Naming Twins and Multiples: What To Do (and What Not to Do)
Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Unless you don’t use social media of any sort, you’ve probably heard by now that Beyonce has announced she is expecting twins with husband Jay Z. This news comes just days after the news Pharrell Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh just welcomed triplets. These two celebrity couples join a long list of celebrity parents of multiples. (Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Laura Bush and George W. Bush, and Holly Robinson-Peete and Rodney Peete, just to name a few.) They also join a much longer list of non-celebrity parents like, well, me.
As a fellow mom of twins, I have a few thoughts for Beyonce and other mere mortals on how to approach naming those babies-to-be.
What Not to Do
Even though they are sharing a uterus and a birthday, they’re still individuals and deserve their own identities. Many people will bundle them together as a unit throughout their lives, referring to them as “the twins” and possibly confusing them (especially with identical twins, but even – I have found – with fraternal boy/girl pairs). While it can be fun when they’re young to dress them in matching or coordinated clothing and to present them as a pair to the world, one day they’re going to be old enough to want some things that are theirs and theirs alone. Their name should be one of those things.
Ask yourself: Would you name non-multiple siblings the same way? Some people like to have super-matchy sibling names. There are families who opt for each name to begin with the same letter, or end with the same sound. If that’s your jam, then hey, have at it. But don’t feel like you need rhyming names for your twins just because they’re being born at the same time.
With twins, there is an element of confusion that you’ll get used to living with at all times. It’s not just the prospect of two babies with their own wants, needs, and sleep schedules. It’s things like social security cards, healthcare billing, doctor appointments, school registrations, and more. I have heard story after story of parents having to argue with their insurance companies that it does make sense to process two payments on the same day. Having the same birthdate means headaches you’ll have to deal with. Matching names or initials means amplifying those headaches.
Obviously there are no rules in naming your babies – twins, triplets, or whatever combination you’ve got cooking included. Feel free to name your babies Jax and Max or Jayda and Jayden. But at least consider finding ways to coordinate their names without complicating their lives.
What You Might Want to Do
As I mentioned before, many families opt for a single letter to unify their names. Logan and Lucas or Abigail and Andrew still seem unified and a fitting pair without going overboard.
Maybe you’re in love with traditional, romantic sounding names, or short, modern names. Harrison and Elizabeth or Zoe and Max pair nicely together in length and style. Consider the feel and the syllables to find pairs that work in harmony. Longer names like Alexander and Savannah or shorter names like Emma and Ethan.
Consider names that may be different in sound and feel but have similar or related meanings. Virtues, place names, flowers, or origins can all come into play here. Pairings like Faith and Hope or Leo and Ariel work nicely within a theme that compliments without competing.
Choose the names you love, even if they don’t “match” exactly. If you’ve always wanted certain names you don’t have to give them up. What really unifies the names is the love that you put into choosing them and the love you have for the little ones who will proudly wear them.
Are you a twin parent? What names did you choose?