September 29th, 2011
Siobhán’s been in touch with me lately but didn’t want me to post anything until the baby was here. After much suspense, she gave birth this morning to a beautiful baby boy! Many congratulations from the whole YCCII clan. He still, however, needs a name.
I would absolutely love your help, and the help of your readers in choosing a name for my second son, who arrived earlier today!
My partner and I have a two year old son named Luca Cy B– – –well (two syllable English surname), and while I’m not a fan of matchy-matchy names, I would love any siblings, including this baby, to have names that sit nicely together as a sibset.
As such, I considered several other European names, and have settled on the name Remy (pronounced ‘Rem-ee’ – I’m still trying to decide whether should add the French accent to the ‘e’ or not, and would love your thoughts).
Other names that I shortlisted early on include Rafferty, Rafael/Raphael, Aurélien/Aurelius, Roman, Etienne, Clement, Florian, Cassius, Caspar, Aubrey, Tobias, Tobias, Eero, Miro and Olmo, to give you an idea of the style of names I like, and all of these could now be middle name possibilities.
While I’d love your opinion on my first name choice, I would especially love to get some thoughts on my shortlist of middle names, as these seem to be proving particularly difficult. Originally, I had planned to give this baby only one middle name, as I did with my firstborn son, however I have been seriously thinking about adding another middle name to my son’s existing name (my current favourites are Luca Cy Theodore or Luca Cy Maxim, but I’d love other suggestions…), and as such, I think I would like to give this baby and any future children two middle names.
I’d like to find names that somehow tie together or bridge a European first name and an English surname. My shortlist of middle names to go with Remy includes:
Lucian** (or Lucien)
Maxim / Maxime
Clement or Clemént / Clemente
**I absolutely adore the name Remy Lucian, but wonder if it would be odd to give my newborn son a middle name that’s so close to my first son’s name, Luca (even though they apparently have different etymologies)? Originally, I had wanted to name my first son Lucian and use Luca as a nickname, but my partner refused, and I’ve always grieved the loss of that name, hence why I’d love to use it now! But I’m open to hearing other people’s (honest) opinions about this, as well as thoughts on each of the middle names mentioned above. Oh, and please don’t be too influenced by the fact that my son has a very short middle name, as most of the middle names I like for this and future babies tend to be longish, so Cy will just have to be the odd name out (we chose Cy after the late American painter Cy Twombly, a favourite artist of mine, and I would love to use Lucian as a tribute to Lucian Freud, another favourite artist…). Also, I really love the Lucian spelling, but wonder if Lucien flows better next to Remy, given that both names are French…
While it’s by no means essential that I use family names as middle names, the one person I would like to honour in naming each of my children is my youngest sister Mairead, who died suddenly four years ago. As she died in quite tragic circumstances, however, I feel uncomfortable using her actual name, but would like to honour her in some other way… One reason I named my son Luca was because he was born shortly after my sister’s death, and his name means ‘bringer of light’, which felt very significant at that time. My sister was a philosopher/lecturer, whose main area of study and teaching was ancient Greek philosophy, and who was obsessed with anything Greek-related, and this is why I thought Theodore could make a good additional middle name for Luca, and why it could be nice to have a Greek influence somewhere in each name I choose for any other children. I am also open to hearing other name suggestions that could honour my sister in some way.
So… some of the name combinations that I’m considering for my son are:
Remy Lucian Atticus
Remy Lucian Aurelius
Remy Lucian Cassius
Remy Lucian Clement
Remy Lucian Caspar
Remy Lucian Casimir
Remy Aurélien Cassius
Remy Aurelius Clement
Remy Aurelius Maxim
Remy Aurelius Leon
Remy Etienne Casimir
Remy Leon Atticus
I would love to hear thoughts on the above, and welcome further suggestions on first and/or middle names, as well as name combinations.
I am as name-obsessed as everyone else who frequents YCCII, so I’m sure you can understand my desire to find the perfect name for our beautiful baby!!
Thanks so much for your help in advance!
Siobhán, I’m thrilled to welcome your son to the world, and absolutely smitten with your choice of Remy! Even though this is a middle name poll only, we still have much to discuss.
As for the accent in Remy, depending on what country you live in, you may not be able to include it on the birth certificate at all. I would go with your gut on this one, and what seems the most culturally appropriate to where he will grow up.
