This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Boy M_____, Brother to McKenna and Mia

A. writes:
My husband and I are expecting our 3rd baby, we have two beautiful baby girls named McKenna and Mia and then surprise we found out we are having a baby boy! His due date is August 4th, but the doctor says probably end of July. We are having such a hard time choosing a name for a boy. Do we stick with an M name like our girls names or do we branch out and give him a non M name? There really aren't too many great M names for boys. If we would have had another girl, it we would have gone with Molly or Macey. My husband likes Milo for a boy, for some reason that name just doesn't settle with me. I am also so worried that if we go with another M name and we have another baby we'll be really trapped with M names! We have decided on James for a middle name. James is a family name and seems to work well with most first names. To go even further our last name starts with the letter M! So my girls initials are MGM and MFM! I like the name Owen, but that names doesn't settle with my husband. He also doesn't like Micah or Mason. I kind of liked Madden but that was a NO too! I like the name Zane but Zane James doesn't work. Both of us like the names Weston and Keaton but nothing really seems to be sticking! My husbands name is Aaron and so is his dads and my brothers, so we were trying to steer clear of Aaron but I kind of like Aaron James, even AJ for a nickname. Any suggestions for this M or not to M name dilema?


It seems to me that it's the third child that makes parents feel permanently locked into an initial. If you have McKenna, Mia, Weston, and Keaton, no one will think, "Why didn't they keep going with M names?" But if you have McKenna, Mia, Milo, and Keaton, it's different. Something about the third child is what makes the pattern solid. Not that it can't be broken, of course; I'm only talking about how it seems to FEEL to people.

So this is your moment to decide: Do you want to stick to M names, or don't you? Does it appeal to you? I can see upsides to both ways. On one hand, I wouldn't want to narrow the field that severely: so many great names you wouldn't be able to use! On the other hand, most people have certain letters they tend to be drawn to, and so if M is one of yours, you're likely to find quite a few names you like there; and I've noticed from writing this column that it can be fun and interesting to work with a tight restriction---as well has HELPING to narrow things down, considering how overwhelmingly large the field really is.

One possibility is to see if there's another initial you tend to be drawn to for boy names, as you're drawn to M names for girls, and then use that initial for this and all future boys.

Another possibility is to first find the name you like best, without thinking about the initial, and then just see how it works out: if you do find an M name you like best, use it; but if you don't, play it from there, either going with that new initial for all future boys, or else discontinuing all initial-matching.

If you do decide on M names, one problem is that a lot of the ones I think would work well with your style start with Mc or Mac, and you've already got one of those. I don't know if that would work or not. McKenna, Mia, and Macaulay? McKenna, Mia, and Macgregor? I guess it...well, I'm just not sure.

Maguire might work. It has a sound similar to McKenna but without actually repeating the Mc/Mac. McKenna, Mia, and Maguire.

Or Malcolm: McKenna, Mia, and Malcolm.

Or for something more unusual, how about Malone? McKenna, Mia, and Malone.

These may seem so ordinary your mind will flit right over them, but give some thought to Mark and Michael and Matthew. They're common because they're good solid names with staying power. Marcus/Markus makes Mark a little more exotic; Matteo and Matthias do the same for Matthew; Micah kind of does the same for Michael.

In fact, I want to give Matteo its own paragraph. It has the fashionable -o ending but the casual nickname Matt, and it's good with the sibling group: McKenna, Mia, and Matteo.

Marshall would work: McKenna, Mia, and Marshall. It adds in a completely different sound, which is a bonus when repeating the initial.

Or Mitchell? I think I like that even better: McKenna, Mia, and Mitchell.

I'll mention Maverick, but that name seems like a lot to live up to---like telling the child we want him to have a particular personality, which could be a bit hard on him if he's the careful cautious type. Still, we do similar things with names such as Faith and Charity and Patience, and to a lesser extent with high-association names such as Scarlett; it's probably more that the name Maverick is relatively new, and so still seems more tied to its meaning.

Speaking of which, maybe Merit or Merritt? McKenna, Mia, and Merrit.

Do you like any of the Max names? Regular plain Max is my favorite of them: the others sound to me like "longer versions because we want the nickname Max." And in your family I think that's the best fit anyway: McKenna, Mia, and Max. It doesn't go well with James; do you have other male family members you'd like to honor? Or you could use Maxwell, which DOES go well with James.

One of my favorite M boy names is Miller: McKenna, Mia, and Miller.

Another of that type is Mercer: McKenna, Mia, and Mercer.

You wouldn't want to consider Morris, would you? I think of it as a warm and solid name ready to join other comebacks such as Warren and Walter and Conrad and Cedric. McKenna, Mia, and Morris.

Morrisey spruces it up a bit: McKenna, Mia, and Morrissey.

Or Morrison: McKenna, Mia, and Morrison.

Murphy has charm: McKenna, Mia, and Murphy. Murray too: McKenna, Mia, and Murray.


Kacie said...

I know a family who has five children. The first three are girls and have "M" names. The fourth child is a boy, with an "R" name. The fifth child is a girl with an "M" name. Makes the poor R guy feel like the odd dude out!

But I think it's a bit much to have that many children with the same inital. It's harder to remember who is who, sadly, since some of the names are pretty similar.

Meg said...

If you stick with M names my vote is for Maddox. Fun, new and still seems familiar. If you're going for non-m names, for some reason Oscar hits me.

Good luck!

Elisabeth said...

I like Max, Mitchell, Micah, and Murphy.

Also, I came from a family where the girls' names start with E and the boys' names start with J. If you really can't find another M name, you could try to pick an initial for your sons.

Kas said...

For me i dont think it really matters if you choose a 'm' name or not! But if you do choose to use an 'm' name i love the suggestions of - Max, Micah and Malcolm! I also love Mason but i know you said your husband doesnt!

My sister has a little Mia they are expecting a boy who will be either Riley or Taj both names i think go well with Mia and McKenna! Can i also suggest Levi! love the name and think it fits well with your little ones! McKenna, Mia and Levi! Levi James sounds great!! all the best!

kimma said...

While I've got no strong opinion on using the same initial for every child ... if you WANT to break the pattern now is definitely the time to do it. I like Lincoln with McKenna and Mia. Or Zac/Zachary.

If you decide you do want to continue with M names, would you feel differently about Miles rather than Milo? Sometimes just a small change is enough. I like Swistle's suggestions of Marcus, Mitchell and Miller.

StephLove said...

Before I finished reading the post I was all ready to suggest Micah, my favorite M boy name. I like the suggestion of Malcolm, too. Or how about Malachi?

Patricia said...

Your girls' names sound well together because they both begin with an 'M' and end with an 'a' (more usually a feminine ending). They're also familiar names, Mia being a top 10 name and McKenna ranking 123 with combined spellings. My favorite familiar M-names for their younger brother are:

Milo James
Maxwell James
Matthew James
Martin James
Michael James

On the other hand, since this baby is a boy, you may decide that you don't need to match his name that closely with your girls' names. Besides names beginning with the letter M, your preference seems to be for names that are currently fairly popular. That would give you a lot more choices. You both like Weston and Keaton -- 2009 SSA ranks 269 and 380). Both names are becoming more familiar, each sounds well with James as the mn, and either would coordinate with you daughters' names.

It may be that if you set aside your quest for an M-name, you'll find a name that you both love for your baby boy.

Best wishes!

Bree said...

Maybe Marek? That's my nephew's name. Merrick is an alternate spelling. It's a variation of Mark and means (I know Swistle says to take meanings with a grain of salt) ruler of the sea. I love his name, and it fits him so well.

Other M names I like...