Baby number 4 is coming in a few short months... Totally unexpected. My husband and I had our first at the tender ages of 18 & 19, we named her Vaira. We love the name, she loves the name, and nothing anyone says will change that. But fast forward 10 years, I can see how the name can be confusing for people. We find ourselves pronouncing it a lot for people, the A-I-R is pronounced like the word air.

My boys have somewhat uncommon names as well, but not something you can't pronounce and I'm going to have to admit are pretty hipster. All three of them have two syllable first names and one syllable middle names to go with our one syllable last name that sounds a lot like f*ck (which my husband loves, I must add).

For our 4th AND LAST, we're once again having a girl and we've somewhat narrowed it down. Our top two are Raven or Luna with a one syllable middle name. I'm afraid Luna is skyrocketing to popularity and not for the right reason which is after Luna Lovegood, of course. My husband loves Raven and I'm digging it too, but what name advice do you have? Does it go with Vaira? Do you have any other ideas? Help me not choose a name that we'll be pronouncing forever, some strange ones pop up in this brain of mine.



Here’s the thing—I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Vaira. I think you’re alluding to the idea that you made it up or felt like you did, but when all’s said and done, you could have done way worse, especially at only 18 and 19. It’s the way some people pronounce ‘Vera’, it doesn’t feel like it’s the kind of name only a 12 year old girl comes up with (that old Sex And The City episode and ‘Shayla’ come to mind…), and it’s still a name that gets to be pretty unique.

I know you’re not asking for a ruling on your older daughter’s name, but I wanted to tell you what I thought because your letter has a bit of an apologetic tone, and I don’t think it needs to. You haven’t done anything wrong.


Okay, I kid. I don’t know what your son’s names are, but you don’t seem to be too troubled over them so that’s cool, and now we come to Luna and Raven. 

I like one more than the other.

I don’t think it’s the same one you like.

First of all, I have to admit I was ready to give you my ‘popular isn’t as popular as you think’ speech, but when I went to look up Luna on the charts, it was hovering just below the top 100. So it’s not at all unheard of, but that’s okay, right? Also, when you say it’s ‘not popular for the right reasons’, I think you mean celebrities are choosing the name, right? But where do you think they got the idea, other than from one whimsical Ravenclaw?

Ahhh. Ravenclaw. Now I see how we got here.

Here’s why I don’t think you should choose Raven: 

Vaira, difficult though the spelling may be for some, is very clearly a name. Two syllables, ends in A as many girls’ names do—there’s no ‘work’ to be done here. If you’re describing your boys’ names as hipster, I wonder if they’re like Hunter or Aspen or Berkeley or etc—still clearly names, even if they originated as names of places. Ashton?

But there’s no image attached to Vaira the way there is to Raven. Like, if your daughter named Raven has dishwater-blonde hair, is that a problem for her? If she’s not birdlike? It’s also the kind of name that people tend to use at camps or in other ‘put on a name’ situations – I always worry when someone else’s ‘joke name’ is your (kid’s) real name. There’s also this implication of darkness or blackness that may be utterly charming to you guys, but may give the name an air of being less than light to anyone else. It’s your call whether to take it on, but you should be aware.

Of course, there are associations with Luna – most notably the moon. But since it’s a step further away, due to being in another language, Luna still feels like it’s ready to imprint on – like it’s up to the Lunas of the world to tell us what our impressions of her should be.

So of the two, my vote is for Luna. But if you really think it’s too far gone, though I don’t agree, then what about Raina or Mara, Zelda or Hazel, Arden or Olive or Piper or Stella or Zara? Phoebe or Freya or Juno? Hey, I’d love a fourth baby named Juno…

Remember that in and among the Romildas and Bathildas in the Wizarding World, there were Mollys and Hannahs and Ernies. You can be unusual and offbeat without having to be in another species…and I don’t think you need to worry that you have to right some wrong you’ve inflicted on your older daughter - though I am curious about what she thinks!

Let me know if I got one on the board!