I’m afraid I won’t be the only one who is genuinely twitchy at the thought of LUCA Cy and Remy LUCIAN together. You said yourself you wanted to name Luca “Lucian”, but got vetoed. You chose Luca for a reason. For me that would mean that the ship had sailed on the name Lucian, which while according to scholars do derive from different sources (Luca being “from Lucania” and Lucian being “of light”, from the Latin lux) are awfully similar. Luca is also sometimes used as a nickname for Lucian. What if by chance, Remy found his name too feminine and wanted to go by a middle name some day? You would have sons Luca and Lucian. It’s much, much too similar. Plus, there’s such a wide variety of amazing names to choose from. If you do opt for this in the middle, note that the French spelling Lucien does have a different pronunciation, though English speakers will likely say them the same.
My condolences on the loss of your sister Mairead. I love that you want to honor her by choosing something she would have loved. We’ve featured several posts here offering a host of names inspired by Ancient Greece.
Remy needs robust, masculine names to balance out its softer feel. For this reason I would personally eliminate Etienne or use it third. Atticus, being a name of the moment, feels like too obvious a choice in this case. Artemis is a girl’s name. She was the goddess of the moon and of hunting, and Apollo’s twin. Apollo could be nice!
I advocate for Remy Aurelius Clement, a heavenly combo.
Raphael would be a nice tribute to your sister as well, with the meaning “God has healed.”
I also favor:
Remy Cassian Aurelius
Rémy Aurélien Cassius
Rémy Cassius Aurélien
Remy Casimir Leon
Remy Ulysses Leon
Remy Raphael Aurélien (love the alliteration here)
Remy Raphael Tobias
Remy Theodore Leon (again, the alliterative repetition in sounds is intentional)
Remy Magnus Casimir
Remy Casimir Hugo
Remy Maxime Theodore
Remy Tobias Hugo
For big brother, the combo Luca Cy Theodore is calling to me. Luca Cy Raphael would be lovely as well. Another thought– if you are changing his name anyway and you truly mourn the loss of Lucian, why not call him Lucian nn Luca as you had originally intended? For balance, his brother could be Remus nn Remy.
Readers, are Luca and Lucian too close for comfort for brothers, even if one is used in the middle?
Have you changed or added to a child’s name years after their birth? What was your experience?
What fabulous three name combos can you come up with for both Remy and Luca?
September 27th, 2011
The consultation bonanza continues, but this time we have twice as much work ahead of us because Amber is expecting twin girls. She writes:
I love reading your blog and am hopeful that you and your readers can help me! My husband and I are having a terrible time trying to come up with names for our twin girls. I love feminine, romantic names but want to stay away from anything too popular. We both love the name Charlotte, but I feel like every other baby that I encounter these days is named Charlotte. Another name that we are both fond of is Estelle. The problem with Estelle is that it was my Maternal Great Grandmother’s name and since I was very close to both my Maternal and Paternal Great Grandmothers I feel strange about honoring one and not the other (for the record Great Grandmother # 2′s name was Ethel Frances – I’m not a fan of Ethel and my husband doesn’t like Frances even for a middle name). I’m considering striking Estelle from the list for that reason alone.
Add in our extremely long, hard to spell-and-pronounce last name and I’m stumped. In light of the last name I feel like we should use something short and simple to spell but my heart is with longer, romantic names. Also to save you from having to Google, our last name is of Laotian decent and is pronounced Vong-sam-pon. My husband immigrated to the US as a child from Laos and I’m an American “mutt” so our children will be half Asian, half Caucasian.
For additional info, names that I love but have been vetoed include Claudia and Colette. Names that are still on our “long list” include Adia, Alice, Blair, Danica, Noelle, Paige. They are all fine names – I just don’t LOVE any of them. Any advice or suggestions you have would be so appreciated! Thank you so much!!
We are still far from agreement but we have found that we really like Rose as a first name. I’ve also come up with the name Faith to be used to honor my Paternal Great Grandmother as she was very religious. I’m not a big fan of Faith as a first name, but by using it as a middle name I feel like I can keep Estelle on the table. Anyway, like I said, we are still miles away from a decision but those are the latest names we’ve hit on. Hope you are doing great and thanks again!
Amber I’m so glad you have come to us. Congratulations on your impending babes! What fun that we get to live vicariously through you as you get to name two little ladies at once. But perhaps it’s not all fun and games for you. Let’s see if we can parse this out.
