Naming Names

by | Feb 1, 2010 | Julie | 115 comments

Children’s Book of the Week coming back soon, I promise. The next one I want to write up requires Henry to sing a song, so I just haven’t gotten around to recording him yet. (Plus I still have three more things — two small, one large-ish — to do for school, and those take priority over children’s book reviews, I’m afraid.)

So, in the meantime, you can all continue to think of good baby names for us. It has to be as awesomely cool as Zuzanna, remember. I don’t want this one to think, “How come I got the dud name?”


  1. Clog

    Xenia, Tilda

  2. Christina

    my vote is for Matilda or Fiona.

  3. Kate

    My father’s grandmother’s name was Evangeline…

  4. Corinne

    Oh boy! i don’t think you know what you have done…I will try to restrain myself.
    okay, let’s get started 😉
    i always loved Mitsou [my husband will not go for it- for reasons i will spare you].
    Ezra, Luca- know both are a male names, but love them for a girl].
    Matilda is great too.

  5. emily

    Xianthe! Niobe! I second Evangeline!

  6. sutswana


  7. Beth

    I’m with Sutswana. I love Esme and Matilda! Esme Falatko is a rocking name. Makes her sound like a designer. (Plus, it has great literary reference cache.) Matilda is also fabulous. It was on my friend Brooke’s list as well, but they went with Frances, which I also love.

  8. Beth

    PS Though Frances Falatko is really hard to say!

  9. Julie

    Well, also, Francis Falatko is Dave’s dad, brother, and nephew. So that would be ridiculous. Esmé (and Esmerelda?) are great. Loving Matilda also, especially for all the good nickname options. Sutswana, I actually had Antonia and Louisa on my list, and Dave seriously reacted like I’d made them up.

    Emily, how do you say Niobe? I just read it like “diode” or something, like part of a chem lab.

    I think Marianna is way too girly girl for me. I don’t want it to be frilly, you know?

  10. Julie

    P.S. Randomly, Dave and I both have Dinah on our lists.

  11. emily

    in the KItchen with! so nice!

    NI- OH- BEE. I know a greek woman who is NI-oh-VEE, which is quite nice too. but I’m swayed. Esme all the way.

  12. Christina

    I actually thought about Esme when I was pregnant- but then I was worried that having to differentiate the pronunciation of Es-mee (if it were spelled Esme) versus Es-may (if it was spelled with an accent on the E at the end) would drive her crazy her entire life. I prefer the pronunciation Es-may but I think it’s a bit unfair to put an accent mark in an american kid’s name– seeing as I can’t even find the accent mark on my computer!

  13. emily

    sure enough. my mom’s name is virginia, which I love. but I love more the french virginie (ver-jin-eee) and it’s nickname vivi, or gigi. but wow, hard to pull off without looking like a total wanker. so you’re stuck with ginny. and I grew up with a ginny I did not love.
    the nickname I really like with this name, but you can’t manage either, unelss you’re in a eudora welty story, is Virgie. but the teasing. my mom still shudders at “virgin for short but not for lonnng….!” can you imagine that – in 1950 even?

  14. Julie

    But is Esme/Esmé too Twilight? Plus I agree with Christina about preferring Esmé but the accent being a continual annoyance.

    Isn’t Niobe just Naomi with a cold, then?

    Totally agree on Ver-jin-eee. I also love Eugenie pronounced Frenchily, but there’s no way I’d ever make a girl be burdened with Yoo-jeen-ee. Blech.

  15. emily

    poor niobe. I hope she feels better. scratch her, she’s all crying in literature anyway.

    when i was a kid, there was a girl (holly) at school, who couldn’t pronounce my name, but always called me “Embily”. I mean really. it ruined the name holly for me for years, until just the last 10 of them, when my first and best friend here teaching was named it. and lo, redeemed Holly!

    I forgot about esme in twilight. really! I think as long as you don’t pull out reneesme you’re ok. but still, I get it. as the teacher of infinte numbers of brittany’s, brandi’s, and jasmines, you gotta watch that pop culture.

  16. Dakusaso

    Don’t go here:

    (Har, har…cheap laugh. sorry, I’m still 10 at heart. Poor Jesus fellow, yes, I know why he doesn’t look so happy.)

    Instead, here’s my 2-Centavos:

    * Sonia
    * Sophia (yes, it’s been done, but I still love it)
    * Maya or Maia
    * Rebekah
    * Sonauli
    * Nisha
    * Idoia
    * Paula
    * Also, Dinah sounds cool!

