September 27, 2007

First of all, thank you so much for the books/movies/music suggestions! I’ve got Knocked Up added to my Netflix queue; I downloaded Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Etc (LOVE), A Fine Frenzy (feeling lukewarm about this so far, but I think it’s one that will grow on me), Giant Drag’s “Wicked Game” cover (LOVE), Kanye’s “Stronger” (this song makes me do ridiculous things with my butt); and I’ve got a fantastic to-read list (including “The Nasty Bits“, which I have been meaning to pick up for a while now because man, do I ever love me some Bourdain). You guys rock, as usual.

(Also, here’s something I’ve never known: how are you supposed to reference books or music or movies? With italics, with quotation marks, or what? Is it different for each medium?)

In the spirit of good suggestions for good things, indulge me while I plug the newly-launched business of a family friend: Steve the Art Director has created a very cool website for ordering collage artwork. If you’re like me and you have shitloads of great family photos but no idea what to do with them other than periodically posting them on Flickr, his studio can create some really amazing options—matted, framed, the whole nine yards. Recognize this suspicious little guy? I have that image as a print, beautifully matted and framed, hanging in Riley’s room right now (there are some other cool samples here). Go check it out, and if you have questions, Steve will answer.

Okay, so . . . BOY NAMES. We had a great girl name picked out, but we’re struggling a little with a name for the dong-bearing Smalltopus. If coming up with fabulous-sounding boy names is a passion of yours, your input is welcome. Some possibly-helpful parameters: the middle name will be Emmett, and our last name sounds a lot like Sparks, so first names like Sam or Sheldon are out.

We have considered and mostly discarded the following:

• Ethan (love it, but it’s also the name of my new Workplace boss, who will be starting work—and sharing my office—as of next Monday. “Hi! I’m really hoping you won’t decide to phase out my position, and as a gesture of goodwill I have named my child after you! Hope that’s not awkward, ha ha!”)

• Jake (love, but do not love Jacob)

• Dexter (possibly influenced by my deep adoration for the Showtime TV series, possibly a name most people won’t find very appealing)

• Cody (cute, but maybe too trendy-sounding, especially when combined with Riley)

• Garrett (JB’s choice. Not mine)

• Casey (too gender-ambiguous; also not sure about another name ending in an “ee” sound)

The top contender is a name we both like very much, it just isn’t ringing the same bells that Riley did for us. I’m not sure if we can expect to have another “YES! YES THAT’S IT!” moment, or if we need to let a name percolate and become more familiar. I guess we could wait until the babe makes his appearance and name him then, but I’m concerned we’d end up with something like Vermixy or Red-n-Squashed or Hiccups Von NeverSleep.

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Shannon
14 years ago

Simon or Jake

I know super cool little boys with both names.

We had the same problem naming our second, too. We LOVED Darsie but how could we top it? We named our second Ellise.

M. Giant
M. Giant
14 years ago

I suggest Smiley, and not just for the rhyming. Either it becomes self-fulfilling, or you get to savor lots of delicious irony. Win-win!

Or, since last names as first names seem to be so popular, how about Harper? Combined with your last name it has a ring to it.

Dana
Dana
14 years ago

I like Hunter. If we were having a boy, we would have gone with Hunter. We’re having a girl, however, so you can have Hunter. It’s only fair, since we’re naming our daughter Riley.

ginger
ginger
14 years ago

Slagging on the names mentioned here, left and right:

He can’t be Ethan (nor Evan) Emmett Sounds-like-Sparks, because Ethan Emmett is not musical at all and is excessively Victorian. (Not to mention that E.E. Sparksish sounds like E.E.Shane, of The Shane Company, a direct diamond importer…)

Garrett Emmett is unfortunate, too – children’s names should not rhyme.

He cannot be named Connor because his brother is Riley and it makes Sundry sound like a slavering Buffy fanatic.

“Slade” is a perfectly good name that’s been ruined around the PacNW by Slade Gorton, who is slightly to the right of Newt Gingrich, and celebrates the natural beauty of the Northwest by encouraging clearcuts and open pit mines.

In order not to be a complete hater – James is a nice name. Plus, James Emmett turns into Jem completely naturally.

Gertie
14 years ago

Don’t worry about your boss because he won’t always be your boss. My sister’s dog has the same name as her new boss.

A friend of mine has one son named Jake (not Jacob– which he has to explain over and over to the teachers) and one named Cody. Another friend named her son Liam. I wouldn’t call your Jr. Jr. “Dexter” either, more because of the whole serial killer thing than it being a name for a dog. But that’s coming from someone who wanted to name her dog Steve.

