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I asked for it

As of this very moment, I have gotten 243 comments suggesting names for my unborn child. Which totally rocks, because I swear to you that we are flat nowhere on the name thing and need every bit of help we can get. Those 243 comments represent 1004 suggestions for 334 separate names. You would think that out of 334 names we could find something we both like, but frankly the jury is still out on that. Far out. Those 1004 suggestions happened to contain 12 votes for Elliott, which is the name Chris is recently recommending and which I am flat out vetoing due to it being the name of a former cat. (No, my friends, not even Chris would recommend naming our child Pixel.) The cat Elliott was actually named Elliott because before I was born my dad suggested it as the name for his potential son. Or actually, for one of his potential sons since I was expected to be twins right up to 38 weeks or so. When my cat Callie had kittens all those many years ago, we named them after the names I wasn't given: Ann Marie, Jean Louise (who turned out to be Jonathan Louis, whoops) (those were my names when I was twins) and Elliott.

It is actually really too bad about the cat (who disappeared years ago and we assumed he had died but then I dreamed that he was living behind the airport with some hobos, what a relief), because I like the name. Although I would spell it Eliot, for T.S. Eliot who is responsible for some of the best strings of words ever put together in English. Such as:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

I mean really. Forget the meaning, if you want, and just hear that. Like "the evening is spread out against the sky" which forces you to speak slowly, to spread out all those vowels, and then "through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats" which speeds you up and gets you all choppy and, well, muttering.

Whoops, sorry to geek out on you there. That's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" dontcha know? One of my favorites. But yes, really too bad that we can't use Eliot, but such is the way things are.

And admittedly, my motivation in asking for suggestions was twofold. First, I need some ideas. And second, while I fully understand that asking the readers of my blog does not constitute a scientific sampling, I do think it is a fairly good idea to get a sense of some trends and thereby avoid some of the names that everyone is naming their boy babies this year. I want traditional, yes, but also most avidly do not want to be trendy. Which means this child will not be named Ethan (13 votes) or Andrew (14 votes) or Benjamin (19 votes) and most certainly not Jack (27 votes). We will also be avoiding all of those highly unique names so in favor now, because gosh but that's even trendier than Jack.

(No offense to anybody, please. Naming kids is entirely a matter of taste... not good taste or bad taste, just different taste.)

It was also entertaining to see how many of our family names were high vote getters. Looks like my ancestors are very much in vogue right now.

If any of you are wondering how I managed to compile all of this data, here's where you get to point and laugh and call me a major dorkatron. I typed all of your suggestions into an Excel spreadsheet. And then I made a pivot table. Y'all didn't know I knew how to do a pivot table, did you? I am full of surprises. Seriously, you want to see it? Naming your own kid and want some help? You can download my spreadsheety brilliance by clicking here. See how much I love you?

And ok, it is time for me to step away from the spreadsheet, which I keep going back to and marking names I do like and names I don't like and then forgetting which marks are for which ones and reversing them and then having no marking system whatsoever other than I like some names and don't like some names and there is no way in the world to say for sure which is which. Apparently making a pivot table is the extent of my cleverness. Thanks for the ideas though, we might even use one of them. In four of five years, when we give up and let the kid just pick his own name.

Comments (47)

Oh, I just adore that you geeked out and made a spreadsheet. I'm glad I'm not the only one who does stuff like that! :D

Although you are the dork that made an excel spreadsheet, I'M the dork that perked up and said, "Hey, what a great idea!" when I read that you made said spreadsheet. So don't feel bad - from one dork to another, it was a very organized thing to do.

I didn't vote b/c I didn't want my name out there. I work very hard at naming my children with non trendy, yet meaningful names. My daughters name has ancestory to Claude Monet. My second daughter (who I'm pregnant w/), her name has historical and artistic meaning. My boy name, if we decide to go for a 3rd and it's boy, his name is from both literature and early religion, I love it's meaning.

But I fear people might see it and take it, but I'd consider telling you!!

I love your spreadsheet!!! I'm happy to report that my sons name is not on your list at all!! We have twins and wanted them to have unique names, but not "you're getting your ass kicked in school" names because they were just too weird.
We ended up with Heaten Grey Myrick B and Shenzie Weather Echo B. I did see a Gray which I love as a first name.

i love your method of eliminating the highest vote-getters. i would do just the same.

i do think literature is a great place to look, in spite of the elliot/eliot history. chris simply must have some input to add to yours, no?

I like you ever so much.

Cole almost ended up with Voltaire as his middle name because of my husband's infatuation. I liked it for that reason, but a family name won in the end (Arthur, if you care). His first name was always, unquestionably, going to be Cole.

I love the spreadsheet!

Don't know if this would help you out at all, but this is how my parents decided my brother's name. We (yes, I was included... and maybe Mia will surprise you!) each secretly wrote down the top 5 boys names and the top 5 girls names we liked. Then you compare lists. With the boy name, they hit a match on the first try. (Just between the two of them, I think.) They repeated the process with the girl names until they got another match. Obviously, you guys only have to do the boy name lists, but at least this way your mutually highest choice comes to the surface.

