What Our Baby’s Name Isn’t

One of my very favorite bloggers is Rebecca Woolf of Girl’s Gone Child. She’s a stupid-awesome writer and LA mom of four, and last year she wrote a post about baby names when she was pregnant with twin girls. Once she and her husband had agreed on names for their twins, she listed the runners up in a post called Baby Names for Sale, Never Used.

I love this idea, and loved her post. The names she lists are more avant garde than we would go for, but it doesn’t matter. I love learning about people’s baby-naming process, whether or not I would personally choose their favorite names for my child. It’s so fun finding out not only a new baby’s name, but also those that were not chosen. And when it’s your last baby (or babies in Rebecca’s case), you don’t feel so inclined to hang on to those names – instead you kind of want to see them passed on, used for another future-human, placed on someone else’s short list.

So Baby Powers has a name – first and middle. We’re not sharing – even with our BFFs and closest family – because we’re mean like that. We’ve never shared baby names before, and the day-of reveal is too fun to spoil early – especially since for us baby’s gender and birthday have always been known ahead of time.

But I did think it would be fun to list out the names – boy and girl – that we considered (or at least I considered, because many of the names below didn’t make the cut by my better half) for this final babe and the two who came before her.

I like old names. I like uncommon names but ones you’ve still heard of, somewhere, maybe in a book or a song or where exactly you can’t remember, but it’s both familiar and also surprising when you hear it. I’m not big on nicknames, and for some reason the boy names I like are a little more mainstream than the girls.

So here are a handful of names we won’t be using – and I’d love to hear some of your favorites too.

for a baby girl…

LILA - this would have been Boy Powers’s name had he been a girl…it’s bordering on trendy lately, but I still love it

LARK – this name would never fly with Mr. Powers but it is so funky and cool without being newfangled or made-up – it’s also on the list I linked to from Rebecca Woolf above, and it’s been on mine since before I saw it there (great minds think alike?)

CORINNE – I don’t know why I like this name but I always have. I also like Cora.

MAEVE – Big shout-out to my best friend from growing up, Sarah. I’ve loved the name Maeve since junior high, when I knew someone with a little sister by that name (related: I have a bit of a crush on all things Irish). Sarah arrived at the name independently and named her second sweet girl Maeve earlier this year (beautiful post about Maeve’s arrival and name choice here). Sarah and I actually have been discussing baby names since we were about 15 years old and we love several of the same names – maybe having the most common girl’s name of our generation makes us lean toward funkier names for our girls…

FRANCES – this is a family name on Mr. Powers’s side and I think it is a darling little girl’s name

ELIZA - I almost can’t publish this one publicly because it’s too close a runner up to the name we chose for Baby Powers. I love it. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to let it go…

{okay, I just asked Mr. Powers and he said we are definitely not using Eliza…so you can have it…I guess…}

GENEVIEVE – normally french names aren’t my thing, but this one makes my list

GREER – I babysat a little girl named Greer (her brother’s name was Wynn – also a good one) when I was in high school; super uncommon and very chic, I think.

for a baby boy…

RORY – I think if I had a little boy named Rory I would make him stay home and live with me for ever and pinch his little Irish cheeks until he was 35

GRAHAM – Mr. Powers and I both love this one. This probably would have been Baby Powers’s name had she been a boy

LUKE – This might have been Girl Powers’s name had she been a boy, but it’s ultimately too popular for me to get totally behind it. Still, I think it’s a fantastic name

CASH – Needs the right middle name/last name combination, but it is seriously cool – more trendy than I usually lean, but with a kind of cowboyishness about it

COLE – I’ve always loved this one; we know a family with a little girl named Cole and I love that too. It also fails miserably with our last name (aren’t puns fun?) so it’s never made the cut for us

ELLIOT – It’s literary and beautiful and, yes, becoming more popular – it’s a good one

EMMETT - If you can avoid associations with a ballroom dancing Hall of Fame running back AND with the Twilight series, you’ve got a winner. I couldn’t get past the latter, but this one was definitely a runner up for Boy Powers

MILES – I just like it. What can I say?

Want more internet baby naming goodness? The Pioneer Woman recently listed her top ten baby girl names and top ten baby boy names. My favorite name-browsing websites are The Baby Name Wizard (also the best book of baby names ever) and, specifically, the Name Voyager tool on their site, and also Nameberry.

Your turn! What are some of your favorite names? Do you share or guard your baby name selection process? 

