Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
Our newborn son doesn’t have a birth certificate yet, and I feel horrible about it! Name purgatory? Completely understand the term.
My husband and I have a daughter together named Paisley.
I love names that were popular in the 1800s. Classic, country, and unique. I also want it to sound lovely, it will be used in this old house more often than butter …
Here are the names I like:
Beau – Paisley’s favorite, she calls him her little beau
Foster – Foster does seem to suit him, for now while he’s little. I love the meaning.
Holton/Holt or Holden
James – family name
I love soft names like Noah and Joshua and handsome names like Tristan and Austin. I’m not opposed to using his middle name as his preferred name or using initials to incorporate three names, like JW Foster.
My husband likes strong, assertive names. I’m afraid they feel too harsh. A little more like he’s naming a bull rider than a gentleman cowboy! 😉 Here’s his list:
Kind heartfelt thanks for the rescue!
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear R. –
Congratulations on the birth of your son! Sometimes it just plain takes a little longer to find The Name than we’d like, doesn’t it? You’re definitely not the first parent to look at your baby and come up blank.
The good news? I think you and your husband do have some overlap in your lists. Or, at least, I could swap names from your list and his list with ease. At first I kept getting stuck on this phrase: classic, country, and unique. Because it’s difficult to find a name that feels both unique and classic, right?
So let’s re-frame the way we talk about your ideal name:
- Nothing invented, but nothing too traditional, either. I can imagine you choosing James somewhere in your son’s name … but not as a first.
- You’ve mentioned liking softer names, and I’d agree that Noah and Joshua fit that description. But so do Hayden and Raylan. I’m not sure where to set the needle on the soft/tough dial, so let’s move on for now.
- Thinking about Paisley, I’d add a name that feels familiar, but wasn’t popular in the past. That makes it fresh and new for this generation.
That’s a little bit clearer, isn’t it?
From your lists, I’d keep:
- Beau – especially because your daughter already uses it as an affectionate nickname for her brother
- Foster – the meaning is great, and I think it will wear nicely on a child or an adult
- Tyson – one of the softer sounding names on his list, especially with the nickname Ty
- Knox – the sound might be a bit rougher, but there’s a lot to love about Knox, especially the association with treasure
Let me add just a few more:
Hayes – Since he has Hayden and Raylan on his list, but you have Rawlins and James, would Hayes split the difference? It’s a little on the softer side, but still feels plenty rugged.
Briggs – Again, I’m drawing from Rawlins on your list, but also the sounds your husband seems to favor.
Lawson – A two-syllable, ends-with-n name that’s not too common, Lawson still feels familiar.
Paxton – Daxton is a recent invention, but Paxton has history galore. The surname name has Old English roots, but many see it today and think of the Latin pax – peace.
Houston – Austin is on your list, but would another place name appeal more to your husband? Houston has a big, bold sound – and a reputation to match! There’s also Dallas, of course.
You might also like this list of Rustic Chic baby names, including Boone, Twain, Grange, and Reeve.
But I think it’s time to work on combinations, and choosing an actual name that you can both love!
My top suggestion: Tyson Beau, called Beau. One of your husband’s favorites takes the first name spot, but his everyday use name is one that you – and your daughter – love.
I also like the idea of:
- Hayes Colton – Though this one almost comes straight from your husband’s list!
- Knox Foster – A good compromise, I think, and Paisley and Knox sound great together.
- Beau Paxton – Or, really, Beau Daxton. That bright ‘o’ sound and the ‘x’ make this combination memorable!
- Lawson Briggs – A combination that’s equal parts soft and harsh, but pleasing overall.
Again, I think your lists aren’t so far apart – it’s just tough to close that final gap between your favorites and his! I do think you’d both love Beau, if only because the story around it is so sweet. If your husband is on board with Beau, either as a middle or a first, I’d encourage you to revisit his favorites. Beau Tyson, Beau Daxton, Paxton Beau, Beau Hayden … there’s lots of potential there!
As for James, if having a family name is important, I think your idea of having three names is great: James Beau Paxton, Lawson Briggs James, or Tyson Beau James, maybe? They all work!
Readers, we need your help! What’s the perfect compromise name for their little gentleman cowboy?