Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baby Names for the Deuce

Now Junior's Junior's kid, you know they call him the Deuce
And his grandma, she drinks vodka in her orange juice...*

This is a post about how the Deuce got her name (which she shares with her Grams, my mom, who may or may not drink vodka in her orange juice, depending on the day).**

A long while back, I wrote a post about Eliza's name and how it was my very favorite name, and how much it broke my heart to give that name to a little girl who wouldn't live to use it.  I'm picky about names, and I wasn't sure I'd ever find another girl name I liked so much.

I was pretty much convinced that the Deuce was a boy, and David and I have been solid on our boy name since before we had Eliza, so I didn't spend too much time on girl names.  I knew that if we had a girl, I wanted to name her something that sounded like it fit with Eliza.  That meant it couldn't be too trendy--it had to be nineteenth-century-heroine appropriate.  I wanted it to have some kind of personal significance to David and me or to our families, since Eliza was a family name on my mom's side and her middle name, Taylor, is my last name.  I didn't just want to pick something at random unless we were both madly in love with it.

There are a lot of girl names we discussed that I really loved...  Hadley, Clara, Gemma, Genevieve, Vivian, ... I like all those names.  A lot.  (Maybe I need to have five more little girls? Yeah... with five big fat epidurals.)  And we considered using Taylor for a middle name again.  I like the idea of my girls sharing my last name for their middle name.

But in the end, we kept coming back to Caroline Audrey.  Both are family names, David and I liked them equally, and I liked the way Caroline sounds with Eliza and with our potential-future-boy-name.

Caroline is my mom's name, and she was named Caroline after her great-grandma Carrie.

(Our Caroline will NOT be called Carrie, as that happens to be the name of David's ex-girlfriend, whom I'm sure is a nice enough girl, but seriously, not exactly what I'm looking for in my daughter's namesake).

I liked that Caroline is a family name, I like that it's old-fashioned but not heavy-old-fashioned like my other great-grandmas' names (Maude, Gertrude, and Bertha).  It's a nineteenth-century-heroine kind of name, the kind that seemed to cool to me when I was little (and evidently still does).  Although I have grown to like my name, I always wanted a long name like Isabella or Katerina or Cassandra.  Or Caroline.  In second grade, I once wrote the name Caroline at the top of my worksheet as a sort of experiment but then I forgot to erase it and my teacher was like, "Brooke, why did you write Caroline at the top of this paper?" and I was totally embarrassed and had no idea how to explain to her my longing for a multi-syllabic "fancy" name.  So I just shrugged and said "I don't know" and I'm sure my teacher thought I was a total weirdo or possibly had multiple personalities.

One of my favorite children's books belonged to my mom when she was little.  We still have it, although the cover and binding are loose, and it's called Caroline and Her Friends.  It's about a girl named Caroline who has all kinds of animal friends and they go on awesome international adventures.  And they also go camping.  I loved reading about Caroline and her friends, and I loved how her name looked spelled out in flowers on the front cover.  (This book is currently out of print in English, which is a tragedy.  It is available in French, though.).

image from here
The ONE small downside of the name Caroline is that it annoys me when people pronounce it "Carolyn" (also a cute name, but not the same name!).  Aside from that, I think it's a pretty perfect name--the sort that could be preceded by either Princess or Senator, which was another requirement, since we obviously want her career options to be wide open.  It's recognizable enough without being too popular, and I don't associate it with anyone obnoxious (besides my mom, haha). 

I can also remember what it sounds like to hear my Grandma (my mom's mom) say the name Caroline, and for some reason that makes me really happy.  She passed away when I was in college, but I am quite sure she would have approved of both my daughters' names.

David was a little worried that having two Carolines in the family would be confusing.  As far as I'm concerned, my mom's name is actually "Mom," so I don't find it confusing at all.  I suggested that he and Caroline can both just start calling my mom "Grams," so no confusion there!  Also I've been reading lots of historical fiction and biographies about royalty and everybody names their first daughter after themselves and keeps reusing and recycling family names (which is why everyone in history is named Mary or Elizabeth.  Yes EVERYONE.).   So, I dunno.  Didn't seem like a problem to me.  As for anyone else, I figured that context would make it pretty easy to figure out whom we're talking about (although my dad likes to pretend this isn't true, so when it comes up in conversation that Caroline just pooped her pants, he asks which one).