There are actually three names that SCREAM out at me from reading your letter. Charlotte, Estelle, and Rose. You both love these names as first names, right? That’s huge! Don’t discount your favorites just because on may be getting popular. This is the name that you’re going to be calling your child every day for the rest of her life, the name that she will always live with and introduce herself as. For you both to love the name Charlotte is nothing short of monumental. It sounds great with either Rose or Estelle, and I think it’s one to keep on the list.
You also both love Rose as a first name. It’s a very common middle as you probably know, but as a call name? Highly underused. It’s recognizable the world over and it’s one syllable is brilliant with your lengthy foreign surname. Another winner.
Third, you both love Estelle. Why look elsewhere? You have me wishing triplets on you. I completely understand wanting to honor both your great-grandmothers and think that’s definitely still possible in the middle. If you honored one girl with Estelle, would you honor the other with Faith in the middle?
You said you didn’t love the name Faith, but because your grandmother was religious, feel it would be an appropriate homage to her. Are there other names that might honor her equally well that you actually love? For example, Faye and Fidelity both represent faith, but you also might want to consider her birth month, stone, or flower. Is there anything else that she particularly loved that might represent her? Alternatively, does your husband have anyone on his side of the family he would like to honor?
Twins’ names are tricky. You want names that balance one another, but are decidedly different so as to help them craft their own identities. Estelle and Rose, Rose and Charlotte, or Charlotte and Estelle all work brilliantly. They are more eternally classic than some of the other names on your list (Blair and Paige come to mind). Alice from your long list works beautifully with your top choices too. I’m sorry your husband doesn’t like Frances.
Should you want to branch out beyond your top names, here are a few sweetly quaint names that might be a good match with your family.
Readers, what would you do in Amber’s situation? Has Charlotte reached its saturation point, or is it a classic that will stand the test of time? What name pairings do you like?
Illustration by Emily Finan
September 26th, 2011
Lots of pleas for help in the inbox this month culminate in one great week of consultations. To start, put your thinking caps on and let’s assist Alexandria in naming her third. She writes:
Hello Elisabeth!Thank you so much for your website. I’m a long time reader, but only now find myself in serious need of some baby-namin’ inspiration. And after pouring over your site for hours and hours, I’m so sure I’ve come to the right place. Here’s the situation:-My husband and I have two fab boys, Virgil Ephram and Hector Adrien, 5 and 2.5 respectively, and I am pregnant with our third. We’re so super psyched, and not so secretly crossing all our fingers and toes for a girl-But we’ve decided to not find out the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, so we’re trying to decide on names for a boy and a girl.-Some details about us and our naming style:-When we decided to give our first son the name Virgil, most people thought we were completely bonkers. We got, ‘Hahaha… but seriously, what’s his name?’s and “The poor kid…’s left and right and we just didn’t understand why. I mean sure, it’s a letter off from Virgin and it’s not terribly common, and we certainly took that into consideration and went back and forth a bit, but in the end we were just so in love with the name there really was no other option for us. We have zero regrets. At home we call him Virg (read like verge) affectionately but he goes by Virgil to everyone else and he wears his name very proudly for such a little guy. The story behind us choosing that is as simple as that, we just really loved it. Ephram is my father’s name.-Hector (Heck to us) was named for Hector of Troy, my most beloved literary character in all the literature I’ve ever read or studied (I literally weep over my book every time I read his death. I can’t even explain the connection I feel with him). Since I first read the Iliad as a girl I’ve wanted to have a son to call Hector. And I do, and his name suits him so perfectly. Adrienne is my husband’s mother’s so Adrien is in homage to her.-We love names from literature and myth, uncommon names, sturdy names. My husband’s last name is Armstrong. Some names we’ve been thinking about but simply aren’t in love with (asterisks next to the top contenders):-Girls: For a girl we want something feminine, but strong. Nothing too frilly and that fits in with the boys.Hero*CordeliaViolaEttaGaia*LaviniaValentinaPhebeConstanceOphelia-Boys: Again, something strong that goes with the boys.OrionSebastienLuca*Silas*RemusCorneliusDimitriOthelloPhinnaeus-I hope this gives you an idea of our tastes and what we’re looking for for our third-to-be.Any input is beyond appreciated.-Cheers,Alexandria
September 16th, 2011
Do you read the hopelessly creative and utopian blog, No Big Dill? The Dill family has five beautiful daughters: Divine, Pearl, Olive, Azure, and Clover, and mama just gave birth to their first son. As of today, he remains nameless.
