Hi Duana,

My husband and I are struggling a bit to brainstorm names for our first babychild. We have some parameters: We are loosely naming him or her after my mother, so we're going to use one of her three initials (D, C, and F) as the first letter of the name. The middle name will be my mother-in-law's maiden name, which is fortunately cool and starts with "K" (two syllables).

We're leaning towards Felix for a boy. My husband loves it and I like it very much, but am open to suggestions.

For a girl, we're considering a few options but have not been totally enthusiastic about any one of them: Delilah (Lilah for short), Fiona (I like this more than my husband does, possible nicknames Fi and Oona), Camila (Mila for short), Cleo (concerns about potential nicknames related to female genitalia) and Daisy (this is not a serious contender anymore as we both feel it's too cute, but just want to give you an idea of what we've been thinking).

We're pretty stumped. We both like unique-ish names that aren't too out there, and while we like old fashioned names we don't want it to be too trendy or too fanciful.

Would love to hear your thoughts/suggestions. Thank you!


Love Felix for a boy. It’s one of my current loves. But beware – a lot of people are loving it. It’s about to crop up all over, so if that bothers you, my C & D alternate suggestions are Cashel and Duncan. Duncan! Why this name is not #3 on the charts, I don’t know. If you want another F name, how about the delightful Fergus?

But that’s not what you asked for. You asked for girl names, and I’m a little dumbfounded because there is such an embarrassment of riches of girls’ names of all stripes. There’s nothing wrong with any of the choices you’ve mentioned (though I’m giving some serious side-eye to a couple of your nicknames) but let’s see if we can do better.

I promise nobody is going to call Cleo by a part of her anatomy. Other places, other nicknames – but listen, the bigger issue is that nobody knows that word to begin with, right? I’m joking. Cleo is, in and of itself, a nickname – are you going to call her Cleopatra? Cliona? And I’d propose Camille instead of Camila – simpler, and you can still get the nickname you want. 

But there’s a wider world out there. Here are a few that I think fit your description:

Caprice is a matter of taste, but quite lovely. Cecilia and Cecily are utterly in vogue and, depending which one you choose, have an air of piousness or sassiness around them. Is Cordelia your thing? I feel like this is the kind of name that’s considered by many but chosen by few; however, I also kind of feel that you’d delight in the nickname “Cordy”. Thoughts? Also I’m selling Cosima to so many people so hard that I might create a mini-boom –but I love it and cannot, will not, apologize.

D is harder, and I should know, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems. Daphne is a longtime favourite of mine – Daph lends itself so easily to the kinds of nicknames you want. If not, maybe Deirdre? Oooh, how about Dasha? You could always borrow from the woman formerly known as Ms. Guynes and choose Demetria – thoughts?

F might be my favourite, though. I have no problem with Fiona getting so popular – it’s a great name. But don’t neglect some of the other awesomes. Federica? I know, it sounds like a mouthful and there’s the “don’t you mean Frederica” thing (which would also be fine). But it’s so lovely and you can choose Freddie or Rica if you need to do the nickname thing, even though I think I would be rolling Federica off my tongue for all I was worth. Florence? People are really into Flo these days, even if I think that one’s more likely to have some creative nicknaming about it. Francesca? Fionnuala? I know it’s another long one, but I also know some parents would die of happiness if they could call a girl Finn, so there you go, there’s my gift to you.  Fabienne? You know Fabienne is amazing.

You’re going to email and let me know, right?