Here’s how the naming process has historically worked for Dixie and I (she can feel free to correct me):
Dixie and I take turns making lists of boys names and girls names we like (using a baby name book), keeping each other’s lists a secret until they are complete. Then we “overlap” our lists, making a shortlist of possible names out of those we both listed. Names we didn’t both list are taken out of contention. Presumably we can come to some kind of consensus out of this shortlist.
In Madeline’s case we might argue that there was divine intervention in the naming process. We couldn’t decide what name we would like for a girl (names for a boy were pretty much chosen). One night—the same night—we each had dreams in which we named our child (a girl, obviously) “Madeline”. We did have a girl and we did name her Madeline.
Luke’s name, carried over from the name choices for our first child, was chosen in a more conventional way. We decided we liked it best out of the two or three possibilities.
We recently finished the shortlist process, and this is what we’ve come up with for first or second names:
- Ethan (probably my #2 choice for first name)
- Paul (my #1 choice for first name)
Call me sexist, but I like boys names to be short and solid sounding (Luke, Paul, Ethan), but I like girls names to be longer and prettier (Madeline, Elizabeth, Gabrielle).
We also marked names we liked from each other’s lists which we hadn’t written down in our own, as a sort of runner-up shortlist:
However, there’s the problem with the shortlist in that while I like all of the name options, I’m not sure I would actually name my child any of those. It’s one thing to like the look and sound of a name, but it’s another to like how it works with theour last name. Thus, while I like the name Genevieve, I’m not sure I like how it works with the last name tacked on: Genevieve Vandersluys. Too many v‘s in there, if you ask me.
Earlier this evening, Dixie read through the names on the shortlists and upon hearing them, I decided that most of them, while nice names in and of themselves, aren’t names I would give my children.
I’m a big fan of Charlotte for a girl, but Dixie has been vetoing that one since we started talking about names four or five years ago. Dixie has been pushing for Bridget, which I have been vetoing for several years, but Dixie keeps vetoing my veto.
Here are some names that I liked that didn’t make the shortlist:
- Augustus (probably because of Lonesome Dove)
- Abigail (my mom doesn’t like this one, so it would be hard to name our daughter that…we’ll see)
- Fiona (a girl in our church is named Fiona and it’s too unique a name to use as well)
- I also think Irish names like Seamus and Liam are great names, but they wouldn’t work with Vandersluys
Again, I wouldn’t necessarily name my child any of these names, but I do like them.
I won’t list “the worst possible names” for fear of offending someone. But here are some names you will definitely not see in front of “Vandersluys”:
- (insert old-school name that your grandparents or great-grandparents likely have)
- something with a clicking noise in it
Hope this answers your question, Tal!