Megan writes:

We’re expecting our second son, and probably our last child, this summer.

It took us forever to agree on our Hayden’s name, but now we love it and can’t imagine using any of the other names we considered.

But that means that our original list from two years ago is off the table, and we’re starting at zero.

With Hayden’s name, we weren’t sure about whether we’d regret it because it rhymes with Jayden and Aiden. So far that hasn’t been an issue at all.

Here’s what we’re working with:

  • Our last name sounds like Kirk with a B. Because it’s so harsh, names like Jack, Luke, Kai, etc. are out. Even names like Walker, Parker, Carter maybe don’t sound great.
  • Other names that we like, but think are too much like Hayden, include Waylon (my husband’s new favorite), Hudson, Grayson (both long-time favorites of mine). I almost think we shouldn’t have another name ending with N, but maybe that’s not reasonable.
  • My husband doesn’t like names that end in Y/EE. This is frustrating, but he shot down Charlie, Riley, Finley, Eli, Levi, etc.
  • My nephews are Elijah and Isaiah, and while I like those names, I feel like anything in that sort of Bible/-ah name is off limits, too.

Right now, it seems like every name I sort of like either doesn’t work or breaks one of my husband’s rules.

Can you maybe help us with some new ideas?

Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

It sounds like you’re having a few common experiences:

  • Hayden’s name rules out other names you like, including Waylon and Grayson
  • Your friends and family are having children, too, taking other names out of circulation, like Isaiah and Elijah

But here’s the one that really trips us up: we compromise and consider and eventually settle on our first child’s name, often with the luxury of time. Pretty quickly, that name comes to represent all the good things about our family. Hayden was just a name on paper a few years ago, but now it’s this wonderful little boy that you can’t imagine being without, right?

The next kiddo? Besides the time crunch – I mean, you’re parenting a toddler! – it’s easy to forget that there was a gap between choosing the name and falling in love. Even if it’s only minutes, it’s there.

Have confidence that the name you choose this time will be transformed by love, too!

With that in mind, let’s talk options. I think something ending with R has potential, but that’s not the only option.



Because your last name rhymes with Kirk, the sounds in Walker, Parker, and similar choices probably do sound a little harsh. But Archer is just slightly softer and still has that R ending. I love the way Hayden and Archer feel very current and modern, but a little bit like preppy throwbacks at the same time.


Another possibility: a name ending in T, just like your first son’s middle name. Beckett and Bennett probably are out because of the repeating initials with your last name. But Everett might be perfect.


Boys’ names ending with X range from traditional choices, like Felix and Max, to modern inventions, like Jax. I think Lennox strikes exactly the right balance – a traditional surname that’s refreshing as a first.


An all-around great surname name possibility, with all the Americana of Tom Sawyer baked in.


Upbeat, Irish Sullivan works with Hayden nicely because it’s just a touch longer.


A surname that feels traditional … but also wild and free.

I think my favorite is Everett. Maybe Everett Wilder? Hayden and Everett.

But I also like Sullivan Wilder and Lennox Sullivan.

Readers, over to you – what would you name a brother for Hayden Elliott?

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About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Some great suggestions here! I wondered about something 2 syllable, surname-y ending in S …. Curtis or Lewis? I love the sound of both with brother Hayden.

  2. I also thought of Wilder. Archer would be great with Hayden. A few other suggestions I came up with…

    Palmer, Stellan, Devon, Bennett, Oliver, Ronan or Rowan, Whittaker, Quinn, Graham, Nolan or Olin, Samuel, Asher, Anson, Paxton, Marlon

  3. While Hudson and Waylon do sound too close to Hayden, Grayson seems different enough to be a sibling name.
    Or maybe you’ll like:

  4. One thing that always gives me pause about Sawyer is the different ways it’s pronounced in the US. My southern family says SAW-yur, while I (western US) say something more like Soy-er with less front end emphasis. Sayer is a cool name without that problem.

    What about Wyatt? Same vein as Waylon, sounds great with Kirk-with-B, makes sense with Hayden. I might go for Wyatt Greyson.

    What about Fletcher or Thatcher? Soft-ish like Archer.
    Ellis? Ellis and Hayden sound like brothers to me.

  5. Ideas:

    Wesley “Wes” and Hayden… Breaks your husband’s no “ee/y” rule but maybe Wes for short would be a good compromise? Wesley has similar vibes as Waylon but without sounding too similar to Hayden

    Spencer and Hayden

    Elliott and Hayden

    Lane and Hayden

    Reid and Hayden

    Davis and Hayden

    Leo and Hayden

    Trevor and Hayden

    Miles and Hayden

    Grant and Hayden

  6. I don’t think Waylon or Grayson are too close to Hayden, especially as a middle name. I love Thatcher Waylon/Grayson!

    1. Great point about Waylon/Grayson making great middles, and yes – Thatcher Grayson is AMAZING.

  7. Sawyer was a great suggestion— Hayden & Sawyer! I’ll also suggest Wesley as a great compromise name between Waylon and Charlie— Hayden & Wesley! Congratulations.

    1. ohh, Tristan! Underused, but instantly recognizable, a pan-European feel, yet right at home with the cowboys too. I love Tristan for you! I think Hayd- and Trist- are such different sounds, both ending in -n is not a concern for this pairing.

      Tristan Everett (with both boys sharing middle initials) is a subtly sweet way to connect brothers. If this is “probably your last” child, will you feel stuck using E middle names for any more siblings? I do love the longer flow to balance your short last name and the mirroring of Ts.
      If not, how about:

      Tristan Walker
      Tristan Waylon
      Tristan Denver
      Tristan Boone
      Tristan Otis
      Tristan Silas

      1. Yes! Years ago, I met a little Tristan and almost melted. I’ve yet to hear it in the wild again since, but it’s SUCH a great choice …

  8. Congratulations! A few more ideas to consider: Monroe, Griffin, Campbell, Beckett, Asher, Ansel (a favorite of mine), Sascha, Cameron, Noah (too Biblical?), Caspian (not sure this is your style), Addison, Orson, Nolan, Cashel, Clayton, Sinclair, and Davis.