naming dilemmas

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Can I Name My Baby After the Dog?

I am 7 months pregnant with my 4th (and last) boy. The name we are strongly considering is Jasper, however, that was also the much loved name of our much loved dog - my "first baby" - who has been dead now for over 5 years. As we live somewhere new, no one knows it was our dog's name, only family and older friends. I love the name, he was a great dog, and I am running out of boy names! Is it OK to call my new son by this name? -- 4BoyMom

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.

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My Favorite Baby Names Don't Work Together

Dear Name Lady: I have always loved the names Vesper (for a girl) and Kaspar (for a boy) ... but people laugh when I say them together, and I can see why. They are rare names and they have similar structures. I came upon them at different times but adore them both equally! I've thought of variations but in the end I wouldn't use them, it would take away from what I love about these names. Will I have to wait to see which gender comes first and then say goodbye to the other name? Signed, V or K?

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.

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I Love the Name, but Hate the Nickname

We love the name Edmund for lots of reasons. We strongly dislike Eddie/Ned (I still don't understand where people get Ned from Edmund). We can bear people once in a while asking "how's little Eddie," but it is not our intention for him to be called anything other than Edmund on a regular basis, unless we develop a cool nickname between his first and middle name. At this point, the middle name will either be Phillip or Charles. Any suggestions on things to help avoid Eddie/develop a cool nickname? - Edwhat

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.

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John And Jack: Can Sibling Names Be Too Close?

Dear Name Lady: I have a 2-year-old son named John. We just found out that we're expecting another boy, and my husband and I really want to name him Jack. I come from the generation where Jack is Jack and John is John, but others see them as one and the same. Your thoughts? - J

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.

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