Baby Names

Baby Boy Lucas, Brother to Eloise

Hi Swistle,

Hoping you and your readers can give some input on naming our baby boy due in early May.

Some background – we already have a girl, named Eloise. We both love her name and knew we would use Eloise before we even knew she was a girl.

I am now almost 25 weeks and both my husband and I aren’t sold on anything. Naming boys feels so much harder. For context, our last name is pronounced like Lucas, just spelled differently. Here are our contenders and my thoughts around each.

Charles nn Charlie – I think Charlie is adorable and we both like this name enough. We would be perfectly happy with this and when our 2 year old says Charlie it’s really adorable. However, it feels so popular, and I especially worry that all the girl Charlie’s (from Charlotte) increase that popularity even more. Will he be `1 of multiple in his class? The class below my daughter in daycare has 2 Charlie’s (both boys) out of a class of 8! It’s a great name, but it just gives me pause. However, I think of the 3 names I’m proposing, Charlie goes best with Eloise.

Miles – we both like this name, and I like how it’s classic but a bit less common than Charlie – has a touch of a twist, I suppose, for a “common” name. Though it also seems to be rising in popularity and for some reason I get a 2010 vibe from it, perhaps because in 2010 I babysat a Miles, so it could just be my own bias here. I think the name is adorable though and we’d both be good with this one too.

Here’s the curveball. I have the idea in my head to use my maiden name…Collins. I know Collins is mostly used on girls but it sounds so masculine to me. I think it would be a cool, solid name for a boy. However, it’s a surname, and his last name sounds like a first name so when said together — “Collins Lucas” it sounds like you’re saying it backwards.

My solution here is to give my husband what he REALLY wants and to give him my husband’s first name Peter, so Peter Collins Lucas – but call him Collins. I do not want two Peters in the house since my husband goes by both Peter and Pete – there is no other good nick name and it would just be confusing for me. But, I could get on board with a Peter if he goes by his middle name, my maiden name. My husband isn’t quite sold on Collins but I like the unexpectedness that it brings, a bit like hearing Eloise, I suppose. But I also can’t say I’m 100% sold either. Will this kid be dealing with so many complications (going by his middle name, having a name more commonly used for a girl, etc)? When I ask people about Collins it seems kind of hit or miss, somewhat polarizing (but maybe I am too worried about what others think!). Also, I’m not sure I love it with Eloise?

Would love to hear your thoughts! What would you do in this situation? The good news is I like all 3 names, I am just not sure which is the winner.



I do think that the name Collins Lucas will occasionally be thought to be swapped; I don’t think it will be a big deal—and especially if Lucas is spelled a less-common-for-first-names way. I think it’ll be a “make the occasional easy correction and move on” level of hassle, rather than anything daily/constant. I LOVE when it works out for one parent’s family surname to be used as a child’s first name in a family where everyone has taken the other parent’s family surname, so Collins is my own first choice. (The option of using your husband’s first name as well as your husband’s last name, for a resulting name that has not only LESS family balance but also MORE potential for confusion and hassle, is not appealing.)

I also love both Charles and Miles; both were on my own list, along with Milo. I know what you mean about the 2010 feel of Miles/Milo (for me it’s more of a 2000 feel)—but I don’t feel it the same way as I do when a name feels dated or time-stamped; I think it’s more a marker of when the name got our attention. It felt like it came rather SUDDENLY into use, and that can get burned into our memories, especially when we LIKE the name. I have something similar with the name Henry: Henry is a timeless recurring classic and I wouldn’t call it dated or time-stamped—but on the other hand, I remember exactly when I started liking it on its most recent trip into popularity, and it was in the late 1990s, when it was the name of Tom Selleck’s grandchild on Friends. Yet it was still on my list in 2007 when we named Henry, and I would still use it now.

Yes, I think if you use Charles/Charlie, he will occasionally be Charlie L. I also think this is the kind of thing parents have been conditioned to think is really bad, when it’s not that big a deal. I have mentioned here before that my secondborn was one of three Williams in his preschool class, and then he kept encountering those same two Williams throughout his school experience, though they only had one year of all being in the same classroom again. They all still call each other by their Will Initial names, and they find it fun. On the other hand, it’s true that if you were considering any name with the nickname Maddie, I would probably tell a different story: there are so many Maddies in our school system that we even have multiples of, say, Maddie T. and Maddie Rose, and one of the Maddies has started going by her surname because she couldn’t find any other distinguishing option. So it really does depend on your own particular local area, and on your own tolerance for occasional name duplication. And I think you’re wise to consider it ahead of time, and to include the impact of Charlotte-Charlies. But I don’t think “might have another Charlie in the classroom sometimes” is reason to rule out a name; and my guess is that there are zero Charlies in your daughter’s daycare class and also zero in many other daycare classes. (There were not three Williams in class with any of my other children.)

The name that sounds to me as if it most meets your preferences is Miles. It has a very nice sound with Eloise (I think even better than Charles); it is not as common as Charles; it does not have the issues of Collins.

When I say that, what does your heart do? Does it sink, because you were hoping I’d say Charles/Collins? Does it rise up and click into place: yes, Miles! This is one of the most useful things about feedback, I think: not that the feedback itself is helpful, but that our REACTIONS to the feedback can tell us what we really wanted to hear. I think all three names are excellent choices in their own ways, and that you can safely pick the one you like best. I am interested to see if the feedback here and in the comments section will help the true favorite rise to the top.

Let me also try to add a Twitter poll, for another kind of feedback (you may find yourself rooting for one to win): Twitter poll. [Poll closed; results below:]

A few more names I wonder if you would like:

Alistair; Alistair Lucas; Eloise and Alistair
Barnaby; Barnaby Lucas; Eloise and Barnaby
Benjamin; Benjamin Lucas; Eloise and Benjamin
Desmond; Desmond Lucas; Eloise and Desmond
Frederick; Frederick Lucas; Eloise and Frederick
Percy; Percy Lucas; Eloise and Percy
Philip; Philip Lucas; Eloise and Philip/Pip
Simon; Simon Lucas; Eloise and Simon

Oh I wanted so badly to suggest George! Eloise and George!! But George Lucas is not going to work, even with a different spelling.

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