This tribute page from Christina Rossetti’s book of children’s poetry Sing-Song (1872) is the sweetest thing. to the baby that suggested them…Doesn’t that idea sum up so much?

Alongside a few serious baby names (which I could never share with you because their cradled eggshell magic would instantly crack) we always keep a running list of whatever names that sound wonderful; just in case they breakthrough into THE revelation.

Some favorites (of that list) so far:

Iris Ines

Iris Olive

Mem Fox


Annie Jump Cannon



Names are one of those things that turn you to face the beauty of humanity. When attached to a human, every name seems wonderful, no matter how banal or unique. Saying someone else’s name brings such satisfaction. The more you say it, the more you can’t help loving them a little more as a fellow human. In the Bible there are some odd moments in the Old Testament when God says His name is I am, as in I AM has sent you to me, neatly skirting the idea of a name. And one of the ancient Egyptian myths the girls and I read this fall, Isis tricks Ra into revealing his TRUE name, which gives her all sorts of power over him and ultimately is his undoing.

In abstract bantering between expecting parents, on the other hand, names seem good, great, bad, or terrible.


  • Anna

    We named our fourth baby girl Imogen Lee. Imogen means “last born daughter”, which seemed fitting, and Lee for her great-grandfather. It is both impossible and so fun to think of names!

  • Anna

    I love this collection of names. Mies is beautiful. Mem Fox is the name of a particularly wonderful Australian children’s book author. Possum Magic and Wombat Divine are so beautiful.

    • Rachael

      I know, and I love her “ten little fingers, ten little toes.” I ran into a literacy book by her the other day…I need to dig a little deeper and find out if she came up with her own pen name. I’ll look those two up!

  • Hope

    Baby number 3 will be joining our household in the next month or so. While we have selected a girl name, we are having such a challenging time settling on a boy name this time around! It seems more difficult every time, in part because I so dearly love the names of our first two children and how perfectly suited they are to their little personalities. Your statement, “when attached to a human, every name seems wonderful” is precisely the reminder I need. When the name we eventually select is bestowed on this new little babe, it will no doubt become as perfect as the names of his/her older siblings. Thank you for the gentle reminder. 🙂

  • Kate

    I just love baby names; each one carries so much hope. Mem Fox is an adorable little name for a girl and close to one of my whimsical favorites, Mimsy. Ines was a serious contender for our fourth girl, as was her English counterpart Agnes. Our eventual bestowed name didn’t feel right until we saw her, and now I can’t imagine calling her anything else. So goes naming the fourth girl!

    • Rachael

      I love Agnes too. It’s my grandmother’s name. But in the Midwest, people say it with such a nasal intonation, I don’t know if we could do it. It’s amazing in French though.

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