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13 Responses to What Our Baby’s Name Isn’t

  1. Lisa September 18, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Dang, I liked Greer. Bryan????

    • Sarah September 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      I’m surprised you like that one, actually! :)

  2. Courtney September 18, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Corinne was almost Lucy’s middle name :) I love both Lila & Eliana, but with our last name they’re not do-able. Same with Eliza. I tried to convince Peter it might not be so bad…it didn’t go over. My funky girls names are Emberlin, Lyric, Honesty, & Dylan, but Peter is not such a fan of the funky. Originally we were thinking Gracyn for Lu, but another friend chose it so we moved on (now I’m so glad, Lucy fits her perfectly). I also like some of the more classic names like Hazel, Violet, Maggie, etc. Knowing we’re hoping for at least one more I have some I’m playing close to the vest. Someday I’ll post a list like this so you can see them ;)

    • Sarah September 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Corinne is a great middle name, too! I think that was on the list for Girl Powers as a middle name until we settled on the one we chose. I like your funky names – especially Dylan. Since I’m bequeathing Eliza to whomever wants it, I must say I think it works with your last name. I see your point on those other two, but I like you could pull off Eliza! Or maybe there’s a little boy in your future.. ;)

  3. Kristen @ Motherese September 18, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Ooh, what fun! I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated too by what names people choose for their children and the reasons behind them.

    Husband and I came up with a totally random system before our eldest was born that we used in naming all three of our kids: Hebrew Bible names for boys, and Jane Austen character names for girls. (See, I said it was random!)

    We didn’t find out the genders of our kids in advance so their birthdays found us working though lots of options on the white boards in the hospital rooms: “Caleb? Gabriel? What about Adam?” or “Elizabeth? Lucy? How about Charlotte?”
    :)

  4. Kristen @ Motherese September 18, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Ooh, what fun! I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated too by what names people choose for their children and the reasons behind them.

    Husband and I came up with a totally random system before our eldest was born that we used in naming all three of our kids: Hebrew Bible names for boys, and Jane Austen character names for girls. (See, I said it was random!)

    We didn’t find out the genders of our kids in advance so their birthdays found us working though lots of options on the white boards in the hospital rooms: “Caleb? Gabriel? What about Adam?” or “Elizabeth? Elinor? How about Charlotte?”
    :)

    • Sarah September 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      That is an awesome system – there is no shortage of great names in either of those categories! The finding out of baby’s gender is a whole other great debate. I love when other people wait to be surprised – I just can’t see doing it myself. I’ve also found (in my own unscientific observation) that often people who know baby’s gender are secretive about baby’s name until s/he is born, whereas when they don’t know the gender they tend to share the name options more freely. :)

  5. Kirsetin September 20, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Sarah, I love this and can’t wait to find out what name you chose. One of my favorites has always been Lily (I would’ve officially chosen Elizabeth) but with all boys, we never go to use it.

    My husband and I always started by each making our own written list of potential names. Then, we traded, and had 100% cross-off rights to anything we just couldn’t get behind. (My husband wasn’t having any part of ‘Savannah’!) Slowly, we culled our short list, and then I usually pretended he or she was older, on the soccer (or some other) field and I was cheering, “Go xx!” Crazy, right?! Good thing none of them ended up hating sports. :)

    • Sarah September 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      I like the sports/sidelines test! I usually imagine yelling it at the playground – same thing. Love Elizabeth/Lily – so pretty. :)

  6. Heather October 1, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    I love Elliot, Lila and Eliza, but Cash Powers would be way, way too much. :)

    • Sarah October 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      I know. That’s why it never made the cut. :) Some names just work for other people but not for me personally, ya know? :)

  7. Todd November 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    I wish I had stumbled on this post a week earlier because we would have had a lot to talk about over dinner last weekend. As it turns out, collecting baby names is a bit of a hobby of mine, not because we are expecting (we aren’t) but simply because, as someone who doesn’t really care for his name, I want to get a head start on the process and make sure there’s been plenty of thought put into it. Anyway, I have for the last year or so been keeping a list in the “notes” app on my iPhone and adding to it every time I come across a name that I like and think I’m unlikely to come across again. There are also a few where “like” is too strong a word, but I find them intriguing and think I should try them on for awhile and give them a chance to grow on me. I won’t bore the whole world with the contents of my list (posting it on the Internet would be a surefire way to jinx any hope of ever getting pregnant, right?), but I am happy to report that between your blog post and some of the links you shared, it is a couple of names longer than it was a few minutes ago.

    • Sarah November 9, 2012 at 5:21 am #

      I had no idea you were an observer and collector of names! I feel like I’ll continue to enjoy and appreciate the process of name-choosing long after I have kids. I love noticing trends (even when people think they’re not following them – ha!). Like you, I have so many names I think are awesome and cool and yet wouldn’t choose for my own kids for various reasons. Can’t WAIT for a someday future Erskine! xo

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