Before I begin – my inbox is FULL of adorable grandparent names and malapropisms that became grandparent names. Compiling them for us all to enjoy later. Standby!

Hi Duana,

Where do we/you start?!? We are only just pregnant after trying for long time to conceive.

We are very excited but nervous for a couple of reasons.
1.    Delivery (ok yes, I am the one already wondering how that works)
2.    Names

While, you won’t be able to help with number one, I am hoping you can offer some insight into number two. There is too much pressure. We want a cool name that sounds great and works in a professional setting but also casually. We live in the mountains and also lead an active/adventurous lifestyle.

I think I like shorter names that pack a punch. But, I am not sure. Some of the names I like don’t seem to have a rhyme or reason.

So I guess my question is. Where do you start? Do you just go through the baby name list alphabetically until something jumps out?

Crossing my fingers that there is some magic approach.



Well, first just dealing with number one, I have exactly and only one anecdotal anecdote (technically two, I guess, if you count that I was also born) so no, I’m not going to offer advice per se, because what do I know? But, I will point out that nobody ever is just like “Yeah, I couldn’t do delivery, it’s staying in”, except histrionic women in terrible romantic comedies right before the alleged climax of the movie. I suspect it will be fine.

Moving on though to number two, I really like this question, and I’m kind of glad it’s not obvious. The thing about naming a person, to me, is that you’re essentially making someone up from scratch. So I always think about who we don’t have.  That’s why I’m always carping about original names. We have a Liam or 68, we have an Ella and an Eleanor and a Bella. What do we need to fill out the landscape?

Then I eliminate by preference. The answer to my question above could be Beulah, Dunbarton, Amabel, Cito, and Zara – we don’t have any of those in my neighbourhood, for example - but I only like two or three of those names (guess which ones?) Then, inevitably, someone else ALSO likes Cito or it’s feeling too close to Milo or Leo or etc, so I start spinning off. What do I like about it? That it’s an ‘S” name that starts with C? How about Cidalia or Cesar or Cecily? On and on and on.

Then of course, you said ‘we’ in your email, so there’s a lot of good arguing to be had.  Does Dunbarton sound like the kind of person who lives in the mountains and has an adventurous lifestyle? No? Okay, what does? Yeah, ‘Stone’, but then you have a kid named Stone. So you work your way back in – what’s between Dunbarton and Stone?

I’m being a little facetious, but not by much. Usually the problem for most people is that they don’t find enough names, so if you start by choosing a few qualities you hope your kid’s name implies, then it’s just a 40-week-long process of elimination.   Harrison? No. Desiree? No. Clive? No. Nigel? No. Petula? Maybe. And repeat.

There are fabulous online resources like Nameberry and the Baby Name Wizard, but beware of only looking at or considering names that other parents are choosing or rejecting. There’s a lot to be said for finding inspiration in books or other places you read, or the name of a baseball player or political pundit that you’re not used to hearing. Even if it’s not the name you land on, try it out. See what works. You say some of the short names you like don’t have a rhyme or reason – and that’s totally cool, provided that the reason is you like them, enough that they keep coming up in your head.

And, in seven months when all of that has made you feel like you’ve read and rejected ALL of the names that there are, call me up and we’ll get to round two.

Note: Please send your name emails, once only, to [email protected] - duplicates or those sent to Lainey ‘just in case’ will be deleted.