When we picked Emilia's name (because it was pretty much the only name we both liked, especially after the emergence of Sarah Palin blew "Sarah" out of the running), we anticipated nicknaming her "Mia." So far it hasn't happened. She just hasn't really looked like a Mia (I think because she's so chubby--in my mind, a Mia is more delicate than our chunk of loving).
Emilia currently has two nicknames. Many of our friends call her "Millilla" or "Uh-millilla" (not sure how to spell those), which originated from Caylee Good's difficulty pronouncing Emilia's name early on. (Caylee has since learned how to pronounce Emilia's name, but the nickname has stuck.) Ryan and I also have a tendency to drop the first syllable of her name, calling her "Meel-ya" (again, not sure about the spelling of that). This is really not that attractive, but we're kind of lazy, and we got spoiled with the shortness of Ella's name.
Neither "Millilla" or "Meelya" cuts it as the sort of nickname one can take to preschool, so (with some prodding from Grandma Apple) we've decided to make the effort to start calling Emilia "Mia" so that we have some choice in her nickname. I figure she's probably going to wind up with a nickname, and I'd rather it be "Mia" than some of the other options.
All of this got me thinking about naming in general. Ryan and I really struggled to find a name for Emilia, partially because we had trouble agreeing on a name (Ryan thinks my choices are too weird or too old lady), but also because so many of the names we like are so gosh-darn popular. We considered "Abigail," "Olivia," and "Sophia," all of which are on the top 10 list at babynames.com. Of course, "Ella" is right up there at number 10, and when combined with the spelling "Amelia," "Emilia" is number 11.
Neither "Ella" or "Emilia" were that popular when we chose those names for our children. Maybe we're just trendsetters. Or maybe we're just in tune with trends? Wired magazine has an interesting article about how parents choose names that sound similar to other popular names. (The name "Ella" is actually used as an example in the article, as is "Ava," which is the name of one of Ella's good friends). Our choice of names really would support this theory, as "Ella" and "Emilia" are both very similar to "Emily," which was the most popular girl name for years, and "Emma," which is now number one on many lists.
Even Mia is right up there on many popularity lists. I guess we're just really not creative at all, huh?