Or you can just throw all 334 names in a bag and pick one... that might work well, too.

There is bad taste ... Toshiba, Minolta and Shithead come to mind. Actual names.

If I ever had twin girls I would've named them Betty and Isbel for Eliot's in Just... do you think it's too late to change my girl's names?

Great. Then he would be named Spiderman or something.

In the meantime you can just call him "The Boy".

I didn't read your post requesting names, but since I've read THIS one,I thought I'd throw out what I think is an awesome boy's name. CARTER.

It's a family name for us, and my youngest son is proudly named that (he's now 14)...but aside from it being my grandmother's maiden name, it has a powerful, yet gentle sound to it.

My new favorite baby name...namer Nymbler ( It lets you choose or enter names that you like (yours, Mia's, family names, too-popular-dang-it names, etc) and suggests names that are similar in style/age/whatever to the names you give it.

Has anyone pointed you at the Name Voyager yet?

You can see the ranks of hundreds of names from the 1890s on, and can type in a particular name to see its popularity ranking over time.

I too had a name spreadsheet for our first son, many rows & columns. Names, origin, meaning, possible nick names, thoughts on possible nick names...ETC!
I wanted to name our second son Parker...we used to have a cat named Parker so my husband wouldn't budge...IMO as long as the cat is dead or relocated w/ the hobos then the name should be fair game!

You can't be one suggested Sue? Who are these people? If it was good enough for Johnny Cash to write a song about it, then HELLOOOOO!!!! And what about Aloisius? That's boy-name gold!!

Whatever, homegirl. Just promise me that his middle name will be 'Danger'. Because no one will screw with Aloisius Danger Cactus.

Oh Yeah, check for nick names and be careful. We hate "Jerry" (big bad reasons behind that) and named our youngest Jared. NEVER considering a nickname for it. . . until he was 10 years old and we heard a teacher call him Jerry. OMG!!! We immediately and politely corrected her and said its JARED! PUHLEESE do NOT call him Jerry. We freaked out. If we had even considered someone might call him Jerry, we would have never named him Jared, no matter how much I love the name!!

I can't believe Bedelia wasn't on the list...
That's my official vote then.

Well, I've been offline due to our recent move and internet difficulties, so I missed your 'give me a boy name now, dammit! post. But I'll throw three I like in the ring anyway, the two names I used for our boys, and a third name I just happen to like at the moment: Mal--colm, Gra--ydon and Jas--per.

(I added the dashes (--) in the middle of the names because of googling potential... don't want family potentially following a trail back to my blog, if you don't mind. :-) )

The spreadsheet is awesome geeky. Love it.

My husband and I and our (now 4.5 yo) son were just today at lunch talking about names: why we gave him the names we did and the names we thought about giving him but did not. It was a terrific conversation--and nice to let our son know how carefully and thoughtfully (and slowly) we picked his name. Also, how I spared him from the name Aeneas (I'm pretty geeky about Greek mythology, but you have to draw the line somewhere...).

Best of luck, by the way.

ok here we go..


how bout' this?? I can see it I tell ya :)

see, now you've given me just one more reason to like you. I would totally put name suggestions in a spreadsheet. I'm sorry I missed out on the voting (no, I was not one of the votes for Seamus)

Picking names is so hard! We choose our sons name because the last time it was really popular was in the 1840s (until Emmit Smith won Dancing with the Stars anyways...) and we named him after the crazy scientist from Back to the Future (Doc Brown was an Emmett).

That being said I totally would have deleted the repeat names like Jack as well.

I love the spreadsheet!

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't know what a pivot table is. Sad really, seeing as how I use excel sometimes. Just not that feature apparently.

I missed the other post with all the names, but I love that you made a spreadsheet.

My son's middle name is in fact spelled Eliot, after T.S. Eliot. How weird.

I can do virtually nothing without my blessed Excel spreadsheet. I have three going for Christmas right now - gifts, cards and cooking.

Although I think I'd have to check help to remember how to do a pivot table.

Love the spreadsheet. I never weighed in, but 'William' is speaking to me. There are at least 1/2 a dozen names that I'd like to make fun of, so don't pick those. But because I don't want to offend anyone I won't list them here.

How long 'til your due date? 4 weeks? More? Aside from the name, are you ready?

Cummings wrote "in Just". I just got out of bed to correct my comment. I think that having a second child has made me a complete moron.

how about Jai? (rhymes with eye)

I'm a spreadsheet geek too lol, am really dying to know which name you pick now!

LOL! A LITTLE geeky you are. But than again, it was my lovely husband who used Excel to register the time between contractions I was having with Tim ;)No pivot table though, you are way ahead of us.

I see you like authors/poets:
Sheldon Silverstein, Hans Christian Anderson, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, and last but not least, Theodor Seuss Geisel. Shall I continue? No, but seriously, good luck!!

you might be geeky enough to make it, but I am feeling quite geeky myself being excited that you made it and looking through it.
Organization Rocks!

