Friday, July 5, 2013

top five: baby girl names I'm not using

I'm back with another top five list - this time, to share some of the names I'm in mourning over not being able to use for our soon-to-be baby girl #2.

The first time around, Jason and I spent a few weeks gathering names we liked (using sites like really helped) before we found out if we were having a boy or a girl. Once we knew, we each took the girl list and reflected on it independently - and, about a week later, we wrote down our top two names from that list and shared them with each other. Lorelei appeared on both of our "top twos" so we were set!

This time? Not nearly so easy. We've had a hard time agreeing on names to put on our "master list" in the first place. Part of the problem is that we both have lots of rules about names we will or won't consider. I won't even think about a name that's in the top 150 from the social security list and want a name that sounds pretty but isn't overly frilly. Jason insists on a name that people will easily recognize as a "real name" and won't have anything to do with a name that ends with "a."

Neither of us like it when people name their babies something that sounds cute but won't age well - and we were amused to discover that, when picking our favorite names, we both picture a 20-something grad student in English literature to see if it "fits" her. Unfortunately, we both have different ideas about what works: Jason imagines such a person being named Alice, while that name to me conjures up an overweight 50-something waitress at a greasy spoon diner slinging hash onto your plate and tapping her foot impatiently when you ask for more coffee.

So here are the top five girls' names that Jason will never agree to and why:

1. Celia - I love this name for its simple beauty and literary connections, plus I think it sounds lovely paired with Lorelei as a sister set. Jason once had a close relationship with someone named this and, since it's somewhat unusual, says he'd have a hard time not thinking about that person as a result (as opposed to a name like Emily or Jennifer that a bunch of people you know have).

2. Willa - Same basic reasons as Celia. I was surprised and a little sad when Keri Russell recently chose it for her daughter because I was worried that it would suddenly become popular as a result. But Jason ruled it out immediately because it ends with an "a" and, further, follows the same pattern as our last name: consonant + vowel + double consonant + a, which he felt was too sing-songy.

3. Linnea - a name I've loved since childhood (did you ever read Linnea in Monet's Garden?). Jason's reasoning is basically the same as for Willa.

4. Imogen - I have a soft spot for British names and this one is particularly unusual in this country, which puts it pretty high on my list of favorites. Jason says no one would ever be able to pronounce it properly.

5. Maeve - a beautiful Irish name that we both love, actually. But a new little baby born to an acquaintance of mine is named this, and in our small town it would be too much to have two girls sharing such an unusual name, so we decided we can't use it.

Any of you want to share the names you love but can't use for a child? Or are you holding out hope that you'll someday be able to make use of them?


  1. If you love the name Maeve, don't not use it just because somebody else snagged it first. Most of your daughter's life will NOT be spent in your small town, and she will carry her name with her wherever she goes!

  2. Totally agree with PJ! If you love the name for your child, use it! Not only does it really not matter if she shares it with a friend, but how COOL to have the same name as your best bud anyway!? :)

  3. My husband and I have been dating since we were 15 (we're almost 30 now). One of our first dates was spent discussing names for our future kids, and we settled then on Ethan for a boy. That was before it was popular, when we knew it from one of our favorite actors in old 1990's teen movies no one has likely heard of. Of course, we had our son in June 2011 when Ethan was at the top of the popularity lists but I just couldn't part with it or find a name I loved more, so we went with it. We run into a few Ethan's here and there, but so far it's not as bad as I thought. I'm a Lindsay and back in elementary school, I was always one of 2, 3 or sometimes 4 Lindsay's in a class. So far I think my Ethan is spared from that, at least.

    I really, really like Hebrew names like Abram, Abraham, Chaia, Yael, Avi, etc. but my husband absolutely refuses to entertain the thought. I think they're so classic and beautiful sounding. I live in South Florida near the Boca Raton area, so we are mostly Jewish around here and those names are strangely popular. Ethan had two Avi's in his mommy and me class once and two little girls named Yael. So I live vicariously through those parents! ;)

  4. When I was pregnant with Ezra before we found out he was a he, we could not decide on the same girl's name. I was set on Hazel June but he hates the name Hazel. If our next babe is a girl we'll have some more to discuss. We seem to come by boys names much more easily. I love older names myself. What about Eleanor? Or Penelope? Olive? Poppy?

  5. I love Imogen, too, and kept trying to slip it back onto the list when we were deciding on a name for Annabelle, thinking maybe Andrew would forget he had already vetoed it and it would magically grow on him from repeat exposure. My writing of the make Paulina in random and conspicuous places was due to a similar hope early in my pregnancy with Elliot. Neither trick works! I'm so eager to hear what you do end up naming this sweet little girl!

  6. I am far far away from having babies but I have a whole list of baby names that I love. Lorelai is actually on my list! But who knows if I'll ever be able to use them or not.

  7. What a great list! Where did you come up with all of them? I saw a book reference. I adore unusual/less common names, so of course your list had me swooning, Courtney! :) I think Imogen is really precious (all of them, really) and what's with the name pronouncing being difficult? Imogene Heap is pretty popular, no? Is that just in my "world"? haha Also, the "a" thing at the end of the name is so funny to me. I'm picky too, but aren't al parents in some way or another? All the best in choosing the perfect name!