Monday, July 27, 2009

What’s in a Middle Name?

I really don’t think Scott and I are indecisive people.  But we just can’t decide on a middle name for Henry!  Each of our other children’s names came to us easily and quickly, and we agreed on them with no reservations.  But for Henry, we have been up and down a list of “favorites,” deciding and then wavering, because none of the choices ring true for us like the others.

William’s name was the easiest.  I remember standing in Kinko’s waiting for Scott to make copies and it just hit me.  If we had a boy someday, he would be William (after my late uncle, Big Bill, who was indescribably special to me).  I wasn’t even pregnant at the time, but as we pondered our future over the Kinko’s copy machine, Scott and I decided that “William Scott” was the perfect name for our would-be son.

Edmund’s took a little longer – meaning a few hours -- perhaps we were distracted by a more exotic location than Kinko’s (we were in Greece when we found out we were expecting, and we started a list of names as we traveled by plane and bus to Romania).   It was too early to know the gender, so we had a list for each.  Once the name Edmund came up for a boy, we never turned back.  Most people ask us if Edmund is a family name.  We admit, it’s unusual, but no, we just liked it (and yes, I also have a fondness for the character Edmund in the Chronicles of Narnia).  His middle name is Michael, after my father.  And so we have William Scott and Edmund Michael, two strong names that complement each other well.

And now here we are. . . we fell in love with the name Henry long before we knew he was indeed a “he,”  and we are certain it fits beautifully with William and Edmund.  But just as easily as his first name came to us (this time in the car here in Philly, if you’re interested), his middle name has eluded us.  Edmund (age 2) has struggled recently to learn his own full name (mistakenly calling himself “Edmund Scott Shall,” in his strong desire to be just like William and Daddy), and I have often wondered if it would have been easier if we had just given them all the same middle name.  But the narcissism of George Foreman comes to mind when I consider having three boys with the middle name “Scott,” so in the end, I do think it’s best for each to have his own.  I'm sure we'll decide in the next 6 weeks, but for now Henry’s middle name is a mystery.


  1. I can't wait to hear what the middle name is! I know it will be a perfet compliment to Henry. My Henry's middle name is James and everyone says he sounds quite literary. It's a family name, though, so it was easy to come up with. Good luck!

  2. Yeah... good luck with this one. Has Todd nominated 'Todd' yet? I'm sure that will be his suggestion if you ask him. :)

    I gave the middle name decision to Todd to make thinking he'd just pick something that sounds cute (like we did with her first name). But no, he had to go and pick a family name so now I'm afraid we're going to be stuck in the family name theme forever.

    You have a English monarch theme going... what about Arthur?

  3. Ah, names. I have four kidlets (1 boy, 3 girls. The last two a surprise set of identical twins). Names are certainly challenging, because you want them to work together without being the (popular in the 60s) "R" family like we were (Roxanne, Robert, Robyn) and you can't have two great masculine names for your first two boys and then go all androgenous or Hollywood with the third (Mace, say, wouldn't work as well as Henry). In the hospital with our twins, whose names had been decided, my husband changed the middle names at the moment of filling out the paperwork! Looking back, it was genius, but I was most annoyed, because I loved their original names. What did he do that worked so well? Subbed our mothers' names as the middles. Each mom got honored at the SAME time. Key!

  4. Got to go with "Henry David". Talk about "in your face" literary....

  5. OK, reading above comment, it sounds like i might mean something not nice there, quite the opposite. My baby (boy)'s name is Darcy so i adore literary names. :)

  6. lol, It didn't sound negative, Amy! People always tell us that "William Scott" sounds like an author's name, and Edmund's name is from the Chronicles of Narnia, so literary is good! ;)