naming the babe

if you’re a human girl, chances are you have kept a mental or a literal list of baby names you’ve liked over the years. i had a really long one full of cute ass names for all my cute ass babies i’ve been storing as i’d hear them for quite some time now.

i wanted to make this post “how to name your baby”, but every couple is different and i won’t probably be of any help, so this is just how we did it. 

i have always been pretty good at naming things quickly. i named our childhood dog within the first 2 minutes of meeting him (i named him spike because he had spikey ears and i was 4) and i named bodhi within a couple of hours (gid named lucy).

if we’d had a girl, i had the name all picked out and ready to go, but when we found out he was a boy — we kind of had to start from square one. is it just me or are girl names way easier? i had two sections in my iphone note titled “baby names” and the girl section was like 35 names and the boy one was like 8. but… we kind of knew we were having a boy right away, it’s pretty much all boys in my family and i wasn’t throwing up or craving sugar so we believed all those fun old wives tales — and so i had to start coming up with a boy name if it was really gonna be a boy.

people will want to help you, so you have to decide if you like that or not and be clear or you might get frustrated. when you’re first telling close friends and family about your pregnancy and they ask what the gender is and what the name is and you say “well… boys names are hard”, everyone comes up with a whole bunch of suggestions you wont be interested in. so you just nod and say yeah that’s deec…

instead what works best is just paying attention to all the names all the time. during movie credits, reading, scrolling on facebook — everywhere! keep your eyes and your ears open and write down every name you like. that will make it way easier when it comes time to deciding. i almost named our baby wade because my sister in laws friend told me that was her boyfriends name two years ago and i was like oh shit that’s good. so i wrote it down in my iphone note of names. i also looked at a bunch of lists on the internet like “unique boy names that are cool but not too cool and not that common yet but also won’t be so common in a few years that everyone will have the same trendy ass names in his kindergarten class”.

once we had found out he was a boy for real, we had a top three favorites and i would ask daily for gid to rank them. even though we both agreed we had a #1 favorite, he didn’t want to commit to that being the end all be all name for some reason. and i was like can we just choose that one and be done with it so i can commit all this brain activity towards my next thing? we both had decided this was our favorite name by far, but he was afraid to just say “ok that’s his name”, so i basically had to prod him daily until he said yes. and then one day he did!

another challenge we dealt with is his last name, boomer, which is obviously not the most ordinary sounding name and can make a lot of names sound silly. it would probably sound really good with a simple one syllable traditional first name but that’s not very our style. so instead our baby, like my husband, will have a kind of crazy name.

once we settled on his first name a couple of months ago now, we were still having trouble with his middle name. middle names are so hard because they kind of don’t matter at all, right? we’re using the first letter of a deceased relative so it was between the letters L, R, S and M. and we agreed much more with first names than we did with middle names. i liked a few simple, one syllable, on the verge of traditional names, but gid wasn’t really into any of them. until he came up with a crazy one all on his own, and has been telling me since that that is by far his favorite and nothing else seems to compare in his mind. and since i kinda pushed him with the first name — i figured i’d let him have the middle name. even if it is fucking nuts.

so that was our process of naming our boy — our baby with his crazy little name we love… arlo lion boomer. 

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  1. If you have a second child, you may decide to not discuss names with others – everyone has an opinion, but only you and your husband’s opinions matter. My girls (ages 5 and 4) are named Margaret (Maggie) and Annette, and we receive positive comments all the time from older generations for giving our girls “regular names”….hahaha. My husband chose Maggie, and I chose Annette (who could have been a Vita, but I’m so glad she’s an Annette).

    I also suggest you have the name picked out by the time he arrives – chances are you’ll be on emotion-overload when they swoop him into your arms, and debating between two names will not be fun (and you’ll let your husband decide at that juncture anyways!).

  2. Aw I love it, fun to hear the whole thought process behind it! Also fun to go “nuts” with the middle name instead of the first name. Our Jackson (not original but it was similar for us, we loved it since before he was a thing and had to stop trying to talk ourselves out of it) has that book. He is three and recently learned how to spell his name so seeing it in print, in a book(!) is super exciting for him.

  3. Arlo Lion Boomer? That is amazing. I love names like this. My little boy’s name is Winter. If we have another boy I’ve been kicking around some animal names. They just seem so strong and cool! Good choice 🙂

  4. I loved reading this SO much! 🙂 And can I just say that I love the last name ‘Boomer’, so cool! And Ario Lion Boomer sounds just strong and awesome!

  5. I feel like agreeing on a name is so hard! We don’t know the sex yet, but I’ve thrown out a few names I like and my husband hates them all. I agree that boy names are much harder than girls. It’s gonna be difficult ugh.

