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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Twins! Lincoln and Lillian/Suzanna

Queen writes:
Here's a naming fiend question: What do you think of matching twin names? Evil? OK, if not carried too far? (We will NOT be going for the anagram names Roland and Arnold, for instance. Or rhyming. Gag.)

Baby B is going to be Lincoln (Lincoln Theodore if he is in fact the only boy) and that's that. For Baby A, assuming her to be a her and not a sneaky boy, we are wavering between Lillian Ruth and Suzanna Ruth. Both of them mean approximately the same thing and would be chosen in honor of the same family members.

I like Lillian/Lilly a little better (my grandmother's first name is Lillie) even though it is so very popular right now. (The same thing happened to Abigail. I can't help it if other people have good taste!) Also, Link and Lilly sounds rather cute together.

On the other hand, I think my husband prefers Suzanna slightly. There is no doubt that it would be handy to have a separate first initial to differentiate things. We would use the nickname Zuzu until she got old enough to object, and after that I rather fancy Zanna and hope she does, too. I abhor Suzy or anything that sounds like it, which makes me a tad nervous about using this name.

If Baby A is a boy after all, he will probably be Emmett (Another last name! Gasp! But a traditional usage as a first name. Also it means "truth" in Hebrew.)


Ooooo, TWIN names! I found it both highly fun and highly stressful to name my twins. Matching twin names (Timmy and Tommy, Sharon and Karen, Paul and Paula) have been out of style since Timmy and Sharon and Paula were on the list of hot baby names. You do still hear of people doing it, of course, but the current prevailing attitude is Twin Names Should Not Match.

Still, I was hoping for some slight matchiness: same first initial, maybe, or at least same syllables or same number of letters! SOMEthing! The pseudonyms I use for them (Elizabeth and Edward) are misleading, because we ended up with zero matchiness of any kind: the girl name we liked best and the boy name we liked best didn't have anything in common, and we weren't willing to give up either name, so we gave up on the matchiness instead. Or perhaps "coordination" would be a more appropriate word: we weren't trying to MATCH so much as coordinate.

Even though I still think wistfully of alliteration, I do think it's a good twin-naming exercise to think of the twins arriving as singletons instead of together: which name would you choose for the first baby, born on his or her own, and then what name for the second baby, born a couple of years after that? If you had a son named Lincoln already, what would you name his sister?

As you point out, it is very handy indeed to have different initials: for the baby born after the twins, I leaned heavily toward any name candidate with a yet-unused initial.

If you do go with Lincoln and Lillian, I notice that "Linc and Lilly" sounds like "Lincoln Lilly." I'd switch the order to "Lilly and Linc"---but that sounds like "Lillian Linc"!

Let's ask Mairzy!

Although I've always actively hoped against having twins, I have to say, I envy you (and Swistle) the fun of twin-naming! This is my chance to have a bit of the fun without actually having two babies at once. (Note: the Queen and I are friends, but I don't live close enough to babysit... which means I can offer with great abandon because she can't take me up on it.)

My opinion of twin names -- a completely unauthorized opinion but when did that ever matter? -- is that they should go together but not match. Tenleigh and George, for instance, do not go together. Suzanna and Lincoln go together very well, but aren't a package deal. Lincoln and Lillian edge over the package-deal line.

Lincoln is a cool name, and Link a cool nickname. Also, Link and Lilly (I like the double-L spelling) is very cute. But, coolness and cuteness aside, I think you'll drive yourself crazy with those names. There is every possibility that you'll refer to your children as "Lill and Linky." And then there's the Repeating Initial trap. In my family, none of us has matching or rhyming names. But some of us (my son and I, my husband and daughter) have the same first initial. Labeling things has become a certified headache. If there are going to be more than four people in the household, Avoid Repeating First Letters! Then again, I love my children's names so much that I don't know which one I'd change. Hm. Maybe I'd change mine and my husband's.

Suzanna is a lovely name. I do prefer the Susannah spelling -- it's softer -- but Suzanna is legitimate. Plus, you can hope to use Zanna with that spelling. (What sixteen-year-old girl wouldn't want a cool name beginning with Z?) Nowadays, people don't automatically jump to nicknames like previous generations did; I don't think you have to worry about "Suzy."