  17. Lisa van Oosterum

    Matilda (Tilda!) is so adorable especially with that beautiful Tom Waits song ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
    Today I was in a book store and there was a photo book about Bo Derek and it occurred to me that Bo is a pretty awesome name for a girl, even Beau. But I have never heard you express interest in boys names for girls, so not sure if it would be right. Dinah is awesome because it is a name we have all heard many times but I have never actually met someone with that name, but I am a little concerned it pails in comparison to Zuzanna. Matilda and Clementine match it for sure.

  18. Julie

    Dave has nixed Matilda. I kind of like Beau, but it would seem sort of stupid, I think, considering how hard it was to come up with boys names, to suddenly bestow a boy name on a girl. Dakusaso, I kind of like Sonia (or Sonya?) — tell me more about Idoia. How do you say it?

  19. sutswana

    Suddenly today I am liking two much more mundane names: Mary and Diana. Yes, unexotic but on the right person pretty powerful, no?

  20. Julie

    But don’t you think Mary and Diana would be so pissed off when comparing names with Zuzu? Though I am considering Mary as a middle name, since it’s Dave’s mom’s real first name, and was also my grandmother’s real first name (interestingly, both use/used their middle names — another strike against Mary?).

  21. sutswana

    p.s. Lisa, now I have “Waltzing Matilda” stuck in my head… (Better than “Oh Susannah!” which was sung to me ad nauseum in my long-lost youth. Julie, consider spontaneous song-breaking-out-intoing when naming your child. “Oh Susannah” made very shy me cry several times, once when the music teacher in 3rd grade suddenly decided to play it and the whole class turned to see my reaction. Scarred for life. Of course on a better adjusted child such as the one you will have, this wouldn’t be a problem.)
    p.p.s. what a long p.s.

  22. Julie

    That right there is the main reason I’m reluctant about Clementine.

    I also have Waltzing Matilda stuck in my head. Too bad I don’t know all the words and so things like “jambok” and “billabong” just bandy about my head, with the tune fiddled in the background.

  23. emily

    my mom skis to walzing matilda, it’s always winter in my head when I hear that song! I have recently been thinking that Jane might be just lovely. but you’re right, it’s basically asking for a conversation with 15 year old Jane, dark, straight-haired jane, looking at her blonde-curly haired wildly popular and good-at-parties zuzanna, and wailing, “but WHY mom, why? I’ll always be JANE and she’ll be ZUZU! and I have GLASSES” Alas.

    for the record, I ski to the James Bond theme.

  24. sutswana

    I need to get off the internet! Emily, you had me Googling “women of James Bond movies” for more name ideas but for obvious reasons–do a quick mental perusal of Bond girls’ names–that is not a good idea.
    And agreed about the wallflower complex in comparison to Zuzanna. Hmm. Bring on Xylina.

  25. Julie

    Isn’t Xylina what you take when you have seasonal allergies?

  26. Julie

    But yeah, what we really need to be thinking here is, “What do I wish my name was?” I kind of wish my name was Zuzu. I have no desire to be Mary, or even Xenia or Xylina. I did wish for being a Zoe when I was younger, but it’s too overdone now, and too many Zs. I always was envious of unusually named girls I ran across in my high school years: Clover, Rain, and, interestingly, Dakota, which isn’t unusual at all anymore, and in fact has horrid connotations.

    Do you like your name? What did/do you wish it was?

    This may bring me back to Theodosia.

  27. emily

    I love my name, truly, even though now it’s EVERYONE’S name and is often attached to that bratty, over-feminized 10 year old whining to her mother next to you in the store. This is a hard excercise, because of course what you’re asking is who i wanted to be – in which case, you know, Anne, Viola, Galadriel, Pippi. I think when I was a kid I wished my name was Sam. A very 70’s desire to have a boy’s name in a world of Jennifers.

    tee hee Sutswana! Pussy Galore!

  28. Julie

    I kind of like Pussy Galore. It’s empowering. (kidding)

    I also like Pippi/Pippa (though not so much Pippi Longstocking, the person, if I’m being honest). And Viola. Who’s Galadriel??

  29. emily

    kate blanchette in the lord of the rings movies. queen of the elves. I had it bad in 8th grade.

  30. Christina

    Ah- too bad Matilda has been nixed- it fits nicely with Zuzanna IMO. Matilda Jane. I like Pippa. There is a heart medication that has a name very similar to Theodosia- I wouldn’t go with that one. I like Thea.

