Rhyming Twin Baby Names
the fun of naming twins
“We did not want rhyming names or names that all started with the same letter,” says the Arizona mom. “My husband and I are both ‘Chris,’ and there is nothing worse than having to ask over and over and over again, ‘male or female?’ Although we did joke in our Lamaze class that we were going to name our kids Chris and Chris. You should have heard the silence!” The Lawcocks eventually went with the names Max and Samantha for their boy/girl twins.
It’s often a good idea to choose names that are similar and harmonious in style and feel.
Choosing names for multiples can be twice – or more than twice – as much work as choosing a name for a singleton. But it also can be twice as much fun.
Sally Phillips from southern Illinois is an adult twin. When Phillips and her sister, Suzanne, were born, her grandfather jokingly suggested that the girls be named Milly and Lilly. “This didn’t go over well with my mother, since our last name was Pond!” says Phillips. “So much for rhyming our names.”
While Phillips and her sister missed out on the rhyming names, they do have the same first initial – a trend that has long been well-loved among parents of multiples and one that remains popular today.”Of the 15 top twin pairings last year, 13 of them began with the same initial, the most popular being Jacob and Joshua, Matthew and Michael, Daniel and David, Ethan and Evan and Taylor and Tyler,” says Linda Rosenkrantz, co-author of Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana (St. Martin’s, 2006). “No matter how much experts advise individualizing twins and encouraging independent identities, I think the majority of parents [of multiples] will continue to give them matching names, just as they persist in dressing them in matching outfits.”
In fact, it’s often a good idea to choose names that are similar and harmonious in style and feel, says Rosenkrantz. For instance, a highly feminine or masculine name might be a poor choice with an androgynous name, and a lengthy name might sound odd paired with a name that is very short.
Michelle Zamberelli, a Miami mother of identical twin girls, agrees. “I think the names should be around the To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme-The Fun of Naming Multiplessame size [number of syllables] since you always say them together,” says Zamberelli, whose daughters are named Carolina [pronounced Caroleena] and Daniella. “Saying ‘Daniella! Kate!’ was too different.”
Zamberelli and her husband also discussed the names Carolina and Gabriella as possible choices, but she says Daniella and Gabriella were never an option because they rhymed. “Bottom line … no rhyming names!” says Zamberelli. “With identical twins especially, it is confusing enough that they look so much alike without having similar names.”
What’s in a Name?
Can the names you choose truly impact your multiples’ identity? Possibly, says Pamela Fierro, author of The Everything Twins, Triplets and More Book (Adams Media Corporation, 2005), but more factors into this than just naming. For instance, parents may choose closely matched, same first letter or even rhyming names because they want their multiples to be very alike.
“I think parents choose names like that because they want to impact their children’s identity – it’s not just the names themselves that are going to impact their identity,” says Fierro. “I think it is more that the parents’ attitudes and names are just one way of reflecting that.”
Angela Drinkwater’s twin sons are named John Alexander and Matthew Kerry. Rhyming or otherwise matching names were never a consideration. “I didn’t think about them matching or having the first letter,” says Drinkwater, from New York. “Maybe because I’m a twin and just never think of them as ‘a set,’ like some [moms who aren’t twins themselves] might do at first.”
Making the Decision
Norlisa Keffer is mom to boy/girl twins Mary Frances and Samuel, or as they are better known, Frankie and Sammy. Both children’s names have special significance for Keffer and her husband, who are devout Catholics. “I love Jesus’ mom, Mary, and St. Francis of Assisi, thus Mary Frances,” says Keffer from Seattle, Wash. The name Samuel has special meaning as well – the Keffers had difficulty conceiving and chose the name based on the Biblical story of Hannah, who prayed for a child and was given Samuel.
To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme-The Fun of Naming MultiplesFrankie and Sammy Keffer’s names aren’t traditionally “matched.” However, while quite distinct from each other, they make a pair that is harmonious in style, length and meaning. According to Rosenkrantz, that’s exactly what to look for when choosing names for multiples.
While there are no set-in-stone rules for naming multiples, sound-alike names are bound to cause confusion, says Rosenkrantz. “For example, ‘Andrew’ and ‘Andrea’ are both apt to be called Andy by their friends,” she says.
Adult twin Sara Fujimura agrees. Her twin sister is named Tara, and the names do not rhyme. “Tara had it worse, as people frequently mispronounced her name,” says Fujimura from Arizona. “Then there were the people who – thinking they were the first to come up with this – said, ‘But you’re twins! Your names have to rhyme!’ and then would mispronounce my name instead and laugh. Cue eye-rolling!”
Fujimura’s experience isn’t unusual. Sometimes it can feel like the entire world has an interest in the names of multiples.”When I learned that I was pregnant with twins, there was no doubt in my mind that the names would be different and would not rhyme,” says Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy from Neosho, Mo. She grew up around several twin pairs with rhyming or matching names and says the decision to name her daughters Emily Dian and Megan Lane was an easy one. “I have never regretted making that decision. However, I’ve been scolded by many people in public who are disappointed that their names are not something like Candy and Mandy.”
If you think the comments may be hard to bear, Fierro recommends not revealing the names you’ve chosen until after the babies are born – a tip she used with her own daughters. “Once the babies are born and the names are actually attached to them, I think people are a little less ready with the criticism,” says Fierro. “It is, after all, a done deal.”