Hi Duana,
We are due in mid-November and decided for the surprise (!) aka we don’t know the sex of the baby. This has been surprisingly difficult in 2017, as many people WANT to know the gender for gifting and I’m actually amazed at how ‘gender/sex-oriented’ clothes and colors actually are. This paradox is also creating some difficulty in picking out names for our baby and we are stuck, with only 10 weeks to go! We would love a VERY SHORT-LIST ahead of November and really looking for creativity and some validation from a name-expert who is an objective bystander in the naming process.
My S.O and I are definitely leaning towards old, traditional names; I will also throw in a caveat that it still has to be unique and not in the most popular list (read: Emma, Sophia, William Henry, Jack – all GREAT traditional names but are surging in popularity). I know this is hard to predict in the future, but I want to do my best based on the known now. I had the pleasure of having a more unique name, or spelling of name, and to this day I don’t encounter many Gillian’s with a G. I’ve also been scouring our family history of names on both sides to come up with options; I’m sure I’ll have one grandparent not happy if I choose one side of the family over the other, so it’s not a deal breaker to use something not in either family tree. There’s also some overlying family pressure as well on the boy name list – my father passed away 9 years ago, his name was George James. I would love to incorporate his name in some way but I struggle with the first name George (I just can’t get over Prince George), the feminine versions of George (Georgia, Georgeanne) I know too many at work and I can’t get over that either, James as a first name for a boy doesn’t work for me (I know too many in my own social circle) and my S.O is set against James as a feminine name (even though I LOVE it). 
Girl Names 
Carlin, nickname Carli - this one is a last name within our family, although my sister pointed out that it sounds too modern now with all the names ending in ‘in’…. BUT this has been in my S.O’s family for a long time, he & I really like it
Resa – this one is from my family and I apparently like the ‘reese’ sound (see below for my first boy name); Teresa is a common family name (grandmother, my middle name), but I’m not too fond of the full name Teresa. I kind of like the idea of ‘officially’ shortening it to Resa but have gotten some mixed reactions
Hazel – this is a great-aunt on my husband’s side, we love this one; is it too popular?
May – this is a great-aunt on my husband’s side, we love this one
Ires – just one we both liked
Others considered –James (my dad’s middle name but my S.O doesn’t like androgynous names); Wilhelmina (aka Billie, but the androgynous issue again), Winnifred (Winnie, veto’ed by my S.O), Nora (my grandmother’s name but too many already exist in my family)
Middle name options: Teresa (obv not with Resa), Marie, Christine, maybe Georgia or James ;)
Boy Names
Maurice, nickname Mo/Reese/Rhys (sp?) – this was my maternal grandfather’s name, we both love it
Emmett – random name my S.O loved and I like
Others considered- we talked about Cornelius aka Neil (family name, but feel this may give the kid a bad rap in school), George (but this might be more a middle name for me), Schmitz/Schmidt (last name from my husband’s family but he doesn’t like it)
Middle Name Options: LOTS of family influence here Eric, Raymond, Joseph and all are fine middle names
Names are important and I want the name to fit in childhood and adulthood. At the end of the day, we have too many girl names and not enough boy names; we can’t narrow down the former and we’re stumped on the latter!


There are very few circumstances where I edit the letters that I am sent. I clean up grammar if it’s egregious or going to cause problems for reading comprehension, and sometimes people include pertinent information that they’d rather I not publish (although hot tip: I love when letter writers come up with ‘cover stories’ or pseudonyms for them so that I can include them for everyone!). Other than that, though, I leave letters alone…

But if I were in the habit of doing so I would have put quotes around the first appearance of ‘traditional’ in your letter, like this…

My S.O and I are definitely leaning towards old “traditional” names;

…because I LOVE what you’ve chosen as ‘traditional’, specifically because most people wouldn’t put these names into that category. Names like Resa and Ires and Carlin as ‘traditional’ don’t usually come up – that’s the label people want to put on Sophia or George, as you point out. (PS ‘Prince George’ – as in the person, or the place, that makes you not be able to go with the name?) Even something like Hazel or Maurice, which are relatively well-known, don’t tip most people’s “traditional” radar. 

So I have very few ‘notes’ on these names – I love Carlin very much though I do agree about the ‘ending-in-n’ thing, and love Resa and Hazel, though I think Ires may suffer from being mispronounced, and think May just feels a little more familiar than the rest of your choices. Other ‘traditional’ (which is to say, not common but old and somewhat familiar) names that come to mind with your choices are Petra, Esther, and Linnea….

Similarly, I love Maurice so much I just want to send you a bottle of champagne right now, but in the event that you don’t go for it, I love Cornelius and don’t know why it would cause problems at school, but also encourage Reginald, Archibald, Bartholomew OR Balthazar, or even Desmond. 

I should caution you that Emmett is much, much more popular than any of your other choices. Exponentially so. It’s still a great name, but it’s caught on in much the same way as the ending-in-n trend, so use with awareness. And you have so many great choices that you shouldn’t use a name your husband doesn’t love, so that eliminates Schmidt; similarly, there are all kinds of ways I could talk you into George if you needed me to, but you have so many great choices that – what for? George is a great name, but lots of other people will choose it. I don’t need you to be on that train too. 

But when all is said and done, I’m Claudia’s violin teacher from that great episode of Party of Five. I have no notes. You are exciting and thrilling me, and I can’t wait to hear what you decide