  31. Julie

    I love Jane as a middle name, but I’m not sure if it will work because it’s one of Dave’s mom’s sisters, and will it seem like we’re shunning the other two, if we give this one Jane as a middle name? (esp. since Zuzu’s middle name — Claire — is Dave’s mom’s name, so it’s like that has already been established as a precedent, somehow) They do all have great names, though: Eleanor, Jane, Ruth, and Claire.

    Good to know about the heart medication!

  32. Christina

    Well Jane is my mom’s middle name too so you could say you are using it because it’s on both sides of the family!

  33. sarah

    Our runner-up name for Annika was Rohana. It was Agustis grandmothers name, it sounds totally gaelic to me so I couldn’t figure out how it made its way to Sumatra, but I looked it up and
    its actually Sanskrit for sandalwood, which makes a lot more sense. You could call her Ro for short. Zuzu & Ro is a pretty rockin’ duo. They could definately open a boutique later.
    This seems like a good site. Although it has Jaya under girls and says “Hindu female goddess”. Oops.

  34. Corinne

    Ada, Anani, Azra [an a to z kinda thing- i’m thinking about it]
    Sanna, Sunny….oooh Sanna Falatko sounds like son-of-a, never mind.
    Olive, Una.
    One of our volunteers name is Jane, her younger sister is- Janelyn. Almost anybody can be more original then that.

  35. Julie

    I kind of dig Rohana. Totally cracking up about Jaya being a Hindu female goddess. What do they know?

    Wow, Jane and Janelyn is not only unoriginal, it’s also confusing! I sometimes forget who I have, myself, and briefly consider Eliza, Henrietta, or Susan before I realize that would be insane.

    Una is on my list. I love Olive (because it’s also one of my favorite foods and colors), but my slight New Jersey accent makes me say it kind of funny, like I’m actually trying to say something else (I love, or…I don’t know, something). (This is the same problem I have with Dinah…when I’m tired and my accent is stronger, it sounds like I’m saying “diner.”)

    Dave and I also joked about Ultima, since it means “the last one.”

  36. Lisa van Oosterum

    Oh my god, I totally forgot that most of my childhood I was obsessed with the name JULIE! ha, too funny.I think I even asked people to call me that for awhile. I one of 5 Lisa’s wherever I went (thus always naturally creating the nickname Little Lisa “which Lisa?”” “you know the little one?, which ended up as Lil Lee, and then Lily, which some people still call me), but my mom couldn’t pronounce it, she said Liser. So unfair. Viola is so cute and very original. What about Bianca?

  37. Lisa van Oosterum

    Oh, and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the name Shale.

  38. Julie

    Shale is so totally the kind of name I think of in the middle of the night, and then in the morning I think, “Huh?” Though I do have a fondness for word names. I suggested Cinnamon to Dave and he just rolled his eyes. I knew a girl in high school named Caraway and I was so jealous of her name.

    Lisa, there’s a whole gang of people who call me Lilly too, from a single misheard incident of my own name.

  39. Corinne

    I remember a “Cinnamon” on “Facts of Life”, when it took a downturn- the store years with George Clooney. She played a pop-star and sang “Two of hearts, two hearts that beat as one” it plagues me still. She was a one-hit-wonder in real-life.

    Just because I am sooo generous I will share one of my top of the listers if we have another girl [at least lately it’s at the top] Anise, or Anais [buuuut, well, you know].

  40. Anne

    Dinah is pretty. I also really like Diana. Olive kind of melts into Falatko. Olifalatko.





    Why am I tending toward ends-with-a names?

  41. Julie

    Oh my god Corinne though don’t you think everyone will call her Anus to torment her in elementary school? I once heard a woman honestly ask a produce clerk in the grocery store for “anus — I think it’s supposed to taste like licorice” so there may even be well-meaning people who screw up the pronunciation royally.

  42. Julie

    I’m all on ends-with-an-a names too. They sound much better with Falatko. I think Dinah will have the same problems that Clementine and Susannah have, song-wise. I kind of dig Cassandra, and I love Dorothea, but I don’t think it goes as well with Falatko as it goes with something like, I don’t know, Lange (I also randomly want to emphasize the wrong syllable, like dorOthea).

  43. Corinne

    oh! i never thought of that. That is why Mark [husband] didn’t want Amos if we had a boy. Shooooot.

  44. Anne

    Songwise? That’s why Pete rejected Susannah from my girl-name list. But I contend that most kids today won’t know those songs, or they won’t be nearly as top-of-mind as they were In Our Day. Even so: not such a big deal, is it? How often do people get singsongy about names? (I suppose I should ask anyone born in the 60s or 70s named Michelle what a big deal it is.)

