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Picture Perfect Names: Saffron Rose and Dashiell Ford

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TBy Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Choosing a great baby name is a little bit like putting together a puzzle.

This week’s baby names in the news – and my, it was a busy week – all share a certain pattern.

Start with a recognizable, but not too popular, two-syllable name.

Add a middle, or even two.  Don’t fret about rhythm and flow, especially if you’re honoring a loved one or extolling a virtue.

Now calibrate.  If the first name is common, make sure the middle name is a real surprise.

If the first name is relatively underused, and you’re naming a girl, you can’t go wrong with Rose in the middle spot.  Just know that every Emma R., London R., Celia R., and Jazzlynn R. born in the early 2000s will share the same middle.  No worries, though – who doesn’t love Rose?

Nicknames are not required, though if you do intend to call your perfectly-named newborn by something other than his or her first name, it is a good idea to announce it immediately, before well-wishers order you jewelry bearing the formal name instead.

There you have it – with a few edits, this was the pattern followed by almost every headline-worthy birth announcement this week.

The good news?  They really are great names, striking a balance between the unexpected and the comfortably familiar.

LuLu – Australian celeb Holly Valance and her real estate mogul husband, Nick Candy have welcomed a daughter.  Luka Violet Toni will be known as LuLuToni honors grandpa Tony Candy.  No word on the inspiration for Luka or Violet, but here’s a guess.  Holly was born Holly Vukadinovic – she’s half-Serbian, and in Serbian, Luca is a feminine form of Luke.  So what looks like an attention-grabbing name might actually be rich with family ties.

Lula Ophelia – While we’re in Australia, here’s another birth announcement, this one courtesy of Waltzing More than Matilda. Filmmakers Allannah Zitserman and Stavros Kazantzidis welcomed daughter Lula Ophelia earlier this year, a little sister for Mila.  Could Lula be a successor to Emma and Ava, Lila and Lily?  She’s got a great kicky, retro sound.

Kane Ren – The only single-syllable name on this list comes to us from Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Kim Zolciak and her husband, the Atlanta Falcons’ Kroy Biermann.  Kane’s first name is firmly in the family tradition – all of Kim and Kroy’s kids together share the same first initial.  As for that middle, no, it isn’t after the leading man in Footloose.  According to Kim’s Instagram birth announcement, Ren honors the doctor who delivered five of her six children.

Kaia RoseKane Ren’s twin is a sister, Kaia RoseKim had two daughters when she met Kroy: Brielle and Ariana.  Kroy adopted the girls, and the couple have four children together: Kroy, Jr., known as KJ, Kash, Kane, and Kaia.  Shared initials aren’t for everyone, but I do like the way the three girls’ names go together: Brielle, Ariana, Kaia.  They sound like sisters. As for the middle name Rose, it honors the psychic Kim has long consulted, and even featured on her reality show.  Kane and Kaia were born on Rose’s birthday.

Saffron Rose – No Doubt’s Tony Kanal and wife Erin Lokitz also welcomed a Rose this week – Saffron Rose, a little sister for Coco Reese Lakshmi.  If there were a Grammy for best-named children, No Doubt would definitely earn a nomination.  There’s Tom Dumont’s three boys: Ace, Rio, and Koa, plus Adrian Young’s Mason and MagnoliaAdd in Coco and Saffron, plus Gwen Stefani’s Kingston, Zuma, and baby-on-the-way, and it is a creatively named bunch.  As for Saffron, remember when it was the trying-too-hard name for the sensible daughter on Britcom Absolutely Fabulous?  Now the colorful spice feels like a fashionable name to watch.

Autumn James – Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt announced two milestones this week.  She and actor-boyfriend Brian Hallisay tied the knot, and the couple welcomed daughter Autumn JamesAutumn has been a Top 100 pick since the 1990s, but James is a surprise as a girl’s middle name.  Or is it?  James and Jaymes have popped up on nearly as many high profile birth announcements as Rose in recent months.

Dashiell Ford – Actress Autumn Reeser and her director husband, Jesse Warren, have welcomed a second son.  Big brother is Finneus JamesDashiell is definitely a name on the rise.  Georgina Chapman and Harvery Weinstein announced the arrival of Dashiell Robert Max earlier this year.  As for Ford, I’d only heard it on cars and in fiction until Owen Wilson chose it for his son in 2011.  It makes a great, unexpected middle.

Liam Brave and Rocco Royal – Are you reading Design Mom’s Living with Kids series?  Go for the great interior design, stay for the equally inspired kids’ names.  Her most recent tour featured a family with four children: Ella, Luke, Liam Brave, and Rocco Royal.  (I’d love to know the two older kids’ middles, but she didn’t share.)  I love a daring middle, and Brave and Royal are two intriguing possibilities.

Princeton – Union J is a British X-Factor-formed boy band, featuring JJ, Jaymi, Josh, and George.  Now JJ Hamblett is the first to trade pop songs for lullabies.  He and model-girlfriend Catrina Lopez welcomed son Princeton J Alexander last week.  With names like Kingston and Preston in vogue in the US, Princeton has been on the rise, too.  Here’s guessing that it feels even more wearable in the UK, where it isn’t as closely associated with an Ivy League university.

Did you balance the popularity of your child’s first and middle names?  And what are your favorite two-syllable first names?  My list is too long to even begin to fit here …

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