Monday, 22 April 2013

Naming the kid

I had a moment the other night.

The husband was sitting on the sofa reading out girl's names. Not perusing his little black book but contemplating what to name our daughter.

Our daughter!

Holy shit.

I hope that every single one of you gets to have this conversation. It breaks my heart that not everyone has. It was fun.

Naming is a minefield. (Look at the picture above. I have no words).

There are definite fashions and amongst the London middle-classes, (of which I cannot deny I am a fully paid up member), there is a trend at the moment for harking back to the traditional names of our grandparents. I'm down with this. I like an old fashioned name. But as with all trends you need to be careful.

A mate of ours of the left-wing persuasion named his daughter Florence. A lovely name. A couple of months later the right-leaning leader of the Conservative party gave his daughter the same name. He wasn’t happy (the mate, I doubt old Dave C gave a damn, he doesn’t seem to care about much).

Then there are the hundreds of tales of friends who think they have seized upon a unique name for the apple of the their eye (oooh! Apple there’s a name!) only for the kid to start nursery and find they are one of five Oscars/ Archies/ Lilys/ Tabithas.

Back in the day you could try and mark a bit of differentiation by a “special” spelling. Why have Daisy when you can have Daysee? In fact I know two people whose names are spelt wrong because their dad’s screwed up their birth certificates. Once this wouldn’t have been too problematic but now you've got the dual consideration - an unique spelling can render any email address unworkable as people are inclined to stick with the traditional spelling. On the plus side, when you set up their website (come on aren't all parents registering a domain name along with their baby name nowadays?) your less likely to find it has already been snapped up.

The husband has put two strict rules on any name he will contemplate. It can't start with an A or end with an A. This is because our surname starts with an A and he isn't happy about our daughter's initials being AA. (Can't think why, I'm a fan of the Automobile Association.) And he thinks that ending one name with an A and starting the surname with another will prevent the name rolling off the tongue.

So my favourite name was vetoed.

Then there is my natural inclination to have a bit of fun with this name.

If Posh and Becks see fit to name Brooklyn after where he was conceived surely Petri, after the dish our embryo started its life in is a shoe-in for a name.

Or Ivy. Ivy is a nice name, and I could couple it with a middle name in memory of my Mum. Frances. So Ivy Frances - or for short: Ivy F.

I know what you are thinking - that I'm a fucking genius.

You aren't wrong.

For some reason the husband isn't buying it.

Finally, however, more through a process of elimination rather than choice, we have arrived at a short list of names.

The next stage is to test these names out in the field. But that is a post for another day.


  1. Oh Emm Gee, Biggles, the poor child.

    It is a mind-boggling responsibility isn't it. Hmm. I like to poke around on this to see what trends exist (I think it's American?)
    despite the annoying colour scheme. Ooh, Fatima, though? What are the chances of the other kids in school NOT shortening it? NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I would venture.

  2. I love names, I adore names. I've been a practicing onomast since I was 10, with serious scholarly research beginning about 7 years later. I'll admit, that one of the heart-breaking things I faced when I thought we wouldn't have kids was that I'd never get to name them. I agree with you: I hope everyone who wants to is able to some day!

    In fact I know two people whose names are spelt wrong because their dad’s screwed up their birth certificates

    *laugh* Gwen's name was actually her dad's choice; we both liked "Gwen", but I had to be talked into going with the long form "Gwendolyn". But when Joel kept pushing for it, I eventually asked him how he spelled it, because "-yn" is the most common spelling, but if he said "-en" or "-in" (both legitimate alternatives), then I knew she'd be doomed for forever having her name misspelled. And since we have an anglicized German surname (Joel's grandfather dropped the second -n when he emigrated) and the likelihood of us moving to Germany in the near future was high, I didn't want to doom her to two elements always being misspelled. As it is, when we did move, I had to get the IT dept. to create a second computer profile/email account for me when the first one they made had the German form of my surname.

    It is too bad that you're not having a boy, since "Peter Douglas" or "Douglas Peter" would've been a lovely name. :) I do second the suggestion of plugging names into the babynamewizard to get a sense of how they're trending.

