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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: A Family Naming Tradition Breaks a Household's Naming Traditions

Liv writes:
I love your blog, and thank you so much for being such a voice of reason in the baby naming madness!

My husband and I are hoping you can help us find a name for our son, who is due in about three weeks. There are a WHOLE bunch of issues. Let me try to unpack them....

So to begin at the beginning, my name is Olivia and my husband is Charlton. We go by Liv and Charlie.

We are super hippie dippy ish, as my 12 year old would say (she came back from some sort of drug awareness day at school and asked us how much weed we had smoked) and that's part of the issue, kind of. Our kids have my last name (Hawke) in part because of the hippie-ness, in part because his last name rhymes with an insult (f-er) and in part because I'm an only child and he has two brothers. the kids do have his last name as a second middle name.

We have four spectacular daughters: Adelaide Miriam, Samantha Irene, Georgia Isabel, Eleanor Miranda. they sometimes go by Addy, Sammy, Georgie, and Ellie but its not how they are introduced or anything, more like family/friends. We love that they have long formal names plus fun nicknames.

So here's the real problem: my parents are dead, so the problem is really my husband's family. They are super traditional and they are all SO EXCITED that we are having a boy. I think that they think that we just kept having girls until we finally got a boy, which is so not even a tiny bit true. We love having girls. We think it will be fun to have a boy because it will be interesting to get to parent both, but its not like we KEPT getting pregnant so we could "finally get our boy" as my FIL says. We just wanted a big family! (and this will be our last child because we agreed on five, NOT because we are "finally getting our boy."

so anyway. in Charlie's family the longstanding tradition is to give the firstborn boy (which this is) is to name is Charlton-Absurd Middle Name That Is The WASPiest Name You Can Imagine-Last Name That Rhymes With A Playground Insult. (Charlie is a fourth). the trouble is we don't like any of those names. Charlton is all NRA-y (see hippie dippie) the middle name is absurd, and this baby's last name will be Hawke, like the other kids. His parent aren't happy about that either.
but there is a LOT of pressure to Do It The Right Way, which means giving the baby this name we don't like. and the other thing is, both of us kind of feel like we don't want our girls to think for even a second that they aren't valued, or that The Boy is somehow better than them beacuse he has a penis, or WHATEVER. and although they all have middle names that have meaning to us--special friends, or influential people--none of them have family names. and I love my husband and would love to honor him with our son's name--but I don't exactly want to honor his father/grandfather etc, and also I HATE the name, and he isn't fond of it either...but it would mean so much to his parents. Ugh. No idea what to do.

So....what on earth do we do here?

(you can probably get a sense of our style from the girls names but some boys names we both like are  William, James, Henry, Isaac, Edward, and Sebastian--though a couple of those are out so we dont repeat initials).

wow, i wrote you a lot. feel free to edit and delete parts!

and THANK YOU!!!!
and
I have one more....data point! The baby is due next week (eeeeeeeek) and my husband and I are just not sure what to do. My MIL called me last night weeping because she says that the idea of not having a grandson named after her husband makes her too sad. Which...what? On the one hand, wtf. On the other hand, I actually LIKE my MIL most of the time, and even though there are lots of things about us she doesn't approve of she has been really kind to me, especially as I don't have a mom anymore, and she is a really great grandma to my girls. So...what on earth do I do? We are kind of thinking about using Charlton as this baby's middle name but we don't LIKE it that much and also then we again have the issue of not wanting the girls to feel like they were undervalued because they ddin't get a family name.
I asked Addy (12) what she thinks yesterday and she says that it would bother her some not to be named after either parent if her brother was but that she'd get over it....
Thanks for any help!


I really see the pressure here.  I see why it will be difficult not to name your son after his father. I can see why your in-laws are so invested in it, and so upset about it. It's a painful situation all around, especially since no one wants to hurt anyone else.

But neither you nor your husband wants to use the name. The pressure does not trump that. You may CHOOSE to allow the pressure to trump that, if you wish, and some families do make that decision. But it comes down to this: there is no way for everyone in this situation to be happy, and the job of naming the baby is yours and your husband's.

