Name That Baby

Man, I love talking about baby names.

So now I’m going to try to do it without 1. revealing the name we’ve picked for Lightning Bacon and 2. without insulting anyone else’s favorite names.

When we chose Eli’s name, we talked all the time about how it would be so much simpler if we were having a girl, there are so MANY more girl names and we had a whole list of fabulous girl names and blah blah blah.  We tossed around boy names for a while – there are a lot we liked, but a lot of them felt like nice names, but not the name of “our kid” (Luke, Nicholas, Jacob), or they sounded weird with our last name (Sam Ekd@hl ie Samekd@hal, or Ben Ekd@hl ie Benekd@hl which sounds like a brand of cough syrup), or they were just too “Too” (Soren) or Mr. E looked at me like was on drugs (Hopper) or someone in the family had already used it (Nathan) or it was the name of Mr. E’s parents dog (Augustus).

The only thing we knew for certain was that we wanted to use a family last name as a middle name, because it is a tradition on my side of the family.  That and that we couldn’t actually name the baby “Thor” which is what we called him when he was still cooking.

Then one day I was moving the shit ton of children’s books I’d collected over the years from the living room bookshelves into the nursery and I stopped to read one of my favorites – it’s called All the Places to Love.  And the little boy in the book is named Eli, and when Mr. E got home I said “I thought of a name! For the baby” and when he heard “Eli” – instead of making a face and saying “eh”, which had done to EVERY SINGLE OTHER NAME I EVER SUGGESTED IN THE HISTORY OF TIME, he said “Hey. I really like that. And then he said the whole thing –  “Eli Greenw**d Ekd@hl” and I got goosebumps.  And even there was some debate in the hospital because we had one other named picked out which I am not telling, in case  I want to use it  some day, I think we always knew that Pants was going to be an Eli.  Although for the record sometimes I still think he looks like a Nathan, and I still really love the name Hopper.

About the “no telling” thing.  The reason we don’t really tell people about the name ahead of time is because 1. it leaves a lot of room to change our mind a few hundred times and 2. People CANNOT stop themselves from giving you their opinion if you tell them the name ahead of time.  They just simply cannot.  So you go against your better instincts and then EVERY SINGLE TIME you tell ANYONE the name, they make a face or they say “hmmmmm” or you tell your mother you like the name Patrick and she says “NO. Too ethnic.” and then that name is RUINED FOREVER and so we just don’t tell anyone and then no one has to get punched in the face when they wrinkle their nose over the name I’ve already picked out.

So, Lightning Bacon.  We really thought we had a huge awesome list of names for a girl and it was going to be CAKE picking one out, but you should hear the standards I’ve cooked up for this name.  This list has apparently eliminated every name in the history of time:

Nothing that starts with A because we already have two nieces in the family whose names start with A and I can barely keep them straight.  (So no Alice or Abigail or Anna or Ava or Arden or Allison/Aly (another MEGA favorite of mine).

Nothing that sounds weird with our last name.  For example Mr. E has kind of a huge THING for a certain someone who shall remain nameless but let’s just say that he keeps suggesting we name our child Sigourney, to which I counter that  “Ripley” would be ok, but I think we can all agree that Ripley Ekda@hl sounds like a terrifying medical condition requiring antibiotics and possibly quarantine.

Nothing someone else in the family is already named, which eliminates some of my very favorite names, including Lydia and Margaret and Marty (Martha).

Nothing that ends in “belle”, because my dogs name is Annabelle.  So no Mirabelle or Clarabelle or any of that.

Nothing made up, nothing a celebrity has already named their kid (Harlow) and nothing that appears on any lists of “hipster” names (Harper, Frances).  I have NO problem whatsoever with popular, classic names, but I live in fear of giving my child what “I” think is a “cool, different” name only to have every other kid on the playground turn up with that name.  This is why I can’t name my kid Charlotte (even though it’s my favorite name EVER)  or Rowan but I don’t have a problem with Sarah – it’s not that it’s too popular in general, it’s that it’s too demographically popular and it smacks of trying to be different while actually being like everyone else, if that makes sense.

