I’ve amassed quite a few name updates and I don’t want to always wait for a busy day or relevant reason to deploy them, so let’s just assume today is all of those things, and get right to them! 

Here’s the update to ‘Permission Slip – Check Yes Or No’:

Hi again Duana,
I’m happy to update you that our Mayari was born on April 3, a few days early because she’s clearly a keener like her mom. Thank you for your advice re middle names because it helped me to make my case to my husband. We’ve gone with Mayari Bette Irene - in which the first middle name sounds like “Betty” which is what my grandma calls herself, how she spells it, and a nice way to avoid Elizabeth (some others in our fam already carry it as middle names anyway). Grandma is tickled pink by the honour. Irene is for my husband’s paternal grandmother. As for last name, we decided on hyphenating even though it gives her a hefty moniker because it will make certain legal things easier. Someday she can choose to drop my name on resumes etc. and I won’t mind at all. All the best. 

See? Guys, it’s not always about the rhythm, but when the rhythm works, it really, really works, right? Mayari Bette Irene – YES! 


Next is the exciting conclusion to ‘The Answer Is Already Inside You’ which I know a lot of us were really waiting on (but, because this is addressed in the letter, know that it’s never too late to send an update. The internet is forever! We will fully accept an update even if your kid is currently being Bat Mitzvahed):

Hi Duana! 
I'm long overdue in providing an update... I'll blame it on having two little ones, but it's more accurate to say I was too mortified to revisit the pregnancy neurosis that had taken over me as I composed my email. (Seriously, I cringed my way through the first paragraph and couldn't bring myself to read further.) But thank you so much for your response and insight and for not laughing me off the internet like I probably deserved!

I'll admit, my first response to your advice was to go through all the rebuttals as to why a girl could never be named Wellington. After ruminating on it for a few hours, I was on board with your suggestion ... but there was no convincing my husband. It didn't help that once he suggested Sloane and I didn't immediately shoot it down, he was set. Every week or so he'd casually say, "So we decided on Sloane, right?" or "I really think Sloane is a good name." Maybe it was hearing it so often (and the self-realization that I needed to STOP with the three-syllable craziness), but it came to be the name I, too, kept going back to.

So Sloane Kathryn (also my mother-in-law's middle name) was born in August, right on her due date. I've yet to see other baby Sloanes on my Facebook feed, and we've received several compliments for picking a name that's not too common but still sounds classic. Perhaps if there's a baby number 3, Wellington will be the name of choice regardless of gender!

Love it. LOVE Sloane Kathryn – I have always loved Sloane and I’m sure it’s partly because of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and partly because of Sloane Crosley. The overlap between those two women is they’re both very cool, so I am thrilled with your daughter’s name choice and she’s gonna be too. 


We got this response to ‘No Sacrifice’, a rumination on the benefits of the name Juniper: 

Last fall, I wrote in asking for your opinion on the name Juniper. You gave us very sound advice, as I knew you would. It turns out we didn’t need to choose a girl’s name, though— we recently welcomed our son Jasper Francis James. Jasper just because it’s amazing; Francis and James to honor his grandfathers. We love his name and the way it flows with his siblings, Freya and Ned. Thanks again for your assistance!

Beautiful! And I agree that it works beautifully with Freya and Ned.


Next, I’m currently rereading Judy Blume’s Superfudge with my kid, and I’m always amused by the chapter titles – do only middle grade books have chapter titles? Anyway, we just read the one called ‘Small Ones Are Sweeter’, and that could also refer to this succinct and gorgeous update to ‘If Not You, Then Who’:

Hi Duana, 

I wrote to you at the end of August (I think the column was titled, "if not now then when?") and your advice gave me the confidence to go with my first choice, Roger. So I'm the proud mother of Roger Brian Sinnott. (Brian is my husband's father). The reaction has been positive all around. 

Thanks again Duana,



Yet another update with an apology about timing, but it’s not like I’m terribly fast with posting these, either! Here’s the hilarious left turn in ‘Kitchen Sink Names’:

Hello Duana,

First, thank you so much for replying to my naming inquiry. Your letter made it in time to reason with my partner about Florence. It also gave me the confidence that our short lists weren’t entirely absurd. I was grateful you pointed out what sounds we were leaning into, it was something I was missing all together. 

With a little focus, and a baby boy in our arms, we named our little man Jussi.

Thanks again for your professional advice!

Ps. Sorry for the incredibly delayed response. I always wondered why you didn’t receive more (and more timely) responses. Jussi is now over 9 months old...

Jussi! Not Florence at all! Yet more evidence that we can plan but those tiny baby humans are the bosses. Great. 


Finally, this is a long overdue posting of an understandably delayed update that made me so, so happy. Here is the great resolution to an incredible ongoing story in ‘Choose All The Names’:

Hey Duana!

Thanks for printing my email on your blog last November. We really, truly appreciated the advice you provided. And we spent a lot of time re-reading it and using your suggestions in terms of picking a name for our future baby (fingers crossed). But... we still don't have a baby (hopefully soon!) and until recently we still didn't have a name.

But then we found the perfect name. And it was such a random way to find it.

We listen to a podcast called Pod Save America. There's a contributor on the show named Priyanka Aribindi and one day I said, "You know, the name Priyanka is so pretty." And then something surprising happened. SCOTT IMMEDIATELY AGREED. WITH ENTHUSIASM!

But technically, the name "Priyanka" would go against Scott's sole rule that the name should be easily read/pronounceable. And we realized we liked the name itself but also the flow of it. On the fly I said, "Well what if there was a more common name that sounded like or rhymed with Priyanka?" 

He immediately responded with, "Uh... Bianca?"

And like as soon as he said it out loud, we looked at each other. That's the name. Bianca Lovell. We absolutely, positively love it. I am obsessed. It is familiar but not popular and I love the way it pairs with our last name. 

So anyway, you asked for an update, and here it is.  :)  We love this name. And if we have a daughter at some point, her name will be Bianca. (If we have a son, Julian is a go. I've loved that name since I was a kid and Scott is 100% on board. Unless of course we meet our son - or daughter - and look at him and change our minds, ha ha. Which may happen or course! I hope not though.) 

Thanks again for your thoughtful feedback on the name issue. We truly appreciate it.

PS - My best friend is newly pregnant and over the moon! She's set with Virginia (her grandmother's name) for a girl but up in the air for a boy. I told her she should write to you and ask for your advice!

I love this so much, and got misted up all over again! 

THANK YOU to everyone who reads, who asks questions, and who sends responses, I love them and so many people write in to tell me how much they love finding out what people chose in the end, so someone out there is waiting on your choices, NO PRESSURE. Ha.