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Kate and Daniel are expecting a baby boy later in the year and feeling slightly stuck with names. They both like vintage-style names, but Kate doesn’t want anything too popular.

These are names that Kate loves and Daniel can tolerate:

Edward (maybe too common?)

Daniel loves the name Xavier, and has vetoed Reuben.

The potential middle names they have picked out are Henry, Arthur, Ambrose, and Adam, which are all family names.

Kate and Daniel already have a daughter called Matilda, and don’t want a name that starts with M, or ends in -a or -er that might clash with hers. The family surname begins with H and ends in T eg Hackett, and the name can’t clash with that either.

They’d like feedback on their name list, and are interested in hearing any suggestions people have for them.

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Kate and Daniel, let’s look at your name list.

I love that this is a family name you would consider moving from the position to the first name. That makes it seem pretty special, and I think Matilda and Arthur sound great together, while Arthur Henry is a handsome name combination. I’m not sure how a name ending in -ur is different to one ending in -er (I say them pretty much the same way), but this is a family name, and you might consider that trumps any name rules you have.

Another fantastic choice that sounds great with Matilda, and has fashionable nickname options like Theo and Ted. Theodore sounds good with all the middle names you are considering, with Theodore Arthur and Theodore Ambrose particularly attractive.

A handsome classic name that is a nice match with Matilda and sounds good with your chosen middle names – Edward Arthur and Edward Henry appeal to me. It isn’t in the Top 50 nationally, but if you are in the south-eastern states and territory, it will probably seem more popular than that in your region. Also, because Edward has almost never been out of the Top 100, that might make it seem too common overall, since it is a popular name in all age groups. On the other hand, that gives it a “timeless classic” status you might approve of.

This is the only name on your list that actually is a non-popular vintage name, and would be a brilliant alternative to popular Edward, while sharing the nickname Ted with both Edward and Theodore (the fact you chose all three makes me wonder if you are working towards having a Ted?). It is a perfect match with Matilda, and based on what you asked for, this should be an automatic winner.

This breaks quite a few of your “names rules” because it’s a modern classic, it’s popular and becoming more popular, and it ends in -er. But I am fully in favour of breaking your own name rules for a name that you love, and this makes a nice, contemporary-sounding match with Matilda, and has more or less the same popularity as Matilda too. I think this sounds best with the middle name Adam, if you planned to use it.

It seems as if there are names that Kate loves and Daniel can tolerate, while Daniel loves a name that Kate can tolerate. In an ideal world you would both love the same names, but it’s possible that in this case you might have to compromise a bit.

It seems as if compromise might be harder on Daniel, because so far, he only really loves one name. And it doesn’t fit with the “name rules”, which makes me wonder if they are rules you came up with together? I think some more negotiation might be necessary here!

Daniel, is it possible there are other names you could love? Or would you be satisfied if Kate chose the first name (as long as you had full veto powers, of course), and you chose the middle name?

I also wonder what would happen if you had a third child, and it was a boy too – would Xavier be on the table for his name, or even be the natural choice if Daniel didn’t get his choice this time? If so, do you need a name now that might go with Xavier further down the track? You also need to bear in mind that Xavier might be even more popular by the time you have a third child.

In a case like this where there isn’t one name that’s both your favourite, I think you should discuss together what things you want in a name, what’s important to you, and how important it is to you. Then be very businesslike and award each name on your list points for how well it fulfils your wants.

Then once you get down to the 2-3 names which seem to best suit your needs, drop the points system and just think about how much you like the name. Which name make you feel warm inside when you say it? Which one makes you smile? Which one can you imagine yelling out on school sports day? Which one makes you feel proud to introduce your son?

Other names you might like:

Felix (a retro name with Xavier’s X-factor)
Frederick (fashionable classic with low popularity)
George (a steady classic like Edward)
Joseph (another steady classic)
Alfred (another classic with low popularity, shortens to Alfie)
Winston (vintage, low popularity)
Stanley (another classic with low popularity)

Some of these names are popular, but none more popular than Xavier and Matilda.

Kate and Daniel, you’ve got some great names already, and I’m sure you will be able to agree on a name that works for both of you.

NAME UPDATE: The baby’s name is Theodore!

POLL RESULT: The public’s top choices for the baby’s name were Arthur, at 29%, and Theodore, at 28%.