One Name To Convey It All? Help Me Name My Baby!

What, you want me to name someone? You want like a name? Oh, God, the pressure of a name… I got it. Cindafuckin’rella”– Kit, to Vivian, in Pretty Woman.

I am officially name obsessed. I’ve always been keenly interested in names- how people get them, their meanings, name trends, etc. Even when I’m not naming a baby, I still read the Nameberry blog avidly. I’m a name nerd.

But now, I get one chance. One chance to name one baby girl. A GIRL. When I had my son, I thought boy names were harder- less room to be creative, less interesting names to choose from, more tied to “but what will it look like on a business card”? (Yes, I know this is ridiculous and sexist and I hope my daughter will have a business card too).  But naming our first-born was easy. My husband and I agreed on most names we liked. We had a list going very early, and of course some names moved up and down, but for the most part, we liked them all.

We went into delivery with 2 or 3 names and thought we’d pick a name after we saw what he “looked like”. Except he looked like a creepy old man.  My husband and I looked at each other and said “He looks like a Henry”. He just did. But even in my confused and overwhelmed state, I knew that was ridiculous. Why would you name your kid to match what he looks like as a newborn creature, all skinny limbs and smushed face and not-quite formed features? We should name him based on what we wanted him to be, our favorite name, our best vision of him. So we picked another name, one that fits him so perfectly. (By the way, I still adore the name Henry).

But I longed to name a little girl. I am a serial namer. I think I played Barbies just for the excuse to make up names and exotic storylines for each “woman”. In every journal I’ve ever had, you will find a list of names I like. Potential baby names, potential character names, names of people I admire, any name that sparks something.

And here is my chance. And, as I’m sure you’ve suspected by now, I am utterly paralyzed. One name, to rule all of her? One name, to convey to the world all of the spunk and beauty and fire and sweetness and hopes and desires and small quirks and complications I expect she will have? Where does one even start?

Well I started with lists. And then I pulled out the name books. And every day I’m reading Nameberry and Babynamewizard and Nymbler and You Can’t Call It It. And I ask every woman and girl child I meet what their name is. If a friend mentions any person of the female persuasion, I immediately badger her with questions about her name. I have names on the brain.

I have lists and lists of names in every possible combination. And yet, if I were to go into labor today, I could not possibly name this child. I know too much. I know the statistical popularity of that name (including all variations of spellings and not). I know the history and the meaning and the trend of it. I know the trends that are forecasted, I know what’s popular in England and Greece and Montana and Texas.

So please, please help me. I need to step away from the books and the pressure, the pressure of a name. Somebody just tell me what to name this baby!

Here are my “rules”:

Feminine but not too girly, with some spunk

No “A” names (last name begins with “A” and doesn’t sound good)

No made up or misspelled names

No “trendy” names- but popular is ok if it’s classic

No boy names for girl

Names I Generally Like: Lily, Nora, Charlotte, Eloise, Louisa, Daisy, Lucy, Juliet, Arden, Beatrice, Samantha, Marin, Flannery, Millay, March, Elodie, Clara, Maisie, Tess, Genevieve, Colette, Willa, Susannah

Family Names: Katharine, Bess, Margaret, Lucille, Mary, Emma, Harper, Reed, Caroline, Bailey, Claire, Rose/Rosa, Amelia, Beatrice, Emily, Elisabeth, Patricia, Mary, Sarah, George, Downs

I did get some input from my Grandmother and my son. My grandmother suggested “Skye”. (Considering she likes “Dawn” for my sister’s to-be-named baby, I feel honored).

My son is firmly entrenched on Tigerlily. He can’t imagine why I even keep asking him if he likes other names. He shakes his head vigorously and says “Nooooo, not Char-lotte!” with disgust in his voice. “Not Nooor-a! Tiger-Lidy.”

Me: “Ok, can we call her Lily?”

O: “No! Tiger-Lidy. Can I have a snack?”

You see why I need help. I’m weak and close to giving in and he’s the most persistent voice in the debate. And while I think Tigerlily has a certain charm, I’m not entirely confident in my mothering abilities to produce a child named Tigerlily that does not end up as an exotic dancer.

Any brilliant ideas? How did you pick names for your children? Any words of wisdom? And if you’re too shy to post (I see you out there reading but not commenting!), feel free to email me some ideas. I kinda like the idea of sending her to therapy one day because I picked her name from a stranger’s suggestion on the internet.



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7 responses to “One Name To Convey It All? Help Me Name My Baby!

  1. Tyla

    If your son says Tigerlily, name her Tigerlily, or even just Tiger or Tyger. I think it’s way trendy! Kids of the 21st century tend to be more spiritual and open minded, and are more connected with nature and the universe, and nature names are becoming more popular and are the names of the future. By the time she grows up, Tiger will be a popular name along with Sky and Onyx and all those other nature names and word names, especially gender bender names. The key is to be creative, and I think word names from your own language are awesome (after all, names are just words in other languages, so what better way to express yourself than with your own language?) While the names that you sugested are pretty, they’re probably names of people you know that are your own age, but their meaning is lost in time and they will also seem ancient by the time your child grows up, just my opinion though. Also the meaning and origion of the name is extremely important, especially to kids born in this day and age, where they tend to be more creatively expressive and will want something that stands for their individuality and open-mindedness. I’m 19 and I’m a total name nerd. I don’t like my name much (it means roof tiler, I would have prefered something more impressive like Alexandra “defender of man”) so trust me I know what I’m talking about. Greek names are also cool, they’re timeless, ancient and futuristic, and I bet your girl will love being named after a greek goddess (of which there are many to choose, another sugestion). Also don’t be afraid to give her a girl or boy’s name because it really doesn’t matter now days. But with her generation she’ll probably end up being either spiritual or expressive and you’ll need to be proud of that, and she’ll want a name that reflects that. But that’s all just my opinion, hope it helps 🙂 Blessed Be


    • Tyla- Interesting perspective! I have been thinking a lot about what I wanted to be named as a child, and then what I could possibly predict a future child might possibly admire in a name. I agree that all of the names I like tend to be the names that I am hearing all over the playground, in which case I assume she will roll her eyes and wish I’d named her Lyra or something. I was hoping for a totally fresh perspective, so thank you! I wish I had the guts to name her Tigerlily, not sure I do. But will keep it on the list. By the way, I love Alexandra, but think Tyla is a pretty cool name. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I cannot help with your issue. I’m sure I will have name paralysis, too. I just wanted to say that’s my most favorite movie quote ever :).

    Good luck! And, I’d avoid Tigerlily, at least partially for the exotic dancer concern :).


  3. Totally not surprised that the names you like and the names I like have a great deal of overlap. I adore Harper and one of my best friends named her daughter that several years ago. Of course the Beckham situation may change that. Grace was supposed to be Eloise but Matt overruled me because of his father’s illness and how she was the “grace of God.” Hmm. I guess she was, and is. Whit was supposed to be Phoebe but then he was a boy. His first name is actually Sam, and Whit is short for Samuel. I have no advice, but I can’t wait to hear! xox


    • Harper is a great name, and of my best friends from college, but yes, becoming quite popular, unfortunately. I think Grace and Whit are an absolute perfect boy/girl combo. Though who knows, in another world you could have had an Eloise and a Phoebe- pretty smashing combo! xx


  4. Naming is really hard. I have a Madeleine. Classic, maybe too popular now, but oh well. It sounds like you should look to the 20s for your taste. I also like Julie. Robin is kind of cool. I love Mia and Jane. My husband and I luckily decided on my daughter’s name when I was newly pregnant. We don’t agree easily on names so when we found one we both liked, we stuck with it.


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