If Suzanna turns out to be a sneaky boy... I love last-names-as-first-names. My own son's name is a surname, although it's been used as a first name long enough that you don't immediately realize it. But that's the type of name I always find myself picking out: one of the top contenders on our boy list is Reid. And it's an age-old tradition, not necessarily trendy and preppy. As for Emmett... we not only considered Emmett for a boy, but we went a step beyond and were going to use the actual Hebrew word for truth, Emeth. (I'm glad now that Baby turned out to be a girl, because I think we'd have regretted stepping out quite that far.). Emmett is a great name, one of the few gentlemanly boy names left not co-opted by girls (see: Avery, Reese, Vaughn). A word of caution: Emmett is up-and-coming popular. But that shouldn't discredit such a good name (she says without any trace of bias, having just admitted that she was going to use a form of the name for one of her own children).

To sum up, I like Lincoln and Suzanna best; and if the situation warrants it, Emmett and Lincoln would make a good pair.

And call me any time you need a babysitter!

Thanks, Mairzy!

Let's make a poll [poll closed; see below] that assumes Lincoln is the only boy, and let's have a vote on the name for the girl twin: Lillian (Lillian and Lincoln, Lilly and Linc, matching initials), or Suzanna (Suzanna and Lincoln, Zuzu and Linc, non-matching initials).

But even more interesting, I think, would be your thoughts on twin names. What would you do, if you had twins to name? Would you match a lot? a little? not at all? If you used my method of pretending you were naming the babies individually, would you hope for matchiness, or hope for none?

[Poll results:
Lincoln and Suzanna: 64 votes, roughly 63%
Lincoln and Lillian: 37 votes, roughly 37%]

Mairzy writes:
Queen asked me to send an update for her, seeing as she's now home with four children ages 4 and under. As she put it, "...Brain fog is getting pretty serious around here. Actually they're both very good babies and either one would be a piece of cake solo. But not being able to part with either, I shall just have to figure out both at once."

So here are the new arrivals, born July 9:

Suzanna Ruth
7lbs, 12oz; 20.5 in

Lincoln Theodore
6lbs, 15oz; 20 in]


Anonymous said...

Suzanna is one of my favourites, and it's long overdue for a comeback. It fits well with Linc, sound-wise, time-wise. Also, cute nicknames! Zanna is awesome.
Re: twin names, I would err on the non-rhyming non-matching side of things. They are individuals, after all. You can dress them in adorable his-and-her outfits if you want to match.

d e v a n said...

My husband is a twin and he and his brother are Aaron and Darren. Far too matchy for me!!!
I like Suzana. Good Luck!

fairydogmother said...

As an identical twin this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I am very, very much of a fan of names that coordinate but do NOT match. Also, the names do not HAVE to coordinate. Fraternal twins, especially boy-girl twins can have a little more latitude to "match" than you might otherwise feel comfortable with if your twins were identical, since they shouldn't have to deal with the whole issue of people being lazy and just not learning how to tell them apart or bothering to learn their individual names. ;) I wouldn't necessarily avoid alliteration or same initials, just don't take it as far as rhyming names, please. ;)

All of that being said, I think Lilly/Lillian and Lincoln are both adorable. Also, they are adorable together, without being overly match-y.

Jess said...

I like what you say about thinking of the twins as singletons and deciding that way what to name them. Twins go through enough automatic lumping together in their lifetime without their names sounding all matchy. And also, matchy names are confusing in a busy household. An indistinct call of "Lincoln" could easily be interpreted as "Lillian" (and vice versa) from several rooms (or floors) away, because we tend to distinguish sounds by first and last syllables. And that would be a pain.

ZestyJenny said...

Will there be any more children? If so, I would go with Suzannah. Then you are not stuck picking another L name, or NOT picking another L name, making the singleton even more left out.

I like Suzannah better, regardless. Having a super common name myself, I'm alwasy going to encourage the less popular choice!

Linda said...

I have twin cousins: Cindy and Sandy. UGH.

Like Swistle said, I thought of my twins more as siblings than twins when I picked out their names. I would want any siblings to have coordinating names, i.e. not Tenleigh and George like Mairzy said. I specifically did NOT want the same initials and then Child #3 couldn't have either twin initial. It meant that I crossed some wonderful names off my list, but I am okay with that.

Twins are stuck together in so many ways~sometimes people think of them as one person instead of two~that any way you can distinguish them is a very good thing.

Queen of Carrots said...

I should probably clarify, since people are asking about other children, that these are number 3 and 4. Numbers 1 and 2 are Abigail and Carlton. (As for future numbers, do not ask a woman 32 weeks pregnant with twins how she feels about that.)

The ease of having different initials alone is tipping the balance in favor of Suzanna for me. (One letter can fit even on a beanie baby tag!) I will be sad to bid a final farewell to Lillian, though.

As for what we would name them separately, we were having the same trouble with Suzanna vs. Lillian when we were picking out a girl name for what we thought was just #3.

I'm very intrigued by everybody's thoughts and rationale on naming twins.

