Hi Duana,

I am desperate for your help. We are expecting our second child mid-March, a girl, and we are at a complete loss for a name. Our first child, Leo (now 4 years old), was named very quickly and easily. We knew he was a boy, and it was between Leo and Stellan. We are glad we went with Leo. But now trying to name a girl has been borderline torture. We just cant agree. I have 3 names that Im interested in (note - dont love any of them) but they all have something "off" about them. First - Nella. I love it. My husband doesnt. He suggested Ella or Stella. Nope. Not happening with either of those. Second - Romy. The problem with this is our dogs name is Remy. Too close? Ya...thought so. Third - Alta (we could call her "Ollie" for short) and the name has real meaning (my husbands mothers middle name, and she passed away a number of years ago). The problem? Neither my husband or I really like the name. I LOVE Cosima and Imogen, but my husband just wont even consider them. My husband and I both have VERY VERY common 80's - 90's names and we arent interested in having our children suffer with common names. We live in a small-ish city where even Leo isnt common at all. Oh and the kicker? Our last name starts with an O and ends with an i, 3 syllables. Worrisome when naming Leo, but it actually doesnt flow terribly.  Any help would be very much appreciated!



You know, a lot of people say they don’t want their kids to have common names, but then they tell me that’s why they’re considering Charlotte. You, on the other hand, have put your money where your mouth is, and I applaud you.

So. Your husband won’t go for Nella. I have to admit that even with all the Ellas and Stellas abounding, that name doesn’t always land for me – it feels like the end of a name instead of a whole one. I don’t have logic for this, but I do have solutions.  What about Finola? First of all it gets you Nola rather than Nella if you’re into a nickname, I think it’s really nice that it echoes the ‘o’ sound in Leo, and I think it sounds charming with your last name. But on to your other topics…

I admit Romy and Remy is…well, a little close. And if it’s any comfort to you, it means you have excellent taste in names because when faced with having to name one’s dog, there are people who call them, like, ‘Doodles’. However, once again I have the solution. Name her Romilly, and you will have a name that is unusual but easy to say (you do, however, have to brace yourself for ‘no, not Emily’ – introduce her by email if you can). Then you get Romy as a nickname but it’s not like you went ahead and named your dog and kid essentially the same name.

As for Alta, I feel like it doesn’t even bear considering because you don’t really like it, and because beside the other names you’ve suggested it seems pale and wan. Logically, according to the tenets we’ve set out this morning, I should suggest Alberta, but I’m not going to do that. I don’t love the name and I don’t think it goes with Leo and most importantly, you shouldn’t have to do what you don’t want to do.  

So. If neither Finola or Romilly suits your purposes, take heart – there’s still Freya, and Lucienne, and Elodie. Actually, I really love Elodie and Leo – and if your husband won’t go for it, there’s Calla, or Ivy, or even Zana.

I like your style, woman.  Let me know where you land.