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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baby Boy ___ ___ Mc___

Megan writes:
I have been waiting to for this to work itself out but now I am scheduled for a c-section in three weeks (November 24th) and we are still stuck.

I have two boys and this third is a boy also. Our last name is a Mc- My first son is William Wilson (named for his dad and his grandfather and his great grandfather....etc.) and my second son is Thomas Charles. We like classic/traditional/biblical names. We also like the nickname thing (William is often called Will and Thomas is often called Tom).

The first option for little brother is Charles William. This is my dad's name (had I known I was going to have a third boy I might have saved Charles!) and it borrows from both of his big brothers. It also has the nickname thing going (Charles and Charlie). It wraps everything quite neatly and since this is the last child for us we wont have to worry about coming up with another name that also ties in later. My husband's concern is that maybe it is not unique enough (since he will be named after his grandfather and both his brothers) and maybe we would be better off coming up with a different name all his own? There are lots of good boy names out there! (I pointed out to him that it was sort of funny he was worried about this as our oldest son has his exact same name but he was not swayed by this reasoning.) So my first question is: Is this kind of cool or weird?

If we go with a different name then we are considering as a middle name Jesse or Robert, both family names also.

My husband's first choice for a first name is Matthew. I like it but am less crazy about Matt, which of course is what he will be called. It is ok, I just don't LOVE it, as I did the names Thomas and William. Also, I am not sure about what sounds better: Matthew Robert or Matthew Jesse.

Other names I am throwing out there are Peter, Samuel, Andrew ( I really like the name Andrew and I like the nickname Drew better than Andy but is this confusing for a kid when they hit school, when what they are called and their real name don't even start with the same letter?) and Benjamin. I am open to more suggestions!

Well, hm. I see what you mean! On one hand, I like the idea of the kids each having their own names. But as you've pointed out, they all have family names already---and I like THAT, too. In fact, I LOVE family names.

As I think on it, I think what I don't like is when one child is named, say, Kaylie Amelia, and the next child is named Amelia Rianne. That gives me the feeling that the parents had two names they liked, and that the first girl got the first- and second-choice names, and the second girl only got the second-choice name. But what you're doing solves that issue, and the fairness/evenness of it greatly appeals to me.

I think you could say that your third son was named after his grandfathers, but not call it "and after his brothers." You could just be reusing the same family names, if you see what I mean, rather than making it as if the brothers are also his namesakes.

I also think middle names are rarely-seen creatures, and that in your case the round-robin aspect makes it less yours/mine and more ours. The only issue that would still niggle at me would be if each of your first two sons still had one name that was his own, and only your third son shared both names. But your first son shares both names with his father.

In fact, that gives me a new thought. Looking just at the name-sharing situation within your household, your first son is already sharing both of his names with his father. What if you used Charles for your third son, but then gave him a different middle name? Then your first son shares two names with his father, and your second and third sons share one name with each other. That's more fair than your first son sharing two names with his father and one name with his brother, your third son sharing one name with his father and one name each with two brothers, and your second son sharing just one name with one brother.

Yes, that's what I like best. Use your father's name for the first name (it's a great name, and great with the sibling names), and give him his own middle name. I like Charles Robert a LOT, and that keeps all the names family names. You could also do Charles Matthew, which gives you and your husband both your first choices.

I will be very, very interested to hear what everyone else thinks about this. If it were me, I'd name the baby Charles Robert or Charles Matthew, depending on what my husband preferred. But what if it were you guys? Would you use Charles William? Would you not use Charles at all? I'm thinking of this as a question not so much of "Which names do you LIKE best?" but of "What do you think of the naming-after situation?" Freestyle in the comment section, but I'm also putting a poll over to the right [poll closed; see below].


[Poll results (204 votes total):
Name him Charles William: 13 votes, roughly 6%
Name him Charles, but give him his own middle name: 67 votes, roughly 33%
Don't use Charles OR William; make both names different: 124 votes, roughly 61%]

20 comments:

Fine For Now said...

I am no help because I like BOTH ideas of Charles William and naming him Charles _______ (Matthew/Andrew/Robert) etc.

I see nothing wrong with using Charles William and it IS cute!

Diane said...

I am a HUGE fan of family names, having two myself and planning to give at least one to each of my future kids However, in this situation, I think it's weird to give two siblings the same names, even if they all have different first names. I'm worried about the effects this might have with relation to sibling rivalry, especially since three brothers will probably have a lot of competition going on anyway. The youngest likely will feel the need to prove himself, despite what his name is, but giving him the names of his older brothers might exacerbate this issue so that he feels like he has to prove even more forcefully that he's not like his older brothers, he's his own person. I personally think finding other family names to use would be best in this particular situation. Perhaps Robert Jesse or Jesse Robert. I like Robert Jesse Mc___. That would give the nicknames of Rob/Bob, etc., and RJ. I do like the name Charles, though, if that's what you choose!

Luna said...

I think giving siblings the same middle name is fine, especially if they are family names. But if it were me, I would be a bit hesitant about using the middle name of one child as the first name for another. I also really like Benjamin, so I would go with Benjamin Charles or Benjamin Robert. Will, Tom and Ben sound great

Erin said...

I voted Charles William because that is what we named our 4 month old boy. I love it!

His twin sister is Hazel Catherine, by the way. We love classic names, too.

Tabby said...

I appreciate naming a child after someone in the family, but I don't think it should ever limit your choices or leave a child with a name you do not love!

Please don't give your son the same name(s) as his brothers. Each child needs to feel special. There are so many beautiful traditional names to choose from.

