Hi Duana,

Do I have a job for you! My husband and I recently found out we are expecting our second child (our first was born 9 short months ago...surprise!) and are completely lost when it comes to naming number 2. Yes, the name is what I'm focusing on right now so that I don't freak the f*ck out over the thought of having two babes under two. The thing is, we totally hit the jackpot with our daughter's name. Nearly a decade before we even thought of trying to conceive, we had settled on the name Lennon and it fits our daughter perfectly. I can't think of anything more suitable for her. The name itself is unusual, but not completely made up, and it isn't too flowery or trendy (at least where we live). Unfortunately, we have no idea what to name little brother/sister. What goes with Lennon? Anything too hipster makes me want to vomit and anything too traditional doesn't feel right with Lennon. If we hadn't given Lennon the middle name of Ophelia, that would definitely be a contender for a girl. We've kicked around Juliet, Elliot, Aurelia and Zadie, but nothing feels perfect, the way Lennon did from the very beginning. And don't even get me started on boy names. We're at a total loss there. The only name my husband has thrown out is Huckleberry, and... I just don't know if I can do that. Huck is great, but Huckleberry proper? I'm not completely sold. HELP! And thank you!


One Stressed-Out Mama


I didn’t choose this letter on purpose because of today, but I can’t be mad at the implications of choosing a letter that actively highlights trying not to freak the f*ck out.

Don’t panic. Breathe – but know that I feel you. I don’t think you’re overreacting. In fact, while I don’t want to use the word ‘problem’, you’re in a really distinct place, aren’t you? While ‘Lennon’ isn’t actually a traditional name, it stands outside of the circle of sort of Uber-hipster, syllable-based ‘modern’ names like Everly or, you know, Haven (the two of which, grouped together, would indicate much more disdain with the letter V than I actually feel, by the way). Even if it’s only because we’re used to hearing it, it has a little more gravity and timelessness.

As such, it reminds me of other, overtly feminine but not cutesy names. Claire. Raisa. Shea. Noelle. They’re not common or uncommon, but they exist in 2017 and in 1987, and so could Lennon. I mean, maybe Noelle feels like too much of an inverse, but you get the idea. I even wonder if Jean is ready for a comeback? As in rhymes with denim, not French John, you guys. You need something that lives in its own space and time, even if that means it’s a little less popular. Irene. Liesl. Giselle?

As for boys, I am strangely less bothered – and that’s almost never the case. That is, I think there are so many more boys’ names that live in this space, and I’m really excited for you. The inverse of Lennon feels like Neville, of course (there’s a v, see?), but there’s also Gregor or Deke or Rhys or Clay or Simon, on the traditional side, or Miles? Clive? Kai? There are so many times when these in-the-middle names, like Milo or Dane or Enoch (yeah, I said it) are too far in or too far out from the request of the letter-writer, but this is in a really sweet spot, and I kind of envy your opportunity here. Like Huck, and Huckleberry, which would be too much or too cute in almost every other situation but begging to be in contention here. You’re facing down a list of options that many, many people would envy.

There. Don’t you feel better? Maybe? Kind of?

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