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.
Let's talk for a minute about the meaning of meanings.
Of course, none of us want our kids' names to mean something awful. But where did this idea come from that a name's "meaning" is some obscure Latin root you track down via twists and turns through Middle English and French?
There's no simple rule for how a place name plays to people from that place. Some city names sound silly on babies to the locals, whereas others sound extra-appealing. And still others just sound like, well, names.
If a dog steals your grandma's name, you have the right to steal the dog's name, don't you think? Fair is fair.
Seriously, there's a pecking order when it comes to names being "taken," and the number one spot is occupied by parents honoring someone who was important in their lives. In fact, you could name your baby after your beloved grandmother even if the other Bella were your friend's daughter, not her puppy.
All of you dog lovers out there, see what happens when you give up on canine classics like Spike and Buster?
In an age when so many of our dogs have their own beds and their own wardrobes and special organic doggy diets, we've gone the extra step to make them true members of the family. We've decided to give them people-styled names.
Vesper and Kaspar are an unusual pair, but your basic dilemma is more common than you might think. Lots of parents fall in love with incompatible names. Choosing Charlie for a boy means you can't name a future girl Charlotte. Tyler means no Taylor, Jack means no Jill, Houston means no Whitney. You may yearn for both, but you have to pick one.
It's time for a gut check. Do you love the name Edmund more than you loathe Ed and Ned? You have to be honest with yourself about this, because I can't promise you'll be able to keep Ed at bay. Sure, you might be able to keep your in-laws and preschool teachers on the straight Edmund path, but there's one person who can scuttle your best-laid plans: your son.
The idea that Jack is "short" for John may seem odd on the face of it. The names are the same length and have only one sound in common. In this century they're both standalone names, high on the charts. But for hundreds and hundreds of years, almost every Jack was actually christened John.