I hope all the dads in your lives had a great Father’s Day yesterday!! We had a great day here — got a lot of house cleaning done, which is seriously one of my hubs’ favorite things. 🙂 Also some good food and lots.of.golf. Also that basketball game. St. Joseph, you who understand husbands and dads so well, please pray for all the Sancta Nomina dads!
Today’s consultation is for Lily and her husband, who are expecting their first baby — a little Miss!
“I am expecting our first child and I am due in July … being from the south I love monograms and this little girl needs a name so I can start monogramming!
My Name is Lily Irene, and I love love love my name. I had a hard time dropping Irene when I got married and moving in my maiden name of Kelley. I want my child’s name to have a similar feel to mine, but my Husband has very different naming taste than me. However one thing we have agreed on is her middle name will be Twiggs after my father. I would like to call her Twiggs, and I am slowly working on that with my husband. His fear is she will be made fun of at school, and come home crying. But with today’s different names I doubt that will happen. I am open to moving Twiggs to her first name if we can come up with a more feminine name to accompany it.”
I was intrigued right away when I read about Twiggs and — to go back to the Southern names post of the other day — it immediately felt like a Southern name to me. Am I right? A family surnamey name for a girl?
Names that Lily loves but her husband hates (her words!) include:
Adelaide (Lily’s favorite)
Her husband’s favorites include:
And names they can’t use for various reasons:
Birdie (“love this name”)
Alrighty, regarding Twiggs, and it sounds to me like Lily’s husband would really feel more comfortable with it in the middle rather than as a first name. It’s really pretty great of him to even agree to it in the middle! He makes a fair point of worrying that she’ll be teased for it, but Lily also make a good point that with today’s different names it’s less likely to happen than it used to. I also thought I should point out that there’s that singer FKA Twigs — I don’t think she’s hugely popular? But she’s currently dating (or engaged to?) Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, so there’s that. (Her birth name is Tahliah.)
If Lily and her hubs decide to keep Twiggs in the middle spot, I could definitely see Lily calling her Twiggs whenever she wants to, as parents do — all sorts of fun nicknames that are mostly used at home/with family. So if they were to ask my opinion, I’d say the middle spot is the best place for Twiggs, no matter whether they end up calling her that or not. And I think it would be great and fine for Lily to call her that! But with a different first name her husband would have a name to call his little girl that he feels most comfortable with, and she’d have her “normal” name for school, etc. Does that make sense?
I also feel like, since Lily’s husband’s already agreeing to Twiggs, which sounds like he’s not 100% thrilled about, it might be nice to weight the first name choice a little closer to his taste. Which I don’t think should be very hard, because they’re really close on a few names! Lily’s Emmeline and Mr.’s Emily and Emma are so close! Emily Twiggs and Emma Twiggs are both lovely combinations, and balance out the unusualness (and masculinity, since it’s Lily’s dad’s name) of Twiggs nicely. If Mr. could get on board with Emmeline, Emma and even Emily could be nicknames for it that he could call her if he wanted. I’m actually laughing at the idea of Emmeline Twiggs who goes by Emma with her dad and Twiggs with her mom and Emmeline at school — hilarious! And awesome!
Similarly, his Anna and Lily’s Annalee are really close as well. Mr.’s middle name is Lee, and if Lily thought of adding the Lee as a nod to her husband, because of his middle name, it’s such a lovely gesture! I could see it also being a nod to Lily as well, since Lily ends in the “Lee” sound as well. Anna Twiggs and Annalee Twiggs (called Anna by her dad) are both great.
It seems that though Mr. likes Charlotte, it’s not a possibility because of other considerations, but I’m glad Lily listed it as a name he likes, because it gives me a better sense of his taste in names, which was helpful in coming up with new ideas for them.
On Lily’s list, I was interested to see Mae, and while it’s sweet as it is, I wondered if her husband would be more interested in it if it was a bit longer? Mabel and Maybelle came up in my research, and I thought they might fit the bill. Mabel can be a Marian name in that it originally comes from the Latin amabilis, which means “lovable,” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable/Lovable). Maybelle is similar in sound to Mabel, and can also be Marian, but in a different way — Mae and May are sometimes considered nicknames/diminutives of Mary, and the month of May is Mary’s month, so Maybelle is a sweet nod to Mary. “Belle” means “beautiful,” which is just lovely for a little girl. When Lily said she wants her daughter’s “second name to be a happy joyful name,” I felt like Maybelle kind of fits that.
I was also interested to see that Lily said she loves the name Birdie, and also that she listed Gracie as a name they can’t use, which makes me think she might like to use it if it wasn’t off limits. So based on Birdie and Gracie, I came up with a list of similar names — sweet, girly, and nicknamey:
- Mamie (which is a traditional nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
- Sophie (a full name in its own right, but it felt similar to these other nicknamey names)
- Molly (started as a nickname for Mary, so also a Marian name)
- Ivy (ditto to Sophie)
All of these could be a really sweet, feminine first name before the middle name Twiggs. But, there’s also something to be said for preceding a name like Twiggs with a more formal first name, just so she’d have options (and Sophie, Lucy, Molly, and Ivy from the list above would fit that also), so I’ve come up with a few here that Lily and her husband might like:
You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names parents like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It can be uncannily accurate! And I especially like finding names that are listed as similar to more than one of the names Mom and Dad like, *especially* if it’s a name similar to a name both Mom AND Dad like. Josephine is such a name! It was listed as a style match for Adelaide, Charlotte, Caroline, and Catherine. Wow! St. Joseph is an awesome patron saint for a little one, and the nickname Josie is so darling—I would absolutely have included in the list above if I didn’t already have Josephine on the list to recommend.