Furthermore, you've already decided to give your children your husband's surname as a second middle name and your surname as their surname. Changing now would only make sense if you'd had a prior plan---something like "All the girls will have my surname and all the boys will have yours." Changing for the fifth child in order to meet your in-law's preferences seems wrong, and confusing.

Wait---re-reading the letter, it sounds like you'd give the baby your surname regardless. If your son is going to be a Hawke, then it doesn't matter what his other names are, he won't be a Fifth, and the tradition is broken regardless; I don't see any reason at all to use a first and middle name you don't like just to please your in-laws, when it won't even satisfy their naming tradition.

In fact, I'm ready to make a call here: if the baby is going to be Hawke, then no, don't name him the family names. Your mother-in-law doesn't get to name the baby, even if you love her and even if she cries. She named her own babies, and this is a "put the foot down" situation, similar to if she was insisting you buy a house she liked instead of one you liked, or insisting you wear clothes she liked instead of ones you liked, or insisting on another first/middle name not connected to the family. Perhaps one of her other sons will name a son after her husband. And if not, that is sad for her but that's the way it is: we do not go around pressuring other people to honor our family members with namesakes, just because it makes us sad if they don't.

If you decide not to use the name, and to continue with your household's tradition of the children getting their mother's surname, two things need to happen immediately: first, your husband needs to talk to his parents and tell them that their family name will not be used (I assume he doesn't need to be instructed to emphasize that this is what HE wants, since their inclination might be to assume otherwise); and second, all discussion with the in-laws on the topic needs to stop. If your mother-in-law calls you in tears, she needs to be told very kindly and understandingly that you're very sorry she's unhappy, that you wish this decision wasn't making her so unhappy---but that the decision has been made.

One thing that can make me quite upset about family naming traditions is that they can cause this kind of pressure---and the pressure builds with every generation. And the pressure is unwarranted and unfair: each set of parents gets to name their OWN babies---not the babies of their descendents. Naming traditions allow previous generations to name their own babies AND other people's babies. Furthermore, it makes the decision without the consent of people who will marry into the family in the future---traditionally speaking, the women. If everyone likes this idea, it's fine; but more often, people do it because no one can stand to be the one to break it. It's unfair, and I believe the concept that it is perfectly within the parents' rights to break such traditions should be more widespread.

Your idea of giving him the name Charlton _ucker as middle names might be a way to please your in-laws partway, without it being a capitulation: they're still losing their Fifth, and they lose the first name. It's common for a boy to be given his father's first name as a middle name, and a name you dislike wouldn't be as big a deal in the middle name position; and yet it may help to comfort and please your in-laws who have also gotten caught up in the pressure caused by this naming tradition.



Name update! Liv writes:
Hi again! We want to thank you for all of your help. We SO appreciate it, and the comments were wonderful!
The baby was born yesterday and he's beautiful. In the end we decided NOT to go with the tradition (we would have used my surname anyway, but he would have had the rest of the name--and I think my MIL hoped that he'd drop the Hawke part eventually...) but we kind of sort of compromised on the middle name. Kind of.

 In the end, just a couple days ago, we decided that we just felt too weird giving our son the name of one of his parents while NONE of the girls had my name anywhere. maybe we were overthinking it, but maybe not! So Charlie called my MIL and told her that we were not using the name and we didn't want to hear another thing about it, but that *I* wanted advice on what to use as the middle name, My MIL was pretty upset at first, but she called back the next day and told me that she understood (awww!) and asked if we'd consider using the name of someone special to their family. She explained that they had a good family friend, now deceased, who really helped my in laws to raise their boys.  He sounded like a great guy and my husband certainly remembers him that way, so I agreed--the name is not QUITE my style, but it's not bad, and it meant a lot to my in-laws and felt like a good compromise--a name that's important to them but doesn't carry on the whole patriarchy thing, and like the girls is named for a nonfamily member who is very important. and then for the first name, we just chose the name from our list we liked best (well, we kind of liked Sebastian best, but REALLY didnt want to repeat initials!)

