Baby Boy Mailmen, Brother to Nathan, Clara, and Ivy

Dear Swistle,

I am emailing you after being an avid fan of your blog for years. You’ve taught me how to look at names differently (how they go together, how to choose a name), yet on this go-around I can’t seem to get it right.

We are having our last child due on August 16. Our last name is German and sounds like “mailmen” with some extra letters thrown in there. Our current children are Nathan (Nate) Carter, Clara Eleanor, and Ivy Caroline. I desperately want the names to “go together,” so that is how I began approaching the task of naming our fourth (a boy). I ended up on the name Peter Everett as a top choice, but my husband and I just didn’t feel like it was “the one.” This is pretty common for me. I changed both of our girls’ names very near the end of each of their pregnancies.

The hard part is the constraints of our last name. I feel like I can’t name him with a “B” name (for the initials), can’t end in an “N,” “M,” or “S” (don’t go well with last name), can’t start with an “M” (too many M sounds), can’t be a verb or adjective like “Reid” or “Gray” (sound silly with the last name). Also, the last name is super hard to spell, so I don’t want the first name to be. I don’t like unisex names at all. We like Biblical, timeless, or antique charm names and want our boy names to sound good together. I especially want the baby’s name and Ivy’s name to sound good together, since they are the closest in age (7 year gap between 2nd and 3rd), and I feel like I will be saying “Ivy ‘n’ ___” so much.

Current contenders are:
Jed (husband’s choice)

Middle names are not as hard for me. I like Everett and Theodore and will probably use one of those if they work.

I wanted Ivy to be named Everett if she was a boy, and that is still my favorite name. I put it into the middle name spot for Peter because I really do love it. I just don’t know if Ivy and Everett go well together as first names. Are they too similar? Should we just go with the “safer” choice of Peter even though we don’t love it?

Any advice would be so helpful. His room (and crib) is still occupied by his 3-year-old sister, so we just have nothing done for this little surprise and I’m starting to be so stressed!

Katie “Mailmen”


I think Ivy and Everett sound great together. They repeat only the V-sound: all their other sounds are different, and they have a different number of syllables. I think it achieves the goal of having the final two names sound particularly compatible. And Everett is your favorite boy name. And it meets all the other requirements. Everett seems like the winner to me.

But Peter is also terrific. Really, I love either Everett or Peter in this group. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, Everett. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, Peter. They’re both charming options. I would THINK I’d prefer the name Everett, but when I look at the two groupings I have trouble letting go of the name Peter.

I don’t see any reason to go with the name Peter if you prefer the name Everett. It doesn’t seem safer to me; they both seem like good solid choices with their own pluses and minuses. Peter has more of a timeless/biblical/traditional feel; Everett is more of a current vintage revival / antique charm.

I wonder if you’d like the name John. It’s timeless/biblical, and it’s a name I think parents’ eyes tend to skip right over in the baby name book: it feels common because it’s been so consistently used over the years, but it’s fairly unusual among current children. Many of the boys named John are going by Jack, or else they’re John IV so they’re going by something else. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and John.

Or Henry? Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and Henry.

Or Elliot: it’s similar to Everett, but doesn’t repeat the V-sound of Ivy. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and Elliot. One downside is the spelling: one or two L’s, one or two T’s.

Or maybe David? Definitely timeless/biblical, and easy to spell. I’m trying to think if there are ANY Davids among the kids’ classmates, and I can only think of one. It repeats the V-sound in Ivy, tying it in; but the strong consonants keep it from seeming too similar. And the long-A ties it to his brother’s name. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and David.




Name Update:

I want to thank everyone who responded to my post while I was struggling to name Baby #4.  The post, along with all of the comments, has been printed and will go in the baby book so I can fondly remember the naming process for this little one!  I read each comment and appreciated them so much!  The first name ended up being a decision between Everett and Peter.  I appreciated the feedback that “Ivy and Everett” did not sound too similar when said together.  The most helpful advice, though, was from the mothers who actually already had a Peter.  Their advice that the name Peter was a well-received name helped put me more at ease to use it.  It started to feel like the right name to me, and I’m happy to say that my husband also agreed!  Our son, Peter Everett Mailmen, arrived on August 17, 2017.  He was 9 lbs. and 21 inches.  He was warmly welcomed by siblings Nate (11), Clara (10), and Ivy (3).  We love the name, and it suits him very well.

