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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Boy K____is, Brother to Violet and Jane

Katherine writes:
I wrote you about 16 months ago for help naming my baby daughter. I can't believe it, but I need your help again! I thought I had the perfect name, and now that I am close to my due date I am so unsure and anxious about the whole thing.

We have a c-section scheduled for April 3rd. This is our third baby, and our first son. We have two daughters, Violet Claire and Jane Mirabelle.
We do plan on having more children. I am Katherine who goes by Kate/Katie to many, and my husband is Andrew. Our last name starts with a "K" ends with an "is" and sounds a lot like Alpaca.

Immediately when we found out we were pregnant, we started calling this baby Thomas (before we even had a confirmed gender). Thomas was not a name I had ever considered in either of my other pregnancies, and wasn't on any of our lists. Neither of us knows where it came from, but it just 'felt' like our baby - so we have been calling him that (to ourselves - we don't disclose names). When it came time to settle on a name, we both realized that we are having a hard time getting away from the name.

I had a very broken childhood home and was raised primarily by my maternal grandparents and my father. My father and grandfather (who is now deceased) were two incredibly good, and important men in my life. My grandfather is no longer living. My grandfather is Walter L (no name, no period - it is just "L" - the rest of his siblings have other parts of the alphabet, seriously) and James Leslie. My husband has a similar childhood situation and is very close to his father, James Andrew.

Family names we would like to use: Walter, Leslie, James

My biggest issue is that we love the name Walter and Thomas equally and they both seem to go so well with our families' names. See!

Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Thomas
Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Walter

I feel like I will be a bit sad no matter which one I choose!

Names for the baby that we have are trying to choose from (in their current ranking order):

Walter Thomas - If we named him Walter Thomas we would call him only Thomas. My husband and I are both a bit hung up on calling him primarily by his middle name. We have asked friends who grew up going by there middle names, and they all said it didn't bother them. We like the 'sound' of this name the most. Thomas Walter just doesn't work for us.

Walter James -WE BOTH LOVE THIS NAME SO MUCH! It works so well with our family names : Andrew, Katherine, Violet, Jane, and Walter. It also honors all of the important men in our lives. For me, Walter is such a great, rarely used name. But, is Walter too much of an old-man name? Are we the only ones who love it? The other issue with this is that it obviously means we would not use Thomas - which just feels odd to us since it is what we have been using the whole time. I don't know if this is because Thomas is the perfect name for us, or if it is because that is what I have been using and maybe if I had been calling him 'doodlebug' or some other name that I wouldn't be having the same issue right now with calling him something else?

Thomas Leslie - my husband does not like Leslie.

Thomas James I am not crazy about this due to the triple 'S' ending - Thomas James K_____ is. My husband would use it, but isn't crazy about it either. If we can't get past not using Thomas and he is born on my dad's birthday (as currently scheduled) then we might use this one.


Complicating issues for us is that the baby is scheduled to be born via c-section on my father's birthday. This could change, of course. If I use Walter Thomas and he is born on my father's birthday then I am certain I would feel sad not honoring my father, who I adore, in some way. That leaves me with Walter James (no Thomas).

The other minor issue is that Violet is named after my husband's grandmother, and this baby will be named after a family member. However, my younger daughter Jane is named after a character in a book and I worry that this will cause resentment? hurt feelings? feeling left out? I am not sure if this is something I should worry about, or not.

My husband, at this point, is most agreeable because he just wants me to STOP IT and pick ONE. The only one he is not okay with is Thomas Leslie. I am afraid that the day the baby gets here I still won't be any closer to decided on a name, or will wish I had chosen the other name.

Thank you, again, for your help!

It is highly unfortunate that the name James is so close to Jane: otherwise I would say that if the baby is born on your father's birthday as scheduled, he should be named James, end of problem. As it is, we are left with using it as a middle name. Or with using your father's middle name, which is already a significantly smaller honor/namesake---but also his middle name is unfortunately Leslie, which is no longer a boy's name in the U.S., AND is a name your husband doesn't want to use. This is a significant pickle we are in.

Meanwhile, you love both Thomas and Walter. Because you plan to have more children, you could choose one and save the other for a possible future boy. But in this case, my guess is that saving the name Thomas wouldn't work, since it's specific to this pregnancy. To me this is a strong mark in favor of using Thomas and saving Walter. It will be sad to leave the name Walter behind, but there will be sadness either way, and if you save Walter there is the chance of going back for it later.