Let’s help, shall we? They seem to have a predilection for nature names, but the names largely have Christian undertones to them (the family, like many of the most amazing bloggers out there, is Mormon). It will be interesting to see if the Dills keep with the same naming traditions they’ve gone with for their daughters, or if this being their only son will have them opt for a more traditional choice. Will they repeat initials for the first time?
Here are a few names that I feel would fit seemlessly into their crew. What do you think suits this child?
Theodore, nn Theo
July 26th, 2011
Here’s a query I bet many of you can relate to:
So I have a bit of a ‘name emergency’, if there is such a thing! I am pregnant with my first baby, sex unknown, due August 4th. My husband and I had roughly decided on a name or two for both a girl and a boy, but the events of the last week have thrown all that into question…
We have been settled on middle names for both a boy and a girl for some time now – “Brooke” if it’s a girl (the middle name of both my mother and myself, which I actually go by), and “Kennett” if it’s a boy (the name of my husband’s grandfather). Our last name is Bland, though I’d say we’re anything but!
First names, however, we’re struggling with! My husband hadn’t been too fussed about girl names in general; I’d narrowed my favorites down to Harper and Audrey and was leaning towards Harper. Until…you guessed it…Posh Spice chose that name for her baby!! <insert big sigh here> My one concern with Harper was that it was going to be the next Aidan, which I desperately don’t want, and now I’m feeling like that fear was well founded! So, while I still love Harper, I think it’s back to the drawing board. Some of the names I’d considered before narrowing the list to Harper and Audrey were Elyse, Catherine (Cate), and Piper (which my husband hates!). Since I’ve started looking for inspiration again, I’ve put Haven and Ellery on the list, though the hubby doesn’t seem to thrilled about those either! At the moment, there are *no* girl names that we even sort of agree on!
As far as boy names go, my husband has been telling everyone for almost the whole pregnancy that we’ll name a boy Clayton. And while I like Clayton alright (I’d want to call him ‘Clay’), I can’t say I *love* it. ”Clay Bland”? Just not sure about that. Some of the names I liked were Ethan (though wouldn’t use this…too popular!), Owen, Oliver, William (again, perhaps too popular), Graeme (though again, probably wouldn’t use this – “Graeme Bland” has too many similar phonemes for my speech pathologist self!). I came across the name Beckett the other day, which I love, but ‘Beckett Kennett’ clearly doesn’t work! So, again, I’m stumped. I feel like I can’t come up with something better than Clayton to sway the hubby, but I don’t really want to name our baby something I’m just so-so on! (if indeed it is a boy!)
I’m hoping to find something that’s not too common, but not too ‘out there’…if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! So glad I found your blog…it’s been a great reference!!!
Thanks so much!
Brooke, you’ve come to the right place. I know how agonizing this can be, and in the eleventh hour, for David and Victoria Beckham of all people to choose the name that you love? A travesty.
Regarding Harper specifically, you have to look into your heart for this one. In addition to the Beckhams, Tiffani Thiesen, Lisa Marie Presley, Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, and Eddie Vedder all have daughters by the same name (how’s that for a diverse list?) It is the celeb baby name du jour. But will you regret not choosing your favorite name? Every time you hear Harper, will there be a pang of sadness that you didn’t choose it for your daughter, or will you be grateful that you dodged the popularity bullet?
As far as boys’ names go, Oliver and Owen are great names to consider! William is forever a classic but Ethan may date. I agree that Clay Bland is all too “pottery studio” to be a great name. And best to avoid names that repeat the “ett” ending in Kennett.
Playing off the Western vibe of Clayton and the more traditional names on your list, here are some boy suggestions for you:
Since you’ve chosen the middle name Brooke for a daughter, you might want to avoid short one syllable names and anything nature-oriented. While I think Audrey, Elyse (prefer Elise), or Catherine would be perfectly serviceable and rather lovely names for your daughter, I take it you and your hubby need a new influx of ideas. I see your girl list going in different directions from the super classic (Catherine) to the terminally surnamey (Ellery) and I’ve tried to honor this with a list of crowd pleasers of different genres:
Girl Suggestions For You:
Readers, with the tricky surname Bland, what can you suggest that Brooke and her husband may like? Would you discard your favorite name for fear of it going the way of Aidan?
Illustration by Charley Harper
July 19th, 2011
Hi Elisabeth, my name is Nicola. My husband Francisco (Frankie) and I have four children and are currently expecting our fifth and six — boy/girl twins. Our oldest child is from my previous marriage and her name is Cherry Guadalupe, named for my ex’s mother Cherise and my grandmother Guadalupe. Together Frankie and I have Luis Francisco, Rafael Oscar, and Celesta Persephone. All three of our kids were named after family and friends.