Nothing that starts with an E, because we don’t want to keep the “everyone is named E” thing going (it wasn’t intentional with Eli.)

Nothing that’s distinctly from an ethnicity that I am not (Liam, Luca, Tatiana).

Nothing distinctive from a TV show popular with my generation (Heidi, Lauren, Joey/Josephine, Felicity, Lorelai, Rory, Sloane)

Nothing that used to be a boy’s name that’s now a girl’s name.  My brother is named Whitney so I am overly sensitive to this phenomenon.

Has to work with Eli.  So not Lily (another favorite name of mine).   I had Peyton on the list for Lightning Bacon until THANK GOD my brother in law pointed out the obvious flaw there.

Nothing hard to spell or pronounce (so not Lilja or Xanah)

Nothing  that neighbors/family friends/college roommates who once annoyed Mr. E are named, so not Margot (FAVORITE NAME LOVE IT), Lorraine, or Maureen/Maurey.

Nothing that ends in an “eeee” sound – so not Sylvie or Maisie or Daisy.

And no flowers or months because Mr. E can’t hang with Rose or Violet or June, for whatever reason.

And it has to sound good with the middle name I’ve picked out, which is a little bit…flowery and unusual and which I want to use for the first name but Mr. E’s not a fan of it as the first name.

My very favorite names are names I classify as “cool names” – when I  meet people with these names, I automatically think they must be quite awesome.  These are names like Shelby, Darcy, Morgan, Sydney, Peyton – cool girl names.  But unfortunately these names either don’t work with our last name, or (more honestly) I’m not cool enough to pull any of them off with confidence.  Also, we went to Australia when I was eight weeks pregnant and that rules out Sydney (another VERY favorite name) because if people who aren’t that great at math thought I was naming the baby after somewhere the baby was conceived I would JUST DIE.

The other main problem is that I consider my own name to be the best name in the entire world.  Seriously, I do.  It’s beautiful and classic and I literally never encounter anyone else with it.  And it has a Z in it! And it was my grandmother’s name.  And it has a nice literary connotation (my middle name is Bishop), but not an obvious one.   I really just love it.

So for my daughter I am looking for just the same type of name – but not the SAME name obviously, which is where I kind of a hit a dead end.   I want something classic, timeless, with a sense of history.  The name of saints and queens, heroines and writers and royalty.  Anyway, I think I’ve got one, and I have already consulted Swistle and she has affirmed my choice and you will get to find out what it is in 14 to 18 weeks (please god no) you lucky ducks!.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions, let me know.  Lightning Bacon is depending on it.


28 Responses

  1. Catherine. And then you can use Cate for a nickname, which is only one letter away from Cake!

    I also love some variations on Rose. Rosemary, or just plain Rose, or Rosalie. But not Roseanne.

    Margaret. Jane. Ellen. Helen. Claire. Maria.

  2. When I was pregnant, I really really really wanted to use Elinor, but Dave said it was “old lady.” It starts with “E” so it’s out for you, but his first choice was Halle. I think he wanted to spell it Hallie, but it’s a celebrity name.

    In a more classic vein, I love Rachel and Dave and I both were REALLY considering Ramona but were in the “can we really pull it off?” camp.

    I cannot WAIT to hear her name! 14 weeks and no longer. We should do some voodoo or something.

  3. I love your frank talk about names. And I love Darcy for a girl. AND I had no idea Whitney used to be a boy’s name. But I did know that about Ashley.

  4. This kills me! I love it, it sounds like the name conversations that go on in this house, or did. #2’s name is solid. BUT, if I were having twin girls like my early dreams(nightmears) they would have been Meredith and Margot. Am all about classic girl names- good luck choosing. I’m not making suggestions even though you’re asking. Also, we dont tell till the kid is out either. We didnt need help making the kid, we dont need help naming it, either.

  5. It’s a great name, it really is.

  6. I JUST WANT TO KNOW. This entry killed me. I promise that I will NOT tell. Sigh.

    Also: thank you for taming Erik’s Sigourney fetish. It scares me.