Let's start by assuming the baby will be born on your dad's birthday. The only name you can use that will honor your father is James. Then let's assume that if either Walter or Thomas must be saved for another child, that only the name Walter is saveable---meaning Thomas must be used now. This gives us Thomas James. I don't mind the repeating S at all, I think because the middle S is actually a Z sound.

This name is not at the top of your list. It seems to me, however, that you don't want to make either of the trades required to change it to something else: you don't want to sacrifice honoring your father, and you don't want to give up the name Thomas (assuming I'm right that it would be weird to try to use Thomas for a boy other than this one). Mathematically-speaking, Thomas James is the name. Violet, Jane, and Thomas.

I don't think you'll be sorry about using Thomas: it's been "his name" from the beginning, and that's a great story. I don't think you'll be sorry about using James: it's your beloved dad's name, and the baby is born on your dad's birthday, and those are both great stories too. I think you might indeed be sorry about giving up either of those names for a name that has no great stories but is just one you prefer or MIGHT prefer.

HOWEVER: if you decide that, for example, "Thomas K___is" is too rhymey for you to want to use it AT ALL (for this baby OR for any future baby), in that case I think you should use Walter James: a name you love, followed by your dad's name.

"Walter Thomas but call him Thomas" doesn't make sense: it fails to honor your father, AND it adds a totally unnecessary "going by the middle name" complication. Going by a middle name makes sense if the first name causes namesake confusion (two people in the same household with the same name) or if it's a disliked name used for reasons such as tradition---but in this case it would be merely to change the sound (not even the rhythm) of the name, and it would have the net result of totally sacrificing a name you LOVE: this child wouldn't be known as Walter AND you wouldn't use Walter for a subsequent son.

You could also use Walter James Thomas K___is: it uses all three of the names you don't want to give up.

I don't think you need to worry about Jane feeling left out or hurt. Or perhaps I should say it this way: I don't think you should sacrifice your desire to honor important family members only for the sake of the off-chance that doing so will cause a potential negative emotion in an already-named child. Jane has a good naming story too, and perhaps a future child will "even things out" by also receiving a non-family name.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lurker here- but I felt the need to comment for the first time! When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I had a dream that I would have a son named Samuel, a name we had never considered. We didn't even know his sex yet. We kept that name in the back of our mind, but ended up naming him something else. I regret that to this day. I feel like God named him Samuel but I didnt listen. I have not experienced that with any other child! So, all this is to say, if you feel his name is Thomas, go with Thomas. :)

-Holly

Anonymous said...

I've used three names per kid to honour family members for each of mine, and never regretted it. I know alot of people think it's "pretentious" or too difficult for the child, but we kept the first name as their own (one they didn't share with someone, like your Thomas) and the middle two names that honour our most beloved family members and closest friends (like your Walter and James).

ALSO, my middle child uses his third name most often, and my middle goes by his first middle name. We've never regretted that, either, and it's not confusing for them at ALL. A large amount of my husband's friends go by their middle names (and have all their lives), as do three of our family members. All legal documents still have their first names, but socially, there are some people that don't even know what their first names are/were! Sometimes it just makes more sense to have a name "flow" and use the middle name than to change it around.

British American said...

I totally agree that Thomas James is the way to go - makes the most sense for you.

I really do like Walter (and Walter James) too. I don't think Walter is too old-man. I had it on our list in 2007, with Walt as a nickname.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- I agree it can be done, but I disagree that it makes more sense to prioritize "flow of the name" (which will never be heard, if no one even knows it IS that way) over "the name you want to actually use."

AirLand said...

I think Thomas, Walter, and James are great names and no matter what you pick, they will fit into your family really well.

I think if you're not planning on having any other children, you should use all three names in some combination because it seems really important to you that all of them get used. Personally, I like Thomas Walter James.

If you are planning on having another baby, I would pick either Thomas or Walter, since you seem to love both as a first name.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I think you should definitely go with Thomas and choose James as the middle name. I LOVE all three name choices (Walter is so cute and not "old man" to me at all) but I think with all your reasons mentioned that Thomas and James win out. And like Swistle mentioned, you could save Walter for a future child.

beyond said...

I think all of the combinations work well.
Swistle makes some good points, though, and that's why Thomas James seems like the best pick for you. It just seems like Thomas is this baby's name.
(I really love the name Walter, and hope you get to use it for a future son...)
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I would go with Thomas Walter James as he shares a birthday with your father making it more reasonable to have an extra name (as opposed to only 2 like your other children)

StephLove said...

