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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Naming Issue: All Names Starting With One Parent's Initial

G. writes:
Before we had any kids, the husband and I had agreed on a all-baby-names-start-with-the-same-first-letter schtick. And I liked the idea even though it's the same first letter as HIS name, and I'd be the odd-woman out. But the reason I was fine with it was because I LOVE weird baby names (always have - way before it was THE bandwagon to jump on. Seriously, I wanted to name my kid "Darkly Noon" after a Brendan Fraser movie.) I love weird baby names because I always loved having a weird name myself. And the husband's first name starts with perhaps the weirdest letter available, so I thought that would be cute, to have this gaggle of weird-first-letter-named kids running around. This would be made even weirder because we're also only using ethnic names - my husband's ethnicity and not mine, so I'll be left out of everything. It'd be like having kids names Jose, Javier, and Julietta whose dad is name Juan and the mom is Molly.

So I was fine with it, but then everyone had to chime in. And people are resoundingly
anti-everyone's-first-name-starts-the-same-except-the-mother. And now I'm feeling a little self-conscious about it, and my husband's all "I thought we agreed already?" We still have a long list of names we both LOVE, but I'm starting to waiver a bit on this issue. Or am I? Maybe I need to tell everyone else that can go and name their own babies, thankyouverymuch. I'm asking for your - and your readers - HONEST opinion. Be brutal - I can take it! Really! How terrible is it when all the family shares the same first initial except the mom?

Oooh, brutality is fun! Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

It does seem a little sad for you to be so left out. But I think this is one of those areas where there is APPARENT symbolism (which is what bothers people) with no ACTUAL symbolism. I am assuming from the way you phrased your question that your husband is not using you as a Disposable Breeder to create His Family, but in fact the two of you are in this together and both like the idea of matching-initial names, in which case you should go with your plan and roll your eyes at everyone else.

I wonder if there is a way to reduce the Apparent Symbolism? One idea would be to give each child a middle name that starts with your initial and is in your name's style. I wouldn't suggest this in many situations (because it's very challenging and also may result in names with Inner Clash), but it sounds like this is the kind of challenge you'd not only be up to but also enjoy.

Poll results (327 votes total) for "Be brutal: How terrible is it when all the family shares the same first initial except the mom?"

Wicked terrible: 54 votes, roughly 17%
Kind of terrible: 76 votes, roughly 23%
Just a tidge terrible: 55 votes, roughly 17%
Meh, it doesn't MEAN anything: 129 votes, roughly 39%
Not terrible, it's awesome: 13 votes, roughly 4%


tracynicole22 said...

I don't see anything wrong with it at all. If that's what you and your husband have agreed on, go for it. After all you are both picking out the names, it's not like you don't have a part in choosing your kids names. And I love Swistle's suggestion! Have the kids middle names represent you.

Robin said...

Wait, so it sounds like you don't have a problem at all. If it's not a problem for you (and it wouldn't be for me, if that's how I wanted to name my children), then it can't possibly be a problem for "people." Don't worry about it!

I think Swistle's middle name suggestion is great, too!

Lara Jane said...

I, too, like Swistle's suggestion!

I had a whole lot to say on the matter but I will leave it there. :)

Alice said...

i agree! you like the idea, AND you're helping pick the names (and getting what you wanted, with weird letter / matching first letters / interesting names) so a big TTHHHBBBTTBTBT to all the naysayers :-)

Gina B. said...

I kind of dig Swistle's suggestion of you getting to be in charge of the middle names, even if it's not matching letters. Just maybe you're style... It's really easy to let other people's opinions make you doubt yourself, but if you and the husband are both in on this, then do what YOU TWO want. (Easier said than done, i know...) Good luck!

g~ said...

I *LOVE* Swistle's suggestion of middle name with your initial! What baby naming FUN!

Ellie said...

Normally I don't "like" when all of the children have the same first name. It seems like the decision comes from machismo. Either that or it seems the parents desire to be coordinated rather than pick names that they actually like. Sometimes the younger children even get left over names.