So our son is Isaac Malachi. We love his name. I like that purely by chance he has I and M as initials, and the girls all have middle names that start with I or M. Not intentional but nice! Addy started calling him Baby Ike and now we are all doing it....

Thank you again SO MUCH. you really, really made us feel like it was OK to do what we wanted to do!

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree! My husband was the first child whose name "broke" a naming tradition and nothing exploded and no body died. I think families with naming traditions get bent out of shape when someone threatens to end the tradition simply because they kept it up and the person before them kept it up, and if it ends their abiding by rules was in vain. I'm sure they had names they would have rather used too! Just be brave, I'm telling you, if neither you nor your husband feel good about this you absolutely need to have a kind talk with his family about why you want to break tradition. Be empathetic but firm. Know that if you name your son in an attempt to keep peace, he too will be pressured to name his own son the "family name". Sorry if this has been super long but I feel so strongly about this having encountered it myself. I love the name Henry by the way. Henry Hawke is a dreamy name.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Swistle & the previous poster. Don't do it!! In fact, I'd take it a step further and not discuss your final decision to break the tradition until the baby is born (why draw out the drama longer than you have to). It sounds like your in-laws already know, or at least suspect, that this baby isn't going to be a 5th (hence the pressure) so it's not going to be a total shock if you announce another name. I also wouldn't attempt to compromise by using Charlton as a middle name. They still aren't getting what they want (something tells me they won't be satisfied with the gesture) and you aren't happy with the idea. I just don't think trying to compromise is worth it if nobody walks away at least a little happy. They got to name their babies and you get to name yours, that is just how it is. Pick a name you love and your husband needs to be prepared to stand up to his parents. They may never be happy with the name you finally choose, but it's not going to make them love their grandson any less.

StephLove said...

I agree with Swistle and the previous posters. Don't use the name if you don't want to use it. I'll skip the reasons why since everyone else has been so articulate about them and go straight to making combinations of the names you do like.

Isaac Sebastian -Ucker Hawke
James Edward -Ucker Hawke
Henry Isaac -Ucker Hawke
William James -ucker Hawke

Or if you think it would help smooth things over (and I'm not sure it would) Isaac Charlton -Ucker Hawke, James Charlton -Ucker Hawke, etc.

Anonymous said...

What about Charles as a first name? You're already breaking the tradition because of your surname, but this is a nice way to tie it together. Charles (Charlie) falls in your style I think, has a cute nickname, is removed from the NRA association but clearly ties him to all of the Charltons that came before.

LiciaLee said...

Swistle goes into way more detail, but I'm with everyone else. DON"T DO IT! You will have to use this name for the rest of your little man's life, do you really want it to be a name that you hate?

Anonymous said...

with my MIL you give her an inch she goes a mile.
pick a name you want.

Lora said...

My husband and I broke the naming tradition with our son and the in laws were PISSED. and shocked. Especially my father in law.

But, once my son was born they got over it, save for the occasional jab from my father in law but now he's dead and everyone is happy.
About my son's name. Not that my father in law is dead.

Though I will admit that life is easier and quieter without him.
But that's a story for another day.

It's your baby. You get to name him

Megan M. said...

I totally agree. If you AND your husband don't want to use the name, there's no further need for discussion. Your in-laws WILL get over it, and the fact that they are trying to use tears to sway you is just... not cool. No matter how nice they may otherwise be. Don't give in.

Anonymous said...

I think your husband should point out to his mother that her husband DID have a child named after him...... YOUR HUSBAND! Now it is his and your turn to decide if the tradition will continue and you've decided not to. End of story.

Shannon said...

Perhaps the baby, who will one day be a man, would appreciate the connection to his father and other men folk in the family more than having a random name that his parents liked? I dunno, I am am oddball in that I think parents can think too much about their own tastes when they aren't the ones living with the name. So perhaps consider it from his perspective. Just mho.

Allison said...

