-Granny Name Lover
Many of us love old-fashioned names, just as we love old-fashioned home cooking. That is to say, we love the versions that fit our romantic image of the past. “Mmm, mmm, fresh bread baking in the oven and a rich soup simmering on the stove, what could be better?” But when I flip through my yellowed 1930s Fanny Farmer Cookbook, it turns out to be full of recipes like hard-cooked eggs in cream sauce (“serve over pancakes”) and Chilled Shrimp Bisque, made with canned shrimp and condensed cream of mushroom soup.
Ms. M, welcome to the no-compromise zone. This is the territory where all of our normal baby name decision-making techniques -- brainstorming, list making, discussion, compromise -- go out the window. In here, it's all or nothing.
I'm glad you're considering sibling harmony as you choose a name. Siblings are super-sensitive to fairness, so it's smart to think about how their names compare. But it's easy to take that thinking too far. The harmonious-sibling-set rule is meant as a guideline, not a requirement for your children to match like a set of silverware. Personal style is personal, after all. You should feel free to loosen up and enjoy the naming process.
Oh dear, you really do feel strongly about this name, don't you. Strongly enough, perhaps to override your own good judgment? Take a deep breath, and let's look closely at what you've said.
Cuppy-cake, close your eyes for a moment and…well no, you're reading, so keep your eyes open but imagine this scene as vividly as you can:
Your friend "Stephanie" has just become a grandmother. Her son and daughter-in-law have a brand new baby girl. You attend the christening, and learn that the little girl, too, has been named Stephanie. "Oh, how sweet," you remark to the new mom. "You named her after her grandma!"
I've received questions like this many times...in reverse. The usual refrain is "Can we name our daughter April even if she's born in September?" Parents worry that a mismatched month is confusing, or inappropriate, or even false advertising.
Yet here you sit with the happy coincidence of your baby's birth month matching the name you chose. And instead of high-fiving over your good luck, you're worrying that the month match is "tacky."
If you aim for the full William, you won't be alone. More and more families are turning toward the formal today, filling playgrounds with the likes of James-not-Jim and Daniel-not-Dan. The standard nicknames just sound too ordinary for today's parents. After all, it was "every Tom, Dick and Harry" who stood for the everyman, not "every Thomas, Richard and Henry."
But as many Name Lady readers have told me, nicknames have a life of their own. Parental control only goes so far.
Well, that's a creative solution to a naming deadlock: not choosing a name at all!
I can understand the temptation. You'll call him J.R. regardless, so why go through the agony of hammering out a compromise? But you planned to give him a full name. And there was a reason for that, wasn't there? I don't think it's fair to your son to punt just because the choice is turning out to be tougher than you expected.
Don't we all create lifelong problems for our children? Luckily, choosing the names Elizabeth and Isabella ranks low on the scale of Ways To Give Your Kids Complexes. I'd say it comes in just above making them wait until high school to get their ears pierced.