Friday, April 15

New Human

An overdue update: Cosima Kindred was born on March 25th! 

Cosima was on my long list when we named Ottilie, but made it to my top 3 right around the time I got pregnant. The other 2 I liked were Vera and Sibyl, but my husband wasn't crazy about either of them. Some others we considered were Delphi, Lavinia, Leto, Neva, Sabine, Saskia, Ursula and Veda.

They were both only so-so on Cosima at first, but they loved the potential nickname Cosy. I kept pressing it and eventually, by the time I was around 18 weeks pregnant, they came around. 

Kindred is the middle name of writer Philip K. Dick. We continued a subtle theme, since Ottilie's middle name, Valentine, is writer Henry Miller's middle name. Plus, Kindred and Valentine have slightly complementary meanings, which I love. 

The naming process this time around was easier and harder than last time. Harder because I had to contend with not just 1, but 2 other peoples' opinions, and easier because the restrictions (how it worked in the sibling set, the middle name being decided) helped narrow the list before we even started looking.

We've gotten some nice reactions to her name so far -- nicer in general than we usually get when people learn Ottilie's name. I wondered if we would get "like Orphan Black?" but so far nobody has mentioned it.  I still get a thrill every time I introduce her.

Friday, February 26


Turns out, your names blog sometimes takes a back seat to, among other things: paid writing jobs, unpaid writing non-jobs, moving house, watching TV and playing Scrabble (the "married long enough to forget how long" weeknight ritual), reading volumes and volumes of fantastical middle-grade novels to an insatiable 6.5 year old, and manic pregnancy-induced nesting. 

Yes, that's right -- we're expecting "the new girl" -- due to arrive in what are sure to be 4 extremely short weeks. 

The naming conversation this time was very different from the sort of magic ritual of choosing Ottilie's name. For one, we had another person's opinion to consider. Silly or not, it mattered to me that Otts like the name we chose. (She suggested many options -- and pushed hard for Rose.) 

Also, we found out the sex of the baby very early on via cell free fetal DNA testing. Ah, the advances seven years brings! The test wasn't even offered the last time I was pregnant. Of course, we had a boy name picked out already -- but alas, little Marlon was not to be. So we began the process of narrowing my absurdly large list of girl names.

It ended up being a quick process, and we've been happily settled on a name since about 18 weeks along. The middle name was set in stone (like Ottilie's, it's the middle name of a writer we like; we would also have used it for a boy) so it was a matter of finding a first name we all agreed on. 

(Sad naming casualties -- my #1 favorite, Sibyl, was nixed by Brian for being too "multiple personality drugstore paperback" and Ottilie, for being "a hamster name." I also desperately wanted Sixteen or Sixtine, but they laughed me off without even considering it.)

One thing that surprised me was how many names we loved but couldn't use because of their similarity to Ottilie's name. Considering how the name works as a "sibling set" was my main concern, so anything too matchy or rhyme-y had to go. 


Here are the names that didn't make it.

Elodie -- was on my list for Ottilie. Worried about its potential popularity then. In 2009 it was used on 65 babies in the US, and in 2014 it was used on 207, so it has indeed risen quite a bit. Plus, it rhymes! Sorry, Elodie, you are still a beautiful choice.

Ianthe -- admittedly, I liked this one a lot more than the other 2 namers in the equation. Ianthe comes from the Greek for "violet flower," which I like because in every single dream I've had about this baby, her name is Violet (sometimes Violette), a name that isn't on my list at all. But Ottilie and Ianthe are a bit of a tongue twister together. I also like the even more ridiculous Iolanthe (nickname Io), but it was shot down, too. Both Ianthe and Iolanthe have the added cache of being used on fewer than 5 babies in the US in 2014 -- a popularity stat that I can definitely get comfortable with.

Leonie -- another rhymer. There were 28 born last year.

Liesel -- either a bit too "old fashioned German" with Ottilie, or too much like a smushed continuation: Ottiliesel?

Lilliet -- this one I just came across recently, but I liked it enough to consider it for a half-second before realizing, minus the O, it shares all the same letters with Ottilie.

Odette, Olympia, Ondine and Oryx -- the Duggar "name them all with the same letter" thing always seemed sad to me until I was faced with the choice myself. I love so many O names, these four in particular, but in the end, couldn't bring myself to do it. 

Verity -- loved this one so much, but couldn't do it because of the close rhyme.


There you go! Beautiful names that got away. 

In the end, though, I'm very happy with the choice we made, and can't wait to share it with you.