  45. Julie

    Well, see above: Sutswana (Susannah) and her extreme elementary school mortification re: “Oh, Susannah.”

  46. Kate

    I’ll revisit some of my favorite girl names since it seems I’ll never have one of my own! Caroline, Beatrice (or Beatrix) and also Alice. The name Delphinium popped into my head around 4:30 A.M. this morning while nursing James. Perhaps Delphie for short. Love the flower names.

  47. Kate

    About Cinnamon… I thought I remembered hearing that name before from childhood and finally recalled what it was. It was Barbara Bain’s character’s name from the Mission: Impossible show. Love it!

  48. emily

    I don’t know. Cinnamon is the rat in Stargirl (a Julie book if there ever was one)- an exalted rat, to be sure, but I can’t make it not an animal – Caraway too, would’nt that be a great rabbit or goat? I know what’s happening here, though, you are all somewhere in the back of your minds remembering THE book about names: Kevin Henkes “Chrysanthemum” – in which the title character goes to school with Jo, Sal, Rita, Sue, Pat, Mike, etc. and her “name doesn’t even fit on her nametag”. All is misery until they meet the wonderful Mrs. Twinkle, the very pregnant music teacher, who eventually reveals that her name is “long” and “would scarcely fit on a nametag”: Delphinium, Delphinium Twinkle. And that when her baby is born, she is planning on naming it Chrysanthemum.

    Meryl Streep does the BEST READING EVER of this book, of any book, I think, on the scholastic DVD of this!!!!

    How bout Meryl? or Sally? Leonora?

  49. Lisa

    Do you have The Decembrists album The Crane Wife? The is an AMAZING song on there called Oh Valencia. I was listening to it last night and thinking what a beatiful name Valencia is and V (or Vee) is such a cute nickname without taking on a life of it’s own. Please listen to the song online if you haven’t heard it before!!

  50. LoriO

    I just want to put my vote in here again for Evelyn. My favorite names growing up were Julie and Jessamy. I loved Jessamy because of a book I read about a little girl who time travels (which also started my fascination with time travel stories.)

    Growing up I was always disappointed that my name was a nickname. I wished Lori were short for Lauren, or Laurel.

  51. Julie

    I think I read Stargirl in the wrong mood and found it kind of annoying. I do remember the rat, though. Note also, everyone, that I don’t think I’d actually name my kid Cinnamon. Or Chrysanthemum either (though I do agree about the Meryl Streep reading).

    Leonora’s not bad. Leo is kind of a cute girl nickname.

    So interested that some of you were into the name Julie when you were little.

    Lisa, I do have that Decembrists album. I got it to give to Dave for Christmas. And then I lost it in the pile of presents-to-be-wrapped. I was hoping to find it for his birthday, but no luck. This is driving me NUTS. Where on earth could it be? This says something really awful about the state of my house, I’m afraid.

  52. Lisa

    Hi Julie–

    I love coming to your blog…nice to see you back–even though we’ve never met–totally enjoy your posts and am having fun thinking about names with you….
    for the record….I have two girls…

    Antonia (age 5) and Sophia (2 in March)….

    I am half-Sicilian on my dad’s side

    Both of our daughters have nicknames….

    An-to-NI-a (with an emphasis on the “NI”, not the “Tone” in the Spanish pronunciation)

    Anyway–we have always called Antonia “Nia” and Sophia “Sophie” out of ease of pronunciation…plus there are lots of Sophia’s out there now, but I still do love the name so we change it up quite a bit–maybe when she is in school will stick with one or the other…

    I really loved Esme too (for our daughter Sophia)–this was before the whole twilight thing

    the cool thing about Nia is that I haven’t met any out there in our neck of the woods–I first heard it when Nia Vardolos (Greek!) made it big with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

    I also like Dina (Prounounced–Deena)

    good luck!

    mom in Saco

  53. Lisa van Oosterum

    What do you think of Blythe? I love it!! I also remembered that I was SUPER jealous of a girl named Nellie.

  54. Julie

    Lisa in Saco: I do like AntoNIa as the pronunciation better, but when you stick that with FaLATko, then the emphasises are all over the place and the rhythm sounds wrong.

    And Lisa VO, I love Blythe, but I think it’s hard to say with Falatko. Is Nellie short for something? I do like that too.

    Then today some moms at swim were talking about how much they like Raven for a girl, but that might be crazy, plus not go with the other names because it’s not *really* a name. Plus isn’t there some pop culture teen character named Raven?

    I realized doing Eli’s birthday CD that Dinah is OUT, not only because of the song association, but because that song has the repeated phrase, “Dinah won’t you blow?” which would surely be devastating later on.

