Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I wrote a long post about how we named Zuzu and thought I would do something similar for Coco.

Except... I don't really have a story here.

Unlike Caroline and Eliza, Colette is not a family name (until now!). It's a name that David and I both happened to like and then love.

If Rerun were a boy, his name would have been William Whillock Duckworth. That was the boy-name plan since before I got pregnant with Eliza.

If Rerun were a girl... we were less certain. There were other contenders--I still like Blair, I pushed hard for Louisa, I also love Violet. David leaned toward Cecily, and I thought Vivian with the nickname Via was downright adorable.

Our little Coco-Bean in her ruffle-butt homecoming outfit. I got Kicky Pants outfits for both of the girls to wear home from the hospital. The fabric is made from bamboo so it's lightweight enough for summer and super soft.
Colette started with David suggesting the name Cosette.

Full disclosure: David has a real weakness for large-scale musicals, and Les Miserables is no exception. He also seems to prefer multi-syllabic, singable girl names. After we saw the musical production of Emma, Emma was totally in the running. Sweeney Todd has a nice little ditty about a Joanna. Then there's "my heart's on fire for Elvira" which actually works nicely if you substitute "Eliza," and don't even get me started on "ROXanne..."

(I'm kidding about that last one. Roxanne was never on our list, although now that I think about Roxanne, I kind of love it. And you know she'd be the only kid in preschool named Roxanne. Roxy! Annie! Xannie! Oxblood! Xanax! So many cute nicknames.)

Anyway, David suggested the name Cosette and I kind of liked it. I actually knew a little girl named Cosette who went by Cosi, and while that was cute, it was kind of too cute for me. Plus I wasn't sure we wanted another C name.

Daddy, Coco, and Daddy's bee-ah--for some reason Zuzu says the word "beer" with a Boston accent
But anytime I'd mention one of the names I liked, David would bring up Cosette, and eventually I said, "Well, what about Colette?"

A quick google search of the name Colette pulled up nothing objectionable, and confirmed my vague recollection from my grad school proficiency course in French translation that there was a French novelist named [Sidonie-Gabrielle] Colette.

And I decided that I could get over the two-C thing. I think I was afraid that it would somehow exclude Eliza further--like Caroline and Colette were a set. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that the name was pretty perfect.  So yeah, we have two C's, but I figured with different middle initials, their monograms will be different and I can always use the initial "Z" for Zuzu if I wanted to.

Of course, I have to say that I also love the nickname Coco.

It's funny because our families don't do nicknames. Everyone with the exception of my dad and David's stepdad goes by their full name (my dad's a Thomas who goes by Tom and David's dad is a David who goes by Dave mostly to avoid confusion, so it's really just dropping a syllable rather than a nickname). In fact, no one in David's family will call Zuzu "Zuzu"--they all use her full name (which I think is kind of weird but I have decided to find it amusing, particularly since she calls herself Zuzu). But I love nicknames.

I just think there is something really sweet about having nice, respectable names like Caroline and Colette and then having ridiculous little nicknames while they are little or that just family uses (because I expect to call them by their nicknames forever!). I don't expect Zuzu to go by Zuzu when she gets to kindergarten (although I guess we'll let her decide?). But I think it's hilarious that they have "formal" names and then sweet nicknames that sound like a pair of yappy dogs: Zuzu and Coco. Adorable.

(And yes, it does make me wonder if we would have come up with a silly nickname for Eliza also, and what it might have been...)

Toward the end of my pregnancy, we would occasionally ask Zuzu if she was going to have a brother or a sister and if the baby was going to be Will or Coco. (Although I also said that William Whillock Duckworth would get called Dubya Dubya Duck). Zuzu would give us a different answer each time, repeating whichever option we listed second. So she was no help and we honestly weren't even sure that she understood the concept of the baby in Mama's belly, especially since she would often want to change the subject to discuss the baby she said was in her belly.

After Colette was born and we called my parents to tell them she was here, they headed up to the hospital with Zuzu. They told her they were going to visit her little sister. She walked into the hospital room (wearing a sweet pink dress, white shoes and ruffly socks, a bow in her hair, carrying a vase with two carnations in it that she had selected for me) and said loudly, "Where my Baby Coco?"

Later, I asked my mom if they had called the baby Coco when they talked to Zuzu about her (since we hadn't mentioned the nickname yet) and my mom said no. Zuzu just put that together on her own.

