Sunday Summary: 1.5.20Teddi Mellencamp can’t choose a name for her daughter.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is expecting her third child with husband Edward Arroyave. The couple are already parents to daughter Slate and son Cruz. They’re expecting their third soon, and their list is narrowed to just four names: Presley, Shay, Selena, and Dove.

They’ve asked Instagram for suggestions. But how would I go about narrowing down four to one?

In this case, they already have two children, and their names are nicely compatible. Modern, bold, and strong. They’re also relatively unusual. Cruz ranks in the 300s, but Slate has never charted in the Top 1000. It’s also true that Slate is used almost exclusively for boys, making Slate’s name rarer still.

Based on that, I’d cut Selena immediately. It’s far more feminine than the other names.

That leaves Presley, Shay, and Dove.

Shay matches Slate nicely. It’s mostly masculine and relatively rare. But do Shay and Slate match too closely? They’re both single-syllable S names with a long A sound. So I’m going to put it aside for now.

That leaves Dove and Presley.

And here’s where I’m stuck.

Dove seems like the better match for Slate. It’s a color, as well as a word. The sharp ‘v’ complements Cruz’s ‘z’ sound. And Dove has never cracked the US Top 1000. So … that checks a lot of boxes.

But Presley has its points, too. It’s the clear winner on Teddi’s Instagram post. It’s a surname, which makes Slate and Cruz in terms of style. I think the sound matches, too. And yet … Presley sits just outside the current Top 200. It’s hovered around the same mark for the last seven years or so.

That feels a bit more popular than they’ve leaned for their children so far.

So I’ll say Dove, with Presley as a close second. Or maybe even Dove Presley? What do you think?

Elsewhere online:

Don’t you just love a Top Ten list that starts with Edward and Ottilie? Elea at British Baby Names has completed this year’s tally of the most popular names in The Telegraph, always an engaging read. Check out the 7-way tie for the #9 girls’ spot. I could cheerfully give those names to septuplets …

On a more serious note, how do you handle names when it comes to adopting older children? Obviously, the kids come pre-named. So it’s a two-fold question: do you try to subtly change your adopted child’s name to make it match? (Kate has some good thoughts on that.) Or maybe it’s more about having a set answer ready when someone comments on the differences. I’ve had a handful of experiences to draw on, but I’m curious to hear if you’ve wrestled with this question?

I’m always curious about name regret, so I read this round-up of moms’ stories with curiosity. What leaps out at me is how very difficult it can be to avoid the circumstances. There’s a mom whose son Archie was born just a few moments before the royal baby with the same name; another whose own mother bulldozed the naming process; and another who inadvertently gave her twins names that brought to mind notorious criminals. Okay, you might’ve Googled your way out of the last one. And while it’s easy to say you’d have told your mom to back off, that may not have been realistic at the time. And then, of course, the story about postpartum depression and name regret sounds familiar, too. Lots to think about …

This story isn’t really about the names, but how wild is it to deliver your twins in two different decades? The siblings are Joslyn Grace and her little brother, Jaxon DeWayne. They were also the last baby of 2019 and the first baby of 2020 at the hospital. Pretty wild, right? I’d have been tempted to choose different middles to acknowledge the crazy birthday. But what? Eve and Primo, maybe?

I’m binge-watching my way through The Crown, so I find myself digging into all things random and royal. Lots of British history, too, which is all kinds of fascinating. And I remembered this list of unusual royal names among members of various royal families today. Vincent isn’t exactly Raddix or Psalm, so it’s worth remembering that unusual is relative. Still an interesting read …

What can I say about Raddix? News broke Friday that Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are new parents. The pair welcomed a daughter early in 2020, making it the first big celebrity BA of the year. And it’s a candidate for my delightfully daffy award. Raddix! Sort of like radish meets Alix? Andrea Whittle has some guesses. I’ll be waiting to hear if the famously private Diaz shares any more about her decision. Because there HAS to be a story there …

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

Boy Names 1.5.20 Girl Names 1.5.20









Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

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. I am always interested in name regret stories (I can empathise to an extent) but the story of Hannah now Lola is just so sad. If I understand correctly she was named after her grandmother for nearly a year and then mum changed it because of her negative early parenting experiences. Mum was happy to be parent of Lola but not of Hannah?? A very strange story and I hope I’m misreading due to translation problems because if not it feels quite icky.

    I do feel sorry for Reggie/Ronnie mum I can see how they make ‘twin’ names and I couldn’t have named the Kray brothers myself even though I’ve heard of them. My nonsensical association was to the Two Ronnies ha. Fortunately I doubt their peers will have any recollection of them at all.

  2. I know a couple who adopted an 11 year old girl and changed her name. They gave her a perfectly nice name, but the decision always struck me as a dismissive of her life before adoption. But she enthusiastically embraced her new name, telling everyone and anyone she came across what her name was. Today the (now adult) daughter and parents are estranged. I don’t know her side of the story. According to her parents, she had an utterly rotten character. It’s very sad. Forming family bonds via adoption is challenging, especially with older children.

    I’m trying to be charitable towards the name Raddix but coming up short…

  3. Um, you know you’ve put Roman and Leo on the boys list twice don’t you Abby. That and also in relation to that Mum that accidentally called her twins after the Kray brothers, from what I understand from the news items I’ve seen on the case she actually googled herself into those names not choosing them out of a name book. It’s worth noting that both Reggie and Ronnie are currently having something of a revival here in the UK (lying at 44 and 66 respectively in the 2018 chart), good names just maybe not together. Other than that great weekly summary

    1. Oops, I just saw the Leo/Roman repeat! I try not to, but often popular names pop up in the search terms multiple ways, so it’s tough to avoid. (The search terms usually read Leo … Roman … boy name Leo … baby name Roman … Roman boy name, etc. But with lots AND lots of other names, as well as some craziness in between!)

      Interesting re: Reggie/Ronnie – I can see how they’d sound like a match. But I’m always surprised what others haven’t heard of. Even in the US, I feel like the Kray Brothers would ring a bell. Except I bet if I asked around that’s not necessarily the case …

      1. I know, especially considering where she lives (High Wycombe is in Buckinghamshire one of the home counties, where a lot of ‘expat’ Londoners live) you would have thought she would have heard the names before and their criminal connection and tried to avoid them even after she found out she was pregnant with twin boys. But people are stupid sometimes