Hi Duana,
My husband and are having are second child in a couple weeks and are stuck on a boy name. We already have a toddler daughter, Isla Grace. We love Isla's name and want to give #2 something just as special.

If it's a girl, she will be Lena Margaret after our two paternal grandmothers. But if it's a boy, we're stuck between Oliver and Everett. Middle name for a boy is George, after my husband. Both are family names and we were totally decided on Oliver for a while, but I've noticed it has been gaining some popularity.

We like Isla and Everett and Isla and Oliver together ... what do you think? Are we freaking out too much over name popularity? Everett is really growing on us the more we talk about it ... help! Time is running out!


Oh man. Welcome to my personal bugaboo.   The "popularity" factor is one that is so difficult and so maddening to have to navigate, because this is exactly what happens. You spend your time finding the name, loving the name – and then, by some mysterious coincidence, others start to love the name as well. Just a little at first – but then the name comes up as a TV character’s baby, or your friend’s cousin mentions that she’s considering – just considering – using it in a few months time, and you start to freak out.

So. I am particularly bad on this topic, because growing up knowing absolutely NOBODY with my name has skewed my beliefs as to how it should be. As the Michael I live with reminds me, most people who grow up with a name also borne by others seem to do just fine with it. Of course you want your child to have a name that’s uniquely theirs but -- and this has been hard for me to accept – even if they’re not the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD/SCHOOL with that name, it will still seem thoughtful and beautiful.

Oliver is ranked #78 by Nameberry and as high as #12 by other places, so you’re not wrong. Names are cyclical, of course, and part of the reason we like them is because we’ve subconsciously heard them elsewhere and around. As such, where I live, in Toronto, I think Oliver is actually on the downswing.  Not that it’s bad or passé or anything of the kind – just that the peak of the name has passed, and so your Oliver may not be one of four in his year at school. It’s kind of like how I know a youngish Jennifer – in her mid-20s. Sure, it’s not an unheard-of name.   It’s even common – but then again, she doesn’t know a lot of other Jennifers her own age.

This may be different where you are – just like it may be different from my opinion of Everett, where I think you are ahead of the curve by probably 18 months to two years.   Elliot is rising in popularity and as people choose an alternative from it I can see Everett being a really viable choice. So you may wind up being trendsetters from the front, which is totally delightful. Just be prepared that the only little Everett on the block may someday be the oldest Everett on the block.

Still, naming him Oliver is not going to doom him to a life of being an also-ran. I swear it.  But these days, if you’re looking for something distinctive, why not call him George Oliver instead? Georgie or Geordie would be pretty cute, and plenty unusual, on a little boy.

Let me know!