We are (unexpectedly) expecting our second child, a boy. Our last name sounds like Chelsea. In the past, we’ve held to some (ahem) convoluted naming requirements, but we picked our daughter’s name easily—Eleanor (nn Ellie) Jane Lee Chelsea. We are leaning heavily towards naming the baby after Husband’s deceased father, David.
So, here is the dilemma. I have four names (first, second, and two last names that are not hyphenated). Husband has four names (First, two middle names, last name). Daughter has four names, as shown above. If we name the baby after his father (David), and we honor my beloved grandfather by using his middle name (Leo), then the baby’s name is David Leo Chelsea, which is almost exactly his father’s name (David Lee Chelsea). I like the name! I like it quite a bit! It honors people both very special to us that we miss terribly! I find it really pleasing and it makes me happy!
But it bugs me that we would all have four names, and this baby would only have three. But Husband is insistent that If the first name is David, then the second name is Leo, and that’s where we stop. It also bugs Husband that David is a perpetually popular name. I have a name that was in the top 20 the year I was born and I cannot move without tripping over people my age with my name. It can be a bit annoying at times, or at least, it was in school.
The other thing that slightly bothers me about David Leo is that we gave our daughter her first name precisely because it was her own name. No one in our family has the name Eleanor; it’s all hers. The middle names are family names. Plus, we picked Eleanor because of a historical reference (Eleanor of Aquitaine) and a sci-fi reference (Dr. Ellie Arroway, Contact). But David is obviously a special name, so this baby would not get his “own” first name. It all just feels very much like we are changing the rules, and if there’s anything I like, it’s a rule.
Oh, the last thing that bothers me a bit about David is that my family are habitual nickname givers, and no, it’s not a battle I am interested in fighting. It’s a family quirk and leave it at that. They will tack an –e sound on to a name for a nickname, every time, so David becomes Davey, which I do not like.
As much as we like the name, David Leo is not set in stone, hence us fretting to you. We are considering using my grandfather’s first name, Bernard (nn Ben), and then David would be a middle name. BUT, that still gets at my problem of not having his “own” name for a first name. Added to that, then I feel guilty for not just using David as the first name, because if we’re going to have an honor name as a first name, then I really feel like it should be Husband’s father. On the other hand, if the first name is Bernard, then I probably get my wish of four names, and it would be Bernard David ??? Chelsea, which pleases my pattern loving soul.
THEN, my husband threw out the other day that he loves the name Harrison, in honor of the clockmaker, John Harrison, who solved the problem of calculating longitude at sea. So, it would be Harrison David ??? Chelsea. I really like Harrison, because it has the historical reference and a nod to a sci-fi reference. But does that make everyone think of Harrison Ford? Plus, I still feel guilty for not using David as a first name in this scenario; that’s how close Husband and his father were.
Bonus: our daughter is insisting on the names Edgar or Isaac. So: Is David Leo okay when that means this kid has three names and the rest of us have four? Is it weird that David Leo is SO CLOSE to my deceased but beloved father in law’s name? Is David way too popular? Is this kid going to feel left out that he didn’t get his own name and got an honor name instead? Is there another name that’s just a better fit?
This is needlessly complicated. Help us, Swistle, you’re our only hope.
This is the kind of situation where I KNOW it doesn’t really matter, and I want to TELL you it doesn’t really matter—but I CAN’T, because it would matter to me TOO.
I generally don’t even care what the parents’ names are doing, when considering their kids’ names. But in this case…well, I find I want you to give him four names. I just do. I don’t think you NEED to. I don’t think you should feel as if you HAVE to. But I want you to, and I think you want to too, so I say let’s see what we can figure out.
Here’s where I figure we can start chipping away at the problem: “But Husband is insistent that If the first name is David, then the second name is Leo, and that’s where we stop.” Solution: first name will not be David. That releases us immediately from that difficult if/then. Alternate solution: he stops insisting on the if/then. It’s an unnecessary rule, and it’s causing problems. But since it bothers both you and your husband that the name David is so steadily popular, I think it makes more sense to go with the first solution. If instead he is firm on David being the first name, then I don’t see any reason he shouldn’t give a little on the issue of two middles.
Also, it bothers you that you deliberately decided against family names for your daughter’s first name, but this time would be reversing yourselves. I don’t think you NEED to be consistent with this, but since you seem to WANT to, I’d go with that flow: I’d make David and Leo the middle names and pick something else for the first name.
Also, the nicknames for David bother you. And you are not sure you like the name being so close to your late father-in-law’s name. Really the only argument I’m seeing here in favor of using three names is that your husband was very close to his late father. I release you from feeling that this must be symbolically represented in your son’s first name. It isn’t necessary: the closeness abides, regardless of your son’s name.
Harrison David Leo Chelsea is the perfect name to go with Eleanor Jane Lee Chelsea. I declare it so. Or, if you prefer, you can think of something you like better than Harrison. Isaac is nice, with the science (Isaac Newton) and science fiction (Isaac Asimov).
We had our little boy this past weekend: Josiah David Leo Chelsea. We call him Joss for short, and he seems very happy to be here. Thank you for your help–it helped us get on the path to his name!