Hi Duana, I'm pregnant with my second child. First is a girl - Nola Adele. We aren't sure what we're having, but used to favour the name Brynn for a girl; however, that is out since she'd have the unfortunate initials of B.O.  For a boy, we both like the name Cole, but haven't a clue about a middle name (perhaps Andrew after my Grandfather). And I'm not convinced that would be "the" name. Please offer me some suggestions for boys and girls. We're both of European descent, and seem to lean towards names from the UK. Nothing biblical please. Thank you!

And then:

Just giving you an update on our name situation. Due to some unforeseen complications, we now know 100% what we're having - a girl!  I think we're leaning toward the following names: Siena (our first daughter is named Nola Adele and we thought it might be cute to go with the name of another Italian town/city) or Alice. I prefer Siena and my husband prefers Alice. I just think Alice is getting a bit too popular. I've also toyed around with the middle name of Jessie (my Grandma's name).

Anyways, looking forward to your input!


This letter writer’s update also let me know her dates had been moved up by a week. I know babies aren’t exactly precise and you can yell at your doctors if they wind up being early, but it doesn’t suck to work around.

So, a daughter to go with Nola. I don’t mind Siena – I think it’s unusual, pretty, and kind of ‘goes’ with Nola, but I think you’ll be correcting the spelling all the time, from the (correct) spelling of the colour Sienna to the also correct spelling of the city. Even though I know why you chose the single-n spelling, I think the double-n is more recognizable.

Alice is more recognizable overall, though maybe not as popular as you think. I feel as though there were a lot of people who discussed Alice – but then decided they’d prefer to use it as a middle name, or for a girl they never had, or some other reason why it’s discussed a lot, but used less than we might expect. I don’t think you should worry, unless you personally know some Alices, that it’s going to be so popular.

One thing you should note is that, partly because of Sienna Miller and partly because of the colour, Siena may seem newer and trendier than it actually is. That is, I believe it qualifies as a name, of course, but it may seem sort of new-agey and out-there, similar to calling your child Indigo or Peridot, in a way Alice patently does not.

But ultimately I think Sien(n)a has a similar flavour to Nola, and I think it’s a name you’ll feel better about choosing. Like I’ve said before, nobody regrets choosing an unusual name, they usually regret going the other way and not pushing hard enough. I think Siena will sit beautifully where you want it to. Some other ideas include Tessa (I prefer Taissa even more) or Aviva or Cordelia, or maybe something like Meryl or Bevan or Imogen if you really like not ending with a vowel sound.   There’s a UK thread through a lot of these names without feeling too posh-private school. Also, for what it’s worth, I was on an Alicia Keys kick this week. I love ‘You Don’t Know My Name’. THAT is a music video (although, has Alicia Keys ever shot a video not in the dead of winter?).  But I was thinking that Alicia has sort of unfairly fallen out of favour. It’s a sprightlier, less-staid version of Alice that shouldn’t be relegated to the grown-up bin just because it’s been the name of a Good Wife these last several years.

Let me know what you choose (and when she arrives!).