Shannon: That's a good point, except that the parents of the child certainly do live with the name, every single day. While the sacred menfolk of the child do not, except as they bask in their own honor. I think if I were thinking from HIS perspective, I would want my own name, given to me by my parents, rather than a name that was forced on my parents and on me. Wouldn't you? Or rather, DON'T you already? Or are you a fifth, named by family tradition rather than by your parents "random" choice?

Meredith said...

I hope she shares the name they end up with!

I also would recommend telling the in-laws right away that the answer is definitely "no" to making him a Fifth, and say you're considering using Charlton as a middle name to see if it even will soften the blow at all. It could be that once he's not getting the whole name, they're not going to care much whether he keeps any of his father's name? And hopefully, at least, it will help them to see how hard you're working to sincerely meet everyone's wishes as much as you can. And if they don't notice, then by all means, point it out! They might back off if you (or really your husband) point out how much unnecessary stress, worry & heartache this is causing you, and for more ammunition, share your reasoning about how his name compares to his sisters'!

GOOD LUCK!!

Lyly said...

Maybe it is just me but your naming style seems pretty traditional. I get that you are trying to have a hawkeye pierce and not a Charles Emerson Winchester III. (a mash reference). I named my children their own name. No family names in the bunch. But I also didn't have a tradition to follow and I am a bit torn. This tradition is going on five generations and in a world of get it as soon as you can and instant gratification. It seems like this name is a bit of non conforming which hippies like and also hippies seem to be in favor of whatever it takes to keep the peace.

But I also understand the need to establish your own traditions. So good luck!

Sarah A said...

I'm going to echo an Anonymous poster's suggestion of using Charles as a first name. I agree it seems to fit with the names you like. Charles and Charlton are close, right? Without the Heston association. That way it's a bit more win-win. Because I do agree with Swistle that the reasons are overwhelming NOT to name your son Charlton -- V.
Oh, and I just want to say also kudos to you and your hubby for considering your daughters' feelings in all this. I do think it's annoying when families give their daughters random names they love and then the sons get family names.

Shannon said...

My mom picked a name that she liked that had no significance other than she liked it. Which is nice, but it doesn't really do much for me. I mean Shannon? My other 6 siblings my mom gave much more classic family names. Just my 2 cents.

Shannon said...

Charles does seem like a nice option that fits well with the other very classic/traditional names. Would be a cute sib set!

Jessica said...

There have been a few letters (or maybe just one?) here that have said their in-laws broke a naming tradition and the OP is SOOOOO GRATEFUL she doesn't have to be the one to do it. You can be that MIL! Also, along those lines, giving your son the family name would put pressure on him to have a namesake some day and do you want your grandson to have to be named this?

Sunk Costs said...

how about "name you like" charlie -ucker hawke. 4 names like his sisters, a meaningful name that his parents chose (the name his dad goes by), the same last names as the rest of the family. whether this placates the inlaws is of less significance to me than whether it makes YOU, the parents, happy. just a thought since you like the middle name to have family/friend significance.

if i were one of the granddaughters in a situation like this, i'd be inclined to think my grandparents valued a grandson more highly than a granddaughter, because they don't appear to have weighed in on girl names. "girls, eh whatever you want but a boy HAS to have THIS name!"

Anonymous said...

We broke the naming tradition with the birth of our son. He should've been William Edgar ____. I was willing to entertain it, but hubby said absolutely not. We did keep Edgar as our son's middle name, but his first name is Ronan! No regrets. At all. Maybe it helped that we were adamant from the beginning that we were not going to use the family name. Clearly you're waffling, so MIL senses your weakness. The grandparents will get over it. Give your son a name that fits with your family, not his grandparents! Best of luck.

Angie said...

Your predicament sounds like a script for a movie.

I wouldn't want to be in your shoes. But based on what you said, it sounds like your normally get along with your in-laws. Therefore, I think they may be disappointed at first if you break the tradition, but they will get over it, probably sooner than you would have suspected. Once they see that adorable little guy, they will agree his name, whatever you choose, fits.

