sibling names

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To P or Not to P (Is the Baby Name Question)

All of my kids' names start with P. Should I change it for this one?

–Princess P

As with everything else in baby-naming, there are no hard and fast rules about themes like this one. But there are some principles to consider, which might help you make a decision about your new baby's name.

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Is This Baby Name Too Extreme?

My wife and I are considering the name Champion for our third son. We didn't use traditional names for our other sons, Adonis and Legend, but my wife is really not sold on Champion. She thinks that it is too unique and could make him big-headed. I like the name and thinks it flows nicely with our last name, Lynn. Is it too much?

–Proud Dad

Your first two sons have bold, confident names; should your third one follow suit? Yes and no. I can see your perspective: That the exalted word name Champion is right in sync with big brothers Adonis and Legend. It makes sense! But the fact is that "too extreme" is a matter of personal preference. Champion does cross a line—because your wife thinks it does.

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Is This Baby Name Too Like Tallulah?

My husband and I are having a lot of trouble finding a baby girl name. We have a 15-month-old daughter named Tallulah. We recently fell in love with the name Ayla. I worry it is too similar to Tallulah, especially as they will be so close in age. What do you think?

–Looking for a Sweet Sister Name

Picking a name is so much harder the second time. You're in good company with your questions about sib sets, as many of my previous columns on this subject show. While the whole world of names was open to you originally, now you've got another child to consider when debating your second daughter's name, and your striking, fashionable choice for your first daughter will foreclose other possibilities.

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Is a Rose by Any Other Name the Right Choice?

I love the name Rosalie, but I already have a daughter named Everly Rose. Are there any other names with the same ring? Maybe Daisilie? I'm just not sure. I like unique names that are appealing to many people and not difficult to pronounce.

–Need a Sister Name

First of all, let me answer the question you didn’t ask: Are the names Everly and Rosalie too similar to give to sisters?

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Are These Baby Names Hip, or Hippie?

What do you think of names like Rose Dorinda, Fox Alexandria, and Raven Thalia? They are all girls' names I am considering. I wonder how far I can go with my name themes, because none of the boy names I like go in that direction (Killian Alexander, Ezra Raphael, Aedan Ezekiel). Are my favorite names too hippie/tree-hugger?

–Nature Lover

Trees deserve a hug now and then, don't they? So "tree-hugger" doesn’t have to be a negative. Not all nature names automatically fall into the "hippie" category (that is, too weird for mainstream), anyway. If you love nature, it's only natural that you're drawn to baby names that celebrate flora, fauna, and the outdoors.

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Do My Twins Sound Like a Married Couple?

My husband and I are expecting twins. For a boy, we really like the name James (my father's name), and for a girl, we're thinking about Lily (my favorite flower) or Lillian. We like the names individually, and we like how the names sound together, but I have two reservations.

First, does giving one child a family name and the other child a name we just happen to like feel unbalanced? Second, I grew up on the Harry Potter books. His parents are named James and Lily, and I think of that when I hear the pairing. I don't mind it, but how likely are other people to make that connection?

–Twins on the Way

Two babies, two questions! Let's take them one at a time. If you give one twin a family name, must the other twin have one too? With siblings, and especially twins, it's good to keep parity in mind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your taste to it.

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I'm Looking for a Baby Name that Pops!

We have a daughter named Poppy and are having another girl. We're looking for a name that's equally as spunky, young, and unique. I had Luna and Nova picked out, but found out that both are on track to become very popular. What other unique names might fit? The middle name will be June or Ruby, but I don't like those as firsts; they sound dated.

–Seeking a Sister Name

Trying to ride the line between "unique and fresh" and "too popular" is very difficult. Names are unpredictable, and can suddenly rise and fall without a lot of warning. Plus, what sounds young and spunky to you may also appeal to lots of other parents.

What we can do is look at trends and see what’s happening. You’re correct that both Luna and Nova have spiked upward recently, while June and Ruby (for comparison) peaked a century ago—although both are rising again today.

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We’ve Already Used the Perfect Baby Name!

My husband and I are stumped on a girl name for our third baby. We both like Claire, but it is our oldest daughter's middle name. Is it weird to reuse a middle name as a first name? My husband suggested Clara. I love it, but think it is too close to our younger daughter's name, Nora. We also both like Stella, but our oldest's name is Adelle. What do you think?

–Mom in a Middle Muddle

This can be a tough call! Is it okay to reuse a middle name for a younger sibling's first name? There are strikingly strong feelings on both sides. In some families, every child has the same middle name (say, Dad's first or Mom's maiden name). In others, a middle name can return as a first name without a second thought. And in still others, parents feel it would never be fair to give a child a name that's "used." The older siblings, if old enough to have an opinion, might love the practice—or hate it.

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Are These Sister Names Sweet or Silly?

We are expecting our second daughter soon and are struggling with a name. Our firstborn is Rylin, named from my maiden name and my husband's middle name. For the next girl, we like Taylin, but don't know if they are too close. We also like Logan and Remy. We're running out of time to decide!

–Too Close for Sisters?

"Too close" is generally a matter of personal taste. Some parents deliberately aim for a matching set, like Ethan and Nathan or Kayla and Kayden. It seems like you don't want that, though; you asked whether the names were too close, not whether they are close enough. Two names ending in –ylin do come across as a thematic set.

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Does a New Home State Mean a New Style of Baby Name?

We are looking for a name for our third son, but are feeling stuck due to our other two boys' names. They were both born in Hawaii and have Hawaiian names: Kai (meaning "ocean") and Koa ("warrior"). This baby will be born in Kansas, which is obviously not a language! We like short names with a nice meaning, but never intended to stick with "K" names, necessarily. Any ideas on a third boy name that is unique and short, and works with Koa and Kai? Thank you!

–My Three Sons

How about Kan or Kas for Kansas? Okay, just kidding. But you do have a unique dilemma: How do you maintain sibling name equity, given the big cultural switch between sibs two and three? In my opinion, you should avoid a massive style switch based just on birthplace.

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