  55. sutswana

    An old friend of Tim’s went Extreme New Age on him and changed her name from Kelly to Raven. I disadvise based on that association.

  56. sutswana

    Oh, whoops. Never mind. It was Wren.

  57. Julie

    Wren would actually be kind of cute, I think, if it didn’t sound too much like Ren (and Stimpy).

  58. emily

    Love blythe. odd but beautiful, old but not revived to death. Blythe Falatko. hmm. not sure it scans. but like it so much I might advocate it anyway.

  59. Lisa van Oosterum

    I think the Nellie I knew was short for Cornelia.

    Raven Simone is the actress from The Cosby Show who went on to have her own sitcom. I was thinking the same thing about Dinah while listening to the CD…all blowing her horn and hanging out with mysterious secret people in the kitchen….

  60. Robyn

    Blythe, Esme, Nieve, but don’t forget Maeve! and Ella! and Matilda is wonderful, especially when shortened to Tilda.

  61. Julie

    Blythe Falatko = impossible to say. And I actually considered Ella, because it’s Dave’s grandmother’s name, but Ella Falatko sounds a little like you’re about to say elephant, to me. Esme is still on the table; Dave nixed Matilda. Nieve strikes me a little of that whole Neveah thing (heaven backwards). Dave brought Prudence and Hortense to the table yesterday, but I’m not sure how I feel about the individual syllables in there (prude, dense, tense). What are the hot, hip names in California, Robyn?

  62. Robyn

    Didn’t you hear? California’s no longer hip. But, since we’re best now at resting on laurels, I’ll give it a go. All the babies here are boys. So we’ve got lots of Dustons and Austins and Jacks and a few Maxes. Julianne was big, and Julianne Falatko is pretty, with lots of nickname possibilities, and everyone just calls you mom, now, right? Nieve, like I said, which is nothing like kooky Neveah, which sounds like mispronounced lotion. Maeve (not popular, but should be). I will offer it until you scream stop. MaeMae for the cute baby stage, Mae for short later. Awesome name. Awesome. Lots of Lilys and Lillies, some Roses and Violets and Gingers. How about Nutmeg? Or Marjoram? Or Stevia? Or Delia?

  63. Robyn

    We’ve had some Rubys, too, and a Clementine.

  64. Lisa van Oosterum

    If you name your baby Hortense I am not sure I can continue our friendship.

  65. Julie

    Ha! Lisa! I don’t think you have to worry.

    Robyn, I did suggest Cinnamon at one point. I sort of like Marjoram. Cracking up about Stevia. And, actually, all the kids DO call me Julie, so Julianne wouldn’t work (really! they do!).

  66. LoriO

    Julie, I just wanted you to know I think about this subject all the time. I can’t wait to find out what this baby’s name is!

    Mariska? Too many Ks probably… And I do love Esme too… Something that would produce the nickname DeeDee? I think DeeDee Falatko is so cute.

  67. Robyn

    No to Cinnamon, even though you’ve already nixed it I must voice my objection. Too many Neil Young thoughts. Marjie Falatko is excellent…Marjoram Falatko is beyond excellent.

    But don’t forget about Maeve.

  68. Courtenay

    Having just gone through this with my first born, a girl, I will offer up the names we seriously considered:

    and lastly, the name of our daughter, Wren.

    Congratulations on your new little one!

    I enjoy your blog, and your children, immensely.


  69. Sharon

    I liked Matilda too! Tilly is cute. Esme and Pippa are great. My niece is named Sonai. I like that one too. Willa and Willow were also on my list last time around. We both liked Sarah and Lynn is a family name, so we thought about putting them together – Saralynn. But Jeff said it sounded like a depression medication. Also: April, Soraya, Viola and, hey, why not, Imogen. April Mae???

  70. Elizabeth

    I don’t know if I’ve suggested this already, but my mom’s name is Winifred. I was planning to use it as a middle name, but we are most likely not going to use it. I think it goes nicely with Falatko. Just my opinion. For what it’s worth.

  71. Lisa van Oosterum

    Jade popped into my head recently. I know J isn’t ideal since your name starts with J, but it is still very pretty.

  72. emily

    I know the name that has been lurking around in my head for weeks, since I saw the WONDERFUL “Wren”: it’s Lark – we met a Lark at camp, who is doubly endearing for her name and for the fact that her lovey animal is a large-ish harbor seal. But Lark Falatko, not so nice. Also they often call her “larky”, which is not so nice also. but Wren! still just love it.