We talked about maybe calling her Callie or Caddie (can I get a Caddie Woodlawn shout-out here, Amelia?) but so far we just like Caroline.  Sometimes I call her Caro although my mom says "That's not a name!" (Seriously--you name one kid after your mom and suddenly she thinks she gets to have an opinion about everything...).  Mr. Bingley calls his sister Caroline "Caro" in Pride and Prejudice and if Jane Austen says it's a nickname, then it IS a nickname.  I rest my case.  So anyway, for now she's Caroline.  We'll see if a nickname develops at some point and sticks around.

Also, can I just say that someone else named their rainbow baby Caroline?  And, frankly, if it's good enough for Jackie Kennedy, it's good enough for me.

Anyway, on to her middle name.  As I mentioned, we considered the name Taylor, but since that would mean her first and middle name actually would be my mom's first and last name, it seemed a little weird.

Audrey is another name I've always liked (and the association with Audrey Hepburn doesn't hurt, especially since Audrey Hepburn played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady!).

But Audrey is also the name of David's great-grandma--his grandpa Gene's mom.  She died when Gene was a little boy and one of the amazing things about David's grandpa Gene is how he grew up to be such a great father and grandfather when he did not have much of a family life at all after the death of his mother.  If we'd had a boy, we would have named him after Grandpa Gene, so we wanted to find a way to do that with our little girl as well.  And David preferred Audrey over Eugenia for a middle name, so that's what we went with.

So there you have it.  The name story of Caroline Audrey Duckworth.

Grams/Caroline and mini-Caroline

* Those are lyrics from "White Trash Story" by the Casey Donahew Band.  The song makes me laugh and David and I sang it to the Deuce while I was pregnant.

** I have actually never known my mother to drink vodka in her orange juice.  But that does not necessarily mean that it's never happened!


  1. What a beautiful post.

    I was named after my mom's best friend, who my brother and I call Auntie Karen.

    Whenever we spent time with them she was always referred to as "Auntie Karen" and I was "Little Karen" - Even now as an adult there is something that warms my heart when I am referred to as "Little Karen" when I am with her. There is a bond that comes with a namesake that is far worth the confusion. What a beautiful gift you have given to both your mom and your little girl.

    I am so so happy for you and David.


  2. As always, I love you and your stories. Her name is beautiful and sounds LOVELY with Eliza. :)

  3. I love reading about how other people chosen their children's names.

    (Side note: "I knew that if we had a girl, I wanted to name her something that sounded like it fit with Eliza." My first thought when reading Caroline's name in her intro post was "Eliza Bennet and Caroline Bingham", and I'm sure I'm not the only one who immediately heard echoes of Austen!)

    As for "Caro", Caroline Eaton in Madeleine L'Engle's Vicky Austen books is also sometimes called Caro. It's totally a really name. :) But my mom is a Carolyn, and has never been anything but that, so maybe Mini-C won't be anything but Caroline.

    I'm amazed that bookfinder doesn't have any copies of the Caroline book.

  4. I've always loved the name Caroline, as I have told you before, and if our friends had not stolen the name Cariline Grace, Sloane Grace may have been Caroline Grace. And I think Caro is an adorable nickname. I prefer nicknames/pet names that are not actual names bc I want the real name to stick. :) So happy for ya! More pics please!! Ask LJ... I am not satisfied with a handful of pics here and there, and I like lots of updates, as well. Instagram pics are fine, FYI. ;) As long as they come through often!!!!

  5. Well I think it's just a fabulous name. My mom was out visiting us last week and helping us move in and I was telling her about you (after getting your email) and started with Eliza and then the Deuce and how you didn't know the gender and when she was born and you found out she was a girl you named her Caroline. And my mom goes "after you?!" I laughed and said no, but that it was a great choice none the less.

    Also I have never been called Carrie. My mom thought she might but when I was born said I just looked too much like a Caroline. People have asked if I have a nickname and never tried to give one to me. But I have mistakenly been called Carolyn many, many times to which I usually say, "it's Caroline... Like the song" (and I will be forever grateful to Neil Diamond for making me feel special my whole life)

  6. I agree, if Jane Austen says it is a is a nickname!

    I love her name! I also love it when names have meaning, a real significance. Carrying on a family name can be powerful especially when the little one can really bond with his/her namesake. What a lovely tie between Grams and Caroline.

