Hi Duana

This may be an unusual request in that we've already picked both of our names. My boyfriend and I ended on a stellar boy name after some dicey negotiating that included a serious bid from him for Hedwig (for a boy...). The girl name was much easier. My family has this awesome tradition of passing down maternal names. I'm the fifth generation Catherine so my daughter will be the sixth generation Katherine. The spelling alternates so it's more about honoring past generations than yourself. We both love Alma as a middle name and I'm inclined to just use it as her everyday name because any points my family scored on celebrating its women they lose for lack of creativity. In my close family circle there's a Kathy, Kathleen, Kat, Cadie, Caitlin, Cait, and Catie. I'm scrounging around for a nickname that doesn't get lost in the crowd and all I can come up with is Ryn which sounds like a stretch and already has my boyfriend calling her Rinnie. Kitty and Reina are No. Katrina is Too Soon. Any other suggestions or should we stick with the honorary first name and everyday middle name route? Merci!    


Hedwig for a boy because of John Cameron Mitchell? Also, you’re leaving all of us hanging here. What’s the boy-name resolution?

As for your Katherine dilemma, I will admit that’s a big one. I think my first instinct would be to go with the nickname that’s least common right now, but try as I might, I cannot stomach Cathy. My apologies to anyone who wears it and loves it, but to me it is so staunchly 50s, along with Doreen, that I can’t yet think of giving it to a little baby. Which means it probably will be super, super popular when your daughter has a daughter. 

What I can get behind, though, is Kath. I don’t know why it’s different, but it is – it feels clean and fresh and just kind of not putting up with any bullsh*t. But it might be misunderstood as Kat or Cathy, so what about Katya? It’s a totally accepted variation and depending who’s pronouncing it, nobody’s going to be confused at all. 

I don’t agree about Katrina, actually, mostly because I know a few Katrinas who are living their lives, and because an entire cohort of Joshes are still keeping on despite now sharing a name with that particular Duggar. It’s an unfortunate quirk of our times that if something happens to make a name unsavoury, everyone knows it, and I’m not sure it should handcuff us, especially if it’s based in Katherine – but at the same time, you know better than I do whether that’s sensitive ground for you or your family or community. Trina also comes up as a totally valid nickname, as do Kato and Katica (!).

Rinnie and Ryn are out of the question, please don’t do this as I know you don’t want to. What about calling her Katherine, straight out? The Katherines or Kathryns I know are usually the kind who have a twinkle in their eyes all the time and are quick. If that violates the code, how about Alma Kay? Undeniably Southern but kind of catchy, no? I love Alma, actually, but if it’s not quite right because of the K part up front, then how about plain K? Or else go with the Aussie nicknaming method where you somehow go from Katherine to Katie to Kiki to Keeks to Kazza, and everyone accepts this as though it’s a name. I ask you!

Do not call this child Rinnie. I know you know this. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Let me know!

(P.S. Catherine Keeners.  Get it? HA!)

(Lainey: How about “Wren”? Shout-out to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl!)

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