  73. Julie

    You know, I do like Wren, and Lark (and Lake) and all those other real-word-names, but those three seem to short with Falatko. I mean, maybe ok as a nickname, but it seems like it needs something more. Like Wrenegade (ok, joke, clearly, but something longer for which Wren could be a nickname). I’m kind of attracted to Magpie for this reason. Jade is too Jagger for me, I think, Lisa. I dig Winifred. And, I don’t know, Pippa. Ursula. Esther. Cordelia.

  74. emily

    remember how anne shirley (of green gables) wished her name was cordelia – a name I never thought of as lyrical until reading that. Esther. now: you say Es-ter, right? I like it. it’s related to astrid, which I love, but which you have vetoed for very clear-headed reasons.

    Ps: I am eating olive oil granola right now, shoveling it in over blueberries and yogurt for dinner #2. becuase while I don’t feel ill anymore I still evidently need to eat like a shark needs to swim.

  75. Lisa van Oosterum

    Cordelia and Ursula are super cute ( and I still like Nellie). Pippa is cute too, but I feel like when people say is with any accent other than European it sounds like a bizarro version of pepper.

  76. Julie

    Good point on Pippa, Lisa. It’s another reason I couldn’t do Dinah, either — when I get tired it sounds like I’m talking about a place to go get an omelette and coffee.

    My biggest hang-up with Cordelia is I’m not hot on Corey as a nickname. Though Delia works. Esther is es-ter, yes.

    Emily, I haven’t stopped shoving food in my mouth since September. I eat constantly. Though now in smaller meals since everything is squished. (Some woman at elementary school pickup yesterday said she “just noticed” that I’m pregnant and I wanted to ask her if she’s doing drugs. I’m huge.)

  77. Corinne

    I AM not hot on the nickanme Corey either. I always hated it. Now in adulthood i have Brit friends who feel i should be called this even after I told them how much I loathe it. Brits and Aussies -always shortening names.

    Since high School I have wanted a “Wren”, not sure why. Seems like some sort of mixture of cosmopolitan and advant garde…or something. I support Wren. A nice contrast with Zuzu, and goes nicely with Henry and Eli.

    I have been trying to think of names that could go with your accent. I have even enlisted my husband on occasion, but have to tell him to stop tryin a New Jersey acccent- it’s quite pathetic.

    …annnd…at least you are pregnant! A nurse/doula i work with occasionally asked me if I was pregnant!! I am not. Just gained weight since going back to work- stupid desk and lunch hours. ( sitting constantly and eating out.)

  78. Julie

    Oh, Corinne, noooooooo! Oh, that stinks. You’d think a doula would know better. As my friend Steve says, “I don’t ask a woman when she’s due unless the baby is crowning, and even then I hesitate.”

    Love Wren but I still maintain it has to be longer, somehow.

  79. emily

    Wrenifred. Wrenelda. Wrenaroundsue. Wrenton. Wrendolyn….


    The previously-obese woman at my school, who has been quite, quite heavy for the 7 years I’ve known her, has recently weightwatchered herself down to not obsee. and last year, before I was pregnant but just ever-expanding, the well-meaning security guard at school TWICE said, “oh, sorry, I thought you were Megan” to me. We have crossed figures, Megan and I, now, and I had not realized how evilly dependent I was on her to be a person who I was less-heavy than. Oh boy. the way we F ourselves up in this country over fat. both ways, of course – we eat american-style, and get too fat for health…but we also are unhealhty the other way, obsessed with how skinny we should be and nasty to those we’re “better” than. I loathe the whole battle that is in me over this, and am trying so hard to get some headspace that’s good about it. But I jsut want to say we as women are pretty screwed up about body image, it might be THE thing to work on. Anyway pregnancy complicates it on a bad day, simplifies it on a good day I find. Today’s not such a good day for me.

  80. Julie

    Ha! Wrenaroundsue!

    And ugh, yes, I know. I am so conflicted about my body at the moment in its ever-waxing condition, and so look forward to the eventual waning. I was in Target this morning and came close to buying a regular-sized t-shirt, in some odd hope that it will fit me sometime this summer, just because it was so cute and I got all caught up in Spring fever. I controlled myself and bought something for Zuzu to wear instead. But it made me so achingly wanting to wear some kind of skinny clothes, when, let’s me honest, it’ll be another 18 months AT LEAST until I’m there. And then I’ll be 40 and I’ll have to start dressing like someone else entirely or however More magazine tells me to be or whatever.

  81. Sharon

    Wrenna Sage Falatko. We thought of Cordelia too, and Susannah’s middle name is Sage, but I can’t get enough of it!


