Duana Names: We’re Not Playing

April 20, 2016 21:15:50 Posted at April 20, 2016 21:15:50
Duana Posted by Duana
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Hi Duana,

My partner and I have been avoiding the "name game" like the plague. We cannot see eye to eye. We live in a bilingual part of the country, so a bilingual name is a must.

With my first born, I waved the white flag right after I had given birth and my partner named our son Jack. It's a lovely name, don't get me wrong, but with the popularity of Jax/Jaxon/Jackson's in our neighbourhood, I didn't want my first born to be one of 7 Jack's in his class. Turns out, he is. I also have a stepson named Loïc. His name is difficult to pronounce. Not one English speaking person I know can say it properly without months of practice. He, also, is one of 4 in his class with this name.

We unexpectedly got pregnant with our third baby, and I'm due at the end of April. We don't know the sex, which makes the name fight even harder.

Because I have a very popular name from the 80's and 90's, and my partner as well, I've always strayed away from the generic, overused, uninventive names. Also, we both have longer first names, that we like our kids to have short, to the point names. Partially so that when we inevitably get mad at them when they're older, we don't have to take a deep breath before doing so.

My list for girls are Miri, Romy and Cali. And for boys; Axel, Milo, Phoenix and Brixton. Obviously, my partner has vetoed all but Axel. I like names that don't end with an "ah" (sorry!). His choices are Noah and Stella. That's it. That's as creative as he's gotten. This is also the same names he had with the last baby.

We don't want a name that writes differently in french from english, nor do we want one that you can say and easily butcher in either language (my poor stepson has yet to hear his name pronounced properly by anyone on my side of the family). The last name is hyphenated, so it's important that the name is short.

I'm running out of time, and I have to come up with a solid argument when it comes to naming our new baby. Please please PLEASE help !

___

I have excellent grammar (cue grammar nerds uncapping their metaphorical red pens), despite never having a grammar lesson that I can remember during school. I learned everything I know about grammar either by osmosis through voracious reading, or via my mother ripping my school essays to shreds.

“Mom, grammar doesn’t even COUNT! Nobody knows what that IS!”
“Grammar always counts.”

She’s right, of course. And (!) now that I’m a grammar nerd myself, I’ve always wanted to diagram a sentence, all circles and sideways and whatnot. You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder did for her exams?

All this to say I feel like I need to diagram and parse your email.  But since my photoshop skills are not strong, I hope you’ll allow me to cut and paste in lieu.

So, first things first: the wish list.

We live in a bilingual part of the country, so a bilingual name is a must…We don't want a name that writes differently in french from english, nor do we want one that you can say and easily butcher in either language

Okay. Got it. Entirely reasonable. But then it gets a bit more complicated.

Because I have a very popular name from the 80's and 90's, and my partner as well, I've always strayed away from the generic, overused, uninventive names.

But also:

With my first born, I waved the white flag right after I had given birth and my partner named our son Jack. It's a lovely name, don't get me wrong, but with the popularity of Jax/Jaxon/Jackson's in our neighbourhood, I didn't want my first born to be one of 7 Jack's in his class. Turns out, he is. I also have a stepson named Loïc. His name is difficult to pronounce…He, also, is one of 4 in his class with this name.

Let’s start here:

Waved the white flag…
I didn’t want my first born to be one of 7 Jacks in his class. Turns out, he is…
[Loic], also, is one of 4 in his class with this name…

Am I imagining things, or are you a little disappointed by this…to the point where you don’t think it’s possible to find a name that fits all the requirements? I will admit that the bit about Loïc threw me for a second—not that I don’t believe that Anglophones have trouble with the name and that he’s one of four in his class,  but two at once is a bit of a challenge. 

Still, I don’t want you to think it can’t be done. There are names that will make you happy and be pronounceable and somewhat distinctive…but given that other parents in your city/region may have the same goals, some creativity is in order.

Point the next:

I've always strayed away from the generic, overused, uninventive names…

My list for girls are Miri, Romy and Cali. And for boys; Axel, Milo, Phoenix and Brixton. Obviously, my partner has vetoed all but Axel.

This might be a moot point, since your partner has nixed all these names, but while I agree that Miri and Romy and Phoenix fit your criteria, Milo and Cali and especially Brixton (which seems like a variation of ‘Brayden’, despite having existed before) are very, very well known in certain parts of the country, so you might be surprised to find them more common than you think.

But there’s another problem here…

I like names that don't end with an "ah" (sorry!)…

His choices are Noah and Stella. That's it…

I don’t think this flies with me. You don’t like names that end in ‘ah’, and…he’s supplied two of them. Nope. This doesn’t play. Particularly since, if I understand correctly, you didn’t name Jack or Loïc. Obviously I’ve said before that just dividing the kids all one-for-you-one-for-me-Parent-Trap-style is something only a very few couples can handle, but I think you can afford to pull a little rank here. If you don’t like names ending in ‘ah’ (no offense taken), you shouldn’t have children named that. Tell your partner you don’t like them, and that he’ll have to come up with others that don’t end in ‘ah’. Don’t run to him with a million names for him to reject.

But having said that...here are a few that, it seems to me, fit your specifications.

Adele. Daphne. Agnes. Lucy? I love Lucy, we all agree that it’s charming, and then it seemed as though everyone colluded and agreed it had gone too big too fast…but I don’t know a lot of little Lucys. If you do, hit me up. 

If some of these feel ‘common’, or uncreative, how about Cleo? Juliet? Frances? Edie? Phoebe? Odette? Shea?

For boys, and in keeping with your boys whose names are short and relatively straightforward, how about Luke…or Luc, which I don’t think will be too difficult for the Anglophone reader? Hugo? Levi? Felix? (Is there no letter for which Felix is not a legitimately good suggestion?) Oscar? Or if these feel too ‘straight’, and remembering that Axel is still a contender, how about Zane? Otto? Roman? Cy(rus)? Reeve? Or what about Tate, which I can’t imagine would be a problem to pronounce, even though it’s overtly English?

Overall, though, you have to believe you can find the kind of name you want, and not shrug that you’ll go with Noah because at least it’s short. You know? You don’t have to play the ‘OMG so much anxiety over names’ game, but you should very much believe you can find one that both you and your partner love.

Let me know!
 

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