J.P and Karen Jepp welcomed their identical quadruplets Sunday. The girls, who were born at 31 weeks and weighed between 2lbs 6oz and 2lbs 15oz, are all doing very well and breathing on their own. Go here for the full news article.

I know we’re all somewhat immune to newstories about higher-order multiples (ie triplets or higher), but this is pretty amazing when you think about it, because the Jepps (who have a two-year-old named Simon) weren’t using any form of reproductive assistance. Try to imagine that.

No, seriously, imagine having a singleton, conceiving number two, then going in for a routine check up and hearing it’s not just #2…but also #3, #4, and #5.

But here’s the part of the story that is of real interest to me: the names. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I’m obsessed with names. I love names, I love the linguistics of naming (the origin, derivation, meaning, etc), and I REALLY love hearing why parents chose a particular name for their child.

I love the name Simon, so I was excited to see what the Jepps would choose for their girls. Unfortunately, like so many parents, they apparently felt the need to “match” the girls’ names because they happened to be multiples. (Because clearly with four identical girls, things weren’t matchy enough already.)

They chose: Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia. (Doctors refer to unborn multiples as Baby A, Baby B, and so on. Did they neglet to inform the Jepps that this was not a binding contract?)

Of those, the only one that leaps out at me as a good match stylistically for Simon is Dahlia. This looks to me very much like a case of parents thinking, “Well, we HAVE to find names that start with A, B, C and D. Which names starting with those letters do we like best.” Rather than the obvious suggestions of just, I don’t know, CHOOSING THE FOUR NAMES YOU LOVE BEST.

Sorry. I got a little worked up there.

This sort of mindless heading of a random pattern reminds me of the Duggars. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have become minor celebrities thanks to a series of specials on TLC about their unusually large family . Michelle just recently gave birth to the youngest of their crew, number 17, little Jennifer Danielle.

Jennifer Danielle may not be the most original name in the world, but she fared much better than many of her other siblings, all of whom have names beginning with the letter J.

Someone needs to let these parents in on a little common sense. You don’t HAVE to create or follow a pattern when chosing names for your children. And if, in order to stick to the pattern you created, you find yourself:

(a) resorting to mangling the spelling of perfectly good names (For ages I didn’t realize Jinger was a “kreativ” spelling of Ginger and assumed it was a made-up named prounced just the way it looks.)


(b) running out of ideas and recycling names of older siblings (ie you name three of your seven daughters Janna, Joy-Anna and Johannah)

…then this just might be a clue that you should break the pattern and look to a new letter for names. I hear there are 25 other perfectly good letters out there. Give one of them a try.