She Suggests Names, He Vetoes Them: Can This Couple Negotiate?’s Brian Sargent, today’s guest blogger, is the stay-at-home dad of now-four-year-old twin girls and a third-grader.  Those are his daughters, above.

My wife and I knew it would be tough to name twin girls, so we assigned ourselves jobs. My wife’s job was to suggest possible names for consideration. My job was to say I didn’t like them.

Not to be immodest, but I did my job well.






“You’re not even trying, anymore, are you?”

I did my job so well that toward the end of my wife’s pregnancy, I began to fear for my life.  With each passing week, in an attempt to sleep comfortably, my wife had stacked foam pads, sleeping bags, pillows, and even an air mattress on her side of our marital bed, and as the twins’ due date approached, I knew that all she would have to do was roll over in the middle of the night to literally crush the baby-name objections right out of me.

I kid, of course. My wife could have never rolled over without my help.

Finally, exasperated with the selfless way in which I saved my children from names that belonged to my ex-students or had too many Ys, this is what my wife did: She wrote down a list of her ten favorite names, posted it on the refrigerator, and informed me none of the names could be removed from the list unless they were replaced with better ones.

So there they stood: Ten names. Who knows where they came from? Some I recognized as my wife’s coworkers. Some may have been from TV shows. And some were there simply to make me wonder why I had ever thought my wife and I had enough in common to successfully raise a child together. And, unless I could come up with better, two of them would become my twin girls.

I never came up with better. The two girls currently pulling on my arms as I type, giving my spellchecker a run for its money, bear names that came from that list of ten. And you know what? It’s fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. When I look back on it, I’m not sure why I was such a jerk about the whole name-choosing process in the first place. My girls, my beautiful, wonderful Lila and Victoria, are beautiful and wonderful no matter what we call them. And besides, they turned out to be identical, so it’s not like we use their names anyway.  Beats us who is who.

But, happily, neither of them are is Hester.

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31 Responses to “She Suggests Names, He Vetoes Them: Can This Couple Negotiate?”

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peach Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 1:57 am

Oh, that is SOOOO good! Thank you for that dose of levity and reality all rolled in one……. and your daughter’s names are darling too. I’ll share this one with my husband for sure.

Smismar Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 8:27 am

This SO sounds like my husband! We only had to come up with one name, but the process was about the same: I’d suggest a name and he’d shoot it down. Your daughters’ names are great – congrats on 2 beautiful little girls!

Paul Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 8:52 am

I adore Hester!

Jess Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 9:05 am

I cannot wait for my husband to read this post. Thank you for the dose of laughter on this gloomy morning. And what beautiful daughters you have!

mamapajama Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 10:11 am

This sounds familiar….

Your wife came up with a great method!

Brian Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 10:24 am

Thanks, everyone. And Paul, Hester isn’t so bad, but it’s way too close to “fester” for my liking.

Kim W Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I sent this to my husband this morning. His response: why are those babies holding a light saber?

I don’t think he got the point. LOL.

Emmy Jo Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Lila and Victoria are lovely choices! And what cute little girls you have!

Why is it that most men don’t want to take an active role in baby naming? My husband is willing to semi-interestedly look through lists I make up — but trying to get him to make a list of names he likes on his own? Very difficult.

Eva Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post! Your daughters are so adorable. They have gorgeous names, too! Do you pronounce Lila like LEE-luh or LY-luh?

Brian Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Eva, we pronounce it LY-luh, or as she says it, YAI-yuh. I’m saving my speech therapy dollars as we speak.

justjill Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 8:41 am

They’re holding a light saber because it is the weapon of the Jedi. I hear those two have mad Jedi skills.

Jordan Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 8:56 am

Your wife is brilliant, lucky for you. And I’m laughing about the way Lila pronounces her name because I’m a speech therapist who was dumb enough to name her son Lyle and he can’t say that, either. I *knew* better. But at least he can get free speech therapy with one of my employees! 😉

red pen mama Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 9:00 am

Huh, we had the opposite problem. I was responsible for shooting down every name my husband came up with. I did it well. I was going to be pushing these babies out of my hoo-ha, so I figured I had final say. It all worked out in the end. Neither of us can imagine any other name for each of our girls.


