Hoping you can help break the deadlock my husband and I are in. We're due with our first, a little boy, in four weeks and can't agree on his first name. Middle name is a family name and completely sorted. We're down to three boys names: Mattias, Callan and Erik. Our last name is very Swedish, starts with a "J"and ends in "sson".

Here's our problem, I love Mattias, he loves Callan and our back up is Erik, but we don't dislike each other's first picks. So basically we like all three, but can't actually agree on one. How the f are we going to decide? Help!!!

The baby is also big, so I'm probably going to go early and I don't want to be one of those couples who doesn't name their baby for days. I'd really like to have it sorted, so it's not a question after who knows how many hours of labour etc.




Okay, well, I’m hoping we get to you before you go, but from what I understand, ain’t no guarantee that you won’t argue when you get there anyway. But OK, here we go. 

I often think of these things as a Venn Diagram. You know, with the two overlapping circles? Mattias is in one, Callan is in the other. So what’s the overlap? Both are unusual-ish, but not going to cause anyone to say “you named him what?!?” They fit within the syllables of our culture.

The first thought I have isn’t going to break your tie but …both of these are better than Erik, I think. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but even with the Nordic spelling, it still seems kind of like a dad name, you know? It doesn’t help you cut down the final two, but I’d rather see either of the other two in the top spot.

So. Let’s start laying out facts. Mattias is going to be called Matti, and Matt. Neither of those bother you? That’s cool, but I dare you to maintain “Mattias” when preschool teachers and friends and whatnot get hold of him. Callan doesn’t have that problem.   What it does have, however, is an “n” ending. This is by far the most popular ending for boys names in years – did you see the awesome infographic in the Atlantic? I suspect you want to pronounce your son’s name like the Calla Lily plus an N, but I wouldn’t put it past the occasional dolt to pronounce it like the popular names of today, the syllable names, and just randomly turn your son into “Caelin”, pronunciation wise. I know, I know, how is that possible – but people have been burned by normal looking names before, and then people are all “Oh yeah, George, it’s pronounced “Gor-ga”.

My vote is probably for Callan, I think, because it’s much closer to saying what it means to be right up front. Also you’re less likely to run into another by virtue of nicknames, even though I think your Matti would likely be the only one in his school – though he might have the same name as a couple of his buddies’ dads. Still, either name is pretty great and I think that’s why you’re having trouble.

Worst case scenario, you’re in labour, start calling the kid by name. “Callan, it’s your birthday!” “Mattias, you share a day of birth with David Duchovny and Charlize Theron!” (Okay, that’s me.)

Let me know!