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Middle Names: License To Get Funky?

Monica Danielle, Henry David and Violet Avelaine Bielanko.

Everyone knows the first name is important. It’s our handle, it’s what people call us, it’s what we hear all day long. If our first name sucks it’s a big deal. In fact, when first names blow, folks often default to their middle name – if it doesn’t blow too.

But if you’re naming your kid a very solid first name – at least you think so, anyway – does that mean the middle name is a license to get funky? Or toss a relative whose name you don’t like enough for the first name a bone? Or are middle names traditionally mom or dad’s name, depending on the gender?

In my daughter’s case, her first name was all our own doing. Neither of our moms has a name we’d inflict on a child. Not that they’re bad names, they’re just not right for us. But we wanted to toss one of our moms a bone and we chose mine. Except my mom hates her name. Elaine. So we got funky. Our theory: what the hell, it’s a middle name, right? And we actually like the middle name, obviously, or we wouldn’t have chosen it. But it’s not necessarily a name everyone might like. Avelaine. (Av-uh-lane) Our daughter’s name is Violet Avelaine Bielanko. Lotta vowels, I know. But see how we did that? We got Elaine in there but the name is totally different. Grandma was pleased, we were pleased, everything worked out.

We really like the idea of middle names for relatives. My brothers’ names are Brandon, Jordan and Shaun. Brandon named his first son Shaun Jordan. My middle name is Danielle and my brother Jordan named his daughter Jaicee Danielle. When we had Henry we decided his middle name would be David, after Serge’s only brother David. Nothing funky about David.

A lot of women give their child their maiden name as a middle name, which can be cool or weird, obviously, depending on the name. Jackson? Okay. Lichensteinburger? Eh.

Heather and Whitney wrote about weird middle names over on their Momformation Blog and say their friend Amanda gave her son the middle name of “Bean” because that’s what she had called him in the womb. I’m not so sure about that. Is cute now, but not exactly business card material later. But I guess that’s the point of middle names, or is it?

Heather and Whitney say they’ve heard of Silver, Blue, Grey as choices for middle names. They think the folks who chose those names “might not be quite bold enough to use those as first names. The middle name seems a safe place to insert a dose of wacky, should you have those instincts.”

Some women don’t give their daughters middle names at all because they want the girls to use their maiden names as middle names in adulthood.

What about you? How did you go about choosing a middle name? Was it as a result of throwing a relative a bone, was it a license to get funky, was it a name you love but didn’t dare choose it for the first name?

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