Category: Jim

When Siblings Get Into the Baby-Naming Act

I had my three children over 11 years, and of all the disadvantages of spreading your kids that far apart, one of the biggest is that the older kids will insist on having a say in their baby brother or sister’s name.

When we found out our youngest child would be a boy, my husband and I were delighted that we had a name all ready for him: Edward, to be called Ned.  That had been our second-choice name for our older son, whom I insisted on naming Joseph after my dad.  But my husband and I both loved Edward and Ned, and we were thrilled and relieved to be set with our name.

Not so fast, said our older children.  Any kid named Ned, they claimed, would be sure to be called Nerd in the playground.  They weren’t too fond of the name either.  In fact, they said, if we named him Ned, they already knew they weren’t going to like him.

Sigh.  We couldn’t very well give the baby a name his older siblings hated, so we went back to the drawing board.  Luckily, my husband and I quickly found another name we both loved: Harry.

Even Harry Potter couldn’t sell our kids on that name.  No, they said.  If Ned was a nerd, Harry was “hairy.”

Well, we asked, what did they think we should name the baby?  Our son Joe, who was three at the time, loved the name Jim — but as a name book author I thought I would never to be able to tell interviewers I’d named my own sons the oh-so-plain pair of Jim and Joe.  That was like being a fashion editor and dressing in head-to-toe Gap.   Joe‘s next best idea: Rainbow Boy.

All I remember after that was holding my newborn son in my arms in the hospital, the other children at my bedside, still debating his name.  Finally we came up with Owen, my grandfather’s middle name and one that we all at least agreed on.  My husband and I hated giving up the names Ned and Harry.  But as difficult as it can be to arrive at a name two of you love, it can be almost impossible to please four people.

Did any of you have older children who had strong opinions about the baby’s name?  How did you consider their ideas and did you end up taking their advice?  We’d love to hear!

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