Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Name

First, I just have to say how stressful it is to name a baby. This child is stuck with her name for the REST OF HER LIFE! Picking the right name is a big deal! So, how did we end up with Isla Kate? It has no family significance nor any special meaning to us. It's just a name we (or at least, I) liked.

Let's start with the middle name, because it was the easy part of the decision. First, I seem to like middle names that have a long "a" sound. Audrey's middle name is Paige. Other middle names on our list this time: Claire, Jane and Grace. And I have always liked Kate. But, I'm not a big fan of Katie (no offense if that is your name!). So I would never use Kate (or Katherine or anything like that) as a first name to avoid the nickname Katie. Since nicknames are not given for middle names as often, I feel pretty safe using Kate as a middle name.

Now for the first name...sometime after Audrey was born and before I was pregnant again, I discovered the name Isla and immediately loved it. After we found out we were pregnant and began casually talking about baby names, I mentioned to Daniel that I liked Isla for a girl's name. He was not a fan. Daniel's concern was that he had never heard of it before, and he was afraid people wouldn't get it or pronounce it correctly.

Once we found out we were having a girl, it was time to get serious about the name. I couldn't let go of Isla, so even though Daniel wasn't a fan, I kept it on our list. Isla eventually started to grow on Daniel, and he decided that it would be a good name for our daughter. But it was not an easy decision! Here is our list of pros/cons:

1. There will be confusion over how to pronounce/spell it. Isla is pronounced "eye-la", like island without the "nd." Seems simple enough to me, but there is no doubt that the silent "s" will confuse people, and her name will often be mispronounced.
2. Isla is not a classic name (like Audrey), at least not in America. It has a fairly good history in Scotland, but has only recently become more well-known around here.
3. Isla is kind of a trendy name, and I didn't want a name that would be too popular. It has flown up the baby name charts...In 2007, it was not in the top 100. In 2008, it was #623. In 2009, it was #346. In 2010, it was 297. That is extremely fast for a name to rise in popularity and makes me a little nervous that soon there will be tons of little Isla's running around!
4. Isla doesn't have a very interesting meaning. It means "island", so that's kind of boring.

1. It's a pretty name. I really, really like the simple, elegant sound of it. It reminds me of names like Ava, Emma, and Ella...all names that I like, but names I didn't want to use because they were too popular.
2. Even though it's not a classic name, it still reminds me of a classic name, especially when combined with Kate. It feels timeless and not uber trendy (even though it is sort of turning into a trendy name).
3. In the end, I think it has a good balance of uniqueness and popularity right now. It's not in the top 100 names, and I've never personally known anyone named Isla or anyone who has named a child Isla. So, to me, it's still unique.
4. I think the rise in popularity is going to help people learn how to pronounce the name. As it grows more familiar, there won't be such an issue with how to pronounce it. That's my theory at least...and that is the logic I used to convince Daniel that it would be a good name for our daughter!
5. I think it works well for a little girl as well as an adult.

Taking all of these things into consideration, we named our baby girl Isla Kate. Hopefully she will like her name as much as we like it!


Lacey said...


I just came across your blog as I am really wanting to name my baby girl Isla and wondering about the pronunciation. Now that your little one has been around for a bit, how are people doing with her name?

Thanks so much!


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