Roses, Thorns, Consuela Banana Hammock…etc

Oh….do i have a conundrum for you this afternoon, lovely readers. It’s a simple question, on the surface. But dig a little deeper….and holy complex Batman! You’ve got a jumbo-size can of wiggly worms right there… I present to you…How to Pick a Name for Your Baby.

Phil and I are currently very hopefully planning for a baby at some point in the next 18 months, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to you! A huge part of this planning is what to name our future baby (or babies?! With drug-assisted conception comes an 11% chance of twins-amaze.) and oh my, we are struggling. We have exactly three full girl’s names-first names and middle names, initials that don’t spell out anything inappropriate….all the important qualities! It was always important to me to have a fairly unique name and Phil has always said that an unusual name would ‘fit’ us well and our girl choices reflect this whilst taking into account family ties and traditions. We could conceive female triplets tomorrow and be absolutely fine. But boys? Boys are a different matter ENTIRELY.

There have been lots of babies recently-the smushable Emilia, obviously! Then there’s wee Florence, the scrumptious Elsie, cheeky Matilda, Abigail, Lola and Ellie…as well as Isabella and Dominique-all girls! (And all named perfectly, naturally…) This leads me to think that there is a veryveryvery solid chance that Phil and I could possibly be destined to have a boy-9 girls in a year is quite impressive, no?

So…boy’s names. Boy’s names coupled with my horrendous association-disorder. UGH. I cannot help but be reminded of people I know, knew or have heard of who have the same name, and if I don’t like them or have any kind of issue with them-the name is done for. For some reason, this seems to have ruined more boy’s names for me than girl’s-I have no clue why?! Add to this that Phil seems to have a complete aversion to every boy’s name under the sun and we are STUCK. Well and truly. So much so, we refer to a possible baby boy as ‘Chip’. Yeah.

Oh, I also have a problem with nicknames being given as first names. I’m all for ‘Charlie’ and ‘Alfie’ and ‘Bella’ or ‘Cassie’ but my own personal brand of OCD says that birth certificates should read ‘Charles, Alfred, Isabella or Cassandra’. Sorry, I know that it’s silly. Can’t help it. NO WONDER we can’t find a name that works…

Help, lovely AOWers. Please?!

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships
38 interesting thoughts on this


  1. L
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    What about Phil? Or Phillip due to your birth certificate related OCD! My godmother's husband and son are both called Louis, everyone refers to them as big Louis and little Louis. Even though little Louis is now 32 :)
    I've never thought to ask why he was named after his dad but maybe they had the same dilemma as you two??

  2. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes, name snob #2 over here! Do you have one of those a-z baby names (published in the uk not usa lest you end up contemplating jay-z) I love love old fashioned names, and biblical names. Apart from judas obvs. Minefield.

    My top boys names are George, William and Harry and girls names Esme, Eloise and Polly.

  3. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I'm the same – first names should be proper! I can imagine being swayed though. Sam and I have already decided if we ever have a girl we want to call her Josie (after Josie & The Pussycats – I know…) but Josephine reminds me of the Grandma out of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and there was a girl called Jocelyn at my school who was my sworn enemy. What to do!

    Boys names are just harder. I love little old man names, so I'm not the best person to ask. Stanley, Arthur, Albert, Compo (ok the last one might have been a joke)… I LOVE THEM ALL. Bible is always a good source of awesome names too… friend of a friend just called her son Gabriel – ACE.


  4. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Lucy, I know two sisters called Esme and Polly who are our age! Quite unusual for 80s babies.


  5. L
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of biblical names, one of my great grans was called Rachel. Always thought it sounded quite modern for a woman who died before I was born until someone pointed out it was from the Bible and therefore, not very modern at all!