Similar to Josie, I would have included Lucy in the nicknamey-type names above if I wasn’t planning to include it down here. It’s actually a style match for Emma, and since they have Lucille on their list already, I wonder if they’d be willing to go with Lucy instead. Lucy’s such a sweet name, and Lucy Twiggs is pretty adorable.
(3) A double name
My comment about Lucy Twiggs being pretty adorable made me think that maybe a really feminine first name plus Twiggs with the intention of using them together might also be a nice compromise for Lily and her hubs. I think Emma Twiggs and Lucy Twiggs are well suited for that, as are several of the nicknamey names above (my favorites for them include Sophie Twiggs and Molly Twiggs). Sara(h) is also great for that—Sarah Twiggs or Sara Twiggs—and Sarah was a style match for Anna and Emily, so I think there’s a good chance Lily’s husband will like it. Mary is also always great for a double name, and Mary Twiggs sounds like a lovely Southern belle to me.
Leah is solely out of my own thoughts, based entirely on Lily’s husband’s middle name and the “lee” sound at the end of Lily. Leah would be a nice subtle nod to both of them, while also being very feminine and biblical, and it flows really nicely with Twiggs.
In an added twist, Lily’s initial response to my thoughts was that she loves Lucy, but her husband wasn’t sold, and she wrote again saying,
“I finally got out of him some characteristics he wants in a name and his criteria are: Cute, Pretty, Creative and Professional. He says Lily fits those characteristics, but I don’t want her to be Lily Twiggs or Lillan Twiggs. He doesn’t like it that people have to ask him do you prefer [a traditional nickname for his given name] or [his given name] so he wants the name to also just be what she would be called (does that make sense) … when you have a free moment can you see if you can come up with Cute, Pretty, Creative and a Professional name.
Oh and No “S” names because the monogram looks awfully close to a not so nice four letter word!“
As it happened, I did have a free moment, and spent a little time trying to come up with “Cute, Pretty, Creative, and Professional” names. A tough task! When I think of “Professional” names for women, I tend to think of names like Margaret, Katherine, Elizabeth, Victoria, Deborah — longer names with weight and history and, honestly, nothing too creative about them. If someone told me they wanted a name with Lily’s husband’s criteria, I’d probably suggest something like Elizabeth with a funkier nickname for everyday use, like Libby, or maybe Deborah nicknamed Dorah. But Mr. wants her given name to be the name she goes by all the time, so nothing longer with a short and spunky nickname. Gah! So hard!
From their original lists, I really think Anna, Emmeline, and Adelaide fit this criteria. I think those three names could be seen as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. Of course, this is all very subjective as well, so what I think fits those criteria might not be at all what someone else thinks of as cute, pretty, creative, and professional. You know?
Regarding Lucy, I think I can see what Lily’s husband means. Lucy has a long history of use across cultures and ethnicities, so it should work as pretty and professional, but the –y ending can come across as nicknamey (even though it’s not), and that is really what I think kills it for her hubs’ criteria, because cute and professional just do not go together, generally. But if they were to change it to Lucia, that might work better? It loses the cutesy/nicknamey feel that Lucy’s –y ending can project, and it feels a bit more sophisticated, but it’s still pretty and I think it could come across as creative (unlike Lucille from Lily’s original list, which I think feels a little more staid). If Lily wanted to continue trying to win over her husband, however, the women listed here might help; I think Lucy Liu particularly comes across as a very strong woman.
Here are some other names I thought could work for “cute, pretty, creative, and professional” — I basically just went through one of my name books and wrote down any name that struck me as having the right feel, so it’s very very subjective! I like each of these paired with Twiggs:
This is probably my #1 suggestion for them. It reminds me a lot of Lucy in length and sweetness, but it’s also got sort of an Old World, “Great Lady” feel to it.
Actually, Margo might be tied for #1 for me — this Margaret variant is a bit cuter and funkier — definitely has more of a creative feel to me than Margaret — but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.
Wait! I love Livia too. Okay, that makes three names tied for #1 in my opinion! Livia is really similar to Olivia in sound and appearance, but it’s actually a totally different name — an old Roman name, the name of the wife of one of the Roman emperors (Augustus). It’s also got a separate use as a personification of the River Liffey in Dublin — it’s been used in Irish literature as the name of a woman who represents the River and Mother Ireland.
Lydia’s a biblical name, the name of a women who sold purple cloth and was converted by St. Paul. I’ve always loved that a little Lydia can have purple as her very own color!
Maren is on the more creative end I think, and maybe not as cute, but I actually do think it’s creative and professional at the same time.
Even though it ends in a –y, I think Cecily’s longer length makes it not cutesy/nicknamey. It’s a sweet name, but I could also see it on a Supreme Court Judge.
Corinna is lovely and feminine, but also kind of weighty and sophisticated, a beautiful name.
(8) Junia or Julia
Junia might be a bit too out there? But it’s a biblical name, which automatically gives it gravitas, and it’s unexpected and pretty rare, which I think often comes across as creative. (Read about a real-life Junia here.)
Julia is so similar to Junia, but more familiar. It’s absolutely a name that gives a woman respect and it’s a really pretty name at the same time.
In the family of Laura names, I think Laura feels the most old-fashioned, and Lauren feels modern and youthful (which can come across as not professional). But I think maybe Laurel has the right feel — creative but sophisticated.
Finally, Claudia. It was actually the first name I thought of for Lily and her hubs as creative and professional! I don’t think it’s as cute or pretty as some of the others, but it’s a substantial name and pretty uncommon. Like Livia, it’s an old Roman name.
Whew! There’s a lot here to think about! What suggestions do you all have for Lily and her husband for their little Southern Belle, based on all this?