twins and siblings

Ask Now

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.

Read More...
Ask Now

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.

Read More...
Ask Now

Would a Name Switch Fix This Sibling Sitch?

Our first daughter's name is Leena (she is 5 years old) and our second is Dina (14 months old). Leena is quite jealous of her sister and we think that their names being too close might be a factor. Could that be right? Is it worth going through the name-changing process? (Dina's middle name is Linda, so we're thinking of dropping the first name and keeping only the middle one.)

–Mom of Rivals

Kids with that age difference frequently do feel resentful of their younger siblings. Your older daughter enjoyed the solo-kid life for four years before her sister came along. It's a big adjustment for her. And at 14 months, your younger daughter is likely starting to walk and talk, which could make her feel like even more of a challenge to her big sister.

Read More...
Ask Now

We’re Stumped by a Single-Sex Baby Name Style!

We have two boys, Grant and Clark. We are now having a baby girl and cannot agree on a name. We like older names, obviously, but not so outdated they're only for the elderly. Can you help? Our last name is two syllables and starts with W.

–Need a Name for Baby Sister

"Older but not outdated" is at the top of many parents' baby name wish lists, and unfortunately it doesn't do much to narrow down the field of options. There are hundreds of names that might fit the bill, and many ways to define both "older" and "outdated." If you then turn to your boys’ names for inspiration, you're up against a single-sex style: The sturdy, manly "thunk" of Grant and Clark doesn't correspond in any obvious way to a particular strain of girls' names. So you're once again stuck.

Read More...
Ask Now

Can We Leave One Grandma Out of the Baby Name Game?

I have always loved the idea of honoring a family member by giving a child a meaningful, family middle name. My husband and I both like my mom's name (think "Jane") as a middle name, and had agreed on that if we were to have a girl. Turns out we are having twin girls! Neither of us loves his mom's very '50s name (think "Cheryl"), but we can't exactly name one child for my mom and not name the other for his … can we?

For me, the symbolism of naming our girls after our mothers is more important than loving the name itself, but my husband feels the opposite: Why give your child a name that you don't like, even if it is your mom's name? Do I try to convince him, or do we start over and give up using my mom's name?

–Mom in a Middle-Name Muddle

Your question made me think of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters Jenna and Barbara, each named after a grandmother (they even got the grandmothers' surnames, Welch and Pierce, as middle names). Stylistically, the names are quite different, but as you point out, their symbolism can outweigh the style difference and make them a cohesive set.

But your husband has a point too. He doesn't want to feel locked into a name choice because of the symbolism. I don't believe either of you should try to badger the other into making a choice you don't feel good about.

Read More...
Ask Now

Does This Baby Name Still Belong to Our Firstborn?

My son is named Atlas, but thanks to an incorrect ultrasound, we thought he would be a girl for several months before he was born. During that time, we planned to use the name Iris. Now I am pregnant again and Iris has been grandfathered in as our girl's name for this baby. But the name still seems to belong to my son, who was called that by friends and family for two months before his birth. Is it wrong to stick to Iris when it feels associated with someone else?

–Surprised Boy Mama

When you thought your son was a daughter, you imagined an Iris and all the qualities that name conjured for you: Radiance, perhaps; or blooming purple flowers, or rainbows, or Greek myths. Or maybe no images in particular, but the sense of a daughter, a girl called Iris who would take her place in your home.

Read More...
Ask Now

Can You Cure Our Baby Name Anxiety?

Our baby boy is due in two weeks and we don't have a name. I'm starting to feel like we won't ever decide on one. This has honestly stopped being fun! I'm not sure if it's because it's a boy, because it's our last, or because he's coming so soon after our last baby—a girl, Emerson. Her name eliminates most of my favorite boy names (Hudson, Jackson, Anderson). We want our son's name to be strong and classic, but still feel fresh. My husband likes Oliver, but I worry it's too popular. Please help!

–Paralyzed Namer

Sometimes it's harder to name that second (or third, or fourth) baby. When we make such a big decision, parameters or restrictions can be helpful, since they narrow down our options. But as you've seen, they also lock us out of some our favorites. If your firstborn is Abraham, you probably can’t use Lincoln for your second, no matter how much you love it. Ditto for Sara and Clara or Jack and Jill.

Read More...
Ask Now

Are These Names Too Silly For Siblings?

My husband and I are desperately trying to decide on a name for our second child. Our daughter is Mollie, a name that we decided on rather quickly and never had second thoughts about. We both like the name Oliver for a boy, but are concerned it is too similar to Mollie, with the "oll" sound. Also, we really don't want people calling him "Ollie" which sounds even more like Mollie. In your opinion, are these names too much alike and silly together?

--Non-rhyming Mom

A few years back, I offered some thoughts on too-close-for-comfort names: "Are other people likely to get the two names mixed up? If you holler upstairs to one child, will your kids be able to tell who you're asking for? Does it feel like you gave each child a distinct identity?" In that same post, I advised against rhyming names, which puts Ollie right out of the running for your family. Oliver, though, is trickier.

Read More...
Ask Now

Will These Names Trigger "Baditudes"?

People have such baditudes towards twins that match in any way—April and May, Kaylee and Bailey, Chrystal and Jewl, whatever. My twin set names weren't something over-thought or planned to be cutesy, but I can see how they'd be taken that way. As soon as I knew I was pregnant, the baby just felt like a 'Lily.' So when they found two little angels on the ultrasound, what immediately popped into my head was 'Violet.' Yes, yes, I can hear you groaning. But this also felt right.

Please try to understand. I can't not name baby A Lily; I'd grown attached. But it seems wrong to have a flower/not flower set. Should I name my girls something that doesn't feel this 'right' because of the bad attitude people have and the way it could affect their own self image?

- Flower Mama

"Baditude"? That's a new one on me, but the negative reaction to matching twin names is familiar. The usual concern about calling twins Hope and Faith or Tyler and Taylor is that parents are thinking of the twins as a set rather than as two individuals, and encouraging others to do the same.

Read More...
Ask Now

Which Twin Gets the Family Name?

I have a pair of three-day-old boys with no names! Before they were born, we planned to call them Calder Blayz and Dexter James. It's the tradition in my fiancé’s family that the firstborn son of the firstborn son be named some form of Blaise. But now we don't know which baby should get which name. I really think our firstborn looks like a Dexter. The Blaise tradition is a big deal to my fiancé's family. Do we just name the boys how we originally planned and hope they grow into the names (this is what his family wants us to do) or do we switch them (like we want to) and hope the family gets over it?
--Who’s On First?

I see a couple of solutions to your dilemma. A simple way out would be to switch the babies’ first names only. The "firstborn" would be Dexter Blayz, and his brother would be Calder James. Everyone wins: the tradition is upheld, and the boys’ first names match with your sense of each one’s look and personality.

Read More...