what’s in a name?

what's in a name

picking out a name for our little man has been quite across the board from exciting and fun to down right frustrating*.  people tell me that I’ll just have to wait until he’s born to decide whether or not he “fits his name” then others say it’s nice to have something picked out so when referring him, it’s not just “the baby” or “little man”.  he needs a strong name and a unique one too, especially since our last name is so common.

we’ve been pretty set on what we thought might be his middle name for months now – even before we knew it was a boy – and we’ve been affectionately calling him by that lately.  in fact, we’ve been doing it so much that it’s beginning to feel like it should be his first name more and more every day.  we love it dearly but of course part of me worries because it IS such a unique, defining name, that what if he gets made fun of… or what if like people have said, it just doesn’t suit him once he’s born.

however, I’m pretty sure I have a good idea about this little man growing inside me.  I’m beginning to know his movements like when he’s most active or what position I can lay in to feel him best.  I know what songs to play that really make him move.  I know he likes to hear his dad’s voice.  and I know it’s early but I even feel like I can distinguish little feet from little hands or elbows.  he’s quite an active little guy.  so active, just shy of 26 weeks, that I can’t even imagine how he’ll be once he’s bigger and closer to his due date.

if we absolutely had to pick a name tomorrow, we’d know what his name would be.  I feel like it suits him.  and it suits us too.  of course we’ve still got time but I’m a planner.  I guess I just need to get over my anxiety of naming him something so different** and completely go with our gut.

*ok, it’s been mostly fun to giggle with Levi over the names that we could most definitely not name him… like Charlie or Leroy for instance.  most often when we go out to dinner, the subject of conversation quickly reaches our growing little man and we smile and laugh as we think of great wise names or funny combinations for his initials.

**on a scale of 1-10 of weirdness when it comes to unique names, this name, to me, is not weird at all.  I’d give it a 5 and that’s just because it’s rare.


  1. 6


    kersey said:

    My name is very unique (it’s originally a last name) and I was made fun of a little bit when I was in elementary school but after that everyone just loves how unique and “cool” it is. I think it fits me perfectly. Our little guy is Elliott, which is uncommon but is “classic” which we love! So I say go with what you love and the kid will love it too! Good luck, it can be tricky :)

  2. 6


    ann said:

    We named our little girl a unique name- 10 on the weirdness scale. It did not fit her at all. We had her name legally changed at 3 months to a name that is maybe a 7 weird. We feel that she choose her new name, and it was a very inspired thing. Friends and family were happy for the change because her new name is not as strange. Anyways the point is you can always change his name, right? And he might just show you what he wants his name to be :)

  3. 6


    Rachael said:

    We’re thinking of a unique name too, and from my amateur polling it seems like people with unexpected names loving having them. I think I might stop telling people what we’re thinking though, because I’m tired of their facial expressions!

  4. 6


    Blythe said:

    Like Kersey, I have something of an unusual name, and I will admit to a brief period in elementary school when I wished I was the fifth Caitlin in my class. I’m very glad to say, however, that I have grown to love my name and how unique it is, and while I am often forced to repeat it for people (several times, and don’t get me started on the gibberish that gets put on cups at the coffee shop!!) I always enjoy their reactions. If I ever have children I wouldn’t hesitate to give them an unusual name – if it felt right. Trust your instincts! And congrats ;)

    • 15


      Lola said:

      I love your name. We were going to name our last daugther Blythe but went with a family name for her first name and used Blythe as her middle name. I really really love it!

  5. 6


    mara said:

    Like Kersey and Blythe I used to wish to go by my middle name when I was younger. Once I got to high school though I loved having a name no one else had and now wouldn’t trade it for the world. Hopefully he’ll thank you when he’s older.

  6. 7


    such fun to pick a name :) i love this post. and ann, that’s so interesting that you tried out a name and then changed it! my parents said they had to try out our names for a couple days and kept switching them around. xo joanna

  7. 7


    ps. such a cute photo!

  8. 7


    robyn said:

    my son was quite active before he was born (we didn’t settle on a name until we met him), so we referred to him as “ninja”. eventually everyone did. in fact, we have a book my aunt bought him that is labeled inside with “to ninja from auntie margy”.

  9. 7


    tastymoog said:

    my first name i would categorize as classic/somewhat common, and i have an unusual/old timey middle name. i didn’t like it when i was younger, but do now and it flows very nicely with my first name. plus it’s a family name which makes it more special.

    as a result, i appreciate a balance of classic and unconventional, and would probably go that route if i were ever in a position to name a kiddo.

  10. 7


    mika said:

    i am definitely a fan of unique names… i’m so glad that i wasn’t given a name that everyone else had. while at times it may get old hearing people pronounce it wrong, my name is meaningful to me and no one can take that away from me. i’m even more proud to have a japanese name because it connects to me my ancestry, my family, and my culture.

    while i think it’s important to consider how a first and last name flow together and not to give a child a name that is just asking for ridicule in school, i believe originality, culture, and what feels right to you are so much more important than having a “normal” name.