No matter what name you choose, he’ll end up with a nickname– even Cody is called Code Man. I had two names I adore for boys, Sebastian and Vincent, but couldn’t stand the thought of someone calling my child “Vinny”. I guess the worst for Sebastian would be Ian or Seb.

I agree that Emmet has a nice ring to it as either a first or second name. Other names I like are:

Isaac
Duncan
Bruce

Kari
Kari
14 years ago

I love Dexter – both the name and the show. Sure, it might be a little odd to name your kid after a likable serial killer, but the nickname is just plain cool.

I went through a weird phase of liking presidential last names (Carter, Clinton), but unfortunately, that also included past presidents I didn’t particularly admire (Reagan, Nixon).

Oliver is great, and not only because of the Ollie factor, and I agree that Jake need not be tied to Jacob. I have a Keegan and a Kyle in my family and they are both pretty satisfied with their names.

My random one is Nolan. Nolan Emmett Sparks is a worthy follow up and meshes well with the Irish-evoking Riley.

Jenn Perryman
Jenn Perryman
14 years ago

Corbin
Jackson
Cole

enh- that’s it for me :)

Mary
Mary
14 years ago

The name I’ve reserved for my someday-in-the-future little boy is Gabriel. Not so much b/c of the biblical reference, but because I like names that have good nicknames. I like the idea of using Gabe most of the time and then him knowing he’s in deep shit if I call him by his full first middle & last name! So I vote for Gabriel!

barbara
barbara
14 years ago

How about Grant ?

Bianca
14 years ago

I’ve always like the name Luke, I think it’s a nice strong name and it’s also a destined-to-be-hot name because seriously, have you ever heard of an unattractive man named Luke? in all honesty, I even like Lucas. I know, I know we grew up with the stigma of that being a nerd name but I really don’t think it is.

Noah is a good name also. So is Isaac. I don’t know why I’m shouting out the biblical names but whatev.

Just out of curiousity, what was the girl name you had?

Leah
14 years ago

The only thing that makes me laugh harder than the comments on baby-naming posts is posts where the older sibling chooses the name. What, pray tell, does Riley prefer?

McCashew
14 years ago

I share your that ship has sailed mentality with names – as in you could not revisit Madeline this time around. So I bestow upon you our top boy contender from our first time around for consideration~ Finn (finnegan for real, finn for short)

Finnegan Emmett Sparks?

Finn Sparks – A HS quarterback for sure, though also sensitive, kind, and respectful of his parents admiration for techy things.

Riley and Finn?

PS. Garrett was also a top contender for awhile, trumped only by Conner – God are we Irish or what?!

Amy
Amy
14 years ago

I love the name Jake. You don’t need to even have to bother with Jacob. I’m not a fan of Cody and I know too many female Caseys.

If I were having a boy, it would have been William (Will) or Nicholas. But I’m having another girl (due the same week as you I think) and we may have to steal your name because I love the name Audrey.

poppy
poppy
14 years ago

Aww beat me to it.. I LOVE the name Grant. It’s a big family name on my husband’s side. So strong…

and also, close to Jonas, but better IMHO- Jonah. I know it’s a bibical name and all that, but also a hot All Black (NZ Rugby).

oh and because i was too busy lurking at the time.. CONGRATULATIONS on the Dong-Bearing!

Amy M.
Amy M.
14 years ago

I love Ethan, but am not sure Ethan Emmett goes that well.
My son’s name is Victor, which would also go well with Emmett, & “Vic Sparks” would sound great over a loudspeaker!

The other one on your list I like is Jake.

One of my son’s friends is Gabriel, which was also on my short list. I had a fantastic girl’s name, but I knew I was going to have a boy because I couldn’t think of a boy name!

Swistle
14 years ago

I like the name Casey A LOT. I like one of the things you don’t like: that it could go for either a boy or a girl, in the same way the name “Riley” can. But I know what you mean about ending in Y: I don’t know if that’s awesome or if it’s to be avoided. I’ve loved the name Casey ever since seeing the TV series Sports Night (underlined because it’s the name of the show; an episode name would be in quotes).

I think Jake makes a fine full name, no Jacob required.

I have been trying to make someone use the name Oliver, since it’s my top-choice boy name. It’s a mouthful with Emmett, though, and I’m not sure it’s a good fit with Riley. Eric is another name I like but it’s not good with Emmett.

Considering their dad is giving him fence-leaping superhero type genes, I think Dexter (with the nickname Dex) would be pretty awesome.

I agree with the commenter who said the name Evan would be a good “like Ethan, but not Ethan” alternative.