As for what name your son would want, that's a crap shoot. Some guys like the connection to the family and other guys, like your husband, hate the burden. All you can do is naming him as you see fit.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I also broke the tradition with our son's name. He was meant to be John William IV, but both of us dislike those names (we definitely prefer more modern and less overused monikers), and we think each child deserves their own identity rather than having a name that belongs to dad, grandpa, etc. So we ended up naming him Riley Weston. We love it, and our family eventually got over it and love the name now. So I say stick with your decision, its your baby, not anyone else's.

Heidi J said...

I'm so sorry. Definitely pick a name you like, but maybe use Charlton as a middle name? If you did that though, do you think your ILs would call the baby that rather than his first name? If so, I'd just do all names that you like.

Laura said...

My daughter and I share the same middle name, Lee, and it's a middle name that's been passed down from mother to daughter for several generations now. I love having a connection to my female ancestors and hope that my daughter does, too. Then again, I only had the middle name tradition to deal with, not a full name plus a Fifth to deal with.
My brother is a Third, and he swears he will never pass on his name because he thinks it sounds pretentious. (His words, not mine.) I don't have that sort of feeling about his name, but it's ultimately his call. Just as with your son, it's YOUR call. If you and your husband don't like the name, then don't use it! Even in the middle position! Grandparents have all sorts of opinions about names until they see the beautiful bundle of joy, then they don't care anymore. Your MIL will get over it, the trick is firmly, but kindly letting her know that it's not going to happen.
Suggestions for other boy names:
Theodore
Frederick
James
Thomas
Oliver
Christopher
Jasper

Good luck!!

Jen said...

I think Swistle's point about having a different last name and therefore not being a V even if you were to use all of the other parts of the name frees you from the tradition. And it's really helpful that you and your husband are in agreement.

I tend to think traditions are only lovely to follow if everyone is happy about following them. We had naming traditions we chose to follow but both my husband and I felt happy about choosing to follow them. Feeling badly about the name required of the naming tradition just sort of ruins it.

Remember that all of the children do have an honor name from their father's side in their second mn. Maybe the in-laws don't view that as enough of an honor but I'd be sure to mention that when I broached the subject.

Trudee said...

Ooh, I hate it when I hear about emotional manipulation like that. The truth is that you are not responsible for your MIL's feelings. If she's sad about this, she's making the choice to be so. There are many things about this little guy to be happy about, so if she's choosing to focus on the things she can't have her way then that's her problem. Like others have said, once the baby is here, she'll let it go.

I whole-heartedly say go with a name you love. I wouldn't even use Charlton as a middle if you don't like it. I also think Charles doesn't work as then you have two Charlies and that doesn't sound like that you want. You know what's right for your family so go with that. I love all the names on your shortlist though I think Sebastian is pretty cool and you can have the nn Baz. Always loved that. And I think it goes really well with the sibset. Good luck!

Bonnie said...

I broke the naming tradition. My son would have been the fifth but I firmly believe that he needed his own name. First of all, my husband and father already share a name which can be confusing. Second, the only person I would have been naming my son after would have been his father (as the previous bearers of the name were not good people). My husband has already encountered problems from this when undergoing background checks for employment and I did not want that for my son too. After speaking with my husband about it, we agreed that my son needed his own name; however, now that we are expecting again, his family has already started with some not-so-suttle hints. But if this child is a boy, he will get his own name too.

So my point is...try not to succumb to pressure. Name him what feel right to you.

Anonymous said...

I think these girls names are very traditional, not hippy-ish at all. So, I don't think Charlton would stand out. I would certainly not give the boy a different last name than his siblings, that would just be strange. I also wouldn't give him a first name I hated. I would consider using it as a middle though.

Patricia said...

James Charlton _ucker Hawke, sometimes called "Jamie" is my suggestion.

James is among your favorites and goes well with his older sisters' names.

Including Charlton carries on a family naming tradition in a way that it seems you can live with -- as the middle name and not the first; also it's not the same exact name as your husband's.