26 thoughts on “Baby Boy Mailmen, Brother to Nathan, Clara, and Ivy

  1. Reagan

    You have a set of great options so I don’t think you can go wrong. Just because the field needs to get whittled down, I would probably rule out Leo, Theo, and Jack because I hear them a lot these days.

    While I like Jed, Ivy and Jed seem very distinct from Nathan and Clara… almost giving the impression (along with the age gap) that the second two are step siblings of the oldest two. So I would rule out Jed for that reason.

    That leaves Peter, Everett, Grant, and Joseph. All seem to go well with all three of your children’s names. Like you, my favorites are Everett and Peter. If you love it and both agreed on it for your last baby, perhaps that is what you should go with now.

  2. StephLove

    I think both Peter and Everett are good choices and since Everett is your clear favorite, I’d go with that. Grant and Joseph fit well in the sibling group as well.

    As for middles, to my ear Theodore has a rhythm that makes it go well with many first names.

    Everett Theodore
    Grant Theodore
    Joseph Theodore
    Peter Theodore

    But Everett is nice in that spot, too.

  3. laura

    If you both still love Everett, I can’t see a reason not to choose it. If you want another option, what about Gabriel? (Nathan and Gabriel, Nate and Gabe; Ivy and Gabriel, Ivy and Gabe).

  4. Sargjo

    You have three J names on your list, and when O saw Jed (and agree with a commenter that it’s kind of an outlier), I immediately thought Jude! Jude Everett. Ivy and Jude-gosh they could start a clothing company it’s so cute!

  5. Stephanie

    Everett is great! And has the nickname Rhett if you want him to coordinate with Nathan/Nate. It doesn’t sound too close to Ivy for me.

  6. Jessemy

    To me, Everett and Ivy are pleasing together! It’s okay to have some shared consonant sounds in your kid’s names.

    And, as the readers of this blog have mentioned to many expectant parents, the sibling names will be used together for a season and then stand on their own, or be used with their partner’s and children’s names, at which point the coordination of siblings will be not so important. Some common themes may be a nice bond between your youngest and his sister.

    Best of luck! You have chosen a lot of great names!

  7. TheFirstA

    It sounds like the name you really like is Everett. If so, just use Everett. I think it sounds great with Ivy.

    Keep in mind that while you will be saying “Ivy ‘n__” a lot, most people won’t. Teachers, friends, bosses, spouses, etc. will all primarily know your children as individuals. So while it can be nice for sibling names to coordinate, I think sometimes it is an area that parents can overthink. Go with what you love, and it will be fine.

  8. Christi with an I

    I like Everett and Peter both, but I really liked the suggestion of David. Jonathan is also nice and not very common in little ones today. Another classic boy’s name is James David Everett, Jonathan Everett, James Everett. Nathan, Clara, Ivy and David, Ivy and Dave, Nathan, Clara, Ivy and Jonathan, Nate and Jon, Ivy and Jon. Nathan, Clara, Ivy and James Ivy and James, Ivy and Jim

  9. Kathleen

    As someone who has a son named Peter I’m trying very hard not to write this comment in all caps, such is my fervor. Use the name!!! ( I just had to delete some exclamation points). We get the best reaction when we tell people our son’s name, from all generations. It reads as classic but somehow fresh too (I think the nickname Pete really hits that— a tiny Pete is so cute!). We’ve had universal praise for the name and while it seemed kind if…..beige when I was pregnant, it has been the opposite once it was on a tiny baby.

    1. Alison

      as another someone with a baby Peter, I wholeheartedly agree! in fact, we named our Peter after another Peter we know because we have such good name association- I have never ever met a not awesome guy named Pete/Peter.