Well, I'm convinced to support Thomas James after what everyone wrote. It's nice that James is on both sides of the family, too. I do know what you mean about being sad to let of a name, though. I felt the same way in both of my pregnancies.

Anonymous said...

I know a little Walter; they call him Walt. It seemed odd to me at first; now I love it. I like the idea of using Walter James.

Jenn said...

Why don't you like the sound of Thomas Walter? I think it's very nice. And that way you get to keep Thomas in the first spot, and still use Walter. OR I agree with others who have suggested Thomas Walter James which I don't think is too much at all -especially if he is born on your dad's birthday. PLUS it makes great initials if he becomes an author or a judge; Thomas W. J. K__is. ;)

Donna said...

I would use all 3 names. I know you plan on having more children, but they could be all girls, or your plans may change. I personally would regret not using the name because I have saved it.

I think Walter Thomas James or Thomas Walter James both sound lovely!

I would caution about using middle names as the first name. My husband goes by his second middle name and has HATED it his whole life. He is glad that he has 3 names and appreciates the name story behind each name (two names are family names, one was chosen by his older siblings) but he has never forgiven his parents for the order.

Carolyn said...

I would go with two middle names to honor everybody.

My brother and I are named after family members while my sister was kind of named on a whim (not after family members). But we all have a great story about how we got our names, and my sister might be proudest of her name than all of us because of her cute story.

Amelia said...

I looooove the name Walter, and have also wondered if it is too old-mannish. But I don't care... if my husband wasn't so dead-set on James for this baby, our boy name would probably be Walter. Use it if you love it!

christine said...

Use all three! I know you are thinking of having more children, but there are no guarantees that the future child will be male. Thomas Walter James works and is a lovely way to honor your loved ones, while keeping Thomas which seems to have been your baby's name all along.

Best wishes!

Patricia, Nana of Jane Violet (13 months) said...

For whatever reasons or emotions, your baby came to be called Thomas and it seems to me that there's no reason not to use that name. Thomas is a fine name and fits well with Violet and Jane. And Thomas and James fit very well together because both are strong traditional names, and although both end in 's', the different number of syllables help the names work together. I see no reason not to name your little boy Thomas James and several reasons TO give him that name. (I think your dad would be delighted.)

To show that Thomas James is a fine combination, here are just a few of the many London Telegraph birth announcements from the last few years for baby boys named Thomas James:

On 21st October 2010, to JANE and STEPHEN, a son, Thomas James.

On 27th May 2010, to Sarah and Brian, a son, Thomas James

On 7th January 2010, to Katherine and Charles, a son, Thomas James, half brother to Arthur and Daisy.

On 29th December 2009, to Nicola and Andrew, a fine son, Thomas James, a brother for Joshua and Oliver.

On 3rd December 2009, to Barbara and John, a special little lady, Melody Joanna Therese, the perfect complement for Thomas James

On 10th November 2009, to Sarah and Jonathan, a son, Edward Samuel, a brother for Thomas James.

On 24th September 2009, to Emma and Christopher, a son, Thomas James

On 10th July, to Dawn and Bruce, a daughter, Sophie Elizabeth. A sister for Thomas James.

On 10th June 2009, to Emma and Alastair, a son, Thomas James.

On 1st May 2009, to Isobel and Gavin, a son, Thomas James, a brother for Juliet and Eleanor.

Etc., etc., etc.

A strong 'vote' for Thomas James here!

(PS I love your daughters' names too!)

Patricia said...

I meant to say that I think your dadS would be delighted if you use their mutual name James as the middle name for your son.

Frazzled Mom said...

Thomas is clearly the name meant for your baby. The only complication is the middle name and giving up Walter.

I understand your concern about the repeat s ending - just the same thing I would ponder because I also over-think these things. But I feel Thomas James works just fine.

I understand your concern about losing Walter. You could stick Walter in the middle and give your baby two middle names, but you must consider the following:

1. Since you plan more children, how would you feel if you used Walter as a second middle name for this son and had a second son?

2. If you had a second son, would you feel compelled to follow the two middle name patter for all of your sons?

Personally I would take the chance and save Walter for a second son. Walter is a great name. To me, this concern about losing Walter tells me Walter is the name meant for son number two. Or maybe you won't have any more children or any more sons or you will have another son, but by that time decide there is another name you like more than Walter. My point is, if Walter was meant to be it will be, but clearly this son you are currently pregnant with was meant to be Thomas.

Letting go of a name can be hard. I'm pained that I will probably never get to use Cecily on a daughter of mine. My husband hates it and I am done having children. But I have concluded it just wasn't meant to be.