Baby Name Fever: Is There A Cure?

Guest blogger Jennifer Maselli finds herself nursing Baby Name Fever, and the only (elusive) cure is the perfect name.

Since finding out that our third and final child – due this fall – is a girl, I have become afflicted with something I like to call “Baby Name Fever.” I’ve been hit with The Fever before, but never quite this hard. Because this will be our last baby, I feel an urgency, a great pressure, to find the right name for her.

It’s made me a little crazy.

I’ve started carrying baby name books around with me wherever I go so that I can look up names whenever they pop into my head.

“But officer, I wasn’t talking on my cell phone. I was looking up “Keturah” in this baby name book.”

“Step out of the car, ma’am.”

“But I need to know what it means!”

I spend hours trolling the Internet, reading all the name blogs and boards, obsessively digging through the Social Security website and the London Telegraph baby announcements.

“Mommy, when are you going to get off the computer? I’m hungry.”

“I’ll be right there.”

“You said that 3 hours ago!”

I’ve begged my friends to please release their reserved baby names back into the general population so that I can use them.

“I know Frances was your dead grandmother’s name, but do you mind if I use it?”


I’ve accosted strangers on the street and quizzed them about their kid’s names.

“I know I don’t know you, but what is your little girl’s name?”

“Get away from me lady, or I’ll call the police.”

It’s becoming a bit of a problem.

Bail money aside, the process of naming this baby has become stressful in a way that I’ve never before experienced.

With our first baby we had a name picked out almost from the moment that the two lines appeared on the stick. I had always loved the name Caroline and knew that if we were having a girl that would be her name.

Our second baby wasn’t quite as simple.

My husband and I had exhausted the one name we loved on the first go round, so there were many, many heated baby name discussions during my second pregnancy. By about the eighth month we had decided on the name Sophie, and we were openly referring to my extended abdomen as Sophie. Friends and family knew that Sophie was the planned name. But I took one look at the baby after she was born and decided that she did not look like a Sophie. I had been given a lot of morphine during my Cesarean, so I don’t really remember how or when we decided on the baby’s name, but by the time I left the hospital we were calling her Avery and that’s what I wrote on the birth certificate.

This time Iโ€™m even less certain what our baby’s name should be.

We’ve ruled out family names, even though my husband and I both have some beautifully named grandparents, because we worry about being fair or insulting someone. We’ve also ruled out many of the names that were on our list during previous pregnancies, because they are now just too popular – like Sophie, Isabel and Amelia – and some that just feel stale to us because we’ve thought about them for so many years now – like Piper, Kate, and Harper. I would like to find something a little more unusual this time, but still have it fit in with our older girl’s names.

It seems like an impossible task.

The Baby Name Fever is complicated by the criteria my husband and I use each time we name a baby. Not only do we want to find a name that we like, that we think is pretty, but we like to use names that aren’t too popular; are classic rather than trendy; aren’t too far out there on the quirky scale; and, most importantly, will transition nicely with our children into adulthood.

In addition to these standards, my husband further complicates things by generally outlawing most boy names for girls and he also vetoes place names along with last names used as first names.

In short, we’re picky but not very imaginative. It makes us lousy baby namers and very anxious human beings.

I’m 99.5% sure that my husband and I will find a name we can agree on before we leave the hospital with our new baby. And if not we can cover all the bases and name her Keturah Frances Sophie Isabel Amelia Piper Kate Harper Maselli.

Admittedly, it’s long. But it does satisfy all of our requirements.

And hopefully it will cure the Baby Name Fever.

Jennifer Maselli is a momย of twoย who left behind the world of medical office management and is stretching out her college career as long as possible to stay at home with her kids full time. She is expecting her third and final baby in October. Maselli writes at Blissfully Caffeinated.

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35 Responses to “Baby Name Fever: Is There A Cure?”

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jenbrittt Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 12:24 am

Blehhhhh, that’s stresssful, but I’m sure you’ll find the perfect name just in time.