    I find choosing names to be daunting. It is not something we take lightly either. I think Eliza and Caroline sounds beautiful together.

  7. I love her name! And fyi, my dad's name is Joe, I married someone named Joe, it's really not that confusing. Although at family gatherings since most people don't call my dad/dad, they call them "big Joe" "little Joe" (which makes me laugh!) that is only like once or twice a year, so I don't think either of them have a complex about it.

    I like the nicknames Callie and Caro but love Caroline the most! And I love your dad asking which one pooped.

    It took awhile for us to feel like Luke was "Luke", at least for a few weeks while we were home. We still call him Lucas too but he's so busy now that it's more like "Lucas" when we are trying to get his attention and Luke most of the time.

  8. Oh and I LOVE that you once wrote Caroline as your name on a paper! That is too funny! In middle school, I started spelling my name "Angi", I think a lot of us have name angst regardless of what our names are. (My mom really wanted me to be called Angela.)

  9. Well, just in case anyone is wondering, I don't like vodka in orange juice - it's much better in cranberry juice.
    I am very thrilled to have this precious baby named for me. I never got to know my great grandma Caroline, but hopefully Baby Caroline will get to know me very well as time goes by.
    Maybe the nickname Caro will grow on me...
    I also hope her parents sing her some lullabies instead of songs like 'White Trash Story"!

    1. I absolutely was wondering. Thanks for clearing that up!!

  10. I love finding out how parents determine a child's name. Mine is a boring story and pretty much ends in my having to repeat it 3 times to anyone who asks my name. Thanks, Mom.

    I do dislike when folks mispronounce Caroline as Carolyn but a gently correction never hurt anyone. In the movie Coraline, everyone pronounces her name Caroline. She should be so lucky.

    Your mom's comment is cracking me up (hand raised for vodka and cranberry (but whispering: vodka in anything, really)).

    Congratulations again.

  11. It reminds me of the guy from Selahs daughter whose name was Audrey Caroline. :)

    It's a beautiful name, just like Eliza. Congrats again!

  12. I love the name. So purty :)
    We had (have) a stash of girl names, and I so love the multi-syllabic names. And always Princess worthy... Cuz ya never know!!
    I too went through a phase where I wanted a different name. "ver-on-i-ca" proved to be too much for some friends growing up ... Always wanting to shorten it.... So I too wished for a "Kate" or "Steph" (or Brooke, no lie!) type name length to see what life would feel like. But I've come to really like my name ... Don't hear of too many others with it. And that's the hope for my kids too .. Nothing too out there, but hopefully they'll be the only one in their class.
    But I love the names of both of your daughters. They are so fitting for you and David.
    P.s. I read your post from '09 about you keeping your name, and laughed out loud several times... But for the record, I think a last name with "Duck" in it is absolutely adorable. Lucky kids!

  13. It is perfect! My first impression when you posted her name was "What a sweet name--traditional, but not too old, unique but not weird, feminine but not in a limiting way." Family names are so special. I love the connection to your mom!

    I snorted about "Caroline pooped her pants... Which one?" Your family sounds like fun!

  14. Beautiful name for a beautiful baby. Congratulations, Brooke. I am over the moon happy for you. I had my baby on Friday, his name is Henry and he's lovely. I hope you all are doing well.

  15. Love it. It's a wonderful name, one I've always loved. And if I named my girl Caroline, I would use Caro as a nickname. It's totally a nickname.

  16. I loved the stories behind your names, and had to check the link back to pairing names with a tricky last name. Try Moomey. It has the same sort of farmyard animal challenges. Again, no Daisy - or anything that could sound slightly cow-like. Plus, the -ey is tricky. Mandy Moomey? No thanks.

    Both of our girls have family names, and both go by their middle names. I like the pattern. I have to stop at two because I can't think of how to continue the pattern!

    First names from grandmothers - Morgan and Margaret. Middle names from favorite aunts - Elisabeth and Frances. We actually gave Elisabeth a nickname - Ella - another aunt's name. This was because Elisabeth (with an "s") has been used for 5 generations, all with different nicknames, so we carried that tradition on as well. So we've saddled her with the most confusing name ever - she goes by a nickname of her middle name. Bad parents, I tell you.