  6. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    We have a few girls names and only one boys name. I have seen friends fall out because one 'copied' the other's dream name – even though the friend who 'thought of it first' hadn't even thought about having children yet and was single at the time. When I smugly told Bella my top name which has lots of special significance and which I thought was highly unusual, turns out it was her list too. Which I'm taking as further proof of our soul-twinning and not as an excuse to have a barney! Aisling, if you have associative-disorder issues with boys names, why not turn that around? What's your favourite book? Does it have a male character in it you have good associations with? Or is there a guy in your life that you and Phil love and look up to whose name you'd like to pass on?

  7. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh how come there was only one comment when I started writing and only now I can read everyone else's?? @Penny – SO call your baby Jolene – she could still be Josie for short and she'd be hella rocknroll….

  8. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Firstly – big whoop that things seem to be moving forwards for you on this Aisling!

    Second – totally with you on the association issue. I do this all the time!

    Third – The only boys name I really like is James. And seeing as that's my OH and my brothers name it's a bit overdone.

  9. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Aisling we have the same thing! There's about three or four excellent girls' names we'd be happy to go for but – at a stretch – ONE boy's name A friend recently named her baby Fraser which I thought was gorgeous.


  10. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Oh, so happy that this is becoming more of a possibility for you, lovely Aisling :-)

    This is definitely a problem I have! Firstly, yes, full names please (I'm a Katherine on my birth certificate, the way it SHOULD be!)

    Our main issue with names is that Gareth is half Welsh and wants to name his kids Welsh names. For girls, this is just about ok, I've found 3 or 4 that I like. After much searching (and some discounting for association issues). Boys though? There are NO nice Welsh boys names (not quite true, there are some, but his Welsh friends and family have stolen them all for their children, goodbye Dylan…).

    I like the names Jacob (not Welsh), William (not Welsh), Andrew (not Welsh), and Thomas (not Welsh). Long story short? Hoping for girls ;-p

    K x

  11. Anonymous
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Congrats things are moving forward on the baby front.

    I have a strange penchant for Morrow, Monroe and Hamilton and other such surnames as a 1st know to mix it up a bit :-)
    Or what about a wee bit of irish
    Shay, Eoin or Cormac.

    Hope you find one that suits

  12. Liz H
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Completely with you on this! Girls names are easy, boys names I have no idea!! Whenever we try and think of a boys name it ends up with Boris or something equally ridiculous! My favourite is Samuel, but Mark's sister is Samantha so there would be two Sam Connell's – doesn't really work!

    Also, Katielase – I have exactly the same issus! Mark is welsh and has decided that as he no longer lives there children should have welsh names – and most of them are just strange!

  13. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hurrah, so glad things are looking more positive for you guys – will keep my fingers crossed for you.
    I'm completely with you on the full name front – nicknames should stay exactly that, and the child can choose whether to go with a nickname or not when older.
    The only name we've decided on so far is actually a boy's name – Alexander. I'd love to give a potential son the middle name James after our late friend, but M's family have the "tradition" of passing down a middle name to the first born son. Unfortunately, that name is Roy. I'm hoping that if and when we have a boy, M will look down into his tiny newborn son's scrunched up baby face and think "there's no way this tiny young thing could be a Roy…" Here's hoping.
    I agree with looking to books or other things/people that you love and respect. Or just ploughing through a book of baby names.
    Keep us posted! xx

  14. Christie
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I can't be any particular help but I just wanted to say I'm also in the "boys names are stupidly hard to pick" camp.

    We're not even planning on babies any time soon but we've had the name chat and girls are easy peasy, boys, not so much!

    My other half is mainly the problem though, he dislikes pretty much EVERYTHING I suggest, for a man that's quite laid back he has serious issues with this. I'm hoping we just have girls and that's the end of it!

    (Also, my closest friend had a little girl in May and named her Elsie, I wasn't sure on it at the time but now I LOVE it. Very nice suggestions!)

  15. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I too am having this problem. We don't know whether the baby is a boy or a girl. We've settled, for now, on one boys name we both like, but husband will not agree to any of my girls name choices. He says they sound too posh. Only another 3 months to argue back and forth though and then we have to choose one!

  16. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I love this post, as I also obsess over names, and have strong name associations, which rules out thousands of perfectly nice names. Also, I do not want to use a name which a family member has (we have a lot of cousins) or good friend.