I also agree about Keegan: it’s a great name

What about Milo? I think that has the same cute boy energy as the name Riley. Riley and Milo. Cute. Maybe too cute.

Or Kyle? Riley and Kyle? Too matched?

Jane
Jane
14 years ago

I like Charlie and Finn if that helps

Luck o' the Irish
Luck o' the Irish
14 years ago

I like:

Andrew Emmett “Sparks”
Jason Emmett “Sparks”
Adam Emmett “Sparks”

They all go well with Riley. Brothers Riley and Andrew. Riley and Jason. Riley and Adam. See….? :o)

angela
14 years ago

I like biblical names as well. They are timeless.

Swistle
14 years ago

After more thinking, I’m voting for Keegan. Keegan Emmett Sparks is terrific. Riley and Keegan is terrific.

Emily
14 years ago

Okay, this is not going to be helpful at all, but it is fun. When my childhood best friend and I were about 14, we decided that if either of us had a son, we would name him “Bbob.” With every “b” pronounced. Apparently we hated our unborn child. (A top girls’ name contender was Nicoxle. The “x” would be silent.) (We were special kids.)

chris
14 years ago

I love: (Riley was on my short short list last time)
Morgan
William (Will)
Collin

and I gotta say I like Grant, even though that is the name of this real snotwad and I have a tendency to associate names with the snotwad people they belong to sometimes.

Kim
Kim
14 years ago

Boy name huh? Brady. That’s all I got. or Nathaniel.

Aunt Linda
Aunt Linda
14 years ago

Joe

Ginger
Ginger
14 years ago

Ranger

Riley and Ranger sound great together!

Stephanie
Stephanie
14 years ago

I would totally name my boy child Elliot. Mostly because I’m in love with the character from SVU. Not really a good name for nicknames though.

I do like Dexter though. He might hate you for it when he gets older but in the meantime you could call him Dex. Dexter Emmett has flow to it too.

anna
anna
14 years ago

Has to be either….

FINN
FLYNN
WILL (WILLIAM)
PRESLEY
JAMIE
WYATT
JIMMY
KANE

Liz
Liz
14 years ago

Hey ginger, you’re mixing up E.E. Robbins and Tom Shane. :)

Michelle
Michelle
14 years ago

I’m a teacher so I can tell you that right now in the schools there are at least 2 Jakes per classroom, 2 Wyatts per classroom, 2 Williams per classroom, loads of Ethans, Charlies, and soon to be Henrys too. If you don’t mind your son always being “So and So Last Initial” then those are all great names.

Riley is a good one. I have 1 Riley in 6th grade and he is such a great kid. I also had a Keagan last year who made me want to have a boy and name him Keagan so I have to second that notion (or 50th that notion) for Keagan and Riley.

In the end, its your and JB’s son =)

Crystal
14 years ago

I didn’t have a boy so I will give you the two that I love to do with what you will–

Atticus
Keaton

Leah
14 years ago

Note to all: Riley’s middle name is William, so I don’t think his baby bro is going to be William Emmett.

Note to Swistle: I love you, but Riley and Kyle are likely to become “Riley and Kylie” on the playground, not to mention that both Kyle and Milo evoke the band Rilo Kylie, which is a bit like naming your children Dave and Matthew.

(I’m sorry, Linda, for this compulsion I have to police your comments today!)

ollka
ollka
14 years ago

It’s really weird to be doing this, but here goes:
Cody and Dexter – not so much, or even muchly not.
Ethan is nice, goes well with Emmett too.
Gabriel, Ariel, Adam, Nathan, Daniel (or Dan), and Benjamin (or Ben) are all Biblical names that we have shortlisted or at least considered for our future offspring.

ollka
ollka
14 years ago

oh, and how about Theodore?

Kiki
14 years ago

I absolutely love baby naming. Here is a little list- and I always have to put the name together with the siblings name-

Drew Emmett- Riley and Drew
Mason Emmett- Riley and Mason
Braden Emmett- Riley and Braden
Grayson Emmett (very distinguished sounding)- Riley and Grayson
Kelson Emmett- Riley and Kelson

Wow, I really am a freak… oh well, good luck on the baby name journey.

Marie Green
14 years ago

Milo, Charles, and Simon are my top boys names.

But I only have pink people here.

I also love Dexter and Jake from your list. And Keegan that everyone keeps mentioning… love that.

Thanks for letting us in on the baby naming!!!

