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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.

It sounds like you've already accepted this reality, which is half the battle. Giving up on a favorite name requires a little grieving process, complete with the "bargaining" stage. ("If I'm careful to introduce them as Jill and Jack instead of Jack and Jill, maybe nobody will notice?") Now you have to decide how to proceed.

Here's the first step. Quick, if you had to choose just one of the two names right now, which would it be?

If you froze in panic at that question, your answer is simple. First come, first served. Life is unpredictable. There's no guarantee that you'll be blessed with a second child -- or that you'll have both boys and girls. If you go with whichever name the ultrasound points to, you know at least that you'll be able to name a child one of your favorite names.

Perhaps, though, you read the question and knew immediately that you'd choose Vesper. Not all "first choices" are created equal, after all. In that case, it's time to look for an alternative to Kaspar to keep the possibility of Vesper alive. This approach is riskier; you could end up with neither. But when one name alone is dearest to your heart, I think it's worth giving yourself the best chance of bestowing that name on a child.


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November 18, 2009 1:48 AM
By Kayt (not verified)

How about Caspian and Vesper?

I've had the same debate, but too late. My son is James, and if he'd been a girl, he would have been Daphne. However, we talked about using Jane for a girl in honor of my mother in law. I'm a bit sad that it didn't occur to me before we named our son. James and Jane are way too close for siblings to me.

November 20, 2009 1:02 PM
By Zoerhenne (not verified)

First of all, Kayt, Daphne Jane sounds cute-why don't you go with that?

Secondly, to V or K, I think Cassius is a good alternative to Kaspar. But also, you could use both in the mn spot and they wouldn't be too close to say then. Vesper is an interesting name and one that may get a lot of comments both good and bad. Kaspar the same. These are probably not your style but if you did something like James Kaspar or Charlotte Vesper then it might work. You do have many options.

November 20, 2009 5:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like Vesper. While they are structured the same, Kasper feels out-dated where Vesper feels more edgy. Plus, Kasper brings to mind a certain friendly ghost. All I can think of for Vesper is the Bond girl in Casino Royale, which I see as a good connotation. Regardless, I would probably go on a first come, first serve basis and make the other one the mn of your second child! :)

November 25, 2009 2:04 PM
By Kayt (not verified)

We've talked about Daphne Jane, actually. I want to use Margaret as the middle name for our first daughter, for my mother (Margo Lee), my sister (Amelia Margaret), and my grandmother (Margaret Isobella). Because my mom's Margo, and my MIL is Mary Jane, I feel like Margaret is pushing it for a first name, too many Mar-s, you know? I don't love Maggie as a nickname, and my husband hates Daisy. Margaret is sweet, but it feels a bit heavy for a small child. So, we're thinking Daphne Margaret for a first daughter and Caroline Jane for a second one. I just wished we'd thought to use Jane as a first name and use Jane Margaret.

November 29, 2009 6:13 PM
By Mandy (not verified)

Kayt -

What about Jane Margaret as a double first name?

December 3, 2009 4:18 PM
By kerri (not verified)

Kayt, we were going to name our girl (didn't happen) Margaret and call her Greta...

December 15, 2009 3:21 PM
By Staci (not verified)

We have a similar dilemma. My husband and I agreed on Nolan Rex for our first child, but ultimately settled on Norah when the ultrasound clearly showed us that we were expecting a girl. Two and half years later, she couldn't be anyone else! Now we are expecting our second, and DH is pushing Nolan again, should this one be a boy. Too matchy-matchy for my taste. I say we have to give up Nolan and find something new.

December 20, 2009 5:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My husband and I have four wonderful daughters, Milena, Tatyana, Natalya, and Nadia. Now we are expecting a son and my husband wants his name(to our Russian relatives horror) to be Jonathan after his favorite baseball player. Do four Russian girls names work with Jonathan?

December 22, 2009 1:32 AM
By Shay (not verified)

My kids will (God willing) be named
If people act weird when I introduce them, that's on them, not on me or my kids. I've always loved matchy names. In my fiction I have families with the names: Rosemary, Riyadh, Rosada, Ryan, Roman, Reyonna and Rainier. Then there's Dominic, Devin, Drew, Damien, and Deric. So maybe it's me.

December 22, 2009 1:33 AM
By Shay (not verified)

about the russian girls names: don't think of it as Jonathan and a bunch of Russian girls, think of it as 5 kids who are named for 5 special people. I think it's cute.

December 28, 2009 12:18 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You're not the only one that loves matchy names; film director Robert Rodriguez's children are Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue and Rhiannon :]

January 11, 2010 2:29 PM
By Leila (not verified)

My name is leila and i have 4 kids and about to have two twins Girls..
my kids are called:
And i am thinking of calling Leila and leela, Cheyanne or Shyienne, Natisha or natasha,Amy or Amelia and i dont know which one to pick. what do you think about the names.??

January 29, 2010 2:15 PM
By Alexandria "Alex" (not verified)

To Leila about to have twins:

Alex,Andre, and Tatiyana are all Russian or variations of Russian. While it's good to give your twins somewhat matching names, I would look at the post of Russian daughters above and go with something like Natasha and Natalya or Natalia. Same beginning, which is cute, but the endings are different giving them more individuality and options for nicknames. Good luck! :)

April 6, 2010 3:23 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My children's names are Julia & Joel.
My aunt named her children Timmy,Tammy,Tracey, and Tiffany.
who cares if you like the names...

April 24, 2010 7:20 PM
By Sarah (not verified)

I like Vesper, it makes me think of the Vesper Holly books (Lloyd Alexander). She's a lively, spunky heroine who has pretty awesome adventures. What a girl for a daughter to identify with! I would never have thought of either name and I don't think I'd use either, but they're certainly intriguing names and I think either could sound nice. I like the Name Lady's advice about how to decide whether you really like them both the same or whether you'd prefer one.

We had a slight twist on your problem with boys' names. We liked two names (Charles and David) but preferred Charles. We were sort of torn... since we plan to have some more kids, when we have a boy, should we name him Charles David, or should we "save" David to use as a first name in case we have a second boy. It looks like it's going to be moot at this point, though, since we're having our third girl, so if we do have a boy he will probably be our last (we're thinking about 4 kids), so we can use both names and not worry about it.

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December 7, 2014 9:18 AM
By Lbap (not verified)

Kayt - Margaret is so versatile - it's like Elizabeth in that there are dozens of possibilities for nicknames. You haven't mentioned Margie, or Peggy, or Maisey, or Meg, or Marnie. I love it on a baby! I love Margaret Jane too - super classic and gorgeous!

December 7, 2014 9:19 AM
By Lbap (not verified)

Kayt - Margaret is so versatile - it's like Elizabeth in that there are dozens of possibilities for nicknames. You haven't mentioned Margie, or Peggy, or Maisey, or Meg, or Marnie. I love it on a baby! I love Margaret Jane too - super classic and gorgeous!

January 21, 2015 5:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What about Vespa? Yes there's t he car but I think the goddess predates that. And I love a strong goddess name.

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