    Penny, I went to school with a Josine, who's nickname was Josie.

    Katielase, Tomos is the welsh spelling for Thomas. Tom works in Welsh and English. Similarly to Huw/Hugh. I have a second cousin called Dylan, and everybody insists on using the welsh pronounciation, which is dull-en. It's a matter of pride (my Dad's side are welsh), to use the correct pronunciation. I think the English pronunciation of Dillon is much nicer.

    Liz, there are some really lovely welsh names, but I think some of the more unusual ones, such as Haf, Teleri, Einir and Arwyn – only work if you live in Wales. Just my opinion.

    I'm going to be honest, and hope no real life friends find me on this forum. My husband and I are not trying yet, as we'd like to attend my cousin's wedding in Italy in the autumn, and do some improvements to the house. We will at some point be trying in 2012. It may ofcourse take years to conceive, we just don't know.

    We have had the boys name for years. We cannot agree on girls names. We're no doubt way ahead of ourselves, to even be discussing it.

    The surname I have on Twitter is my maiden name, my married name is more common. I kept my maiden surname for my business, and married surname for personal life. My married surname is not that attractive, it's rather harsh sounding, shorter than my maiden name, which makes things much more difficult.

    I like Alys (but my husband says "Alice, who the f*ck is Alice''). I have pointed out that we have the welsh spelling, which makes it a completely differently name to the song.

    My husband's favourite girl's name is Ffion, but one of his best friend's has taken this name. He likes short welsh names such as Nia, Iola (pronounced Yola), Gwen (friend has taken this name also), Carys and Bethan.

    I love the names Selina, Rosanna and Florence, but a Prime Minister has tarred the name Florence for me. Alas, my husband doesn't like Selina or Rosanna.

    One of my bridesmaids recently had a daughter called Elizabeth Grace, which I think is lovely, and my husband's friend, who was our MC for wedding, has a Ffion Elizabeth.


  17. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    foook, I never realised my comment was so long, till I click publish. Sorry, I should have edited it, to be much shorter.

  18. Fee
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    We have HUNDREDS of boys names (Max being the number one) but not a single girls name! My husband frequently puts Wilma on the table. I sincerely hope this is a joke.

    We also have a long standing agreement to call our second son (if we are lucky enough) Luke, with the middle name Skywalker. We have both sworn to the other that we won't be the one to back down. Hmmm.

    In which case, the natural name for our daughter would be Princess Leia. Hee!

  19. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Aisling, I foget to say, get out the family tree, or the old census's online. Google census 1911, then type in your's and Phil's surname. It'll tell you what people called their children, with your surname, in 1911.


  20. Esme
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    It's funny, when people say they like the name Esme my first thought is 'strange people'. It's too many years of having it spelt incorrectly and pronounced even more weirdly…

    I have my fingers and toes well and truely crossed for you Aisling!

    So with you on the full names on the birth certificate thing and how boys' names are MUCH harder. I only have 1 that I love (although it breaks the no shortern names rule) but I have found myself liking more unusual biblical names recently too – Jacob for example.


  21. Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Katie, I did not know there was a Welsh version of Thomas! Wow, that's made it into my possibilities list. Also not totally averse to Owain (Welsh Owen).

    Fee… please please DO THAT. Star Wars names = made of win.

    K x

  22. Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Katielase, the modern spelling Owen, is much more widely used than Owain, where I live in North East Wales. I always thought that Owen was just the modern spelling of Owain, rather than English spelling. I might be wrong on this.

    I always think Evan, works really well in English, as everybody knows how to spell/ pronouce it.

  23. Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Wooooo! So glad things are moving forward for you on the baby front!!

    I also agree with the formal birth certificate name and I too have association-disorder.

    However, what about: Jacob/Jake, Tobias (Toby), Maximillan (Max), Callum or Alexander?

    Girls names we've both agreed on are: Charlotte, Elizabeth, Lucinda (Lucy), Grace and Georgina. Also debating on Keira as well.