That being said, G, you seem happy with the idea. It wasn't an afterthought as it is with a lot of people. It looks to me like you still have input on the first names, so whatever you do with the middle names is great too. I like Swistle's suggestion as well.

Laura said...

It doesn't matter what other people think, do what feels right for you and your husband! If you think you'd be sad if you broke from the original plan and had to give up the list of names you LOVE, stick to it and ignore what everyone else says. If you truly are changing your mind, come up with a new list you LOVE. Either way, it's your choice, not anyone else's :)

Lisa said...

Sounds like you are both good with this choice. I like the middle name suggestion from Swistle.

Another suggestion would be to do his initial for the boys, with his ethnic style, and then your initial for the girls in your style.

But ultimately, YOU GUYS make the naming decision. You are the parents.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I don't think you should be bothered!!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Personally, I've always thought the "everyone has the same first initial thing" was a little odd. But that may be because I have a lisp/speech issue and I have a hard time with iliteration so saying a long list of names like "Sam, Sally, Sarah, Sasha and Scott" would get me all tongue twisted so it's probably really all about me and my issues and man, I need to go to therapy again SOON.

I LOVE Swistle's suggestion of the middle name. I also think that naming your kids is a hugely personal thing that other people shouldn't get their knickers in a twist about. If you both like it, 'f em.

d e v a n said...

My sister, my brother and I (and my dad) all had the initials DMS. My mom was CAS. It never bothered us.

Katie said...

It seems like the issue is that other people thinking you not having the same initial but the dad does.

While I'm not a huge fan of the kids all having the same first letter, I know some people love it. I've seen families where the whole family had the same initials, just the kids, the boys all match dad and the girls match mom or just one or the other, etc. If it's what the parents both want, have fun with it.

It doesn't even sound to me like you have to worry about the younger kids getting left over names if you have a list of names you both love already.

I say, have fun with it and just find a way to laugh off the annoying people. You both love it, and that's what really matters.

(Trust me, no matter what system you use to name the kids you'll get lots of criticism so just choose what you like and run with it!)

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

If you don't care,that's the most important thing. Personally, it's a little "Duggar" for me (even though I love that show.)

Have you already picked names that you like with the crazy letter? What if you run out of names and you have to start tweaking the spelling (again like the Duggars and poor "Jinger"?)

OK I think I'm thinking about this waaay too much. If you like it, who cares what everyone else thinks. They're your kids!

Abby said...

Hmmm ... it sounds like these are all still hypothetical offspring, right? So you could choose to name one kiddo Obadiah or Venus or Xanthe and see how it feels.

If you do feel left out, you could always change your mind with baby #2. But I wouldn't change my plans about what to name my child because of others' reactions. The bottom line is that someone, somewhere will disagree with your choice, whether you choose Emily or Andromeda.

Melissa said...

First of all, I have to say they are your children & you can name them exactly as you please & everyone else should have their own kid if they want someone to name. But... having said that, my biggest concern here would be the kids as they get older.. it sounds like they will all have VERY unusual names which can be hard, & ethnic names on top of it (which can be hard to pronounce/spell) & then on top of that they share the same initial with all their siblings.... could be hard on the kids, so that would be my only issue. Maybe if you start by seeing if you can even find enough names for the letter (say 3 boys & 3 girls) to find out what you might be getting in to down the road...

Frazzled Mom said...

Growing up I was one of 3 kids all with the same initial. Heck my two brothers even had the same middle initial. We grew up in the 80's in a middle class household in an area where monogramming was the thing. My brothers shared a room, and my Mom was so thrilled that they could get a shared monogrammed lamp and waste basket with their shared initials. Today my brothers live on opposite US coasts, about 3,000 miles away - they must have gotten tired of sharing everything : ) But they are actually still very close - always texting each other.

