A little housekeeping:

A big shout-out to Samantha who knew that the nerdiness of me was referencing the 8-child Pike family in the BSC books by saying I associated Margo with Byron in this column.

I didn’t reply to her before because I was having email issues. I think they’re all fixed now, but we can extend the email amnesty a little further – if you sent me something through, say, Sept 17th through 26th and feel like it didn’t arrive, you can re-send.  But then the rules become draconian again!

And now on to today’s letter:

Ok Duana!
We already have a little girl called Hazel Louise and due with our 2nd in October!
We're struggling with names! If it were a boy he would be called Jude, but girls are stumping us!
I love Ophelia and Delilah however my husband thinks of 'I'll feel ya' and knows 2 people who've called their dogs Delilah! Other names on the list he's shut down include Gretal, Cora, Violette or Olive (worried about a colour name theme)
I love names from literature, a similar era to Hazel (not too modern) but I'm running out of ideas!! Not so keen on 'sh' names or names that end in 'n'
Any ideas oh wise name guru? Out of the box yet not forever spelling her name?
Thank you!


Okay! Okay! I love when you start an email with “OK Duana!” I feel like it’s ‘on your mark!’

Here’s my first response out of the gate: almost every name that you have suggested and your husband has rejected includes an ‘L’. 

Did you already know that? Did you want it as a link to Hazel? Does he unconsciously think that it’s too close together?

I don’t know for sure, but given that your name for a boy would be Jude (and not, say, Samuel or Nathaniel), that’s going to be my guiding principle here. Literature, same ‘Hazel’ era, but no L (and no Cora, either). Let’s begin.

I keep thinking of Sonia. I feel as though this beautiful name is a victim of several legitimate spellings and pronunciations (SAWN-ya or SOHN-ya) such that it never caught the wave it should have. It strikes the same familiar-but-different vibe as Hazel for me. Or what about Harriet? Not at all similar except for that first initial – it’s yours to say whether or not that’s too close.

It also helps bridge a gap between Hazel and some of the other names you like – I find Hazel striking and stylish, but Ophelia and Delilah to be overly feminine and frilly, especially when you look at them as a twosome. Harriet is longer, but not necessarily frilly. Or how about Augusta or the entirely-acceptable-for-girls August?  Or Astrid? 

Then I thought about shorter names. What do you think of Rae? No, it’s not just my way of avoiding the ‘L’ in ‘Rachel’, it’s a legitimate stand-alone name, and it might be for you. Rae makes me think of Shea, a name I thought was ridiculously stylish when I was a teenager that might still have some of that glory on it.

How about Bonnie or Ivy or Darcy? Beatrice or Meredith? Esther or Janine? I could really get into Hazel and Esther, I think.

And if the end result of all this is that you realize ‘no, what we really want IS a name with an L in it, I’d look at Eliza or Leonore or Soleil or Marigold, which breaks both the L rule and the colour rule, but if it feels good, do it.

Let me know!