Hi Duana!

I am pregnant with my second baby. This time around we found out that we are having a boy! I have only 3 weeks until my due date and we are literally stuck on a name. This whole name business has been the most stressful part of my entire pregnancy!!!

Our first born is Olive. We did not know if she would be a girl or a boy, so we had a list of potential girl and boy names. I was pretty set on Olive from the beginning, but it took my husband some time to warm up to the name. I guess it’s a good thing that we had a girl, because we didn't really love any of our short-listed boy names, which were Winston or Turney Junior (Turney is my fathers name). 

This time around, Winston and Turney Junior are not contenders, however, we will use Turney as the middle name. I still like the name Winston, however do not like the short form "Winny" for a boy. I still love the name Turney Junior, it is unique and has meaning, but my husband is afraid that it is too unique and hates the short form T.J. 

So now we are left with a total of zero shortlisted boys names. What I have realized over the last 9 months is that I really like boys names that are short end in an "o" or "ey" sound, such as Arlo, Arie and Leo. My husband on the other hand, has no clue what he likes and the only name he has come up with "that he doesn't hate" is Maximus, or Max for short. For some reason, I just cannot get on board with that name.

I would love a name that is unique and original, but that is not trying too hard. If it could have some ties to our ethnic backgrounds - Polish, Chinese and Trinidadian, that would be the cherry on top.

Please, please, please give us some advice. I really want to love our son's name, like I love our daughter's name, however, I am starting to feel pretty hopeless and I am verging on desperate. 

Thank you so much! XO. 




Okay, so here’s where we’re at: you love names that have vowel sounds in them – you loved them with Olive, you loved them with Turney, and I’d argue that ultimately Winston has been rejected from the list because it’s light, vowel-wise. 

Your husband loves longer names, as evidenced not just by his embrace of Maximus, but also by his fear of ‘T.J.’ Plus, you haven’t said this in so many words, but I’m willing to bet you don’t nickname ‘Olive’ often – it’s one of those great names that sure, could become Liv or Livia, but is great enough on its own that it’s not necessary. 

So let’s see what we can do, inside those parameters, understanding that sometimes the perfect name actually breaks the formula, but at least from here you’ll have something to push against. 

The first name that comes to mind is Cyrus. On its surface it’s all consonants, but the vowel sounds come through loud and clear, as they do in Silas. Plus, like Olive, both names stand on their own, and the consonants lend themselves to your chosen middle name, too – Cyrus Turney has a great rhythm to it. You might also like something like Caius, which I like on its own, but which also reminds me of the spectacular, if short, Kai. 

This also leads me down the road of Caspar – spelled with a K, it’s a known name in Poland – or  Orion (yes I know, two ‘O’ names, but they sound so different!) or something more ‘Latin’ like Caspian. Or to satisfy both parameters, what about something like Isaiah? It’s got all the vowels in the world, but it’s long and lyrical and yeah, the nicknames are there if you want them… but you might find you don’t need them. 

If these names are feeling a little up in the air, you could choose something like Mateusz, or Dmitri, or Hadrian – names with really understandable sounds, but that still contain a little bit of whimsy. Or maybe you want to go with something like Ambrose or Dante, or maybe something like Arturo? 

I suspect around the edges of the names you like is a little preference for some quirk, a bit of… not absurdity, exactly, but something to get your head around – so while I often hesitate to arbitrarily choose names from a list of other cultures’ choices simply because I know the sounds I admire might be secondary to cultural significance, I was surprised to learn that among the names popular in Trinidad & Tobago, Ivan and Irwin and Nicoli/Nickolus fit the bill (there are also a LOT of Justins!) and that Barto/Bardo/Bartolomeo have Chinese as well as Greek roots. 

I think the key here is not to be swayed by the idea that only names you’ve heard before are the best choices, and to remember how happy ‘Olive’ makes you both. I bet the final choice is going to be… two syllables, with a strong vowel sound but a lot of grounding consonants, and I can’t wait to hear what his name turns out to be. 

As always, let us know!