuck around longer as an ongoing nickname!
I agree that your rationales are totally perfect middle name origin stories, and also that your entire name odyssey totally counts as interesting backstory!
I'm so happy that the fourth go-round of naming has been the easiest, and I can't wait to hear the conclusion, but only after you round out the rest of the trimester in good health.
I like a lot of consonant clustery premature revivals (my son has a porch sitter name with three consonants clustered in the middle), and there are definitely boomer hits that I would be delighted to see in a baby (Judith!). That said, Barbara isn’t a name I particularly like - something about which consonants and the repetition plus the obvious link to Barbarian isn’t my favorite (and I love Conan the Barbarian in all incarnations).
Keira is a name that’s kind of played out for me but I do know a little one with the name (different spelling).
Both are fine names, but I’m not deeply enthused about either. In a binary choice I’d pick Barbara but that would hinge on greater availability of nicknames.
I really don't think the turtles are even a small problem, so I'm excited for your boy name list!
On the girl side, Clementine is a great addition. I think the song is likely to come up occasionally -- it's a favorite request by my kids when we have to wait somewhere, the somewhat morbid nature appeals to them, the emphasis on first-aid appeals to me ("Now you cub scouts, there's a moral, to this little tale of mine, artificial respiration could have saved my Clementine."). Be glad you're never stuck in line before me! But I think it's totally a great and usable name.
Our middle names were drawn using a very specific algorithm that involved honor names from the non-gestationally-connected family members, selecting specifically more commonplace names that are in keeping with current trends. This allows our kids, who have weirder first names, to have a middle name that can serve as a 'backup', but I also just generally like stylistic contrast between first and middle names. If I had given less controversial first names, I'd have been interested in using the middle name spot for more big statement-type names.
However, I think my overall middle name advice is that I really like the middle name spot to carry some kind of meaning: whether that's a family member being honored or a historical or literary figure admired or a statement about religion or other values or a virtue (Aletheia?) or a name specifically referencing a place or experience that's important in your relationship or whatever. Whatever it is, I like for the middle name to have some enjoyable stories to tell behind it. It's less a name in daily use so I think of middle names as being less about asthetics and how the name rolls off your tongue but more about your ability to use it as a touchstone for telling tales, about family history or otherwise. Even if you are using the middle name spot to stash your "second favorite" names instead, you could try to see what kinds of good backstories you can retroactively create.
Oh, me too on the thinking it was peri-DOH. Time to spend more time at the jewellers for both of us! I do like it, it's a great choice!
My kids are constantly squabbling about things being NOT FAIR so I would find it of utmost importance to have an honoring name for the second-born, ideally also a family honor name.
Looking further afield for non-Petra honor names for Peter seems like a good time to mention that I really love Petrichor, both as a thing (it's the ozone-rich smell after a rain) and also as a word. It is not in current use as a name as far as I know (it could certainly be used at lower rates than 5 births/year), but I think it would be make a great, if very unconventional middle name, when paired with a very timeless classic in the first name.
ETA: hold the presses, someone used it in Alberta! http://www.nancy.cc/2017/07/25/popular-baby-names-alberta-2016/
Further ETA: it should be noted that this is a character in the popular space-opera graphic novel Saga, which is probably why it felt namey to me!
I think it is a dialect thing in part, but some of it is also that purple encompasses a range of colors.
violeta is, well, violet — bright reddish purple like the flower. morado is a deeper duskier more berry-like purple (it’s referencing the name of a berry). Lila is lilac, so a pale pastel purple. It’s an issue of which one you want to think of as the default catch-all category name to cover the post-blue color in the rainbow, and that’s I think where dialects start to matter more. (Orange the fruit was blessed by being the only reference point — I think the color designation didnt exist until oranges were introduced into English, before that color was just a subcategory of red.)
Púrpura is also a more reddish purple, so could be more of a synonym for violeta, buy I think it’s more archaic — used to discuss that purple of robes made from that endangered mollusc in Roman times to signal nobility. Purpur is used in German in the same way — i know a nursery song that use it to refer to the robe of a mushroom but it’s definitely a more archaic term not in daily use like when your kid is throwing a fit that he wants the purple cup.
i feel like a sorry substitute for Miriam in this post!
Ah excellent! I definitely learned violeta in middle school, maybe that it was in also sometimes called púrpura in high school, and where I live now I more often hear morado (the local Latino community derives in large part from two very specific Mexican communities). I think lila was encountered in literature classes in college, and as such I wasn't sure if it was archaic or very flowery (literally) language, or whether it was actually in regular circulation as a major color name (the way it definitely is in German).
This is a very concerning notion that I needed to investigate immediately. It turns out my kids all confidently know each others' middle names. Perhaps your children are less frequently naughty so you do not need to use their full names for emphasis as often?
I know, we were all dumbfounded... but it made so much more sense when we realized it was the opening to a fart joke.
I definitely grew up knowing who Hypatia was, but some of the other obscure philosopher names I've encountered have been learned only when I encountered them on a young child. However, I suspect this was definitely because my teachers were steering me as a young female math nerdling to encounter the maximum number of female math role models, so I appreciate that this probably isn't represented.
I do think you might hit the name on the head with the concern about cultural appropriation... it's hard to say where to draw the line on that issue. At the time OF Hypatia her culture was definitely a dominant ruling culture, which would make me less concerned about appropriation concerns... plus, as you said, she's such a strong dominant association, and I'm with you that this feels like it should make it less of a concern, but that doesn't mean it's irrelevant either.
I also wonder whether the situation surrounding her death complicates things. She was Pagan but taught Christian students as well and I don't think there's any evidence that she had a particular grudge against them, but she was advising one member involved in a political feud and then as a result of the political intrigue she ended up being killed by a mob of angry Christians. Her death then caused a period of greater resistance to Christianity, and if the circumstances of her death mean she's seen more as a symbol of resistance to Christianity rather than excellence and teaching in mathematics, that might make reviving her name a harder sell.
Thanks for the food for thought, gretai. I think my cultural appropriation musings might need to get their own thread in Names and Society.
As for whether the sound is pleasing to the ear, that's definitely a "de gustibus non est disputandum" matter. I think it's lovely, though!
I wouldn't use Lila: not only does it repeat the strong I sound and the L, but it's also a word for "purple" in German and maybe also in use in Spanish along with morado and violeta... and in any case even just in English, it's very close to Lilac, another purple flower.
I think that using another V- name does create the effect that you were going for a matched set, letter-wise, especially since Simon and Scott are very different name styles to me. Two's a coincidence, three and four is a pattern. I think that's neither reason to do it nor to avoid it, just something to be aware of.
Have you tried using the Matchmaker on this site, perhaps to give your husband long lists to surf through?