Thursday, February 19, 2009

Boy Names...

Still feeling a bit shell-shocked about there being a little boy on his way... but just as excited as one can be. I was at the gym yesterday, watching the kids in childcare playing in the gym. One little brown-haired little boy - perhaps around 2ish - was wandering around, his little mouth slightly agape, watching the older kids playing around him. He was a little wobbly on his feet, a little lost, even, and ever so often he would have a go at kicking a ball. Then he would go back to watching everyone else... mouth open, sort of bewildered. And I though. 'there's our boy'.

We're definitely getting more used to the idea... though the references to 'him', 'his', 'he', etc. still bring about a shudder of shock!

But, the biggest thing that we're trying to contend with is a NAME! Since I had no expectation that we'd have a boy I didn't think seriously about names. I just came up with a list I sort of liked, not too much thought, honestly, and now we're stuck. not one name stands out... and we seem to have 'rules' or preferences which preclude some fairly decent names.

Here are some of the issues...

I don't like 'C' names. Rich doesn't want a name with a Royal connection (goodbye Charlie and Harry), neither of us is overly keen on Gaelic names, and we don't want a name that is too common, too posh, too 'out there', or 'too ordinary'. Oh, and a name not too masculine....

We seem to like Hebrew/Arabic names.. but need to find that goes with Oliver-Campbell.

We like names which give rise to nicknames... Nicknames we like are Sam, Raffy/Raffa, Eddie, Mac, etc.

Joel, a colleague at work, was telling me how in Japan an Uncle usually names the child, giving a name with certain meanings which the child grows up, hopefully, to embody. We rather like that idea.,,

So, friends, family (if any of you are reading) and readers... suggestions? Girls are so much easier! here's our list.. generated as I flipped through the baby name book last night.

Rafael - One Who is Healed By God (Hebrew)
Rafferty - One Who Wields Prosperity (Gaelic)
Rafi - One who is Exalted (Arabic)
Josiah - God Will Help (Hebew)
Issac - Full of Laughter (Hebrew)
Hugh - Having a Bright Mind (German)
Elias - Jehovah is my God (Hebrew)
Ravi - From the Sun (Hindi)
Xavier - Owner of a New House(!) (Basque/Arabic)
Ezra - a helper (Hebrew)
Sami - Arabic (One who has been exalted)
Samuel - Hebrew (God has heard)
Leo - Latin (resembling a lion)
Theo(dore) Greek (Gift from God)
Eben - As solid as a rock (Hebrew)


  1. I saw "theodore" and I thought "teddy"!!! Oh a cute little 2yo teddy :)


  2. Crap! I just lost my post.

    I love the names Eben (I knew a [non-Jewish] boy with this name, and I have always liked it), Xavier (because it begins with an X), and Elias.

    You are lucky to have the last intials "O-C," too. No bad words end with those letters - I knew a girl with the initials MAA, and she endured years of sheep noises.



  3. i like rafferty, josiah, eban and sami, but all are cute xx

  4. hugo is a favorite of mine (similar to hugh!) i liked this website when i was hunting for names - ... good luck!


  5. how about amos? i have been imagining amos oliver-campbell, and i really like it.

    do you know the william steig book 'amos and boris'? it's about a mouse and a whale (amos is the whale!) and was a huge fav of mine growing up.

    also love josiah and eben (is that EE-ben or EH-ben?)

    i've noticed you have been writing issac - two s's, one a - i've only ever seen it spelled isaac - two a's, one s! - any thoughts on the different spellings? i love the name regardless

    and still a huge fan of rafael (little rafi or raf! so cute!).

    heh, that wasn't much in the way of narrowing down, was it?
    love you

    p.s. definitely no middle name? i love middle names!
    amos eben oliver-campbell
    eben samuel oliver-campbell
    theodore isaac oliver-campbell
    and so forth!

  6. Hi all, thanks for your comments!! You have no idea how much this name business weighs on my mind :) Rich hasn't come up with a single name he likes!

    Ash, isn't Teddy cute? The only issue is that my sister has a son called Archie Bear.. though she calls him Bear. So it would be a bit unfortunate for the cousins Teddy and bear to be playing together :) Though i mustn't let that detract from the very sweet name!!

    Thanks, ren! I don't think I've even considered the initials. Gosh imagine the possibilities if you had the 'right' initials! I had a student named Eben. It was the first time I heard the name and quite liked it. I thought that elias was the closest thing to Eliza. I like Elijah but Rich hates it. Boo.

    Thanks, Lou... any other suggestions, too? it's really hard!!!

    Em, I love that website. Thanks for reminding me about it. Hugo was on our list but for some reason I didn't put it up. I did once have a dog called Hugo. I just love it!

    Oh, nice combinations, Fi. And no, Isaac is just my clumsy typing and lack of editing over and over again!!! Perhaps a sign that it's not the name for us!! but I love your ideas.. We did mention Amos but thought that it might not go down too well in the UK. I'm sure there's a food manufacturer with a near sounding name.

    keep the suggestions coming :)

    I am snowed under with grading and it's a lovely distraction when you post your offerings!!

    love A

  7. Hi there,

    I forgot all about the babynamewizard website! We enjoyed that one, too. (This makes me worry about what other pre-baby chunks of my life have fallen out of my head.)

