Swistle, I am due with a boy in 9 days, and having last minute doubts about our name choice!
My name is Elena Maeve (EH-LEEN-AH), always called Lena, and my husband is Bert Adam. The baby’s last name will be Reiser (REE-SIR). My husband has been pushing so hard for a junior, and after being skeptical at first, I am now in love with the idea. Our son will most likely be Bert Adam Reiser Junior. The problem is what to call him on a day-to-day basis. We have vetoed Bert, because it is just too confusing, and I dislike the idea of calling him two names, like Bert Adam. To make things more complicated, my father, brother, and 2 year old nephew are also named Adam. My father is Adam Nolan E_______ who goes by Adam, my brother is Adam Nolan E________ II who goes by AJ (Adam Junior), and my nephew is Adam Nolan E__________ III who goes by Tripp. So my son cannot be called Bert, Bert Adam, or Adam. We thought about BJ (Bert Junior), but I refuse to give my son those initials. So then Bert came up with just calling him Junior, and surprisingly, I LOVE it. It sounds so cute to me, perfect when he’s a child, and as he grows older we will let him decide if he wants to be Bert, Bert Adam, or some other nickname. So, we were all set to name our son Bert Adam Reiser, and call him Junior, when my mother visited and I made the mistake of telling her his name. She told me that she thinks Junior is a hideous name for a dog, and while it is our decision, we should definitely NOT use it. UGH!!! Then I started to ask some of my friends, and they all told me the same thing (much politer of course!!). So now we are totally rethinking this with only 9 days left, and have no clue what to do. The other option is to name him Tobias Bert, called Toby, which is our runner up name (We both love this too, just not as much). We don’t think that we want more than one child, although you never know. If this baby was a girl she would have been Lucille Greta, called Lucy, or Louise Greta, called Louie.
Some names that we loved but eliminated for various reasons were: (to give you a sense of our taste):
(We’ve been told we like Grandpa names☺)
Our final questions are, should we just go with Junior if we love it, or does it sound too doggy, is Tobias Bert a better choice, what are some other nickname options for Bert Adam Reiser Junior???
Nicknames come into and go out of style, just like names do. For awhile, most of the Elizabeths are called Bess or Betsy; then most of them are called Liz; then most of them are called Beth. Then Libby, then Elizabeth-no-nickname-just-Elizabeth, then Ellie---and then Betsy and Bess come around and start sounding fresh and pleasing again.
I think what is done when a father and son share the same name is similarly a matter of current styles. For awhile it was Junior/Chip/Trip, but that gave way to using Bob and Bobby, or Big Bob and Little Bob. Then that seemed to cause problems as well, so we started calling the child by his middle name, or even by a nickname of the middle name. And now I think we're coming back to Junior and Trip.
It's always an issue when two people in the same house have the same name---but then it's different when the child grows up and has a home of his own. When the child is older, he can help choose his own nickname if he doesn't like the one you've chosen; and when he grows up, it'll no longer be an issue: he can continue to use his nickname, or he can use his given names. So all that is needed here is a Temporary Childhood Solution (Junior, Bobby, Little Bob, going by a middle name, etc.).
In my opinion, you've found it. Junior is a little startling because it's gone out of usage, but I found that after a moment or so it struck me as very pleasingly retro. As with names such as Sally and Hank (and Archie and Bert!), I think it's ready for reuse.
Because you'll be on the cutting edge, I suspect you'll encounter a little resistance---but I also suspect the resistance will fade quickly. It will be harder for the older generations: just as we're more resistant than current teens to the re-emergence of shag haircuts and leg warmers, so the older generations are not quite as ready to hear Junior brought back. I'd be gentle and jokey about it: "It's hip, mom! It's like orange and owls and daisies: it's HAPPENIN'!" (And maybe let her use her own nickname for him, if you're willing and if she really can't get used to it.)
The dog-name aspect, however, does not seem like an issue; I'm not familiar with Junior as a common dog name, and even if it IS common as a dog name, it is much better-established as a nickname for your exact situation. And you love it: you love the idea of a junior, and you love the idea of a Junior---so it seems like you should go with both, instead of changing things around because of an initially unfavorable or tepid reception (which, again, I think is likely to improve with time). And it's just a nickname, so it can easily be changed if you're not happy with it. Perhaps after he is born, a different nickname will naturally emerge.
If you decide against Junior, though, I suggest Barry. It's a bit of a reach (it comes from the initials BAR; it could also come from the first three letters of Bert, but I think Berry may look too feminine), but I think it would work. Or Bertie, of course, which I'm fond of because of the P. G. Wodehouse books (that Bertie is a bit dim, but also good-natured and likeable and kind and generous). Or you could call him B: this is a nickname style I've been seeing more and more, and I like it.
Or you could call him B.A. for his first and middle initials, or B.R. for his first and last. Over the years I've known a few people who went by unusual initials (i.e., not the more common ones such as T.J. or R.J.), and what I've found is that it seems a little awkward at first but soon becomes natural. (B.A. sounds natural to me already, because I used to babysit for one.)
He could go by Reis, as a short form of your surname. Or, was your husband named Bert after another Bert, maybe a Bert whose legal name was something longer, like Robert or Herbert? That might be another place to look for nicknames.
Name update! Lena writes:
I'd just like to thank you and your readers so much for helping me and Bert find a name we love for our son! Bert Adam Reiser Junior was born May 23, and is gorgeous and healthy! We decided that we really did love the name Bert, and the idea of having a junior, especially since we don't think we want any more children. After reading what you and your readers said, I decided that I wasn't so sure about calling him Junior anymore. We loved the suggestion of Berry and Bear, and had planned to call him Junior just inside the family, and Berry on a day-to-day basis. However, from the day he was born the name, Bo just fit, and we've been calling him Bo ever since. When he gets a bit older we might call him Junior or Berry, but for now we love Bo, and it fits him perfectly!
Thanks for everything,
Lena, Bert and Bo!