Creating a Sibset of Six: It gets complicated!
When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, a girl, choosing her name was efficient and simple. We tossed around a few names that neither of us hated and within 5 minutes decided that our wee girl would be called Juliette. We never wavered or second guessed ourselves. We had no idea at the time that we’d have 5 additional children rounding out our family. I didn’t recognize that choosing the first couple of kid’s names sort of sets the tone for additional kid’s name. It certainly doesn’t have to if sibset continuity doesn’t matter to you but for me, that is something I wish I’d considered.
Two years later, we found ourselves expecting another girl. When it was time to decide her name, we struggled a bit. We wanted something equally feminine but not overly popular. We settled on Bella and felt confident in that choice as well. This was years before the Twilight book and movie franchise. I was utterly pissed when I learned that the main female character’s name was Bella. There went our whole “yeah, let’s pick this relatively unpopular name”. Suddenly everything from hair salons to Olive oil companies incorporated the word/name Bella. What can you do, though? We don’t own the name so we just got comfortable saying over and over again “No, we did not name her after Bella Swan. Our Bella was born 5 years before the movie was released.”
Two years after our second daughter was born, another girl was joining our family. We had a difficult time with this kid’s name. I wanted something that “fit” with her sisters without being super feminine. We chose Mia. It’s short and sweet and spunky. It’s also Italian, as is Bella, and I wish now that I hadn’t chosen two distinctly Italian names-particularly since we have zero Italian heritage. I feel like I sort of boxed myself in with future name options.
Baby number four was a boy. My husband had strong opinions on what he wanted his first son to be named. He pushed hard for Magnus but since we are neither Vikings or rock stars, I didn’t feel like we could pull that off. We settled on Leo using Magnus in middle place.
Baby five was another boy. When it was name choosing time for him, I knew that my “taste” in names had changed. I’d been having babies for 10 years by then and I’d become more comfortable in my own skin and in being a parent and in not giving so much thought to what others might think of our name choices. His name is Ronan. While it doesn’t really “fit” with his siblings names, I was happy with our choice as it was partly to honor my late Uncle Ronnie and partly as a nod to our Catholic faith. Ronan is the name of several Irish and Scottish Saints.
The “baby” of our family, our sixth child, is a sweet girl named Norah. This name had been on our “list” with every girl. It finally felt right for this particular child.
While now I cannot imagine calling my children by names other than what they’ve been given, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little name regret with a couple of them.
I wish that I’d had the forethought to know that we’d be choosing names for six children and that I might want to consider sibling names when deciding on any one particular name for a kid. I wish I had been the name nerd then that I am now. I wish I’d been braver and not been influenced by those who wrinkled their noses when I told them names were on our ‘potentials’ list. I wish that I had followed my heart instead of playing it safe with a couple of their names.
No matter, though. They have become their names while being more than their names. Their names fit their dispositions even though they don’t blend perfectly as siblings. But that’s how our family is: Individuals with vastly different personalities united by love and a shared last name.