With the twins, Frankie and I want to continue the theme of naming the babies after family and friends but we’ve almost run out of names that we like and wouldn’t mind having our children bear. With all of our other children, their names have some sort of correlation to their godparents’ names. Our son’s godparents are named Ronaldo Luis and Katherine Anne and our daughter’s godparents are named Michael Alessandro and Veta Narcisa.
For our son we thought about using Ronaldo’s intitials but incorporating Katherine’s name in some way. We really like the name Rey (spelled that way–not Ray) and Katherine (who is married to Ronaldo) has a maiden name of Leon Zayas. So, we feel that we should name our son Rey Leon Falto de Garcia. However, we don’t feel completely confident in his name and are still open to suggestions. We will consider other R names and also the idea of using Lorenzo as the middle name (Lorenzo is the hispanic version of Laurence, Katherine’s father’s name). We did consider Rey Lorenzo as well but feel that Rey Leon sounds nicer.
For our daughter we opted to not use any combination of initials but rather to use variants of her grandparent’s names to incorportate. We would like to incorporate my mother’s name, Rosalind, somehow though as well. For our daughter we are kind of considering giving her three names, two as her first and one as her middle. We decided that we would use Veta but we both like Veda better and we would also use Alessandra. So her name would be Veda-Alessandra Rosalind Falto de Garcia. You can see my concern in the fact that she would have an extremely long name and I am not sold on the whole hypenated first name. I have a very long name myself and it has always been a hassle between signing documents and getting documents mixed up due to the fact that they had the wrong first and last name, etc. It’s really just not something I want my daughter dealing with. I really don’t want to omit Alessandra from the name but we really also want to use Veda and Rosalind or some variant of Rosalind.
If you could help us in deciding on a name for our son and shortening the name of our daughter, it would mean the world to us! They will be here shortly and thinking about them entering the world without definite names is a scary thought for us. We appreciate your help so very much, thank you!
Oh and I mentioned that Cherry is from a previous marriage to clear the air that her name is in fact not Cherry Falto de Garcia — or Cherry Garcia! Her last name is actually just one name, she dodged a bullet on that one!
July 13th, 2011
Readers, this has been an exciting week for baby births! Not only was there a slew of celebrity births, but we’re having a little boom ourselves here at YCCII.
Caitlin and Coral both wrote to me separately to announce the births of their sons and I wanted to share the news with those of you who so kindly helped name them. Remember the case of Virgil and the Young Hunter debate? This is what they went with:
Our baby boy was (finally!) born last week, and I wanted to update you on what we decided to call him. After much stressing and indecision, we finally settled on a name that we had ruled out early on, August Robert Hunter. We waited to meet him before naming him, and he just looks like and truly is a Gus. It doesn’t create a nice sibset, but it is a name my husband and I both love. Part of what I took from the consultation that was really helpful was that most everyone said that we should choose a name that we both really love. The other names we liked (Virgil and July), though lovely, both gave us pause for various reasons. And while I don’t like the way August sounds with Silas, I figure he won’t be referred to with his brother for his whole life! Thank you for all your help and the help of the commenters.
Gus is a fabulous, calm baby and his big brothers Arlo and Silas just dote on him, they love to hold and help with “little baby Gus.” We call him “no-fuss Gus”, he is such a sweetie!
Ladies, many congratulations on your new additions. I feel honored to have been part of the naming process, and am thrilled you went with choices you love. They’re fantastic (you’re both making me want a third by the way).
If you too would like a name consultation, please write youcantcallitit (at) gmail (dot) com. Please note public consultations are booked through the beginning of August.
June 15th, 2011
Natalie Portman has finally had her baby (I’m sure the wait seemed even more interminable to her than to us). The wait to hear the name however, may be another eight days. Portman and Millepied are Jewish, and as per tradition, the child is not named until a bris performed after the birth.
For their baby boy, I’m thinking traditional. Natalie is highly educated and has nothing to prove. The French have a tendency to be unadventurous when it comes to names (different is perceived by some as gauche).
Jewish names that work in French and English:
From France’s top of the charts, Natalie might be drawn to:
For a more unexpected choice, YCCII recommends:
Millepied incidentally means “1000 feet”, and could not be more appropriate for this dancer. Perhaps their son will inherit the family trait.
What do you hope Natalie and Benjamin choose, and perhaps more importantly, what do you hope they DON’T choose?