On Naming Milo

It occurred to me in thinking about how to share Milo’s name story that I have only ever told you half of each of our name stories. Since we have never (except with Freya, by accident) found out what we were having before the birth, we have had to choose a boy name as well as a girl name for each one. Some have asked me if we’ve kept the same “boy name” in reserve for all of our babies. I wish I could tell you it was that simple. In fact, the boy half of the name story has almost always been the more dramatic and contentious, and this time was no exception.

So let me start you at the very beginning of our naming journey. Pippa would have been Miles had she been a boy. And that was probably the last time we agreed easily on a boy name. For Ro, Bea, and June, we remained gridlocked until the bitter end, me pushing for the nickname Gus with any and every full name option under the sun, and Trevor loving Barnaby.

By the time we were naming Coraline’s boy alter ego, there were a few more names on the table, but we had kind of settled into a routine of not taking the boy name discussions quite as seriously as the girl ones. In fact, Trevor admitted after she was born that he didn’t really like the name he had agreed to (Felix) but was sure enough that it wouldn’t matter that he was willing to risk it.

And so it went with them all until this pregnancy, which definitely felt (boyishly) different to both of us.

For almost all of our children, the one guiding force in naming them has been the honor name. We have gotten more creative with this over the years, and we have increasingly been trying to name each baby after more than one person as it has seemed increasingly likely to be our last baby. (See: Freya Poppy, who was named after her grandad Peter GodFREY, and her POP-pop.)

This time we hoped to honor as many of the three remaining great-grandfathers as possible. Teddy’s middle name, Merit, was my maternal grandfather’s middle, which left my father’s father (Harvey Asa Gilbert) and Trevor’s two grandfathers (Peter Young and William Munro). Remarkably, we came up several girl combos that successfully nodded to all three!

There was much brainstorming on the boy front. Names were dissected and reattached in every possible way, and early on a namey friend suggested Walter as a combo of William and Peter. I loved it, especially because Walter was one of my favorite characters in the Anne of Green Gables series.

Very early in the pregnancy, we had a scare that sent us to the emergency room. I thought I was likely losing the baby. I asked Trevor if he’d be up for one last name discussion while we were waiting in the ER, and he happily obliged. It was then that I first suggested Walter, which we both really liked and strongly considered as a first name. Thankfully, we saw a happy little heartbeat that night, and all continued to be well. And there were many, MANY more name discussions.

I know you will believe me that this name-obsessed girl exhausted every possible way to honor all three grandfathers, but at the end of the day, after fifteen years, I really still just wanted a Gus. By about the halfway point, we abandoned all the name acrobatics and agreed on a combo from my original list that only honored one of the grandfathers, but it got me my Gus. With that settled, I stuck a pin in it and focused on girl names for a few months.

I’m not sure what shifted in Trevor’s mind about two months before Milo was born, but he suddenly seemed to realize that the baby might actually be a boy and that he needed to pay more attention to the boy name situation. On closer scrutiny, he didn’t think he could live with the name we’d chosen. I may or may not have cried. Pregnancy hormones and all.

We avoided the subject for a couple weeks, but time was short, so we needed to get back on the horse. I sent Trevor back to my original list of five or so boy names I had written down (the same one that HE had chosen our first option from, I might add).

He chose Milo, and happily, I realized it was my favorite of the remaining names, too. I loved the simplicity of a name that needed no nickname, no explanations, no engineering to get all the pieces to fit. I loved that Milo, the Latin form of Miles, took us right back to the beginning of our boy name story and the name that Pippa would have been. Our name style has changed over the years, but apparently not that much!

Milo’s middle name honors his Daddy’s two grandfathers and will always remind me of that night in the ER when I thought I was losing him and had him graciously given back to me.

Onesie compliments of his gran and grandad in England.

And that is how the Youngs name a boy completely from scratch. I told you there would be drama!

(If anyone is curious and has a LOT of free time, I’ll link the other name stories here. Maybe get yourself a nice cup of coffee first! Pippa, Romilly, Beatrix and Juniper share one post here. Then click each name to read stories for Coraline, Niko, Delia, Annis, Lewis, Verity, Teddy, and Freya.

3 thoughts on “On Naming Milo

  1. Congratulations, from a long time reader and fellow name nerd! I first found your blog through Nameberry and I adore your name stories.

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