  82. emily

    Oh, Wrendolyn, Wrendolyn, wither art thou? No, it’s just made up — too much Wallace & Gromit — in “A Close Shave” Wendolyn Ramsbottom is the lady Wallace really likes (also is the perpetrator of the sheep rustling along with her eeevil cyberdog Preston) until it comes to light that she–gasp–doesn’t like CHEESE. Not even Wendslydale. it brings her out in a rash.

    Now THERE’s an avenue for names: the names of cheeses! Wendslydale Falakto! Gorganzola Falatko (there’s a name to stand up to zuzu!) Philadelphia Falatko!

  83. Beth

    Emily, I like where you’re going with that…Stilton Falatko…Peccarino Falatko (though I believe that means “goat” or possibly “sheep” in Italian).

    Julie, how about Willa or Wilhemina? I like Willa. And Willa Cather is a great author.

  84. Julie

    Beth, I love Willa, but have been told that it’s a little too popular these days. My neighbor across the street knows three little Willas.

    Feta Falatko, though. Hmm…

    I was talking with Sutswana about the offbeat names of people I knew in HS, and how I was so jealous of them, but also how, now, those names are fairly mainstream. Or at least no one would bat an eye. Rain, Star, that sort of thing. And one girl named Dakota, which seemed SO exotic, and now is fairly firmly ensconced as a standard American name. So do I have to, you know, name my baby after a cheese to ensure that, 20 years from now, her name won’t be totally ho-hum?

  85. Christina

    I like Willa too- I didn’t know it was getting so popular. what about Lucinda- you could call her Lulu or Luci. I also love Mattea- she could go by Mattie. I personally would probably change my name if I were named after a cheese! Parmigiano Reggiano Falatko

  86. Anne

    Willa? I didn’t know that was popular now. Wasn’t that the name of Henry Huggins’ little sister?

    I like Cordelia a lot.

    OK, my latest submissions for your consideration:

    Rosemary (Rosie is an adorable nn!)
    Penelope (that’s one I’m tossing back to you, since you suggested it to me for Sam; and you could get Nellie out of that)
    Joan 😉

    >And then I’ll be 40 and I’ll have to start dressing like someone else entirely or however More magazine tells me to be or whatever.

    Yeah. It’s mostly all caftans, all the time at this point.

  87. Anne

    Oooh, and Lucinda is nice. Luci/Lucie/Lucy Falatko.

  88. Julie

    I like Mattea. Just wrote that on The List. I like Gemma and Saskia too. I like Lucinda but I’M Lulu (old family nickname) so that might get confusing. And yes, that’s right, re: Willa. Though it wasn’t Henry Huggins’ little sister (he was an only child), it was Howie’s little sister, and she always went by Willa Jean.

    Anne, I wanted to talk to you about how much your wardrobe is resembling Mrs. Roper’s these days.

  89. Christina

    See i think that you being called Lulu sometimes makes it even cuter. Like sort of naming her after you- but not really.

  90. Christina

    I just re-read my comment and realized it makes no grammatical sense.

  91. Anne

    Speaking of Mrs. Roper, Audra is also a nice name.

  92. Lisa van Oosterum

    Penelope with Nellie as a nickname! Yahooo!! I am sold. I dig Mattea as well. But, Lulu and Zuzu as sisters? And indeed speaking of Mrs Roper..her first name was Helen, Helena is lovely.

  93. Beth

    “All caftans, all the time.” LOL. Yes, they actually issue you one at your 40th birthday party. Re: Mrs. Roper. You just know that lady had a flask in her caftan at all times. Weird sidebar–I just saw “The Graduate” again recently. Mr. Roper was Dustin Hoffman’s landlord in that movie, too. What a weird pigeonhole to be stuck in as an actor. “Get us a convincing landlord, goddamnit! Bring us Mr. Roper!”

    So I have to say, I *love* Willa Jean Falatko. Didn’t know it was so popular these days, though. I also like the Penelope/Nellie combo.

    Adelaide (There is a song, but only if you’re a buff of musicals from the 1940s and ’50s)
    Vivienne (Vivi is cute.)

  94. Corinne

    HA! my Aunts name is Willa MAry, so to me it’s kinda humorous that it has become popular. My Aunt is anything but trendy.
    Love Penelope Falatko, gives the tongue a delightful workout. must think of some great Greek or Latin origin names- up here Latin male names are all the rage- can I tell you how many Atticus’s I have met? It’s bizarre.

    Speaking of Audra…Audrey is great [to me] as well.