ClumberKim Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 9:30 am

Sounds like when we chose our daughter’s middle name. I suggested seven possiblities, all honoring important women in my life, mostly departed. All were rejected by my husband. We agreed on Eleanor as her first name so when I told him to suggest a middle name himself all he could come up with was, “What was Eleanor Roosevelt’s middle name?” Cool, coming from a guy on a green card, but it turned out her name was Anna Eleanor. His second try was Rose. It stuck.

Naming our son was a whole other kind of nightmare.

z Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 10:50 am

I’m a terrible, terrible person for pointing this out…but there’s a gramatical mistake in your essay. It should be “neither of them **is** Hester.” “Neither” is singular, and the “of them” gets ignored. I thought you might want to know so you could fix it.
The essay itself is lovely.
What about your older daughter’s name? How did you pick that one?

Katie in MA Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 10:57 am

What’s wrong with Hester? You could have named the other one Prynne. It’s soooo modern. It has a “y” in it. It even rhymes with twin. What’s not to love?

Desiree Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I am curious as to the other 8 names on the list as you picked three classic beautiful names for your beautiful daughters.

Desiree Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Oh, and that pic is the epitome of cuteness.

Michelle Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Your wife is a genius. Beautiful names and a great way to survive the name game. Tell her she is famous and others may emulate her method.

Tamara Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Why aren’t there TWO light sabers? You mean, they have to share?

Amy Says:

June 19th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I figured the light saber was
to delineate which side of the box is Lila’s and which is Victoria’s.

Also, one of my twins is Eliza and she and her sister also pronounce it YAI-yuh.

Taado; Says:

June 20th, 2009 at 12:12 am

On the day that they decided my twins needed to be born, my husband and I sat in a triage room in L&D for 7 hours, waiting our turn in the OR. We used the time to finally pin down the babes’ names. My husband, trying for levity, said that he really wanted to name the boy Chakotay (you know, from Star Trek: Voyager). I agreed that, should he be born with a tatoo in the middle of his forehead, we would name him Chakotay. It is a great tribute to my husband that he did not hold me to that deal when our son was born with a large birthmark smack-dab in the middle of his forehead.

Brian Says:

June 20th, 2009 at 12:49 am

z: I feel very very certain that the original copy of the post was entirely grammatically correct and that any mistakes in the version you see here were added later. It was also funnier and contained the secret to world peace. And our other daughter’s name is Kathryn, which has too many Ys.

Desiree: For the life of me, I cannot remember what any of the other names were, but I do have the distinct feeling one of them was Persephone.

As for the lightsaber, there was only one because there can be only one. Oh crap, wrong movie.

Lila’s and Victoria’s Mom Says:

June 20th, 2009 at 8:37 am

The story of how the list of ten was whittled down to two is even a better story…but it will be told another time.

Andrea Says:

June 24th, 2009 at 8:51 am

Before we knew our twins were boys, I was reading names I liked out loud from the baby name book to my husband (starting with the girls’ “A” section): “Alia?” “No” “Anna?” “No” “Anya?” “No” “Aria?” “No, I don’t really like names that…” he froze mid-sentence. “Start with an A and end with an A?” I asked (My name, as you can see, starts with an A and ends with an A).

LiteralDan Says:

June 27th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Masterful as usual. When’s will you have a book coming out?

The flaw in this arrangement, which it seems you two never ran into, comes with the question of who determines whether your suggestions are better than the names on the list.

Because then, you guys would just switch roles and be back where you started, except now you’d have a list conveniently at hand for whoever reached it first to shove down the other’s throat.

sophie Says:

July 31st, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Our eldest daughter is called Hester Lillian Frances – a beautiful name. She lives up to it as she is full to the brim with personality. Hester means ‘star’ and that is exactly what she is. I think it is a lovely name that is feminine as well as being strong.

Tara-Louise Says:

November 16th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I have 4 kids. 3 girls and 1 boy.

Jasper Alfie and his twin sister Alice Maria are 3.

And my newborn twin girls are called Holly Rebecca and Ivy Alexandra.

Yana Says:

January 28th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Beautiful names and beautiful story. I just gave birth to my daughter, Viktoria, 2 months ago. Does your daughter Victoria go by any nicknames?

Saracita00 Says:

February 13th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

This has to be the funniest article I have seen around the Berry Blogs. I read it aloud to my husband and we both laughed our heads off. It’s too bad our kids will have headless parents now, but we sure had a great time. Thanks.

pam Says:

February 13th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Saracita, I agree! This is still one of our funniest posts ever and one of my favorites….

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