Category: naming siblings
Let’s face it : the blank slate of naming your first child can be intimidating.
Will you stick with the classics? Or would you be happier with a Cricket instead of a Charlotte, a Wylie rather than a William? You’ve always liked your mother’s maiden name, Davis, and then there’s his fabulous Great Aunt Marguerite – but do you want to hand down family names, or is it better to start fresh? Is Wyatt too trendy? Is Cordelia too obscure?
It’s a riddle, but despite dire warnings of name regret, most parents seem to choose a perfectly suitable name for their firstborn.
Welcoming a second child means that you’ve got a crib and car seat already, but when it comes to names, you’re back at the beginning.
Or are you? Because not only will you revisit many of the questions from the first round, you’ll also have to consider whether baby #2’s name matches, clashes – or matches too much – with the big brother or sister-to-be.
If a recent New York Times article is to be believed, naming a baby is more anxiety-inducing than ever before. So much pressure to find the one. perfect. name. But what happens when you need two perfect names and I don’t mean in succession. Like virtually everything else to do with having twins, is naming them double the trouble?
There is a real sense in which choosing a pair of twins’ names is just like choosing a sibling set. For me, the same basic rules applied. The names had to be complementary and of a comparable level of originality. They had to roll off the tongue together, because, lord knows, they will be spoken in tandem more often than you can imagine. It would be a bonus if they shared some common, but not overwhelming, feature: a group of letters perhaps or a vague significance of meaning. Better yet, a sense of style. I have seen, for instance, all of my children’s names described as “Antique Charm.” This was a happy coincidence for the first two. For the twins, as numbers three and four, it felt almost like a necessity.
It’s long been a precept of Nameberry, and of our books—dating back to Beyond Jennifer & Jason and more recently in Beyond Ava & Aiden– that names of siblings should ideally share a similar style and feel, not matchy-matchy, certainly, but complementary yet distinct. And thus the concept of sibsets was born.
We still feel that way, but we’ve been seeing something of a backlash emerging lately. For instance, for the past couple of months, there has been an interesting thread on our forums, posted by a berry expressing concern about ‘breaking the mold’ set by her first daughter’s very feminine name, wondering if she was locked into choosing an equally feminine name for her second or could use a completely different kind of name that she has fallen in love with. A number of interesting points were raised, some people feeling that the whole sibset obsession has gotten out of hand and is unnecessarily restrictive. Where do you stand?