We had the hardest time with this baby (who is due any day now). We just could not agree on girl names! I liked Ella but it is EXTREMELY popular and my husband had a great aunt named Ella so he felt it was an "old lady" name. So then we had to go through all the variations of something that sounded like Ella--like Amelia, Aurelia, Mirabella, etc. Luckily we finally settled on something we both love.

And Eliot for TS Eliot is perfectly acceptable IMHO, but Eliot does bring ET to my mind. Maybe I'm of a weird generation...

Gabriels' are taking over our playgroup but it is a pretty cool name. And Gabe sounds good with Mia.

I am in awe of your dorkosity. I really mean that. I don't even know what a pivot table IS.

Maybe use Eliot as a middle name? It seems a shame to toss it out altogether, since you like it so much. Also, asking Mia for ideas isn't a bad idea, if only for the blog fodder potential.

When I was little and my brother was about to be born, my parents asked me what we should name him. I named him Chris after my very first boyfriend who I thought was the coolest guy in the world.

When I was pregnant with twins, coming up with 4 potential names plus middle names for each of them was so overwhelming that we asked my at the time 2 year old what to name the twins. She chose their names and did an awesome job. When I was pregnant with my 4th (a surprise baby!) we had all 3 of the other kids work together to pick names. They all feel pretty proud that they named each other, and they have no idea that we steered them away from names we didn't want while encouraging names we thought were good. My advice then? Have more kids so they can do all the naming work for you!

Ooh, I love pivot tables! I know how to do them, too (for one use. But I am still proud of it).

I hope you decide on a boy name. My suggestion would have been Owen.

We're having an equally hard time with girl middle names. I just have stopped thinking about it because it was going nowhere.

AFTER Christmas. After.

I am totally giddy that you made an excel spreadsheet with all those names. In about 2 months J and I will have to start the Great Name Debate, and this will come in very handy if it turns out we're having a boy. We were lucky to have a girl last time because there was actually 1 name we could both agree on. Not the case with boy names.

I know I'm late to the game, but our youngest (now 1yr) is Victor Willem. You may have either if you like. Neither is the least bit popular/trendy but for some reason they're both a tiny bit sing-songy which works well for that Mommy-voice we all get (y'know, sing-songy and high pitched).

Just a word to the wise. I learned in December 05 that they don't let you leave the hospital unless you name your kid. Something about birth records and the county or something. At least where I live.

Do I dare to eat a peach? (heh heh)

I do know of several people who had a name all lined up but then thought it didn't suit the baby, so I tend to think it's not worth worrying about a final name, although having some ideas is good I suppose.

That was exactly why I didn't suggest Jack. I love it, but it's gotten so popular. My brother-in-law & sister-in-law were having their baby boy right after I found out I was pregnant again, and I had thought (not knowing that I'd have a girl finally) that the only boy name I liked was Jack. Well, wouldn't you know that they decided to name him Jackson (Jack for short), which really irritated me. But now that I have my girl, I think it's funny that they used such a popular name.

Like you wanted to know that anyway ;)

I don't have spread sheet! Eeeek! I do hope the name will be announced here!

Oh my goodness you made a spreadsheet!

I can't take the name Tobias seriously since watching Arrested Development.

We didn't have a name for our son before he was born. I just couldn't decide. And I was told that I could just wait, and that once I saw him I would know what his name should be. Only this was wrong, wrong, wrong, because he looked like a baby, not a particular name. But we decided on Ethan. (We had to decide. They were going to discharge me and couldn't until I named my child, already!) And at that time there were no other Ethan's around. But now, wow, you can't turn around without finding another Ethan. So anyway, what I'm trying to say is, Good Luck with the names. It is so darn hard.

not being able to leave hospital till you've named the baby is bizare!

we always like to pick a name as soon as we have an idea of the gender (via scan). That way the blob takes on more of an identy and proper place in the family, especially for younger siblings.

Oh, and my eldest is Theodore - but not after Dr Seuss. After a character in Gerald Durrel's My family and other Animals, but don't tell my husband that!

I love Eliot. It goes excellent with Mia, and because it has much meaning for you beyond the Cat, I think it's fine to use it. You're not naming the boy FOR the cat, you're naming him after T.S. Eliot. You just happened to name the cat first. I really like Cooper as a first name, but everyone and their brother uses this as a dog name. Eliot isn't like that at all. We had a dog named Gordon twenty years ago when I was 10. It's on my boy name list. I'd give Eliot another chance if I were you (which clearly, I am not b/c I am not nearly so hott with the spreadsheets and all :)

Thx for the spreadsheet - I emailed the link to my hub who has been a total deadbeat on the naming front. We don't know boy/girl so I'll have to make my own girl ss.

Here's a good link, tho, in case you haven't found it, where they combine different spellings to truly come up with popularity (wish I'd found it before naming K). I did see where they missed combining a few, though. This is the 2006 list:

Went through the whole list with hub and all we added to our list was Avery. Hm.

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So the Fish Said...

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