Rachel said...

re: matching initals. You can always make sure their middle intial isn't the same. My brother and I were REO & RPO and my mom just wrote all three out. Before we could read, we each had a symbol (I was heart) that signified our names for easy idenification.

pennythoughts (Alison) said...

Personally, I much prefer twin/multiple names that do *not* match or rhyme. I think it's important that they be in the same general style (just like any siblings' names), but like everyone else has said, twins get lumped together an awful lot anyway. And while I love Lillian/Lilly, it does seem like it would be very confusing with Lincon/Link. So I'm in favor of Suzanna, which is a great name with great nicknames. Suzanna Lilly could be nice too, although it looks like Ruth might be a family name you want to stick with. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think if I were naing any children it would be important to me that styles be consistent. So, I think my twin names would differ very little from my individual choices.

I really prefer Suzanna, expecially Zanna as a nn, that's great! I also think with the other two children's names, that Suzanna sounds wonderful. Good luck!

robin said...

My sister had (identical) twins 6 mos. ago and named them Helen and Rose. I love that. They work together (both old fashioned and a little romantic), but they don't match. And I have to disagree with matching the first initials. I think that's kind of tacky.

Also, more on topic - I really HATE Suzanna but think Susannah is quite lovely. Still, that's only one girl's opinion, and if you went that route, you wouldn't be able to nickname her Zanna.

Jill said...

If you end up using Suzanna, could you change the middle name to be Lillian? Or is Ruth a definite? I voted for Suzanna.

I have no experience with twin names, as there are none anywhere in my family. I did go to school with a few sets of twins, and none of them had matchy names. I guess the coordinated to an extent, like both having classic biblical names, but they really weren't all that similar. I agree with the other posters who think the names should be chosen independently of each other, since otherwise you run the risk of having the twins lumped together even more than they already will be.

Therese said...

Great topic! Being a twin myself (I have a brother), my personal opinion would be to avoid any level of "matchiness" at all costs. As children and teens, we both struggled greatly to create out own identities (even in a supporting family where we weren't always grouped as "the twins."). I think matchy names (even the same initial) would have made that more of a challenge. I like Swistle's rec of picking the name you would name a sibling who came along 2 years later. My parents just happened to have 1 boy and 1 girl name chosen when we were born and when (surprise)they had boy/girl twins (before the days of ultrasounds), they were set. This guarantees that the name flows within the family and still "go together" so to speak without being "matchy."

Mayberry said...

My sister's name is Susan and she is never ever EVER called Susie. I agree with Mairzy that you needn't worry too much about your Suzanna being Suzy against your will. Zuzu and Zanna are both darling nicknames. If I didn't already have a child with -anna in her name I'd name another one Susannah in a heartbeat.

Susan said...

I like having twin names coordinated, and while I don't like them too matchy, I do like the same first initial. I was planning to vote for Lincoln and Lillian until I read Swistle's comment about the second syllables being confused with "and." That made me reconsider, and I ended up deciding they were too matchy with the same first letter PLUS a similar sound to the second syllable. So I voted for Lincoln and Suzanna. They sounded great right away, but they sound even better to my ear as they simmer a bit. They are nicely coordinated in flavor and each name enhances the other name for some reason.

I'm sure there won't be any problem with "Suzy." I'm a Susan and no one calls me Susie. Well, except for my cousin, and that's different! She may!

Erin said...

In your case, I would vote for Lillian simply because I prefer Lillian to Suzanna. I don't think you can go wrong with either, though.

I am expecting twins in the next month to 6 weeks. They are also boy/girl. We plan to name them Charles William (Charlie) and either Hazel or Norah with the middle name Catherine. We're struggling to decide on a girl as well. Thoughts are welcome!

Anonymous said...

I have twin sisters. Their names are Kimbra Lea and Kara Lynn. I think if my mom had to do it again, she would change the middle names so that they wouldn't have the same initials (despite promises to the contray, the girls ended up with very similar SSNs).

One thing to remember, no matter what the name of twins, they will always be confused especially if it is two girls or two boys.

Dorothy said...

I would try to avoid matchiness with twin names. I like the suggestion of thinking of then as siblings, but not twins, while deciding on names. Twins get lumped together all the time, which seems incredibly frustrating.

Personally, I wouldn't even make a conscious effort to coordinate, because the same person (two people) will be picking the names, which makes Tenleigh and George an unlikely combination. The same people don't pick Tenleigh and George, that's why they don't match in the first place.

Lillian and Lincoln are very close, I might even say too close for siblings at all. I definitely support Suzanna. And Zanna and Zuzu are great nicknames (even though I actually do like Susie).