  24. Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Seeing as though we have the EXACT SAME UNUSUAL GIRLS NAMES I want to refrain… but I shan't.

    When I imagine my sons I come back to the same names, and they are all a bit odd. And I think I will be overuled.

    Vito. Don't laugh. Arlo. Again, be still the giggles. If my name is Bella Moloney then my kids have to sound gangster too. (Realistically I won't be allowed any of these…)

    You know I think pulling on the Irish is a good idea – I often think Fiachra (pronounced properly: Fee-ah-kra with the emphasis on Fee not on AH) is the most beautiful name ever, but it gets shortened a lot to Fee, which I'm not a fan of.

    Definitely agree on the full name of birth certificate thing: I use my full name for most of my clients and much prefer it!

    Louis I love (Louie) and actually Dougie, but I don't like Douglas at all….

    You want your baby to be cute, the teenager to be hot, the adult to be taken seriously… it's hard!

  25. Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I think a blue flavoured child of yours should be called Fergus, Ferg for short. I love the name but we know one so that's out.

    Fingers firmly crossed for you both!

    SJM x

  26. Anonymous
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I so just did that 1911 census thing – amazing! Am now really favouring Rosa for a girl and Nathan for a boy!
    I was the the doctors the other day and there was the cutest little boy in there called Gregor.I also like really old biblical boys names, like Abraham (Abe for short??) Ephraim, Jonah and Gabriel.
    The other half LOVES Sophie for a little girl which i think is pretty and cute.
    I also like Ivy, Sylvie and Agatha. x

  27. Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Ah Aisling, so exciting to hear your plans.

    Baby naming is hard, as im currently due our baby in less than 3 weeks, its at the forefront of our minds!

    We know we are having a boy so we were able to at least narrow things down quickly altho we also totally would have found girls name so so much easier I think!

    Being called Gaynor (yet another girls Welsh name Katielase) I wanted to find something not that common for our baby as ive loved having something ususual too.

    Im not saying what we have chosen yet, as no one is going to find out until he is born but we love our choice and although there is still some debate on the middle name (im decided, hubby is not) we made our decision totally together.

    I feel the opposite about the nickname thing though, I feel if you want to call your baby charlie etc then just call them on their birth certificate too but thats a personal choice.

    p.s for the time being my bump is known as Boris but that is not going to be his name, think we freaked everyone out with that one and I love Cooper as a first name for a boy but as thats my maiden name we arent calling him that, didnt want him to have the same name as Granny & Grandads surname if that makes sense.

  28. Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    We found the A is for Atticus name book helpful and also scrolling through the government list of the name of every baby born in Scotland for the last two years has also been good for ideas, seeing what not to use and finding out how popular a name is etc!

  29. Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    We have one full boys name we love, but I also feel a litle weird about. Israel Wolfgang, or possibly Wolfgang Israel. I love it. He can go by Wolf or Izzy. Wolfgang is important to my partner because it's from his heritage and henlves it. Israel, I adore as a name, but also a little weird I worry. It means "wrestles with g-d", which I think is great, and what I hope for my children. I do worry naming a child apparently after the state of Israel as a Jew is a little weird, though. I actuall worry about it more in the Jewish community than in the secular world. So it may be a middle name.

    Girls names we have a few vague ideas but not figured ou yet. I want my children's Hebrew names to also be their first or middle names. We've talked about Cassandra, (but my mom's name is Sandra and ashkanzi Jews don't name their children after living relatives. Is that too close?), Ziona (but combined with the boys name, we come off as nutcases. Here are my children, Israel and Zion). Girls names are more of a struggle for us.

  30. Alice
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    My family have a tradition of using family names. And we have some amazing ones going back through the generations. There might be a battle between my sisters to name a son after my Maternal Grandfather though.
    Usually I agree about full names on birth certificates, but said Grandfather was Sam and not Samuel so that is the one exception.

  31. Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh Aisling – I am so pleased that things are moving forward for you on the baby front.

