Wednesday, 14 April 2010

What's in a name?

Having had four boys to name, complete with middle names as once we'd given the firstborn two names we thought the others might feel hard done by if we only gave them a single christian name, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in the naming game. But twith celebrities gifting their children with monikers like Harlow, Zuma, Shiloh and Knox the days of a simple Tom, Dick or Harry being good enough are long gone.

With boy number one it was simple we just went with tradition and gave him his paternal grandpa's two first names. When it came to boy number two we considered using the maternal grandpa's names, but decided it would be unfair to saddle a defenceless child with the graceless combo of Lenny Brian. Instead we knocked about all the also rans from the first time round.

Initially my husband vetoed every name on the basis that he had been at school with a child with the same name and he was in some way unpleasant. This was somewhat of a problem as my other half went to an all boys school in North London, which seemed to have cornered the market in half decent names. After mentally scanning his old class registers out went at least half of our names.

Then there was the matter of friends, all of who seemed to be spawning boys at the time. My sister took one of our shortlist, his brother nabbed another and our old nanny yet another. In the end we had a shortlist of two, one his favourite, one mine. It was stalemate and my belly was fit to burst with our next child. In the end in the dark watches of the night my husband rolled over and gently told me I could have my top choice. My hero.

I am so glad he caved as the name suits my little boy so well, even if it's also the name of about 75 percent of the other small boys we hear being yelled at in the playground, must be something about the name that makes its bearers particularly cheeky.

With the twins the cupboard was bare as we had used up all the names we liked on our previous two boys, and even more boys had been born to family and friends and nabbed what was left. Fortunately by now our remit was broader as I think my husband's memory of those school boy enemies was fading and I was no longer nearly as fussy, so in the end we could settle on four names for our two boys.

But that wasn't the end of it. When we revealed our choices to the grandmas, both hated our choice for one of the boys. They worked long and hard to disuade us, but you'd think they'd know me better. The more they tried to put me off, the more determined I was that it would remain my name of choice. Even when the babies were born my mother-in-law initially refused to call my son by his name, though as she got to know him her resistance soon wore off.

Then there was the issue of spelling. One baby has a name that can be spelled any number of different ways. We went for the traditional version, but not after much agonising over whether we should go for a more up to date and trendy version of his name.

Perhaps things really were easier back in the days when everyone really was called Tom, Dick or Harry.


  1. We went down the traditional name route. Maxi is my Dad's first name and then William, which was 3 out of 4 grandads. Mini, well we didnt expect two children, but first name was one we both liked and middle is Alan, MadDads dads name!

    I refused MadDads family name Lynus, it reminds me too much of charlie brown

  2. I found it so hard choosing names for our two! We needed Finnish names that could be easily pronounced in English. not that easy, let me tell you lol

  3. We lived by the rule. never tell people your choice of name until the baby is born. Otherwise they'll just try and talk u out of it! suppose u couldn't use the same trick with your husband. i empathise. naming 2 bys was hard enough. But we also ended up naming them out of tradition. Means a lot that way.