I love your suggestions of Samuel (Sam) and Benjamin (Ben).

Robert Samuel
Benjamin Robert
Samuel Jesse

Other traditional names that have nicknames to consider:
Joseph (Joe)
Daniel (Dan)
David (Dave)
Christopher (Chris)
Jonathan (Jon)
Nathaniel (Nate)

Any of these names go well with the family names you are considering for a middle name.

Personally, it seems like you have latched onto the idea of the family name and are just taking it too far. Give yourself the freedom to consider other names outside of the family. Using a middle name is a beautiful way to honor a family member.

Camelia said...

I share the same middle name as my sister, and it's always bothered me. I feel like my parents couldn't come up with anything original for me. Always kind of bummed me out. There are so many good names out there, give him his own piece of the world.

Clare said...

My brother has all family names and hates that he didn't get anything original. But in his case he has two uncle names combined ie one uncle is john smith and one tom brown his name is john tom brown smith meaning that his name in everyday life is the same as an uncle as well as his two middle names.

Pocket said...

I say you name him Charles William and tell him he's named after British Royalty.

shoeaddict said...

I agree with Tabby. I think that every child should have their own name. I like Benjamin Robert or Robert Samuel.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the "own name" crowd. I was named after my mom (making me a junior) but my name also is very similiar (same initial, almost rhymes) with my older sister's name. Growing up, I hated that. I was called my sisters name ALL THE TIME and even when we were teens people got mixed up. So I was always called my sister's name or my mom's name, and never felt I had my own identity. When I was 20 I decided to pick a "nickname" I liked that was different and worked hard at making people call me by it. Please give your sons their own names!

nellieboo said...

I like the name Charles/nn Charlie and think you should use it. I don't think it matters that it's his brothers middle names....how often are they used anyway? It will be his "own" name...and your first son shares a name with his dad, so I don't see the difference.

Serena said...

I don't get all the begging to please please let the child have his own name. We talk all the time about how much we like family names, and this is a family name that just happens to also be his brother's middle name. Middle names are not such a big deal that I think this has to turn into a huge concern about an identity crisis.

Susan said...

Seems to me if you name your son "Charles William" that all the brothers are sharing names with other brothers -- not one of them would have an un-shared name -- so it seems perfectly fair. And kind of fun. I'm also swayed by the fact that I love both Charles and William. I don't think it's in the least bit weird, and besides, almost nobody will consider middle names anyway. Your boys will be Willliam, Thomas, and Charles. Fab names. Love them. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Some people decide as they get older that they would rather go by their middle name. What do you do when his older brother decides to use his middle name as his first name and then you have two Charles?

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Great solution, Swistle! I think it is less of a big deal to have two sons sharing a middle/first, especially when it is a family name that you want to honor!

Frazzled Mom said...

Being someone who just loves names, sharing names between siblings sort of bums me out. I mean what's the fun in that?!?!?!!?

All kidding aside, I guess in the scheme of things having your third son share names with his brothers isn't that big of deal as long as they have different first names.

But if you are looking for other ideas I love the idea of Robert as the family middle name with:

Edward Robert - Ed or Eddie
Edwin Robert - Ed or Eddie
Theodore Robert - Theo

I also like your suggestions of Benjamin, Samuel and Peter with the middle name Robert.

Sarah said...

Here's my problem with naming him Charles: "Had I known I was going to have a third boy I might have saved Charles!"

To me, this shows that there's a part of you that feels like names CAN get "used up," and if that's at all a part of your thinking, I think you shouldn't reuse the same name. If you really didn't think that names get "used up," it seems to me that you wouldn't even have thought that you should have "saved" Charles.

I think William Wilson being a shared name is a distinct issue, and not analogous, because it's intergenerational, which is common (Jr., III, etc). It's not intragenerational, which is less common (somewhat more common among cousins, but definitely uncommon within one nuclear family). I imagine it's less common because it's much more confusing to have two under-12 name-sharers than one who's 11 and one who's 40.

I think it's also because we attach some significance to having our own name. People in this thread have raised good concerns about one child wanting to go by their middle name later in life, and also about simply not feeling "special."

In response to the idea that all the children are sharing names with each other, I can assure you that the older two will remind the little one that the names were theirs first; they're not sharing with him--he is copying them (to be said with exactly the tone you think it is, unfortunately). It won't feel like you meant for them to all share names--which is fair, since you didn't intend this when you named the first two. It will feel like you really only liked a few names, and you gave them out to the first two, and then you had to start recycling them. I don't know. I would hate it if I didn't have different names than my siblings.

I think all of your alternate names are lovely, and I know many an Andrew who goes by Drew (and has done so his whole life) with no ill effects.

Mel said...

I'm all for family names as long as each kid gets a different one. Do you have other family you could name your next child after?

I really don't like the idea of using two names from your other children in your next child's name without adding anything new. It really does seem that you just ran out of ideas and didn't bother to try to come up with something special for your next child. It's also confusing and seems like it would be easy to mix up, as one of the anonymous posters above mentioned. I'm sure he'd be able to form his own identity in spite of his name, but I think I'd feel left out if my name was just borrowed from my siblings and not my own.

I do think it's different for kids named exactly after parents or grandparents - it's meant to pay respect to the parent/grandparent. A third son being named to respect his brothers just seems odd. It makes the third son seem less important.

I much prefer the choice of Andrew, Drew for short.

Jan said...

Another vote for Andrew - Drew is a common nickname for Andrew so I think it will work out all right even though they don't start with the same letter. I like Andrew Robert!!

Just My Type said...

Here, here for Drew. My son is named Andrew and we've always called him Drew. Love it.