    You will also appreciate this - several people who live outside of STL wondered why we didn't call our second child - Margaret Frances - "Maggie". They thought Maggie Moomey was so cute. Once we introduced them to the ice cream shop they stopped asking.

    Names are funny - and you discover new things along the way. ELla MOoomey - ELMO. And we met a new family at our daughter's school with one child - Ella. We introduced our Ella, they introduced theirs. We introduced our Frances... and they burst out laughing. We wondered if we should be offended, until finally they stopped laughing long enough to tell us that their dog was named Frances. They still ask us about our Frances, and we ask about theirs.

    Lovely name - if my sister has another little girl she'll use Caroline, and our dear friends in Texas have an Audrey. Timeless.

  17. J'taime.
    I'll give a woot for Caddie, I'm pretty sure I have that book memorized. I also think Caro from The Ya Ya Sisterhood, if you read such books, is a Caroline. I liked that character quite a bit as well.
    Maude, Gertrude and Bertha are killing me though, it's like you hit the jackpot of grandma names or something.
    I also really like Guinevere but its too close to Genevieve so I'm outta luck there.
    Your daughters' names are beautiful, we have very similar tastes in name I think.
    Your mom's comment made me laugh. I'll take vodka in whatever is offered. :)

  18. I adore the name Caroline and probably would have used it already if the hubby had liked it more.
    It's great that you put so much thought into your daughters' names. I'm a bit obsessive about names, and it bothers me when people use super-cute names without giving thought to the fact that those sweet babies will someday be adults. So, well done!

  19. Her name is beautiful!! I love it!! I was named after my grandma. It's a good feeling. Funny you mention the second grade story. I wanted to change my middle name in the second grade. I put my desired middle name on top of all of my worksheets. I think my mom was a little offended. :) Caroline is truly adorable!

  20. Do you know I wondered if the Jackie Kennedy thing was part of the story. I just LOVE her name. I know I've told you that like 800 times already in various ways, but I really do. Audrey is high up on our girl list, if we roll the dice again (not likely. Like you, I could name about eight more daughters NOW).
    I had a friend called Caroline and she died this year, so when I saw that was Deuce's name, it brought a smile to my face, because it never ceases to amaze me how life can take theses twists and turns.
    I am totally obsessed with names and their back stories and I could write an essay here now about how I came to name all of my babies, but I won't, because this is your blog, but I just wanted to say I loved reading this story and learning all about how the Deuce came to be Caroline Audrey. Would love to find out that boy name one day!

  21. Love the story of Caroline's name :) I think it's a beautiful name (love Caroline Audrey) and it sounds so great with Eliza's name <3

  22. Love hearing the name story! It really is a beautiful name. My mother was named after her aunt, who then became known as Big Christine. Christine is Margo's middle name. I'm a 4th generation Sara (my aunt, my grandmother, her aunt), but didn't have the courage to give my daughter my own name. Naming someone is such a privilege.

  23. I am singing the song in my head.. sweet Caroline...
    My dear friend of over 10 years is named Caroline- love that name. xo

  24. Caroline Diamond...sounds good yeah? I love that song! Caro- reminds me of syrup so I'll stick with Caroline which is perfectly respectable for princess or senator. I'm impressed David agreed to your choice being that it's your mamas name and all. We haven't played the name game yet but I love how your names have so many connections. I usually just go with names I alike and also have good syllabic flow which is particularly important to me. Love the Caroline squared picture!

  25. I love her name. A lot. In fact, I love your whole list of names. And like you, I'm picky. I LOVE Callie, and thank you for reminding me about Caddie Woodlawn. Awesome memory.

  26. I had to laugh when I read you turned in a paper at school as "Caroline" (Angie's comment too). I never like "Lori" when I was a kid, I wished I had been Laura, or at the very least Laurie. I decided I would change the spelling of my name to Laurie, & turned in a quiz as such -- my teacher's eyebrow went up & she made some cutting comment -- I slunk back to my seat & never did it again. ; )

    I love the name Caroline, and I love that you have that book to read to her. (Our CEO's secretary is Caroline, & she is such a sweetheart.) As for having two Carolines in the family, my college roomie, her mom AND her grandmother were all Annas. She & her mom sometimes went by "Little Anna" & "Big Anna." Anna's mom said that was fine with her, so long as it didn't evolve into "Old Anna" and "Young Anna." ; )