    Up here on the west coast- lululemons are the new caftans- can’t seem to get out of them :(…just so you know the woman who asked me if i was pregnant- i made her feel bad [not entirely intentional- just came out] by saying “no, i am just fat”, yes she probably should have known better, but ah well. Surprisingly it didn’t make me feel as horrible as i thought it might [i think i was waiting for it, or something]. I am more motivated to move more and eat less, mostly green things 🙂 and hopefully wear some jeans again….oh yeah and stave off diabetes and all the rest of it, but mostly i think i want to fit into my orange cords.

    AH! Aurora! – ooo, too much of a workout. back at ‘er….

  95. sutswana

    Chrysalis Falatko
    Mimosa Falatko
    Mariposa Falatko

    49% serious.

  96. Lisa

    Juniper!!!! I just ran in from the garden to post that. So cute.

  97. emily

    because June — and the necessary early-years “junebug” is at least as cool (and retrocool) as Zuzu. and scans. close to julie but that doesn’t matter, no? Juniper gets my vote!

  98. Julie

    Juniper goes on the list. I love it.

  99. Corinne

    Juniper is so sweet- my vote too. Such a fragrant tree too.

  100. Sharon

    Agreed! I love it!

  101. Carolyn

    I see that you like Jane as a middle name… What about Eliza Jane… There is a really pretty bluegrass song that goes with it too.

  102. Julie

    Carolyn, I love Eliza, and I do know that song, but we can’t have Eli and Eliza. This is the same problem as when I thought Henrietta was the perfect name!

  103. Carolyn

    Yes, I see. Ok… Tallulah Jane and you can just get over the too many Ls thing! 😉

  104. LoriO

    Ok, in the newest House Beautiful there is a feature where they interview some…person. Maybe they’re a famous designer, or … I don’t know. I didn’t pay attention. But, her daughter’s name Zinnia. Zinnia Falatko? Zuzu and Zinnia?

    The other best part was that the Mom’s name was Celerie.

  105. Beth

    Celerie. I wonder if it’s pronounced “Celer-ay” (with a faux French twist).

    How about Posie?

  106. LoriO

    Celerie also has a son named Rascal.

  107. Mo

    My 2 cents as a person with an absurd name, name your child something that is easy to spell and pronounce. Splurge on a fun nickname but let her legal name err on the side of boring. To that end here are the names I would have used on the girl child who never came to be:

    Carlie (my mom was Carla so this is probably not useful to you)
    Victoria (but only if the nickname is Tory/i not Vickie)

    Names I love that I would probably not have gotten to use because my husband and Anne would have mocked me too much:


  108. Anne

    I wouldn’t have mocked you for Morgan. I like Morgan a lot! I’d have even considered using it myself if I’d had the opportunity.

    I also love Victoria and Charlotte. That’s another one I’d have considered using. Our friend Todd’s daughter is Charlotte and they call her Lottie. Charley is also a cute nn for Charlotte.

  109. Mo

    Good to know! If I ever change my first name it will likely be to Morgan because I can still use Mo. I also suspect that unisex names are better for female attorneys

  110. Sutswana

    Tonight at dinner, this was the conversation…
    Miranda: I was just thinking about names for Julie’s baby.
    Me: Yes?
    Miranda: I have a great name that’s stuck in my head. Joyce! (she spelled it Joys.)
    Me: Oh, that’s a good name.
    Miranda: Or Rosie. Isn’t that a good name?
    Iris: I want to call it Sarah! Or Sunny! Or ZeeZee!

    Today I am thinking Ida.
    p.s. Also a fan of Morgan.

  111. Sutswana

    Sorry, I’m back, yes, so soon.
    Miranda just said, “What about Hope? There’s a girl named Hope at my school and she’s mischief. I think her parents named her Hope because they HOPE she’ll stop making mischief.”

    Iris adds, “What about Pumpkincarrothead?”

    Okay, I’m done.

  112. Corinne

    iPerson, iFalatko?
    re:last comment, I love Sunny and when kids make up names. Some I have heard from kids I know are: Tunasalad, Babysharkie and Hilltop {which was weird because my friend secretly called her baby Bryn- which means Hilltop in Welsh!!}

  113. marymary

    My 7 year old daughter is Susanna — nicknamed Zuzu! (yes, that’s why I’m on your blog — HAD to click over from designmom when I saw a birth story of another Zuzu!) — and I can attest that no kids know “Oh Susannah” anymore. Kind of makes me sad, actually, but at least she doesn’t have to be annoyed.

  114. emily

    which makes a reassuring case for Clementine, my long-time favorite that will now, alas, not be used, as this bun in oven is male.


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