    And Fia, I also loved Amos and Boris and in fact just recently dug it out (my own copy) for my daughter to read, along with my copy of Frederick. Those were great old books.

    So isn't it the truth that boys' names are hard? The girls have poached so many of them, too, leaving them even fewer to choose from.

    I think the hyphenated last name is so nice that any of the names you listed sound great with it--especially the ones with two syllables. It's true you need to think of initials or it will come back to bite the kid big time!

    At one point David and found ourselves reading through favorite books for character names, skimming the dictionary, even looking at an atlas of California for meaningful names. In fact we seriously considered naming Sage Meriden for a town near where David grew up, but we finally decided that would be too weird. But you might try going to sources not directly about names per se and seeing if anything presents itself. (David first thought of Sage when reading a Mary Austin book, and I had already been thinking of the name since I'd heard it for the first time several years ago, so that worked out.)

    We gave Sage her middle name after my grandma. Who knows what we'd have done there in other circumstances, but my grandma passed away the summer Sage was conceived. We wanted a way to remember her and honor her--David and I were both really close to her--and so that's where Sage got her middle name. Is there anyone after whom you might want to name the little peanut?


  8. darn, amos is the MOUSE. i was even thinking mouse when i wrote it. jeez.

    jen, i LOVE names that have literary connotations... well, literary connotations that are meaningful to the parents, of course! jonas is high on my future boy-name list, not only because it's lovely but because of lois lowry's 'the giver'. and so forth.

    and i hope sage loves 'amos and boris'! she's about four, right? have you tried 'my father's dragon'? i LOVE kids' books.

    sorry to coopt, there, al!
    what about emmett? it's a very old-testament-y name, and very unusual these days.


  9. Alex,

    What great names! And what fun, spending time thinking of names. There is another teacher at work, and he and his wife don't officially name their children until a month or so after the birth. They wait and see which name "fits".

    I have to say that I really like "Rafferty" and Theo (rather than "teddy" for Theodore which always reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt and 'walk softly and carry a big stick').

    Enjoy the name exploration!

    - Kristina

  10. Hi all. I should be grading papers - as I am hopelessly behind - but I have been too consumed by baby names :)

    Jen and Fi, I haven't heard of Amos and Boris. They are both really cute names! Alas, I think neither would fly in the UK. it's really very tricky. And it gets trickier when we THEN consider - not only whether we like the name - but also if we could imagine calling our son it. Would it be an Alex and Rich name?

    And this is precluding many a lovely name... many of which are contained on this list. Geesh.

    K, I was thinking of you earlier as we considered each name. Especially Rafael... since I know you are a big fan of Nadal. How lovely to find this comment from you!

    I can't imagine now having a name picked out! Again, it's to do with a profound lack of patience, I think. Though we did say that we may have a name and a couple of alternates, just in case the baby is NOT a (insert name here).

    So, we have an added dimension to this: can we imagine - or picture ourselves - calling out a particular boy's name. And while I loves these names A LOT, i can't imagine a:

    Josiah Oliver-Campbell
    Isaac (carefully typed!) Oliver-Campbell
    Elias Oliver-Campbell, etc

    I think its important to us that we can have a nickname, and so we're sort of thinking of nicknames we like first and then connecting that to a longer, more formal name.

    I think we both agreed that we have two favourties. The first nickname that we can really imagine using is some version of Raffi/Rafa/Raff/Ravi. It seems to fit our image of what a little Alex/Rich would be. We both love Rafael and Rafferty (the latter was our pick way before this ittlle chap was on the horizon). The second is Theo/Ted.. and thus Theodore. I don't love the name Theodore, but I do like the colloquial naming possibilities.

    I imagine what our little boy will be like and these are the names that seem as though they might fit the best. Of course we haven't stopped looking!!! And suggestions are so very welcome!!!

    Jen I have also been trawling through favourite fiction books! Joel even suggested Rebus - a Scottish detective in one of our favourite mystery series :) There are some wonderful names out there, too. But, again, they appear to be mostly female names.

    Oh, Fi, we're thinking of a middle name... perhaps even a family name. Jen, I love that Sage has your grandmother's name. It's lovely. We don't have very pretty male names in our family... alas. My dad's is Archibald!! though he's called Archie (my nephew has that name). My Granddad was McPherson, which gave us the initial idea for Mac (which is how he was known). I don't know my mother's side of the family very well.... just a couple of uncles, and their names aren't too promising as middle-names. Rich has a dearth of nice names on his side, too.

    Thanks, all.
    xo ,A

  11. Al, have you thought of just naming him Theo, no "dore"?
    I know an awesome (totally fantastic) 12-yr-old Theo (he was at the wedding, the tall, long-haired, red-headed fellow who you'd never guess was a kid and not a Big Teenager), and he loves his name. When I first started looking after him he was 8, and wore a nametag to camp that said "Theo (NOT Theodore, JUST Theo)" on it.

