How I Named My Baby: Maudette Eve
Marissa, a project management coordinator, and Mark, a manager, live in Northern Virginia with their two daughters: Maeve Rose and Maudette Eve.
Maudette was born on August 11, 2022. Here, we speak to Marissa about how she and Mark named their little girl.
How did you name Maudette?
We had been playing around with a lot of different names and as all parents are, we’re very picky. There were a handful of names that we’d really loved for a long time, but we didn't feel excited about any of them.
We went back and forth on continuing the M theme or doing something else. Ideally, we wanted something French. My husband and I are Francophiles. He went to a French-American school growing up and I did multiple studies abroad in France so that was one of the things we bonded over when we first met.
We liked the name Maude but knew it wouldn’t ever be pronounced the French way. I really loved the name Odette and one day I thought, “What about Maudette?” A mix of Maude and Odette. We had never heard of it before or seen it anywhere, so really it was a musing of mine.
We didn’t 100% decide on a name until she was born. We were always going to make the final decision once we met her. She was born and I looked at her and knew Maudette was her name. The other name we had in mind did not start with M.
Do you feel like you have to use another M name for any future kids?
Yes and no. Part of me likes the idea of having all M names. It’s cute! But at the same time, if we can’t find one that we love, we’ll go with our favorite name. At the end of the day, it has to be the right fit.
We didn’t know this till after she was born and named, but my father-in-law’s grandmother was named Maude. They called her Maudie. We call Maudette Maudie as her little nickname all the time.
Her middle name, Eve, is after my grandmother, Evelyn, and Mark’s stepmother Eva, who passed away last year.
Did you think about boy names at all?
We found out around 16 weeks that we were having another girl. I love being a girl mom, I’m not going to lie! I was really excited to find out we were having another girl, and I’d love to have more!
We do have a couple of boy names in our toolbox. None of them start with M! I can’t be certain, but it’s likely that if we have a son, the M theme will not continue.
Would you consider creating another name for a potential third child?
I absolutely would! It’ll just depend on how we’re feeling at the time and if we want to continue the M trend or not. I am open to creating new names — I think it’s fun.
How do you feel about your own name, and how did it influence your choice?
I love my name. I’ve always liked it because, while it’s not 100% unique — there are plenty of other Marissas out there — it’s not the most common name.
My great-grandmother was Mildred, and my parents did not want to name me that. But they liked the idea of using an M name to honor her. I love that tradition of honoring a relative in some way with a name.
What names did you like when you were younger?
I loved French names, of course! My obsession with all things French started at a pretty young age — I think I was in second grade. When I started taking French classes in school, I got to pick a French name to be your name in class. I remember I really liked the name Colette, and I picked Monique and Annette one year.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
I have noticed that Maeve has become a pretty popular name. I was surprised since my husband and I picked it out more than seven years ago! But in the past year, it’s really shot toward the top of the lists.
I hear of a lot of Avas and Olivias and Emmas. Those names seem to be really common in our area. I generally tend to shy away from the things that are super popular because I prefer to do things that are more unique. I don’t love that Maeve has become a popular name, but at the same time, I love it so much that it doesn’t matter.
Did you have any big fears related to baby names?
There’s always a fear around choosing a name. You have to think about if it’s going to sound silly or if someone you know has the name. I’m not trying to name my child after anyone! I try and make sure there’s nothing easy to make fun of about the name, because that can’t feel good.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process this time around?
How difficult it was! I thought since we’d done it once before, we could do it easily. But we had such a hard time for some reason. I made lists and notes on my phone every day. We’d talk them through and make cuts. There is anxiety around making the wrong decision. Am I going to name my child something terrible?
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
Do some research! I was on sites like Nameberry constantly, looking at all the lists like French Names and style-based lists.
Write down names that you like even if you don’t necessarily love them. Maybe you’ll get inspired by them, like I did. I kept Maude and Odette on my list for a long time. Even though we didn’t choose those names, that’s what inspired me to come up with my own.
Be honest with yourself and your partner. If you don’t like something, just cut it. But if there’s something about it that you like, see if there’s a way to transform it.
How does Maudette’s name reflect your family identity?
We’re big Francophiles. French culture, history, and the language is very important to us. We try to travel there as often as we can. It’s a big part of our identity and who we are as a family as well. It translates into our style and everything we do — from how we dress to how we decorate our home — there’s a lot of French influence.
How did you decorate Maudette’s nursery?
It has a French aristocratic vibe to it. A lot of pieces are inspired by French design. Nursery design is something I’m really passionate about, so I had a lot of fun designing both Maeve's and Maudette’s nurseries. They were big passion projects of mine. I’m very picky and I spend a lot of time selecting everything — the wallpaper, the crib, the paint colors, the sheets. It’s something I really enjoy doing.
Did you give Maudette any special gifts?
When I was pregnant with Maeve, I wanted to find a very special gift to give her as a first gift to my child. I found this woman on Etsy from France who hand-crochets little stuffed animals. I had her make a bunny for Maeve because I called her my baby bunny.
I wanted to do something similar for Maudette, but I didn’t want to give her a bunny. I decided that Maudette is my little swan, so I had the woman make a little stuffed swan to her, which was my first gift to Maudette when she was born.
What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in your area?
One of the things we like to do when the weather is nice is going to local vineyards. There are so many great vineyards in Virginia.
We like to take the girls because there are beautiful outdoor spaces. We set a picnic blanket out with some toys for Maeve and have the stroller for Maudette. We relax with a glass of wine. It’s a great Covid-friendly activity.
We’d love to take them to the aquarium and the Zoo. There’s a lot to do here, being so close to DC.
Marissa's (and Maudette's) Favorite Things
Sophie the Giraffe
Maudette loves her Sophie the Giraffe.
Fisher Price Playmat
This is one of the best toys!
Skip Hop Activity Center
This grows with the child. We've been getting plenty of use out of it over the past three years with Maeve, and now we transitioned it back to the infant mode for Maudette.
Cloud Island™ Sleep n Play Onesies
These are the best — all sleep n plays should have a bottom zip!
Hands down the best diapers. They're hospital and NICU approved.
Keeping socks on a baby’s feet are impossible, and these have rubber grippies on the inside so they don’t come off those kicking feet!
Handmade Crochet Dolls
Thank you so much, Marissa!
Photos via Marissa and Deedee Zimon Photography