  11. 7


    Honora said:

    Just chiming in to echo Kersey and Blythe’s comments. My name is definitely a 10 on the weirdness scale, and I’ve never met anyone else with my name. It’s an old family name, and something that I have grown to love. Sure it’s annoying to have to repeat it two or three times every time you meet someone new, but that is a small price to pay for originality and uniqueness! Different is good in my book!

  12. 7


    sara said:

    I am so curious about the name you are thinking of !

    We are an Anglo-French couple so the name of our son-to-be-born (same due date as you) has to be okay with both language (and culture). BUT trends are actually very different from country to country. For instance I (the French one) love old French names, like Joseph or Gustave. And Joseph is sooo rare in France, I don’t know anyone called like that, it has so much class, when I know that in English it is quite common and therefore, has a different “color” to it.
    And other thing to think about in the Anglo world is … nickname.
    We do not nickname people in France. Joseph will never be Joe or Joey. Zachary will never be Zach. Tobias will never be Toby or James Jimmy. Maybe once in a blue moon, but that’s it.
    So I know I have to think “double”. Do I like the name? Do I like the nickname?

    We both love the name August for our boy. It’s both French and English. It sounds very hard and strict in French, and more soft and summery maybe for Anglo. It’s a good mix and I would say “ok, that’s it, we found his name!” but I just HATE the nickname Auggie (I don’t even know how to spell it).
    So I am thinking of calling him Octave.
    What do you think?
    Can you impose a name without its nickname?

    Sorry I needed to talk about it…

  13. 7


    Mom said:

    I also have a different name, Sherilynn. I have seen it spelled and pronounced so many different ways. That never really bothered me. I never shortened it either. I was not a Sheri or a Lynn. I love different names and think you are right to consider a different name since your last name is common. It will set “little man” apart from the others. Go for it!!

  14. 8


    abby said:

    Oh my gosh, I’m getting all teary eyed reading this post.
    Those dang hormones!
    I love reading about your thoughts. James and I are already talking about names-even though it’s so far off.
    I’m sure your little guy will end up loving his name, whatever you chose.

  15. 8


    nicole b. said:

    My husband and I love old-fashioned names. No “weirdness” factor – just good solid names that are slightly uncommon.

    @Sara – Over the summer, a friend of mine and his wife named their son August Millar (“Gus,” for short). I think it’s a fine name! It sounds like a playwright.

  16. 10


    sara said:

    Thanks Nicole B!
    Gus is a nickname I prefer to Auggie, for sure. Just not certain people will follow…
    I am glad it sounds like a playright in English! It’s just so weird to not “know” what it sounds like in an other language…

  17. 14


    shisomama said:

    This post brings back such fond memories for me. Our second child is a girl, and I was really set on a name that I’ve loved for a long time. My husband loved it too, but he also felt strongly that she should have a name that she would not be embarrassed to put on a resume, so it’s now her official middle name, although no one addresses her by her first name except those at the pediatrician’s office. My husband also goes by his middle name, but that’s because he’s a Jr.

  18. 15


    Lola said:

    I say name him whatever feels right, even if it’s uncommon. They grow into their names and then you can’t imagine them as anything else. My middle daughters name is Alberta and it took me a while to really like it but now I love it and it suits her so well.

  19. 16


    Borda said:

    I’m a bit behind in reading this post, but thought I would chime in for a few reasons. I do have a unique name and a normal last name (Jones). I’ve known you since kindergarten and don’t remember being teased about my name as a child. Do you? The only thing I was ever teased about much was the way my mom pronounced my name, but that’s just her Mississippi accent.

    I’m now frequently told that my name matches my personality. I often have people remember meeting me simply from my name. I had someone last week ask if we had met before and my response was, “My name is Borda.” They quickly knew we hadn’t.

    In short, it’s a blessing and a curse at the same time, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. What does Levi think about it? That’s not the most common name either.

    • 16


      alyson said:

      hey Borda!! thanks for chiming in.

      question for you… did it ever bother you that Borda was your middle name? Levi and I still keep going back and forth about whether or not to simply go with the unique name for his first name, or leave it as his middle name and still call him by that. Levi said it was annoying for him growing up {not sure if you remembered but Levi is his middle name!} most of the name combos we’ve thought of sound better with our unique name in the middle… so we’re still on the fence.

      did you ever get annoyed with people calling you by your first name then having to correct them?

  20. 20


    Moocy said:

    If it helps at all, I have a name that is quite unusual (both first and last) and I’ve always been happy about it. I never recall being teased. My mom read it in an Irish fairytale and remembered it all those years before she had me. I still haven’t met anyone else who shares it. :)

    - Maiga