On Choosing a Name

** Note: I talk a lot about baby names here. Please don’t be offended if you or your child’s name is included in the “No Way, No How” list. Remember, this is just the measly opinion of little ol’ me and I mean no harm to anyone. And didn’t Shakespeare say it best in Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” **

So we finally have a name for this baby! And no, it’s not Skittle. Or any other food-related name. I save those only for terms of endearment and this blog: Cupcake, Teddy Graham, Skittle… Clearly, I like to eat. 🙂

But I digress.

Choosing a name that Honey and I both liked was not easy. It required long talks, lots of thought, research, compromise, begging, open-mindedness, and negotiation. But we did finally come to an agreement, a name that we both feel is one we created together. We’re not announcing the name until Skittle’s birth, but I can at least share with you the process right now, how we chose which names we like and why there were certain names that we definitely did not. So here’s the explanation, being as brief as possible (which is not very brief at all)…


First of all, we wanted a name with meaning. We didn’t just open a baby book and make a list of names we like. It had to speak to us, to evoke a feeling or remind us of something special. For example, Cupcake’s first name is a city we both traveled to and love. Her middle name is a flower — my favorite flower, the only flower at our wedding, and the flower that grew in my grandmother’s garden (where I played when I was small). So names like Adelaide, Isabel, Sloane, Faith, Hope, and Grace were all on the list, either as first or middle names, because they all mean something to us.

We considered names that took the same convention as Cupcake’s name: a place we love + a flower. So names like Adelaide (again), London, Auburn, Dana, Sloane (again), Victoria, Carmel, and Chelsea were all discussed, however briefly. For middle names, we tossed around Violet, Lily, and Daisy.

I’m a bookworm and Honey and I both have a degree in English, so we like literary names. Favorites included Juliet, Scarlett, Josephine, and Emma.

Preferably, our chosen name would have no nickname linked to it or one I very much adored. Well-liked nicknames include Ellie, Katie, Liv, Lucy, Belle, Jules, Joey, and Liz. Other okay nicknames included Maddy, Addie, Bree, and Issy.

We wanted something unique but not too unique. Nothing that will easily lend itself to teasing, raised eyebrows, pronunciation errors, and thoughts of strippers. Instead, I wanted a name that you surely have heard before, but probably not recently and probably not by anyone you know well. That means no to Apple, Cherish, Paola, Diamond, Sparkle, and Dulce and yes to Adeline, Amelie, Kenzie, and Delilah.

I am a girly-girl and I like names that sound feminine. So gender neutral names were out (even though Cupcake’s name is a bit of a gender bender). No Jamie, Robyn, Terry, Kris, Riley, Bailey, Sloane, Drew, Taylor or other such names — at least as a first name. Instead, I wanted something that was decidedly girly, like Adelaide (there it is again!), Juliette, Isabel, Elliana, Rose, Ruby, Scarlett, Rhiannon, Charlotte, Elizabeth, etc.


It couldn’t be a name either of us truly despised. We both had veto power when it came to that. My husband wanted the middle name of Vesta. I said no before the name was even off his lips.

I didn’t want anything too common or popular. Names like JaneLisa, Ashley, and Sarah were crossed off. As were the trendy names of today like Madison, Savannah, Emma, Isabella, Sophia, and Ava. I have always, always loved the name Olivia Paige, but alas, Olivia is just too popular now. 😦

Nothing too old-fashioned or unpopular either. No Stephanie, Barbara, Bonnie, Harriet, Alice, Beulah, Hazel, Nicole, Sabrina, Chelsea, Briana, Joyce, Lucille, and so on.

Even though I wouldn’t let it stop me from choosing a name I truly fell in love with, I really wanted to avoid names that our friends and family have already used. That means names like Aubrey, Jillian, Charlee, Angelina, Lillian, and Norah were never considered.

I also couldn’t allow any of those names that have a strong “celebrity” link. Examples: Madonna, Britney, Paris, Oprah, Ariel, Minnie, and Cinderella.

In the end, the name we chose is one I love and one my husband is happy enough with. It’s possible that he caved on our choice for the first name because I have finally relented and agreed to buy a minivan. Like I said: compromise and negotiation. The name was more important to me, the minivan more important to him (what a weirdo, right?!). And so we have a first name that is pretty and feminine and can transform into a cute but classy nickname. And we have two middle names that hold so much meaning to us, I melt when I think of them. I can’t wait to share her full name with all of you after her birth.

Two more months, friends. Just two more months.

10 thoughts on “On Choosing a Name

  1. One of our necessary qualifications for a name was that it wasn’t on the top 10 list of most popular names. Luckily, the girl’s name we came across that we finally decided on is in the 700s or so, so I don’t have to worry about her having 6 other girls with the same name in her first grade class. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you chose!

  2. I adore the fact that you’ve put so much thought into Skittle’s name. It’s a life long attachment and it’s nice when it has some thought behind it. I can only imagine the negotiations that went on in your household though 🙂

  3. While I was reading this I was thinking yes, yes, yes the whole time. I completely agree with all of your points. That being said, we didn’t go through any of this process. Ha. Somehow, we picked our names years ago on a random road trip. We both just…liked the same two names. One for a boy, one for a girl. So damnit, the second one better be a girl because her name is waiting for her and I don’t want to think of another boy’s name!

  4. I can’t wait to hear what you decided on! Hubby and I have (already) put a lot of thought into names, too, and I love to hear how other people process this big decision!

  5. What an interesting read! It’s cool to see the different criteria people use when coming up with names. I guess that’s why there are so many different names out there, since people have different priorities! You’re the second person I’ve heard mention not wanting a nickname attached to it. I probably call Sofia, “Sofi” more often than not, but as someone with a name that has no nickname perhaps I always wished that hadn’t been the case!

    Can’t wait to find out the name in just a few months! 🙂

  6. Well, I know our girls won’t be confused for each other, because this one’s names, both first and middle, are among your examples of what NOT to name Cupcake’s little sis. Don’t worry, though, they’re not ones that raise thoughts of strippers.

    Enjoy your minivan! 😉

    • Oh, dear! Forgive me? And just know that the one thing I have learned about naming a baby in the past few years is that it doesn’t matter what other people think about the name, as long as YOU love it. 🙂

      • No, no. Don’t be sorry, Elizabeth! I don’t think you sounded b*tchy at all. Even though I knew you would completely understand, I just felt the need to apologize because the subject of names *can* be so sensitive.

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