Sunday Summary 11.19.17For ages, my children have asked for a pet. My son once pleaded, “Can’t we please get a dog? Or, if not a dog, at least a cat?” My daughter talks about when, not if. But alas, we live in a townhouse without a yard. It’s possible, of course, but it seems like more complexity than we can handle.

But then our kids started talking about small pets, and it seemed doable.

And then our son suggested a name.

Suddenly, it felt far more real.

The name? Waffle.

Not something we’d choose for a child, obviously. In fact, not something that I would have ever dreamed up myself. But both kids’ faces lit up when they said it, and somehow, it felt exactly right.

It will be a while before we add Waffle the guinea pig/gerbil/hamster – maybe a chinchilla? – to our family. But having The Name almost certainly chosen makes this feel so much more real. And inevitable.

If you’re expecting a child, you might have the same experience. There’s a moment when it’s not a baby, but it’s Tessa or Liam or Achilles or Wren. And that’s more real, even if the baby is weeks – or even years – away from joining your family.

Enough about how naming beasts can be a lot like naming babies. Let’s talk about:

  • Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindenwald doesn’t debut until November 2018, but early promotional pics gave us a peek at the cast. Which means, of course, the character’s names are now confirmed. Newt is back, which seems like a non-starter of a name. But we’ll meet Leta in this movie, plus Newt’s brother, Theseus. And Seraphina, president of the American witches’ association, returns. Could any of those names appeal? I think Leta could be the new Luna, and in our age of Theo, why not Theseus? (Of course, on Facebook, Diana pointed out that the mythological Theseus has as a namesake, too.)
  • Gorgeous words with negative meanings, or, please don’t call your baby Hernia! Though I spotted a teenage boy named Vandal earlier today, and names like Calamity and Vanity appear in the Social Security data.
  • So North and Saint are getting a little sister. I’d love to know the names on their shortlist. Also, Kim, if you’re reading … how ’bout Lux?
  • What was the Name of the Year for 2017? It has to be something that was used as a name – but not necessarily something that you would name an actual human being. Nominations are open here. Offred, Harvey, and Eleven were all early suggestions.
  • Before you say number names are bananas – British reality television star Billi Mucklow and her footballer partner named their son Wolf Nine.
  • Wow – is Hortense back in France? It’s rising in use. And here’s a stylish maman with a young Hortense in a recent profile.
  • How do you make a name feel less Southern? An interesting question at Duana.
  • My new favorite smoosh name/botanical name. Isn’t it lovely?

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Oh man, Hortense used to be my go-to “hate name” when I was a kid. (I always named the villains Hortense in pretend games with friends.) But I assume it sounds better in French!

  2. Names with negative meanings – the one I come across most in real life is ones sounding like Melena (Melina, Malina). As a medical person, melaena basically means smelly bloody poo.

  3. Waffle… yes, please post a picture of Waffle when they join your household. It seems your kids have inherited their mother’s talent for naming!