I'm having a baby and we're talking about names.  We used to have a 1st choice girl's name, Louella.  I really like the idea of calling my daughter Lulu or Lou when she's little, but also not sticking her with a childish name for life.  Recently, my husband's brother had a daughter and named her Ella, so Louella is now out of the picture.  I still like the Lulu idea, and have been looking at other options: Lucy, Emmylou (or Emilou) and Louie.  Any thoughts on these names?

The middle name will likely be Belle, as we're going with our grandparents names.

Another caveat - the name has to be pronounceable in French.

We're having a hard time picking a boy's name, but we know the middle name will be Roland.  We like TH names, like Theodore, Thelonius, and Thurston.  Any other ideas?



Hey N,

Am I missing something?  I read your letter over and over again, wondering if I’d missed the part where you said that you disliked Louise or Louisa -- both uber-chic names, and Louise is very, very French -- but you never wrote that.  So, provided you don’t have horrible memories of a junior high bitch with this name or something, isn’t it the more obvious choice?  Certainly fits your qualifications of not having her have a childish name, and to me, is more substantial than Emilou or Louie, both of which still seem like nicknames.

I like Lucy too, a lot, and here’s why.  Lucy works on all types of girls.  I remember something recently where people were like “try to choose a name that doesn’t predetermine your child’s path”, i.e. if you have an Allegra and she doesn’t turn out to be lithe and graceful but stocky and awkward, she might feel she doesn’t “fit” her name (see also the ubiquitous “Grace”.  What if she’s clumsy?)

Lucy can be anyone,  though, and I love her.  If you want to formal it up a little, I never minded Luciana, which is formalish without being OTT.  One more underused option I like -- if you’re really feeling like you loved the rhythm of Louella, how about Lorella?  For some reason that “R” makes it sound less like “ella”, and “Lo” or “Lolo” is a cute nickname too.

As for the boy’s name, you’ve done well already, though beware, there are a LOT of would-be parents of Theos in my inbox – it might be the next Aidan (shudder).  If you want more options there’s Thatcher and Thaddeus, but all work well, except maybe for Thurston Roland, which was hard to get my mouth around.

Let me know!