I hold Coco's hand, Mama.
She does call her Colette once in a while, and enunciates it in the cutest way possible: "Why Co-lette crying, Mama? She want mama-milk?"

We used my maiden name, Taylor, for Colette's middle name, just as we did with Eliza. That was a no-brainer for us. I asked David if he liked it, he said sure, and that was the end of it. I love that they share a middle name, and I kind of wish that Zuzu had the same middle name, even though I also love her middle name (Audrey) and we chose Audrey because we wanted to represent both my side of the family and David's side (it's David's grandfather's mom's name).

The other thing that made the name Colette really appealing for us is that neither of us has ever met a Colette in real life. Considering all the students we've had between the two of us (particularly now that David is principal of a school with more than 750 students), that's pretty remarkable.

Zuzu thought this onesie was Coco's swim suit and got excited about splish-splashing with her. Coco's not quite ready for that!
So that's how we came up with Colette's name. I think it suits her perfectly.

The one and only Coco Duckworth


  1. That's a great name story!! I totally think she's a Colette, and I think the name is so sweet and classic and original. I haven't met a Colette in my lifetime either, until now! <3

    I know I wrote about Theo's name here and there, but a big selling point was that it didn't exists yet on either side our the families. And with Daniel's dad having 17 brothers and sisters (40 cousins with growing families of their own now!!), there wasn't a Theodore among any of them. Sold!

    I too went back and forth with the middle name for Theo, but my father's name (David, which is Alexander's middle name) didn't really work with Theodore. The double "Deh" sound wasn't working for me. I love that your 1st and 3rd baby duck share a middle name.

    Can I say I absolutely LOVE Dubya Dubya Duck!! LOL. That would have been the cutest little boy. I love little nicknames too!

    Hearing you talk about all the name possibilities makes you kinda fall in love with each one in a different way. For me when that happened, I felt like, "well, I guess I just have to have 15 kids then!!". But no. Because oh god, 15. lol

  2. Cue the "I know a Colette!", because I do, but she's our age.

    I swing between Zuzu and Caroline, probably because she will forever be "Baby Caroline" in our house. But my iphone now recognizes "Zuzu". I'll probably swing between Colette and Coco as well.

    And don't sell Roxanne short! We had never heard of a Frances under the age of 60, and now (in a class of only 14 kindergartners), the ONLY duplicate name is Frances. There's a Beatrice, a Lucille, a Matilda, a Vera, an Ezra... and a Brooke! Roxanne will return, I'm sure. :) And perhaps, Colette!

    PS. Got to love those 8.5 lb babies busting out of their newborn onesies.

  3. Coco Duck... It's so cute. She's so cute. And, "where's my baby Coco?" That's one for the baby book!

  4. I love it! My husband and I totally do the nickname thing, we eliminated names that DIDN'T have nicknames, in fact! I can't wait to see more of the Zuzu and Coco show!

  5. I will never hear the name Roxanne without thinking "Xanax" again. OMG so funny.

    I love the name Colette! And your awesome nicknames of course.

  6. I just swoooon over those pictures of baby Coco.

    I love the whole story. You didn't think you'd have much to say. ;)

  7. I love all of your childrens' names! Do you ever think or talk about Eliza by a nickname?

  8. Such a beautiful name. It made my heart soar when I read her middle name. Colette is unique without being weird, beautiful and has a grace to it. Our Coco Duck!

  9. I know a Blair, and she is the worst! I love Colette's name and nickname. If I remember correctly, I believe my Grandpa use to call Cole "Colette" when he was little. That memory makes me love her name even more! So happy for you and your family. You guys make beautiful babies.

  10. I love it! :) especially the new pictures!! So so cute.

  11. Love the name Colette :) My kids all have unique names as well.

    Warms my heart to see the pic of Zuzu holding Coco's hand.


  12. Beautiful! Don't forget to add Colette to your Cast of Characters:)

  13. I love name stories!

    My Miss M has a little friend who goes by Coco, but it's short for Cordelia. It is an awesome nickname!

  14. In the last picture of this post - the one of Coco's profile she looks exactly like Zuzu. They are both beautiful. Very pretty and feminine name which was also my first choice for a girl's name when I was younger.

  15. I totally thought (given your literary bent) that Colette was named after the French writer. ;)

    By the way, I've probably mentioned this before, but the name "Duckworth" sounded so familiar to me... there was a Dr. Henry Duckworth who had ties to my alma mater, University of Manitoba, as well as our cross-town rivals, University of Winnipeg, with several buildings, etc., named after him. Possible relation?