    And Theo is also the name of VanGogh's beloved brother, not that that necessarily matters to you and Rich!


    I was just going to write again and say that my favorite name on your list is Ravi. I think it's beautiful and unusual and I can very much imagine you and R with a little Ravi.

    still brainstorming!

  12. We have, Fia! Actually we started out with Theo - just on its own - and then I considered the nickname potential of Theodore :) I also liked the idea of him having some flexibility with his name, too.

    But I LOVE Ravi. I loved the meaning, the sound, the connotations... and yet I would feel not that comfortable if I left his name at that because I have no idea how it will go down in the UK. So a safer name in the form of Rafael - will allow us, I think, to be safe and not so safe at the same time.

    That's the idea, anyway!

    I totally think you should move to Maine. Think of all that cover swimming. BTW, I am completely up for another Fia birthday camping trip... with poppet coming along, too, of course :)

    Love A

  13. Oh, boo, Rich! I love the name ELIJAH!

    So my second pick, Elias Oliver-Campbell. You could call him Eli!

    Second fave? Ravi. Definitely.

    Yay for little boys!

  14. ooo Alex, i just love reading all these posts about naming your precious lil one ;)

    i think ravi is so so cute!
    i also adore hugh and of course, being the mad cat lover that i am (with zodiac signs to match), i naturally would be drawn to leo - such a strong name :)

  15. have you thought of Isaiah..I happen to prefer to all really I love all hebrew can call him Zai for short

    Isaiah oliver cambell

    sounds good to me

    love, Tara

  16. I love Eli. Thinking of it myself, for a boy name...

    Also, I really like Jonah. Jonah Oliver-Campbell sounds great to me.

    Speaking of bad father-in-law's initals used to be S.O.B. and he hated it so much, haha, he legally got rid of his middle name - it was Norwegian; Olsterloh (I think) or something to that effect! Me? I'm just BBB. That's as plain (and weird!) as it gets. :)


  17. love Ravi, love Theo, but my favorite is Samuel. xoxo

  18. Isn't Ravi lovely, Erin? I love the meaning of the name, too.

    B, I love Leo. It was my favourite for a long time. I just read a book and the main murder victim was Leo!! It's a very lovely name. Oh, so many names. Hugh and Hugo are some of our top picks, too.

    I think Isaiah is a beautiful name, I really do. Again.. talk to Rich about that :) The other thing, though, is that some of these names - whilst absolutely beautiful - might not fit a son of ours.

    it's turning out to be not just a case of thinking a name we love, but a name that really resonates. And, right now, I am erring towards names I like less but names which really feel as though they would fit.

    Aw, Brie, Eli is sweet... as it Jonah. it was definitely on our list. I can't wait until you have another addition.. and, jeepers, I know I owe you email. Sending lots of love your way in the meantime.

    Sarah, I ADORE Samuel. I have a brother-in-law with the name.. but the biggest issue is the fact that we have a dog named Sammy :) It could get confusing.

    Who knew names could be so very confusing!

  19. Fia, I haven't read "My Father's Dragon"! But I'll definitely seek it out. Yes, Sage will be four in May.

    Isn't it fun, Alex, to think about reading your favorite books to little Poppet?

    Re. finding a name that resonates: someone once told us that when you find a name you think you like, imagine yourself opening up the back door and yelling, "Bertie! Time to come in for lunch now!" If it still feels right, then you've found your name.


  20. I like Elias and Ezra, I have always loved "E" names. One of my best friends named his son Elias so that's out for us... but Eli for short would be really cute! I agree with Jen's post. DH and I spent a lot of time introducing ourselves... "Hi! My name is Elias Oliver-Campbell" and play shouting... "Elias! Time for dinner!" or "Elias! Good Job!" etc. We just fell in love with the name Asher, not just because of the family connection, but also because it rolls off our tongues, sounds good with our last name and just sounds right for us... I hope this helps! Love your blog! ;o)

    Michelle (dolphin76fire)

  21. I really love the name Anson for a boy, too. It's a familial name for me; it's my twin brother's middle name, so maybe that's why I love it so much. :) But I like it because it's not completely "weird" or "out there" but also quite different and originial. I'm thinking of this one for myself, (or rather, not myself; I mean a new addition) too...


  22. Jen, that is so funny because that's exactly what we've been doing... though we say things like this, in an exacerbated tone, "Raffy/Theo/Sam/etc. stop pulling Sammy's ears" :) It really does help to see if the name fits. We're realizing that only a couple of names do, thus far!

    Hi Michelle!!! Nice to see you here!! Aren't the 'e' names adorable? As you know, Asher was on my list for a long time. Rich didn't love it but I adore it. Elias is tempting since it's close to Eliza - which was one of our possible girl names. This is complicated stuff!!!!

    Aw, Brie, Anson is lovely! And, really, I think renaming yourself Anson - whilst a little odd - would be very nice :) Failing that a new Anson addition would really be wonderful! I can't wait for any news in this area!!!

    Love A