Too, your MIL [who will be informed, gently, by your husband beforehand that the baby will not be a V -- or whatever the # is -- because that's not the naming style of the two of you] will most likely be happy that Charlton is included in the name.

As for the older sisters not having family names, I don't see that as a concern, especially if it isn't made an issue of. Neither my sister nor I have family names, while each of our 3 brothers has a family middle name -- 2 after our father, the other after our maternal grandfather: a total non-issue for my sister and me.

Nicole Trager said...

My husband is a third and it has already been an issue and we are not close to being pregnant yet. I have already put my foot down that there will be no 4th.. there has been wailing and gnashing of teeth, but they will get over it... my husband and i both hate the name so why in the world would I used it when in reality 90 years ago someone just picked it because it was mainstream and popular and I am expected to follow suit.. no way, no how, no thank you. I couldn't imagine raising a child everyday with a name I hated.. you are the one at 3am feedings singing lullabys not the in-laws. I say stand firm and go with what you love.. they will still love you and your baby.

Angela said...

I'm gonna chime in here because I DID give into the tradition, and my son is now the IV. My number one reason, which is TOTALLY different from your case, is that my husband LOVES his name and LOVES being III. So I thought that if my husband loves being Gunnar Frederick, than my son will most likely also love being named Gunnar Frederick. It is a cool name, even if it's not quite my taste. We also compromised by letting me pick the nickname (Jack) and I get preferential pick on all other future offspring names. (My husband is pretty neutral about all other names besides Gunnar!)

But for your case, neither you nor your husband are passionate about V, then don't do it. I don' think that the coolness of being a V outweighs someone growing up with the name and hating it, or both parents disliking it.

The in-laws are gonna have to deal.

Anonymous said...

I love your daughters' names -- but see them as more vintage than "hippy". Too, the boys' names you like seem to fit more with vintage/traditional than with "hippy" (as in "far out"). With that in mind, I think Charlton fits very well as either a first or middle name and see no reason not to include it in the middle. Yes, it's not one of your favorite names, but it would mean so much to your husband's parents to see the name carried on. If you decide to include Charlton, you might think of that not as something you -had- to do, but as a 'gift' to them -- and to your son too to have this name link with his father and his father's family.

Isaac Charlton ("Ike" would give you a vintage nickname and a bit 'hippy-ish' too)

Sebastian Charlie "Sebby" (popular nn for Sebastian in the UK) would give you a less name -- but repeats Samantha's S

Edward Charlton "Teddy" or "Ned" repeats Elinor's E, but the nn would change that

Both Henry Charlton and James Charlton would be fine names: Hank and Jimmy would be unusual 2012 nicknames, although I prefer the names as is -- Henry or James, with Jamie as a sometimes nn for James.

Do your older daughters have any preference for their baby brother's name? I'll be looking forward to hearing what you decide.

Anonymous said...

Even if my husband loved being a II or III, and wanted our son to be a IV, I wouldn't allow it. I'd say, we can pass on your first name to his middle name, but that's it. He's getting his own first name. Sometimes people give in just to please their husbands ego, and its not fair on the child. A middle name with a family connection is fine, but the first name should really be all about the kid.

Sonia said...

Only monarchs are supposed to get I, II, III, IV, V, etc. Conventionally, when the holder of the "Sr." dies, the "Jr." becomes the "Sr" and everyone moves up a number. So, unless all 5 generations are living, your son should be X. Y. Z. III (if your FIL is still alive). It certainly does make background checks and the like a total PITA.

You will not make your mother in law happy unless she gets to name your son, so name him whatever you please. Your daughters have lovely names, and your son's name will be perfect for him too.

Michelle said...

It would be different if hubby wanted to follow tradition, but if it's not important to him, grandparents should let it go. What MIL did was not loving at all- it was selfish. She took the opportunity to name her son after his father. She was entitled to that. And you get to use a name that you like.

liz said...

Screw the naming tradition. My BIL is a third, and he and my sister named their son something entirely different. (Because Homer. No).

