Selecting Names for Multiples
The rules for selecting baby names for multiples are generally no different than when naming just one baby. Remember the old saying—if it ain't broke, don't fix it. There's no reason to change the naming process when there's more than one new being to dub.
Regardless of whether you're having several children at once or just one, there is one basic rule that should always apply to the naming process: Choose names that you like and that you feel will serve your children well as they mature.
Most parents understand this basic ground rule perfectly well, but for some reason they forget that it also applies to naming more than one child at a time. Or, they think there are new rules governing their special situation that they should now follow, and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out just what these new rules are.
What these new parents end up realizing, however, is that the tried-and-true way is generally the best approach in all situations. There's no need to rewrite the rules if you're going to be the proud parents of twins, triplets, quadruplets, or even higher order multiples.
Also, keep in mind that the rules for testing names apply when you're choosing names for multiples. It's just as important to make sure that the names you select work in all possible combinations—perhaps more so in situations like this, as there are more combinations to consider!
In the Family Way (More Than Just a Little!)
Even though you have more options when you come up with your list of names for the multiple children you're expecting, this isn't necessarily a time to pay whatever dues you feel you owe your family by naming them all after ancestors and relatives. Don't get caught up in the thought that, since you're having more than one, there's room for family names even though you don't like them. Some relatives may even boldly approach you on the subject, claiming that since you're having a multiple birth, that the least you could do is use your great-uncle Aloysius's name for one of them! Don't fall for it. Do what you feel makes you, and inevitably your children, happiest.
Parents who are anticipating multiple births have enough on their minds as it is, but they also often find themselves coping with a substantially higher level of family interest and involvement in their lives, both before and after the babies are born.
This heightened interest can be most welcome, especially if you're in a situation where you really need some help, such as being confined to bed. However, it can also be a burden, as it can translate into the desire for more input on what your babies' names should be.
The fact that you're having more than one child at once really shouldn't affect how you go about naming them, but families often see the advent of multiple births as their chance to make their feelings known about honoring relatives or carrying on family names.
Even families that may have stayed at arm's length if just one baby was anticipated can get very excited when multiples are on the way, and that natural excitement can elevate their desire for involvement far beyond what would be expected and normal for them.
It's up to you, the parents of the multiples, to keep a balanced perspective on the entire situation, which may be difficult as you're probably not be feeling very balanced yourselves! Just keep in mind that the arguments for and against the use of family or ancestral names remain the same, no matter how hard anyone might try to convince you of the contrary. If you were going to consider such names for one child, it makes sense to do the same for multiple children. If you weren't, then there's no reason why you should feel an increased need to do so now.
The Name Game Times Two
Children born as multiples have a special bond. They may or may not bear a strong physical resemblance to each other, but there's a unique psychological and emotional connection that stays in place throughout their lives, regardless of the situations and experiences that come their way.
Studies of twins who have been raised apart show remarkable similarities in their behavior and their personalities, even down to such minute details as how they hold their dining utensils. It's not uncommon for twins who are separated at birth to have the same occupations, dress in the same fashion, and even give their children the same names.
When it comes to naming multiples, parents often celebrate this special bond by giving these children names that are similar or related in some way. However, not all do. Many parents today believe in giving their multiples names that will help them establish separate identities from their siblings.
While we often expect multiples to have names in common, nowhere is it written that you have to. There will be plenty of other ways in which your children will be identified as members of a special group, so you can embrace or ignore this naming rule as you wish. As when naming single children, let your head—and your heart—be your guide.
More on: Choosing a Name
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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