Enough about me. Stylistically I thought it was cheesy. BUT that's me and I'm just rebelling against my Mom's style. Most importantly, I was not scarred for life. In fact, I had a pretty stable childhood with attentive parents. So in the end I say listen to what people say but do what you want.

ModernMom said...

Hi there. New here but I'm still going to chime in!
I say you and Hubby decide by yourselves what you will name your babe. The name is the first gift you give your baby! Don't tell friends or family. Announce it after the babe is born and then no one can say a word!

Tess said...

I don't know who these "people" are that are influencing your naming decision, but unless they are close friends or family, chances are you won't know them in five years. I wouldn't let superfluous opinions get in the way of naming my children. As long as you and your husband agree, that is all that matters. I do love Swistle's suggestion for the middle name, so I made a list below of possible options for you:

Jose Malcom
Javier Matthew
Julietta Michelle

I hope this helps, good luck!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, do you and your husband share his last name also? Not that it would change anything, but for me, I like to have something passed down, so maybe swistle's suggestion is just the thing. I also like the suggestion of girls after mom and boys after dad, but if you have three of one sex or something it won't really work. Either way, try not to let other people's opinions influence you, and to be honest, not everyone will even notice!

Jodi said...

Well, if I were your real-life friend, I would probably be firm member of the don't-do-it! camp, but having read your rationale, I'm finding myself thinking, why not?

Usually, my objection to this is that people haven't thought it through enough: they maybe have one girls' name and one boys' name they like that start with the same letter, but end up with two boys instead. Then when surprise boy #3 comes along, they're really grasping at straws, and he as well as any subsequent children get a name that everyone knows was chosen *just* because it started with the right letter. If you already have a long enough list of names you truly love to name a "gaggle" of children, then that's not going to be an issue.

You might consider going for a plan with a little more flexibility though since your name style might eveolve over the years. The other names on my short list for my first daughter did not end up getting used for any of the next three, except as middle names. Maybe names just go a little stale when they don't get used. You might end up feeling a little boxed in and ho-hum about this long list you have right now a few babies down the road. Anyway, what about deciding that all of your children will share an initial with either you or your husband?

As someone else said, you could always name #1 without a firm long term plan and then see how you feel about the matchy matchy issue later.

For what it's worth, our plan has always been to give each child a *unique* first initial, and now that we have 4 kids under our belts and plan to have more, that's starting to feel just as limiting as the same-first-initial rule!

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

My dad, two sisters, brother, and I have names that go down the alphabet - JKLMN, and our middle initials all start with R. AND our first initial rhymes with our middle name (i.e. I'm L. Rachelle, there's J. Renee, K. Rae, and N. Ryan - granted that last one is a stretch). It wasn't planned until the third kid.

But anyway, my mom doesn't fit in that scheme. And it was never a problem. And people always think it's cool and a little crazy that our names do that. So I say GO FOR IT!

Code Yellow said...

I'm not a fan of the all one initial thing - both my parents come from families who did it so in my mind it's very goofy 1950s. (Plus all my mom's siblings were "s" names - which usually resulted in a run-through of all the first sounds of the names when trying to get one of the children's attention, and finally, "oh, sh..! whoever you are, just get over here!. We joke about it now, but...)

The ethnic thing is cool, however. I think it will lend a sense of family and heritage. I do know one family who had a similar situation and the parents took turns naming their kids - every second child had a very Hawaiian name, and the others had a more "normal" name - but they are all beautiful and unique, representing both sides of the family.

Mostly, though, they are your what you feel happy about. Also, up to this point, I've had all boys, but I've never felt "left out" being the only "girl" in the house. It actually lends a certain special status - it could work the same with your name.

Musings from Me said...

My husband and I have the same starting initial for our first names. For our first child we vaccilated between one name without that initial and one name with. We chose the name with the same initial as ours. Tough decision -- as we are indecisive. Decided on final name choices the night before -- also did not know sex of baby until borth.

With second and third children it was a no brainer. Both needed names with the same initial. I like that we are the "[insert letter]" family. Good decision for us.