      (I also love that it’s not super duper common, but still classic. and I have to smile when I say it, idk why, but it’s a fact. Peter is a happy name)

    2. Elisabeth

      I love the name Peter. It’s 3rd on my list for mostly imaginary boys after Kerry (the real one) and Andrew (also imaginary)

  10. Dances with diapers

    I think Peter isn’t clicking for you because you love Everett so much. And it sounds like you’ve done enough digging that if you were going to find something you loved more, you’d have found it already. Though I appreciate the idea of wanting sibling names to go well together, I think you’re putting too much pressure on that. Everett sounds lovely with your other kids names. You seem to think Peter goes better (I actually think Everett does, but I think both options go well)… but for the sake of this child, wouldn’t you rather give him a name you LOVE than a name you think sounds good with his siblings? After all, he’s an individual who will spend most of his life not being associated with Nathan, Clara and Ivy. My advice would be different if your favorite boy name was Ives, but Everett and Ivy aren’t really all that similar. Good luck.

  11. Britni

    I like Peter and Everett both, but Everett a bit more.
    I really like Stephanie’s idea of being able to do Everett/Rhett to coordinate with Nathan/Nate if you want. I also agree with Jessemy – I enjoy the rhythm when you list the childrens’ names ending with “Ivy, and Everett.”
    For middles, Everett Theodore works just fine to me, but I would also like Everett Peter if that would hit all the spots?
    Congratulations – let us know what you decide!

  12. JMV

    Jed intrigues me. I love this name. For your family, I think a Joseph Edward nn Jed fits nicely. I also like Jared with the unexpected, but totally reasonable, nn of Jed. I don’t find it to be an outlier at all when used as a nickname. Ivy and Jed both have three letters. Nathan and Joseph/Jared are both biblical and you’d use shorter nicknames.

  13. Candice

    Ivy and Everett!
    I love them together! Though all the suggestions have been great; and I agree with Swistle that Peter looks good with the sibling group. Bottom line, go with what you love the most.

  14. AlexiswithaG

    While Ivy and Everett have “that flow” I’d want to be sure you’ve considered or settled on what nicknames for Everett would be.
    To me, Ivy ‘n’ Ev is too similar while Ivy ‘n’ Rett works, as already suggested.
    Do also like Grant and Jack- and I’m forever hoping to meet a James nn Jem. But you’ll know what works when you see him!

  15. Kim C

    Andrew nn Drew
    Daniel nn Dan
    Jacob nn Jake
    Joshua nn Josh
    Nicholas nn Nick
    Samuel nn Sam
    James nn Jay
    Philip nn Pip
    Lucas nn Luke
    Spencer nn Spence

    Peter is a great name and isn’t heard that often on young children anymore. I do have a soft spot for Grant though.

    Good luck!

  16. A

    What about Zachary? Ivy and Zack both sound so youthful (but not cutesy) together while Nathan and Zachary or Nate and Zack sound great as well

  17. Trudee

    I have a friend who goes by Jed but whose name is John Edward. Could that work for you? Or what about John Everett nn Jett (very close in sound to Jed). You could use both first names and your husband could use the nickname.

  18. Erin Beth

    I think Ivy and Everett are great together, but I like Peter a lot as well. I can see why you are having trouble choosing. Either one will make a fabulous sibset.

  19. liz

    One of the things I like about Peter is that it’s a two-syllable name like the rest of your children’s. But I love Everett.

    If this will be your last child, I’d be more in favor of a one-syllable name like Grant or John, because of the finality of saying it in the list: Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and Grant. Nathan, Clara, Ivy, and John.

    So that actually now has me leaning towards Joseph. 2 syllables to match the sib set. One syllable nickname to put a period on the list. Nate, Clara, Ivy, and Joe.

  20. Heidi J

    I really like Peter, though I think Everett works too. For additional suggestions, what about Elias or Miles? Elias is even in two of your categories, Biblical and antique charm, since Elias is the greek form of Elijah.

  21. Clare

    I love the name Peter but unfortunately can’t use it. I’d highly recommend George. We have a George and haven’t had a bad reaction to it. I like that it’s a name he can grow into but is sweet on a little boy. Other names that I find surprisingly sweet on little kids are Paul, John and Bill


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