Mandy
14 years ago

Ooh, I love name games! I’m always making lists of names for future kidlets, and rattling them off to my husband who’s like, dang, woman, give it a rest. Anyhoo, some of my current faves that you are welcome to steal:
Logan
Daniel
Aidan
Brendan
Braden
James
Jordan
Joel

And my nephew’s name is Corran, which I also love. (Apparently my brother-in-law read it in a Star Wars novel, but never told my sister-in-law that’s where it came from!!)

Anne
14 years ago

Having had two kids, read a million baby naming books and solicited a thousand friends/colleagues for their opinions at the time, how about:

Shane
Brian
David
Colin
Nathan

gabby
gabby
14 years ago

Finn (Finley) was my top choice that was vetoed, so I always love that one!

I also love Dexter. I know a little boy named Dax and I always thought that was cute.

Kate
14 years ago

I like Luke as well. And also, William, Matthew, and Theodore.

victoria
victoria
14 years ago

How about Sean or Kaelan?

Bitter Betty
14 years ago

If I was ever having kids, which I will not, I would name them after the 2 best dogs I ever had.

Chance and Casey.

Both kick-ass boys names IMO.

But if I had to choose from your first list – Jake. Which might or might not have anything to do with my obsession with Sixteen Candles.

Yep. Definately. Jake Ryan Emmett SoundslikeSparks. Perfect.

Julia
Julia
14 years ago

Blake? Blake Emmett? Hm. Sounded better in my head. Emmett does make me think of the UW’s president, though, whose last name is Emrett.

I’m doomed with kid’s names…my future last name is as formal and British as they come and with my love for traditional names, I’m going to end up with William Benjamin Jefferson’s or some stuffy variation!

On the other hand, Jeffrey Emmett is cute. Jeff is kind of blah, but the combination is nice.

And I also kind of like Dexter. I’m not getting the serial killer reference, but Dex is nice if you don’t think about the phone book company.

Claire
Claire
14 years ago

My son’s name is Liam. It was always going to be, so good thing I had a boy. Down here in the deep South, no one else has that name, and most folks think I named him Lem because we’re way too far away from civilization, much less Ireland for them to know of this second half of the name William of which I speak.
Anyway,
I will be the nay-sayer and dislike Keegan. I just don’t like it. Sorry.
I think the names that begin with vowels work the best with Emmett. But I will also second, or third, the vote to call him Emmett, even if you leave it as the middle name.
Personally, I love Ian Emmett Sounds-like-Sparks.
Good luck.

Carmen
Carmen
14 years ago

We had a horrible time choosing a boy’s name. We ended up with one we both liked: Kieran James. James being my husband’s middle name, not because we particularly loved it, but it was a way to silence the horrible cries of “use a family name” coming from his side. Their family names are awful and old fashioned and generally only suitable for 90 year old, crotchety men – an opinion shared by both of us, thankfully.

Also, the collage of Riley is gorgeous.

Laurabelle
Laurabelle
14 years ago

Mortimer Emmett Sparks. Oh, yeah.

Or, for a really literary bent, one of Lord Peter Wimsy’s middle names: Death Emmett Sparks. Y’all, it rhymes with “heath.”

OR, for a nice family name — my family, that is — Brushabee Emmett Sparks. There ya go!

It’s possible that I don’t take these things very seriously, but come ON! Death!

aibee
14 years ago

If you love the name Ethan, then I don’t think you should let the New Workplace Boss association get in the way. NewBoss will be in your life for, essentially, a moment of your lifetimes, while Twotopus will be in it eternity. Would-be-Ethan will never, ever be “Ethan, who we named after NewBoss”. He’ll just be the “Ethan” from the day you decide (if you do) to call him that.

Or, failing that, I think Liam is a really cool name and when I have my second son (who is not even a twinkle in Anonymous Sperm Donor’s eye yet)(I read The Secret too, I know how it works), he’ll be called Liam. Today, that is. Tomorrow, obviously the best boy’s name evah! will be something else entirely. Because that’s how this choosing a name bizzo works.

Tess
Tess
14 years ago

I like off-beat names, so my top three are Kjel (pronounced Chell), Ceicil and Alastair. Other favorites are Duncan, Stockton and Abraham.

clearlydistracted
14 years ago

I have an Ethan and an Aiden and a girl named Quinn. I wanted a Liam, but my husband wouldn’t go for it. We almost settled on Leo, but that might be kind of out there or grandpa-ish for some.

On another note, I HOPE your last name is SHARKS because that would be just plain cool.

SJ
SJ
14 years ago

My two sense?

River, Isaac, Owen, Broderick (Brodie/Brody for short), Heath, Miles, Nelson, Hudson, Ryder, McGuire, and because I’ve always had some sort of attachment to my Dad’s name: Guy.