  7. I almost had to stop reading to comment at Patrick being “too ethnic” because REALLY? Patrick? So Irish is too ethnic? That cracks me up, because I’m Irish and I’m pasty white and so not “ethnic” …

    … but then I went back and finished the reading 🙂
    I can suggest all the girl names that I love but that I can’t use! Yay! Plus, I’m still hoping that mine is a boy (I have 3 more weeks until I know) so I’m holding on for dear life to “Henry” and I’ll give you girl names.

    Caroline is one of my very favorite girl names, and Eleanor (I know you don’t want “E” names but I still have to put it it out there), and Claire, and Suzanne (but not Susanna, or you’ll be singing “Oh Susanna” every time you need her to sleep), Rachel, Diana, Grace, Hannah, Leah, Phoebe, Haleigh … I’m sure I have more though 🙂

  8. Wow, I read every line of this. I am obsessed with names too, which I’m sure comes as a great surprise to you. And now that I work with 800 kids, I am constantly thinking about names.

    I have never once thought of Liam as being an ethnic name. How strange. I did suggest the name “Serge” to Bart (family name) and he said, “No, too Russian.” TOO RUSSIAN!??!!

  9. We had the same issue with my second son. Luckily he wasn’t a girl because we could never agree on a girl name, ever. We finally came up with one boy name we could agree on but it was tough. Our first son we had no problem naming.

    For girls I love Charlotte, Shelby, Laurel, Rachel, Reese and Samantha. My husband liked none of those.

  10. I think MY name is the best in the world too! HOW STRANGE?!?!?? And I even like that mine is spelled differently. And yes, I don’t know many people with my name either, but it keeps in the Top 20 over the years, so where are they??

  11. I have a ton of criteria for future baby names as well. In fact I share nearly all of yours and I also have a couple others. I like a name to have at least one nickname option, and we also need a name that works in both English and German (and preferably also French).

    The other thing is that our last name is very super German. Our first choice for a boy name right now (this all being hypothetical so who knows what Torsten will think of this or any other name once there is an actual baby to name) is not so popular in the US but very popular in the UK. I’m half British so that’s fine with me, but a very British/Irish sounding first name with a very German sounding last name? I don’t know.

  12. oh, man…i have spent hours and hours agonizing over baby names. In the end, the names we picked are VERY tied into family names: Violet Lynn and Carli Jay. Violet is both my grandmothers’ middle name, Lynn is mine and my mother’s middle names. Carl is my dad’s name, and Jason is my husband’s name. Both names are 2 syllables, 1 syllable. Both names have an ‘i’ in the first, a ‘y’ in the middle. Both names don’t lend themselves to obvious nicknames. Both are far from the top 100 lists; I can count the other Violet’s and Carli’s I have met on 1 hand.

    I am thrilled with both my girls’ names, but am sunk if we ever have another. 🙂

  13. Love this post. I am obsessed with names as well & I have a list in the back of my planner that I’m constantly updating with my favorite names. I love that you mentioned Sylvie, that is in the top three right now along with Stella & Norah. We didn’t get too deep with our son’s name…my husband & I both went to UNL & we named him Lincoln. I told my husband it would be pretty lame if we ever move back there now. But there don’t seem to be too many Lincolns in Lincoln (ahhh, I wonder why? Lame!).

  14. Lucy? IMegan?

  15. I don’t know. I think someone needs to get over the Margaret hangup OBVS.

    (If we have another girl I can’t tell anyone the name because it is SORT OF OUT THERE and I cannot go through the whole everyone-has-an-opinion thing again with all the mind changing and waffling and wanting-to-please OMG I mean, I’m already neurotic enough as it is.)

  16. Ok. So, I don’t know if you watch the Office, but they named their girl Cecilia and I kind of lost my damned mind about that because if Dublin had come out with different parts, he would have been Sicilia (ah, we can’t stay away from Geographical places for names!), but now it’s totally ruined. Unless you like the name (I know, MANY people don’t), but ANYWAY, I don’t really have much to offer up here, obvs.

