The hubs and I are at odds over what to name baby dos. Owen was the only name we could agree on for our first. As a teacher I had never had an Owen and appreciated the fact that it would be easy for him to learn/write (teaching a kiddo with 11 letters in their name to write their name is no easy feat). We also like that the name will grow with him well (I think it makes a cute little boy name and respectable adult name.) It has become more popular as of late, which I sort of mind and hope to avoid with kiddo number two. Unforunately, it seems like I am one step behind the trends. For girls I like Lorelai, Evelyn and Lila. For boys I like Miles, Oliver and Gavin. I like the name Copeland and surnames in general. My husband likes Aubrey and Autumn for girls, but is not married to them (and I say no) For boys he has zero suggestions. Thoughts on the aforementioned names or suggestions for similar options?


God, I love letters from teachers. Because you know who has opinions on names?   Teachers do. They may have biases, usually about the name Justin - and Lord knows you won’t catch them naming their kids anything too out there, because they remember how much they stumbled on the attendance list over the hard ones – but teachers put the thought in that I wish more people did.

Oh, and the whole helping the children be our future thing. Thanks for that too.

Okay. So Owen is a lovely name for kid and adult. As I write this, I’m in San Francisco, mourning the fact that we didn’t have time to drive by the Party Of Five house. Baby Owen would be about 18 now (even though they grew him up too much in the later years) and that’s a name that suits a baby and a teen and a grown man. I think that’s lovely.    

But I don’t disagree with you that it’s a little more popular now than then, and that Owen’s cousins – that is to say, Otis and Oliver and Nolan and other sound-alike names - are necessarily off-limits. I like Gavin a lot, and think it’s still underused,  but it does share some sounds with Owen. It’s that “anan” thing again. “Owen and Gavin!” sounds pretty cute. “Gavin and Owen!” sounds a bit run-on together.

So given that you like a surname vibe and something short, I agree that Miles works.   But make no mistake, it’s popular too. Instead, how about Malcolm? Owen & Malcolm actually fits together but stands out. Along the Gavin lines, how about Nigel? Owen & Nigel are totally brothers. Or what about something like Blake? Blair, I think is the province of girls now, but a hard masculine posh name might work well here. I’ve never been a fan of Pierce myself, but I can definitely see how something like it would work well here. Heath? Harris? 

We’ve spent a lot of time with boys’ names here and it’s sort of because I feel closer in tone to you than on your girls’ names. Lorelai and Lila aren’t necessarily top of the charts, but good for you for knowing that all the Lilys and Ellas are going to sound the same to her teacher’s ear anyway. (Right?) Evelyn is charging up there too – the latest grasp from those who are ready to be done with Ava.

So what I’d recommend is a different angle on classic. First of all, I’m with you on the no Aubrey and Autumn, they don’t sit with Owen as nicely. The first name that came to mind, actually, was Clara. It’s clear (if you’ll forgive the pun) and pretty without being frilly. It seems to go well with Owen.  

If you can’t handle it, how about Anya? This is a favourite of mine that rarely gets used because people are wary of its ethnic origins. But it’s a great name that does double duty – though it definitely has Eastern European origins, it’s also a Gaelic name, as is Owen, so you could tell both your kids how you let them off so easy with Anglicized spellings. If not (but why not?) how about Fiona?  

Lastly – and please don’t ask me why – I’ve decided you should really look at the name Shea. For either sex. It works, it’s fun and not made up, and it goes with Owen.  It’s surname-y. Oh, and it only has four letters.

You know what doesn’t have four letters? This answer. Zing!