Laura Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 6:31 am

Our little girl is Evie – a name we love but isn’t being used too much yet. Just throwing it in there for you!

phaedra Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 8:04 am

Wow, you sound like me! I’m an obsessive, due in December. Like your hubby, I don’t “do” last names, place names, or anything way way quirky. At the same time, I don’t want my kid to be one of 10 Kaitlyns in her class.

So we finally settled on a name! Cora. It’s perfect (for me) because of its connection to mythology (my favorite myth, in fact) and its traditional vibe.

Good luck! I’m curious to find out what you guys pick. (If it helps, my other daughter is named Lydia. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 8:17 am

Hey Bliss! I completely identify with this baby naming fever. My case was so bad it lasted long after my first daughter was born. I really can’t wait to see what you all decide. Anyway, just wanted to say “hi.”

Ayala Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 8:17 am

I had the same problem, even contemplating using my sisters Isaac, although i’m glad I didn’t as the boys look fairly similar. We eventually decided on Evan Abraham Cohen, with Abe being his grandpa’s name. With our twins we had a name all picked out for our boy – Benjamin Israel Cohen but no idea of what to call our girl! After months of daily searches of baby name books, websites and family trees (particularly Hebrew baby books) we were 90% decided on Dinah Alexa Cohen but as you say, looked at her and decided she wasn’t a Dinah. After a long ponder we came up with Megan Ayala Cohen (my name is Ayala), being a better alternative!

And that is how Evan Abraham, Benjamin Israel and Megan Ayala came to be! (:

pippa Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I dunno, I think Amelia Maselli sounds beautiful, and honestly how many Amelia’s are there really? As mentioned here before, even the most popular names (ie Emma, Elizabeth) are still only held by a small number of people. Don’t let that get in the way of using a name you love!

SJ Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I am confused… Caroline is a classic feminine name, but Avery seems to me to fall into the surname/boys’ name camp. I wouldn’t necessarily call Avery “classic” either, at least not in the sense that Caroline is. In fact, the two names are so different I think it might be difficult to “match” a third name to them. If you go with Amelia, is Avery going to feel like she’s supposed to be the “tomboy” of the family? Or if you go with Harper or Piper, then Caroline will be the odd one out.

What are some names that might bridge the gap?

Sachiko Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

We’ve had the same fever around here, though without the benefit of agreeing with my husband on what we wanted. He likes traditional, I like quirky.

Because the sky was the limit for me, my short list for the baby I was most feverish about naming–our #4, our second girl–was about 30 names long.

It was so agonizing picking a name, then changing it three months later, then committing to living with the new choice, that I am in favor if picking three middle names and then having the option of calling a child by a different middle name later in life, should “Piper” end up fitting the child better than “Isobel”.

Oh, the name we finally settled on for my daughter? Hilani. Hawaiian for “carried in the arms of heaven”.

ps. Phaedra: One of my current short-list names that’s been pre-approved by my husband is Cora. I love that name and that myth too.

Does that make us BFFs, or enemies? ๐Ÿ˜‰

JenMaselli Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Hi Elisabeth! I’ve had no internet for 6 days and I’m missing my YCCII fix.

SJ – Avery was a complete fluke. Like I mentioned, I was completely out of it for a while and I don’t know how or why we ended up with an Avery. Sophie and Amelia were the names at the top of our list, Avery wasn’t even on the list. Yet it fits her so perfectly now. As far as bridging the gap between the first two girl’s names and the new baby’s, well, that’s part of why I’m stressing about this so much.

Thanks for all of your comments!

LPC Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

No matter what you choose, there’s every likelihood that you will still wind up naming her what EVERYONE ELSE is naming their girl baby this year. So just pick one you like….
http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com

Tamis Says:

August 18th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

I see your point, it is a big job and your last shot to get it right. I loved the name Audrey when I was pregnant the last time, wouldn’t ya know the neighbor popped first and named her daughter Audrey.