  3. One of my neighbours is called Petri. I used to think it was the hippy version of Petra, but now you've got me thinking (although she is older than Louise Brown)

  4. Ivy F. is beyond brilliant. But, of course, you know that.

    May I just say, that I am in awe of how gracious you've been during all of this? The very fact you say "I hope that every single one of you gets to have this conversation. It breaks my heart that not everyone has" is so wonderful. I'm more than happy to be happy for people but every once in a while it's nice when someone acknowledges that not everyone is so lucky. And sometimes that's all I want, is to be acknowledged. So many have moved on and forgotten what it's like on the other side of the fence. I don't blame them but I just wanted to say thank you. Your words are so validating, comforting and unnecessary... which is what makes them so meaningful. I'm so glad to follow you on this journey... and so thankful you haven't left any of us behind. Thank you for that!

  5. Haha thank you for providing a morning laugh while drinking my coffee. Hilarious!

  6. I love Ivy Frances, and then it's sort of your own inside joke. To bad that it automatically gets disqualified because it's also funny. Oh well; I'm sure that you'll do a brilliant job finding something else equally lovely.

  7. Shame about the A-rule, or Petra would've been amusing, and it's a nice name anyway (or, at least, I like it).

    In some countries, it's FIV, not IVF, so you could sneak Frances Ivy under the wire? Or is Frances especially for middles not firsts, in which case we shall adopt a look of sensibleness.

    Posie Betsie and Biggles and Tuppence. Surely all golden retrievers. Surely.

  8. Aw, and there was I about to recommend Concepta or Assumpta as candidates :)

    What about kickass historical figures? I've always liked Eleanor/Elanor for that reason (she of Aquitaine/Queen of France/Queen of England).

  9. I can't wait to hear what you actually come up with.

    I was going to choose Grace for our daughter's name, but my husband wanted to put an unusual name with it, and it didn't flow properly. So she got the unusual, often misheard first name that no one can spell (even when I spell it for them, they still have trouble, for some reason) and Grace as her middle name. least she's not one of the 5 Emmas or Ellas or Kaitlyns her age...

  10. Although I would beg to differ on whether or not the process was "fun," I will say that it was one of the few discussions that my husband and I have ever had where we disagreed but could still maintain a civil conversation with no swearing. I suppose I could see how normal people could have fun with it.

  11. The only naming I've done lately was cats and dogs and that was a struggle. We never have agreed entirely. One cat has two completlely different names and she is referred to by both in equal measure.

    I don't envy you the baby naming minefield. The rule we had was to avoid any name if we knew someone with the same. Inevitably we ended up with odd and unusual names and in 16 years I've still only met one child with the same name as one of mine. Their middle names had a family connections and were the common variety so they had the option to opt out of being usual. I'm pleased to say they have stuck with the odd ones and apparently are rather pleased to be unique.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. #1- you are a genius of sorts :-)
    #2- just be thankful that your mother in law didn't suggest the name "Rhonda Lee" and that she didn't hold a grudge because - surprise - that's not the name you went with!

  14. I just know Stella was your first choice but you cant have it because of the veto on A endings...and after I deprived my daughters and saved it for you to use.....

  15. As someone who lived the majority of her life as Amanda A., I have to say, it's an awesome name with awesome initials that I miss. And it totally rolls off the tongue just fine :-)

  16. Your husband is right about the 'A' thing. I have some friends who have the dreaded glottal stop between their names. When you say them together you sound demented (think Anna Adams).
    In some countries in Europe girls' names have to end in A. It's a grammar thing.
    I know someone who called their child Chlamydia because she "liked the sound of it". I just hope her child never visits an English-speaking country :-O

  17. catching up on the last FIVE posts.

    I am so behind.

    And chuckling at Ivy F. Brillance. Pure brilliance.

  18. This one's for free...


    Not too long, not too short, not too harsh, not too slutty etc etc

    Once you see past the association with breaking & entering, criminal damage, and theft of course.

  19. I love Ivy F. It is indeed quite brilliant. I hope that you will be able to settle on a name that meets all the requirements.

  20. I actually had a good friend in high school named Petri... haven't thought of her in ages. Certainly never occurred to me at the time why she might have been named that.


I've resisted word verification for ages but I'm getting so many spam comments at the moment that I think it is time. Sorry!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.