  6. Love the name! My husband insisted on playing rock paper scissors for our baby girl’s name when we couldn’t choose between two. That’s because I’m horrible at decisions and naming… We’ve had our cat for a month and she still doesn’t have a name.

  7. Good name!

    I totally had a million girl names and only a handful of boy names too! Our daughter’s name we had for years before we even had kids after driving around listening to Tom Waits “How about Alice?” “Done.” And then gave her my husband’s grandmother’s name for the middle: Rosemary. We would tell people the name but the kinda sucky thing was that while the general consensus LOVED her name, when she was born there wasn’t that excitement of the news of It’s a girl! Her name is THIS.

    So for the second kid, a boy, we didn’t tell people online the gender and in person never quite committed to a name because we hadn’t decided for sure and nobody that I told it too was wild about it but who cares, we love it. And once he was born it was exciting to hear that it was a boy and his name and we got a few “Love the name!” with a little more excitement. Walter Rey or Wally.

    Plus the Lion middle name is fun for people to gift him so I hope you love Lion stuff. Alice has a bunch of Alice in Wonderland things she gets as gifts and for her room (literal Alice in Wonderland toys, tea parties, flamingos, white rabbits, etc) which we love.

  8. Wow I love Arlo!! Great choice. 🙂

  9. I love his name and the story behind it. I think Lion is such a cool middle name.

    My husband and I thought for certain we were having a boy. We both just knew. We’d already named him Theodore, we called him Theo and my brother called him Teddy. We were shocked to find out it was a girl. After tons of back and forth, my husband and I settled on Alice Charlotte. My family tradition is for your middle name to be after an aunt or uncle, my brother is Charles. Close enough.

  10. Regarding, “instead what works best is just paying attention to all the names all the time. during movie credits,” a friend of mine is named after an actor whose name his parents saw in the credits of a tv show, and he just interviewed the actor. Here’s a link: Watch out, someday Arlo might want to seek out the random person/animal who inspired his name.

    (Guess I’m a totally abnormal human girl, ’cause I’ve never kept a list of baby names.)

  11. Great name! Arlo is not totally uncommon here in New Zealand but different enough 🙂 I’m expecting a wee boy in 4 weeks, our first, and we also found choosing his first name easier than the middle name. We’re still tossing up between 2 middle names.. my husband is Argentinian and I’m English, so we wanted a balance but the names all tend to fall squarely into one camp.

    I was in the same boat until last week!

    I could come up with a TON of girl names and figured since I am 1 of 5 sisters and most of them have had a girl first, that is what would happen with us.

    We had a first name for a boy that we’ve loved for YEARS (Soren) but were having SUCH a hard time with the middle name. Luckily I’ve found an odd but traditional family name for the middle name (Francis). Also, my future son (22 weeks along) is going to have an odd last name as well (Haight). I keep getting “you’re really naming him “Soaring Haight” *eyeroll* but putting Francis in the middle makes it seem a bit more sturdy.

  13. i love the name you chose! The name suggestions can make you crazy, with our first daughter we told some close family members her name before she was born and they felt like they could have opinions about not liking it (ugh). We went ahead with her name anyway and I have never regretted it (her name is Thora which means Thunder (a totally badass Nordic name in my opinion)). With our second daughter we didn’t tell any of the previous naysayers her name before she was born because I didn’t want to deal with it and named her Indigo (and they eventually got over it)

  14. I love his name! Way cute and original. My husband and I agreed on a girl name in like two seconds. It would have been my first clue that we were having a boy 😉 Finding a boy name we agreed on was a lot harder for us for some reason. I liked more modern names and my husband liked more traditional names (Frank and Walter, gah). We finally narrowed it down to two we liked and then after I found out officially it was a boy I had a dream about him and called out his name, Samson. After that there was no changing my mind.

  15. I love it. Such a great name. I have a friend whose brother’s kids are literally named Jack Danger and Emma Brave, which is just too cool.

  16. s.montgomery says:


  17. Cori Anne says:

    I had a baby boy just over a month ago and named him Arlo Henry!!! I love his name, but had the hardest time coming up with boy names, since I thought I was having a girl…so yay to Arlo!!!

  18. When we found out we were having girl #3 it was so hard to pick a name – especially since we loved our older girls’ names so much! It felt like a lot of pressure for her to still have an amazing name when we had already used some favorites. My husband thinks we definitely have enough kids, and most days I agree, but we do have a great boy name…. ? Love yours!!

  19. Citizen V says:

    I love that name! I know lots of Milo’s but no Arlo’s – very cool, strong and masculine.