Hi Duana,

Baby #2 is on the way in February and we've just found out it's another boy. Our first is Baden Eric. My partner suggested Baden ("bay-din") as a future baby name after we went for a little hike on the Baden-Powell Trail here in Vancouver, so named after the founder of the Boy Scouts. (When pronounced "bah-din" it's also the German word for bathing, also a region in Germany which we traveled to as a family. Great wine!) 

So we're looking for a name that is comparably unique but not strange, goes well with Baden and baby's last name, and I'd prefer something with two syllables. 

We've talked about Ellis (family name from my side) and Vaughn as two contenders. Husband has suggested Fox (joke? I don't know) and Maverick (ok what's going on here). I'd actually be cool with Maverick as a middle name. Ellis Maverick, are you there?

I've always liked the name Rowan but it's quite popular now, Orion but it breaks my syllable preference and doesn't feel quite right, and we discussed Sawyer if baby were to be a girl which I really like but I think it's too common for a boy's name. We'll want to have a nod to family in either the first or middle name. Patrick, Bruce, Ellis, John, William. My grandmother's maiden name was Marion Taylor Rapp which is pretty badass, maybe there's an homage to be had there?

Worth noting as well is we've just moved to an island off the coast of Vancouver where whimsical and nature-inspired names like Aisla (I liked for a girl), Hawk, River, etc. are the norm so we want to steer clear of falling too deep in that direction. 

Thanks for your blog, I hope you are able to make it around to this one!


Well, I totally agree that you have your work cut out for you because Baden is perfect – it’s easy and fits with trends of today, but is distinctive and has a story behind it you really love. So, when the first is the best, what do you do for a second round? 

I read your name choices, and one of my favourites was one of your quick-to-discards, which reminds me again about how regionalism makes such a difference. I love ‘Sawyer’ with Baden a lot, and it has the benefit of not ending the same way – but more importantly, I haven’t heard Sawyer for a girl around here at all, so I was surprised to see that (conversely, ‘Rowan’ in the Northeast is almost exclusively for a girl). 

So with that in mind, let’s look at what else we have. Ellis Maverick is great, with ‘Maverick’ as a little nod to the exploratory properties that appealed to you in Baden-Powell, but it would be too easy to choose the first suggestion that came up, right? (And, I suspect, if you were a hundred percent sure you wouldn’t have written this letter.) But in case that feels like it’s damning with faint praise, I really do like it – Baden and Ellis probably fall on similar scales of popularity and both are full of charm, so it’s a strong contender. 

Less strong are the single syllable options since that’s not your bag, so Vaughn and Fox are out – not least because they seem to me to evoke the ‘River and Hawk’ thing that you want to avoid. And, while we’re talking about syllables, of course my solution to the ‘Orion’ problem is to go with the lesser-used Orson, or its sound-alike Soren, though with Soren, I can see how it would be a bit sound-alike with Baden; Orson doesn’t seem to have that problem.  

Other ideas that come to mind seem to be focused around names that, like Ellis, end in a not-super-popular-right now sound – some of my ideas are Lewis (if for some reason you don’t want Ellis, and which has a ‘Lewis and Clark’ flavour if you want), or the utterly charming Ansel, Jonah or Callum or, if you’re feeling creative, something like Stellan. Another surprise I came across is the German/Czech name Danek, which I really love, if you want to go in that direction, and which suggested to me the surprisingly charming Evert. Yes, there are probably people who are going to look at it and see ‘Everett’, but it has the benefit of sounding different when spoken, so I don’t think it’s going to be a long term problem. 

Finally, if you decide to throw rules to the wind, I should point out that I think Rapp is fantastic, and deserves to be filed in the ‘strong one-syllable’ category of names that people seek when they’re sorting through Cole and Tate and Rhys, so if family names are important to you (and if Fox really was on the table) that might be a surprising way to go and I think it would be really cool. 

I can’t wait on this one, I really don’t know which way you’re going to go, but whichever way is going to be a real standout. Go off and wow us!