In desperate need of your help! I am currently pregnant with my second child and, as of yet, we are yet to find out the baby's sex. While not quite as knowledgeable about all things name as you are, I like to consider myself a bit of a name nerd and dedicated some would say way too much time deliberating our daughter's name last time around.

Some background: my husband's name is of English origin and quite...simple. It limits us as to appropriate first names - for example, we CANNOT use the names Crystal (not that I would have used this one anyways), Hannah (unfortunate as I love) Harry or, one I favoured before thinking it through last time, Scarlett, as together with our last name it sounded a bit like an STI.

Our first daughter's name is Violet. I know, I know, not your favourite as it is so "English Rose", however we adore it and it suits her perfectly. She is spunky, intelligent and a total ham. No regrets here - I love it more than the day she was born.

If we were to have a girl again, our joint favourite so far is Stella. We also love Lucy, Alice and Ruby. Emmeline is on the table. Names I love and my husband doesn't include Clara, Hazel and Poppy (unsure about this one myself though I love it as not crazy about the whole floral theme). My husband likes Zoe, Emma and Sophie, all of which I'm not huge on (though they are nice) as they are so popular. We both adore Penelope but used Penny on our beloved "first born" six-year old Pug.

We are much more stuck on boy names. My husband prefers classic and widely-used names, such as Benjamin, James and Henry. Of these I like Henry. My favourite boys names are Oscar, Declan, Rhys and Nolan. We both like Max. We are struggling to really come together here.

The name needs to go well with Violet, and while I am fine with nicknames should the child so choose to adopt one, I am not big on calling a baby something to get to one (i.e. no Samuel to be Sam). If a boy, it would be great if it could have some sort of Irish heritage as the middle name will be Marin (paternal great grandfather) and I took my husband's last name. To have a piece of "me" in the name would mean a lot (Violet took my grandma's name as her middle). If a girl, we may keep Marin as a middle name (thoughts?) and/or use Anna, a nod to both of our mothers.

Help us out! Otherwise, I see us talking in circles about this until the baby is seven days old and we settle on something in a fog of newborn exhaustion.

Thanks so much for your help!

I have a confession to make.  I didn’t used to think this was a problem. 

So, the usual yadda-yadda about how I want to protect letter writers’ privacy – but this one didn’t totally come clear for me until I read the last name on the email, which is an object last name, something kind of like Bird. 

I’ve been thinking about all kinds of name issues for a long time, but if you’d asked me what I thought about ‘object’ last names like Bird or Glass or Stone, I’d have said they were an easy-to-spell non-issue. 

But I retract this. I can see how there are inappropriate jokes to be found here, or just odd eyerolls every time someone has to say their name out loud. I appreciate how you don’t want to go there. 

I also like that you’re choosing names that are names, full stop. Sometimes I get into trouble here when I say that x or y isn’t my personal preference because people think I am saying nobody should use the name at all. I’m not! And while I may have said that Violet was ‘English Rose’-esque, I also love that it is a full name that you probably say most of the time, as opposed to using it to get to Vivi or something. (Guys, again – no shade if you want to call your kid Vivi. I just feel sad for the full names that get abandoned in pursuit of the nickname. I picture them lying there all lonely because they’re not as ‘cool’ as the nickname. I get that this may be my own issue.)

I like Stella and Lucy and Alice too, though I’d caution you about Ruby because with Violet, suddenly you’re into ‘Sing A Rainbow’ territory. You’re welcome for the earworm.  Other names in this arena that you might have missed? How about Fiona or Nora or even moving Anna to the front spot? I guess that you could wind up with “Anna Bird!” as in “And a bird!” but people will get bored of that fairly quickly. 

For boys I think what you want to avoid are names that end in ‘y’ so that they don’t come off as descriptors, which you know because Harry, but also it’s technically a nickname for Henry, so watch out for that. 

How about Wesley? Still classic, but not as very-much-done as James or Benjamin. You have my full support on Oscar, of course, but I would avoid Oliver as it can give the “All of Her” or “All Over” sound… again, I wouldn’t be saying this if your last name was Hernandez or Szenowicz or Marten, but you get the idea. 

I sense a stronger pull for an Irish name here, so the wonderful Nolan comes out to play, or maybe something like Desmond which would pair beautifully with Violet? Kieran or Callum? Callum & Violet is really very charming. Or Gavin, or my perpetual but I’m not sorry suggestion Simon? I shy away from suggesting Ronan because I often suggest it, but it really does fit for your situation.  Another name that is beautiful if chosen but sometimes hard to suggest is Alec – I love it, but you know you’ll be facing a lifetime of correcting people that it’s not ‘Alex’.  Hey readers, if you are or know an Alec, how does this go down? And Also (man, I better go ahead and set up a sidebar, hadn’t I?)

[If you are one of the people who always dreamed of naming your daughter Alex but feel like Alexandra has been done (and it has) how about co-opting Alec for a girl? I know the mothers of boy Alecs are going to yell at me. I know what I’m in for. I’m just saying, it might be a thing to do… let me know.]

Okay, I’m back. Another name that might be off the path for you and for your husband is the lovely Cedric – I know it’s a far cry from James, I’m just saying it could be beautiful with Violet and fulfill your other requirements. 

But if the bottom line is ‘well-known and traditional’, or ‘I can picture someone with this name’, then consider Calvin or Walter or Louis (!) I’m even starting to come around on Gonna-Be Classics like Peter or Keith, but your appetite for these may depend entirely on how many uncles you currently have sharing these names. 

I can’t wait to hear what you choose!