Oh well, I fell in love with the name Elise and am pleased with the choice still, 8 years later!

Christie Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 12:37 am

You’ll finally decide…even if it is as they’re wheeling you out to the car with the baby in your arms. Or maybe when you’re home already. Baby M…

I’m like you – I have all my favorites in a bag and I don’t see them changing, unless I see the baby and think “she/he’s not a _________.”

Then I have no clue what I’ll do…

Michele Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 5:59 am

Hi Jen – I say split the two and go with a “B” name. Bella, Bridget, Beatrice, Bonnie, etc. Hope the AT&T thing gets fixed quick.

Navi Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 7:42 am

I love Evie but parents are beginning to use it as a nickname for Evelyn, which I think is unfair.

They already have Eve, Eva (pronounced e-vuh AND ee-vuh), and Lynn. Not to mention the already beautiful Evelyn itself.

That’s so not fair!

Evie is probably more popular than you think due to this unfortunate phenomenon.

Casey Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 7:46 am

I hate that all of the good names are becoming too popular to use. We wanted to name our kid Isabella (after my grandma) but everyone and anyone has used it. I think you’re on the right track (I like Piper, btw).

Sprite’s Keeper Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 9:00 am

I happen to think Caroline and Avery are beautiful names! The last one should be a biggie.
I stuck to traditional on my first (and later found out how popular it was) and will go traditional on the second too. I’m just old fashioned that way.
Great post, Bliss Caf!

Oscarelli Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 9:45 am

I love the names Caroline and Avery (you are so right about Avery not looking like a Sophie, so good call there.) Since I know you and I have similar baby name tastes, here are some of my favorites of the moment:
Willa
Eleanor
(can’t ever use either because my niece is Ella)
Ruby (our current front runner if I ever have a girl)
Pearl
Violet
Gabrielle (this one is getting pretty popular though)
Leah
Leigh (too boyish for Mr. C?)
Frances
Annabelle (spelled however, Anabell, Annabell, Anabelle?)
Anna

And I think all of my extreamly excellent suggestions go well with your other two daughers – I mean, Caroline, Avery and Leigh? Gorgeous! Caroline, Avery, and Eleanor? Beautiful! Caroline, Avery, and Eleanor? So presidential!

Good luck – you will find the perfect name. Am STILL jealous of your little girls.

WaltzInExile Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 10:00 am

I have zero in the way of baby girl name help (especially since we used a boy name/last name for OUR girl!) but I do want to say Congratulations on the new Miss Maselli, and I know you’ll find just the right name for Princess #3 ๐Ÿ™‚

peediddlyday Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 10:23 am

BlissCaff, you know I love you, girl, and this is why I’m starting the intervention here in the comments. STOP TORTURING YOURSELF. It’s not fun, is it? Just call the baby Tweedledee or something until you see her. Fo. Realz. And the rest of you name nuts? Seriously. You might consider seeking a little time off from the name game and associated judgement passing of how some parents are nicknaming their children. And also, Avery is not going to feel compelled or obligated to be a tomboy because her name is more often used for boys than, say, Caroline. That’s like saying Avery will be a lesbian because her name is the teensiest bit more butch than her sisters.

Pour yourselves a good, stiff drink, or do whatever it is you suburban people do to chill out, and ease up.

To the normal people who have commented: Carry on.

Laurin (@LaurinEvans) Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 10:56 am

We named our daughter Erin because, literally, it was the only name my husband said yes to. I said “What about…” for 8 months until I got a yes. After all that, it’s the perfect name for her, and I love it. Of course, she already wants to change it, just like I did when I was her age. You will find the perfect name.

JenMaselli Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

I looooovvveee Eva, but it feels too similar to Avery. Maybe as a middle name.

Michele- I should totally do a B name, then I’ll have ABC. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lawyer Mom Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Don’t fuss yourself! You can always change your mind when the baby is home. Give her a lot of middle names you can fall back on. Or heck, if you settle into one that’s not on her birth certificate, just tell people it’s her nickname. But whatever you do, don’t fuss yourself!

