Sunday Summary: 1.30.22I’m in the middle of buying a new washer and dryer. (This might be Peak Adult.)

And it got me thinking about unsatisfying choices.

We have a lot of constraints: fitting into a tiny laundry closet on the top floor of a tall, skinny townhouse, plus all the challenges presented by shortages and shipping delays. Factor in that current dryer absolutely died in an unfixable way, and we have time pressure, too.

Really, it’s fine. We’re fortunate. There’s a great laundromat right down the street, we’d been saving the money to replace the appliances anyway, and we were able to find something that will a) fit and b) arrive in a few weeks and c) won’t completely bust our budget. We’re facing minor inconveniences only.

And yet, I do feel like I’m settling for a less-than-first choice. I mean … I am settling.

Which got me thinking about how parents feel when we end up with a compromise name.

It’s easy for me to say use the name you love.

And I do think that advice stands.


Reality intervenes.

Our first choice name sounds terrible with our surname. Or our partner just isn’t on board. A family naming tradition causes strife. Maybe our top name is taken by an unsuspecting friend just weeks before our due date.

The world is a complicated place, full of moving pieces.

We do not always get what we want.

My son’s name was a compromise that I struggled with for ages.

I do think two things happen. First, we can often discover qualities to love about the name. More importantly, as our child fully occupies the name, it shifts. It’s no longer just A-Name-We-Ended-Up-Choosing-Because. It’s our child’s name.

And that? That is amazing and wonderful and worthy of love.

Did you compromise on your child’s name? How did it work out?


Kelly Ripa named her daughter Lola (partly) because of the song! It just so happened that we heard Barry Manilow’s Copacabana in an Anthropologie last weekend. (My 13 y.o. daughter had never come across the song before. She had Questions.) And then I saw this story! Naming inspiration can be weighty and nuanced and deep, but it can also come from fleeting chance, serendipity, and just plain fun.

My dad is from a tiny postage stamp of a town called McAdoo. I’ve never given the name much thought … until it surfaced on Nancy’s Baby Names! Never would’ve guessed in a zillion years that there were children out there with this name, but the story makes sense.

Ermine, Governor, Shelvie, Hence, and more surprises. A list sure to raise an eyebrow or two.

A delightful list of Jane Austen-inspired choices. I know a mom who chose Austen as her daughter’s middle name, in homage to the author. Lots of thoughtful choices here.

Ishbel Hester Elizabeth Sinclair Abraham Britton McLay Jackson. Nope, that’s not a list. That is a single name in a recent edition of British Baby Names’ birth announcements! I wonder what drives parents to pick SEVEN middle names? It feels excessive, even to me, but I’m sure they had their reasons.

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That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading + thinking of you!

boy names 1.30.22 girl names 1.30.22

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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  1. In fairness I think little Ishbel may have at least a little Scottish in her (her dad’s name is Duncan), not least because Ishbel is the Scots Gaelic way of spelling Isabel. Whilst looking up her birth announcement on the online version of the telegraph newspaper’s ba page (not sure if you can do that in the US) I also looked up her brother Hector’s announcement, neither announcement told the mother’s maiden name or where they were born. However under Scottish law when a baby is registered the mother’s maiden name is the only/ one of the middle names, both Ishbel and Hector share the middle name Jackson so my guess would be that is their mother’s maiden name. It is also fairly common for Scottish families to use the maiden names from previous generations as middle names (particularly with girls), therefore ‘Sinclair Abraham Britton McLay’ are likely from the family tree. Similarly it is highly probably that Hector’s middle names ‘Halsall Cowan’ will be from the family tree as well

    1. Now that is fascinating! Thanks for the explanation, Lauren. I’ve never seen anything quite like that on British Baby Names before, but I can appreciate that they might’ve made a point of following a traditional practice.