My husband has his dad's middle name as a first name and his first name as a middle name and we named our son something entirely different. (Because Rupert. No.)

Leslie said...

Family naming traditions are not inherently good or bad things, they just are. In a best case scenario, when everyone loves and is on board with the idea, yes, it can be a special thing. However, naming traditions can also be emotional and logistical (legal) burdens, so the mere fact of "being a tradition" is not in and of itself a reason to do something. It sounds like you and your immediate family have lots of reasons not to do it - you and your husband don't enjoy the name, it's setting up odd gender expectations among the siblings (and grandparents), and it just doesn't work for your family. It's perfectly okay to say to your in-laws (even better if your husband talks to them alone), "We all love [FIL], and we're so excited about baby boy spending time with you guys as you are such an important part of our lives. However, we're choosing [not traditional name] because that's what works best for our family, and we really need your support." Maybe you (he) could even mention the detrimental effect this is having on the older girls (and you!)? The script is up to you, of course, but I just wonder if you could try to separate the issues of "loving the family" versus "using a specific name" with the in-laws.

Another quick (ha!) note, as you mentioned "not wanting the girls to feel like they were undervalued because they didn't get a family name." If that's coming from you, I think it's an easy issue to control with the narrative you use with all your children, regardless of what name you end up choosing for your son. To wit, "we choose all your names because they were special to us to us in x, y, z ways (we loved them/ they belonged to people we loved or had impacts on your lives, be they friends, inspirations, or family)" instead of "he has a family name and you don't." If that dynamic is coming from the kids' grandparents, or somewhere external, though, it may just be best to avoid the family names altogether. My two cents.

Best of luck! Let us know what you decide!

Gail said...

I have a good friend who was not only pressured to use her FIL's name for her son, (in this case not her husband's name as well), but was promised many thousands of dollars bequeathed to the son should they do so. They declined, even with monetary pressure backing up the request, and chose a name they loved instead.

Julia said...

we did not cave to name our son Paul Joseph IV -- my husband's father was not someone I would want anyone named after. We named our son Peter James, so he had the same initials and his middle name is in honor of my dad -- so the monogram is the same but nothing else. :)

Nedra said...

I am pretty surprised that this is even something that your in-laws expected. I mean surely after four pregnancies, they would have realized that you weren't going to suddenly start giving kids different last names from what you'd been doing previously.

Ignore the tears. Your MIL got to name her own child after her husband. The idea that she'd be upset at not having ANOTHER child named after him is pretty ridiculous. I'm sure he's a lovely man, but just not special enough that she needs to make this level of fuss over his name.

She can be free to put that pressure onto one of her other sons, if it's really important to her.

Also, it may be that she's getting so worked up about it because she struggled with this decision herself and is looking for affirmation that she made the right choice. My MIL insisted that we not hyphenate our last names when we married (she didn't even care whether we took my name or my husband's -- just as long as we hyphenated). My husband thinks that part of the reason is that she'd considered hyphenation and was talked out of it, so she felt like she had to talk is out of it as well.

We hyphenated anyway and she's never said anything about it since.

Nedra said...

Meant to say "just as long as we DIDN'T hyphenate" in that last post.

Rita said...

Just to say that all families break the numbering tradition eventually - how many VII, VIII and IX's have you met?


If you really wanted to please the in laws (which you DON'T HAVE TO), I think Charles would be a good choice, either as a middle name or in the first spot (with Chuck, Chip or Chas as a nickname, since there's already a Charlie in the family).

Annie said...

I really admire and agree with Swistle's response. I'm so sorry you're in a tough situation!

I THINK if I were in your position, I'd go with the compromise you've already suggested - First (name we both really like)Charlton _ucker Hawke.

Good luck, and congratulations!!!

Annie said...
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Ashlie said...

Go with what you love.

Maybe use a name that means fifth or five. But, go with what you love.

Robyn said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad you found a happy solution :)

Issas Crazy World said...

I love the name. Congrats! Also..that's a great way to compromise.