Captain Dumbass Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Ah, Jen, you know I say this with love when I tell you I hope your ultrasound was totally wrong and you get a boy. Then I hope you’ll name him after me.

Daddy Geek Boy Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 1:14 am

You’re overthinking it. Buy a parenting book, flip to a page, point, name. Easy.

Make it exciting. Pick out two randomly and use a coin to decide the final outcome.

Jill Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 8:52 am

I think your girls have lovely names, and I enjoyed your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

Some names that I think work well with Caroline and Avery:

Blythe
Eliza
Georgia (Like Susannah, toward the end of the list, Georgia has Avery’s Southern feel to me, yet is a classic like Caroline.)
Grace (popular, though…)
Hope
Iris
Julia
Laurel
Lydia
Lucy
Miranda
Phoebe
Rose
Stella
Susannah (has Avery’s Southern feel to me, and is classic like Caroline…)
Tess/Tessa

Best wishes to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chili Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 10:32 am

How about Sting, Coolio, Pink or The Edge? I have a number of friends who’ve changed their name. Maybe Jello Biafra Maselli? OK, Biafra is a bit out their but I’m sure the girls would love a little sister named Jello Maselli… Oh, but half your neighbors would call her Hello and that could be very confusing… Don’t worry, I’ll keep thinking about it… Depeche Maselli?…

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I wish I could be helpful in the girl names department, but my sense that I’d only be graced with boys has so far come true, and it seemed like from the moment of conception, I could only think of boy names. Also, since reading the part where you mentioned Harper, all I was able to think of (other than I miss having you around the blog world!) is how much I really, really like Harper as a name.

I was recently at my son’s elementary school, and honestly, I couldn’t pronounce some of the kids’ names (even though some of them were rather common names, for lack of a better word) because the need to apparently spell every name uniquely has gone off the charts where I live!

J Says:

August 20th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Go with Keturah!

Ashley Says:

August 21st, 2009 at 6:45 pm

After I read your girls names, the name Colleen popped into my head for your third girl. I think that Caroline, Avery and Colleen sound really good together.

Keely Says:

August 22nd, 2009 at 12:12 am

I’m glad I had a boy, because hubby and I could not agree on a girls name at all. If we have another kid I’ll be in the same panicky boat.

Heidi Says:

August 25th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I also did the “What do you think about _____” for eight looong months. I was gunning for Alexis Nichole,(feel free is you want to use that), which is my middle name & my twin sisters middle name. But, apprently, Bryan knew some “village bicycle” a while back, and hated it.

We ended up writing a list of the names we LOVED & the names we hated, and narrowed it down from there. I didn’t compromise, on that I wanted her middle name to be Nichole, in honor of my twin sister. When we chose the name, at the time, it was “unique” now, as it turns out, it’s the fifth most popular name.

If I have another girl, I am infatuated with the name Annabelle. If I have a son, there’s no question what his name will be, the name I’ve loved for YEARS:

Tristan Nicholas.

I heard the name Tristan from Legends of the Fall. (Hated the movie, but loved the name.) Nicholas is my fathers name.

LaceyJMC Says:

August 25th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Wow, it might be hard to find a name that fits with Caroline and Avery…they are so different. I have two daughters, Amelia and Charlotte. I have to say I was truly surprised to see Amelia listed with Sophia as being too popular. I guess it could be a lot more popular where you live. My daughter is the only one in my entire town and I don’t know of any other Amelia’s besides her. I do, however, know a ton of girls named Avery and Sophia (Sophie).

AAllison Says:

September 8th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I love this post! I am still smiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

cgn Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

How about Camille? I think that’s a beautiful name that would go well with Caroline and Avery…whatever you decide will be great! ๐Ÿ™‚

LadyCynthiana Says:

July 5th, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Piper Amelia Maselli has a beautiful rhythm. Your long long name made me giggle quite a bit though.

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