  17. I also love my name. It can be long and formal, for my grown-up life, or shortened, as a nickname, which is what my friends and family call me. We wanted to same thing for our daughter. It is hard to find a name you both agree on – my husband and I went through the same thing. I love the name Margot, but he does not. I love Madeline, but there are so many Maddies in the world. So when we finally found a name we both liked, we had to go for it. Honestly, choosing a middle name was harder. I can’t wait to hear your daughter’s name!

  18. I want to know I want to know I want to know! No fair!

  19. Ooooo I can’t wait to find out!

    My high school friend just had a baby on Monday and named her Clara Maielle. I think it’s simply gorgeous.

    I love baby girl names. SWOON.

  20. I am no longer having any more kids, so here’s my favorite list:
    But now I realized you just said no ee ending names… whoops.
    I;m sure your name is awesome and perfect.
    But here’s some more just in case:
    Sara Catherine (and she’d be called by the whole name, too)

    and I’m glad you’re going against Peyton. I really really really hate that name. It’s just weird. Is it a boy or a girl? I can’t tell!!!!

  21. You know the name that comes to mind that seems to fit the bill is Catherine. Thought it doesn’t have a Z in it. But saints and queens, check. And heroines. At least in Wurthering Heights. And you’ve got Katherine Ann Porter for a writer. I don’t know if you’re Catholic – it is pretty popular in those circles. But not so much it seems if you’re not. And if it is very few go by the full name.

  22. I love love love the topic of names. And I am DYING that your middle name is Bishop because ohmygod what a beautiful name and such an amazing poet.

    There are so many good options out there… Based on what you were saying about queens, I’d suggest Victoria because it’s regal and lovely and has all sorts of nickname potential. Veronica is along the same lines.

    I have a relative named Madelon which I think is kind of lovely. And another (female) relative named Marion. (Although I believe that is one of those tricky used-to-be-a-man’s-name names.)

    I am sure that whatever you’ve picked is amazing. Can’t wait to find out what it is!

    And also? Shame on people who make negative comments about people’s name choices!! I can’t imagine doing that. Even if the name was Seymour Butts. I would just bite my tongue and hope that the parents had their kid’s best interests at heart. (Even though some DO NOT, obvs, but I like to give the benefit of the doubt.)

  23. No suggestions here– I have a hard enough time picking names for my own kids, let alone someone else’s. I am VERY curious though!

  24. Vivian. Always my favorite. Then I could call her Vivi.

  25. I’m only telling you this because I don’t know you in “real life”, so i feel I can share and you won’t make this name unusable in the future for me…lol.
    My daughter, who has yet to be conceived, (apparently we can only make boys around these parts) will be named Vivianne Hope. Vivianne because it’s beautiful and Hope because that’s my middle name, as well as my mothers, great grandma’s, great great grandma’s, and I’m sure someone else up there on the line.
    Sounds fairly regal to me, too, which I love.

  26. I just found your blog. I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to find out what you picked.

    My daughter’s name is Hadleigh. I love it, because it’s old, classic, not trendy or popular. I went with the “eigh” ending over the “ey” ending, because I’m not a “y” fan. I love the “leigh” in it. But, if you like “y” names, Hadley, is another spelling. She’s the only Hadleigh in our entire school district, Pre-K-12th and even in the surrounding areas. lol

    Good luck with your name hunt! 🙂

  27. This post has me laughing still… funny stuff. It was interesting to us just how much goes into names that a baby CANNOT have.

    A big one for us – that falls in line with many of these – was any ex-boyfriend or girlfriend of each other or anyone close to us. Thus, Loren went right out the door for our son’s name!

  28. Funny about the name Eleanor, because I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with a little boy who will be named Elijah (Eli for short), and if he had been a girl, he would’ve been Eleanor (Nora), after my husband’s great-aunt.

    I actually think we’ll still name a girl, if were to have, one Nora, but THEN if we went on to have a third (geez, Gaby, plan ahead much?!) people would assume we’d have to name that baby with an “E” name, and since my husband is one of four Js, I just won’t do that, and people can frankly deal. 🙂

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