There are two things I’m certain about: (1) the universe has a great sense of humor, because it decided I would have a third son; and (2) naming this little bugger is impossible. 

My husband and I didn’t even have to debate over our first two boys. He had always wanted a boy named Owen (his father’s middle name) and I immediately liked it. Nearly four years later, I sent him a text during the work day “What about Harrison?” and received an instant reply “That’s perfect!” Upon the discovery of a third “bundle”, I knew exactly what I’d name her. I didn’t care if my husband loved it, because it was HER name. Weeks went by and an ultrasound tech put a note in an envelope: Boy.

Another ultrasound tech laughed as she circled the very clear boy indicator and said “There’s no hiding that!” I don’t think I hid my eye roll at all. That’s great. Is the proud little guy also holding a sign that reads “My name is ____”? 

My first two boys’ first & middle names honor male family members. I like the thought of continuing that trend, but it gets complicated with who to choose. So, I’m not set in stone on that rule. I tend to lean towards traditional, old-fashioned names and dislike trendy names. It just wouldn’t work to have Owen, Harry, and Jagger. 

My husband and I have not met eye to eye on this name. He favors Greyson, which I fear is gaining too much popularity. I like Will, but he argues that it’s a nickname, not a full name. Benjamin may be a contender with the ability to call him Ben. I like calling a boy Charlie as a nickname, but Charles just seems too stiff. So many names are immediately shut down by one or the other of us. 

With a Polish surname ending in “zik”, it adds another fun dimension to the name game. I spend my limited free time trying to picture calling him by different names as I cradle him, as he shakes hands for an interview, or picture an officiant saying “Do you take ____ to be your lawfully wedded husband?”... and I may just lose my d*** mind. 

I’m not due until August and yet I’m nearly ready to concede victory and let my husband name him MacGyver. 


I mean, there is something to be said for naming him with an eye toward the sense of humour of the whole thing. “These are our children, Owen, Harrison, and MacGyver Jagger… you really want to hear the story? Are you sure?”

Beyond that though, I think what will make you feel better about this is expanding your ideas of what constitutes a ‘traditional, old fashioned’ name – you’re feeling bored and frustrated because of name inertia, but looking into relatively unused corners will help you. 

First of all, I would 100% caution, with my usual geographic restrictions, that Greyson is super, super common – and that even though you call Harrison ‘Harry’, having Owen, Harrison, and Greyson (or anything else with an ‘n’ at the end, for that matter) is going to feel a bit matchy-poo. 

But I immediately wanted something with a different sound to it, so my first inclination was to suggest August. People love this name because there’s the Augie or Gus as nickname options factor, and because it’s a bit romantic but also has kind of a strong ending to it – so I could totally see this in your mix. Elliot also lives in this category, as do the more modern versions like Everett and Emmett.  Emmett, though, seems somehow short for your tastes; I think you want more syllables or, in the absence of that, more vowel sounds. 

I thought too about Gilbert, but I know the ‘bert’ is still too hard for a lot of people. Still, it seems so right to me, and when there are people (not necessarily you) considering Jasper and Roger so often, I never understand why Gilbert isn’t also in the mix. Or, as always, I recommend Frederick, because Freddie is perfect and I’m not hearing enough saturation yet for me to walk back my wild enthusiasm for it.  

You might like something short, like Hugh or Graham, or even something ever-so-slightly adjacent to trendy but still with a thorough pedigree, like Jude. What about Oscar? I think with Owen and Harry it could fit beautifully well, and if you get OCD about things like initials, the Os are on either side of Harry. Felix? Asher? 

My one exception to the “don’t choose something that ends in ‘n’” rule is Sebastian – it’s different enough from your sons’ names that I’m not bothered by it, and I sense that you would use the full name, though I don’t even mind ‘Bastien’. Somehow, despite being long and relatively formal, Sebastian, maybe because it doesn’t have easy intuitive nickname options, never feels out of place even among the Wills and Finns and Connors of today. I think you might really like it. 

You have more options than you think, and I think the sense of humour that fills this letter is gonna be your best weapon in the hilarious/bananas future. I can’t wait to find out – let us know!