Parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to find the perfect name, and the stakes only seem to get higher with subsequent children. If you've already used the best name out there, how can you follow that up?
–Too Blue for Reagan
Names can send messages about everything from your age and sex to your religion and ethnic background. But your political party? Not usually. Most baby names transcend politics. Your name, though, is the exception.
You've bumped square into a problem that many baby-namers face: The name you love is so good, lots of other people love it too. Jackson—just that spelling—is a top 50 name in most U.S. states, and it's in the top 20 in the West coast states of Washington and Oregon. So there's no question that the name is popular. But the more pertinent question in my view, is "Does that matter?"
However, we are worried about the sibling name pairing. My sister and mother have both commented that their first thought was that the children would be saddled with "Adam and Eve" references. I didn't see this association until it was pointed out, and now it's causing me and my husband some concern. We don't want our children to be the butt of jokes, but we're not sure whether it will come up that much. Is this really a big problem? Do we need to consider a different name for our son?
This is a tough one! The pairing of Adam and Eve is a definite non-starter for siblings, on a par with Jack and Jill, or Barbie and Ken, or Romeo and Juliet. And yet, Eve and Ava are different. The question is, are they different enough?
I'm going to start this column off with a little test. Quick, Nani's Mom, which of the following celebrities are familiar to you: Mary Elizabeth Gore, Josephine Lauder, Rafael Cruz, or Elizabeth Jean Philipps?
To my ear, and mind, Ryker and Myker are worlds apart. Ryker is a super-charged surname in the "men of action" style. It turns up in high-energy, macho settings from Star Trek to Marvel Comics to professional wrestling. It’s a fast-rising hit and a crowd-pleaser.
You might be surprised to find that the Spanish pronunciation, "loo-SEE-a," is the most common guess, at least in the United States. Lucia is a classic name that happens to have more than one accepted pronunciation (it has three!). But a traditional pronunciation of a traditional name doesn't need to be a burden for a child.
–Having Second Thoughts
You're in a tough situation, and I sympathize. You made a namesake plan at a time when you wanted to honor the grandmother who meant a lot to you. Now that circumstances are different, can you renege on this offer? That could cause a further rift between you and your grandmother (and maybe make things worse for your mom too). And yet sticking with your plan feels wrong too, since a namesake is meant to pay tribute to someone you love and admire—not resent.
–Unsure About Ira
I recently came up with a name if we are having a boy, but my husband said that he only liked it for a girl. What do you think about naming a baby girl Arlo? Is it too boyish? It is growing on me and I'm considering calling her "Lo." What do you think?
As you know, it's not unusual for boys' names to turn up on girls (while the reverse is less likely). Making that choice is a style preference and the Name Lady typically doesn't hand down rulings on style. Both of these names contain elements that could help them read feminine: The -a ending on Ira; the liquid Rs, Ls, and vowel sounds in both. Those make them sound contemporary, rather than "old man."
–No Clashing Please
Ah, naming children—the only activity that doesn't get easier with practice! I've helped sib-set stumped parents before and it's abundantly clear that the addition of an extra variable (namely, your existing child) exponentially increases fears of failure.