    Names are very, very hard to choose – especially boys. While we have a few girls names, we only have one boys name….so if we end up having two boys we are going to have a problem.

    I agree with Gaynor that the 'all babies registered in Scotland per year' list is a good place to see lots of 'real' names – to see what's popular, what's not…and what's just plain wrong.

    I see a few lovely boys names on here – I especially like Shay, it's a gorgeous name. What about Tigdh? (think it's pronounced Tige?)

    For girls, I love colour and flower names – Ebony, Scarlett, Violet, Amber, Lily….but D sadly doesn't like any of them (although if we have a girl I may use the 'I just pushed a baby out of my fandango' excuse to push for Ebony!)

    I also love the longer, older girls names – Alexandria, Elizabeth, Eleanor, and Victoria

    Good luck – whatever you choose, I'm sure it will be beautiful


  32. Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    This post has just made me remember that first conversation when you discuss possible baby names…. Oh the joy…
    ps Sending lots of baby making wishes to you and Phil.

  33. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I love talking about baby names. Usually the ridiculous ones, admittedly, but that's just because I find it so hard.

    I love my husband's name, Findlay (Fin for short – ONE N DO NOT CALL HIM FINN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ON PAIN OF DEATH) but I wouldn't want our hypothetical son to have the same name.

    I like Coll for a boy (it's a Scottish island, bit more unusual than the standard Lewis), also recently decided I quite like Cooper, although it's a bit American-y. Fin loves Noah.

    For girls, I love – brace yourselves – Breagha. It's Gaelic for beautiful and rhymes with Freya (although I've heard other people pronounce it Bree-a, DILEMMA). But our surname is always mispronounced and mispelt and I don't know if I could bring myself to give our baby girl a double whammy. Aisling, how do you find having a non-English name? Do you find it irritating when people call you Ayzling or spell it Ashling?

    Other, more normal, favourites include Rosie (for my mum) and Mary.

    It's a lot of pressure, isn't it? I think names say so much about us and how people perceive us – don't want to fuck it up.

    In other news, I am SO HAPPY to hear there is progress on this front for you two. And twins are the CUTEST. TWO BABIES!

  34. Becca
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    We found boys names super easy. Either Matthew James or James Matthew. I think modern names are all very well and good but whilst you might get a 10 year old boy called Jackson, you struggle when he's 50 and an accountant. Name snob. Sorry.

    Girls names I like are also very traditional but have become trendy-Poppy, Helena, Emelia(so much better than Amelia), Allegra (yes I know it's a car) and Hannah. My always name Elizabeth is his sister but I'm thinking we can do Beth rather than Liz. The Boy likes his Mum's name. I did like Olivia but I think it's quite common now and i'd hate to go through what I did-there were five Rebecca's in my nursery class. And my best friend is also Becca and our friends know us as Becca 1 (her) and Becca 2 (me).

    His mum's name Over my dead body.

    I also like Polly but a lot of our friends and his family are from Liverpool and I'd shudder if they ever called our baby girl 'aurpol'.

  35. Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    So so happy for you Aisling that things seem to be moving forward for you on the baby front!! Yay!! Also twins would be amazing!!

    I like James for a boys name, a friend recently called her little boy Nathaniel? (not sure if that spelling is correct!) It's a Biblical name (I think!) that's a bit unusual…

    Fingers tightly crossed for you…

    Sarah xx

  36. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    @Becca, I would also consider that Allegra is also the name of an allergy medication in the States!

    I only bring this up because I have a very good friend named Levitan (family name, Levi for short) and this was fine…up until a few tears ago. Unfortunately there is now a penile dysfunction drug called Levitan. Explain that to future employers. :)

  37. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I know an Allegra. A very posh lady, has a title, educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, engagement photo in Country Life, parents and husband have a country estate, house in London, chateau in south of France etc. A lovely name, but I associate it with the Allegra I know, and think we're far too common to call our daughter Allegra.

  38. Posted January 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Popped back to say I found reading the radio times incredibly helpful for finding names. Im so middle class I make myself sick!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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