It’s a weighty responsibility choosing a name for your child. They’ll be stuck with the moniker you choose for the rest of their life. (Unless they decide to head off to deed poll at the earliest opportunity). I’ve always thought that, in theory, choosing a name for your child should be an enjoyable experience. With the promise of a person forthcoming, it should be a joy to choose a name to bestow on them; a defining halo that they will carry with them all their life.
That’s what I thought.
The reality is quite different. Aside from the responsibility of making a choice your future offspring will be happy with, the majority of people usually have an accompanying partner, which means arriving at name choice you both agree on. Sometimes it’s easy, you hit on a name you both love; job done. In other situations, such as mine, it’s the complete opposite, and you end up stalemated, like two opposing bookends either side of the baby naming books on the shelf.
I consider myself blessed that on most of the things that matter in life, my husband and I agree. In fact, so often are we on the same page, it doesn’t matter which of us turns it. Names, however, represent one of those rare occasions in our relationship where our thinking is poles apart.
I’ll admit, I’m part of the problem. I favour left- field, more unusual choices. (Due partly, I’m sure, to having the most popular girl name in secondary school, and thus always having to be referred to by my first name and surname in order to be identified. ) Husband on the other hand, is far more conservative. Even finding the middle ground can be difficult. In the past few weeks I’ve marveled at the fact that we even managed to agree on a name for Pip. His name is an old biblical name, not chosen because either of us are particularly religious, but just because we liked it. I think one of the reasons Husband went for it, was the fact that if Pip had that name, he and his son would share the same initials.
For baby number two, selecting a name is proving far more difficult than first time around. We both have certain criteria that the name must meet:
a) Not too popular, ideally, a little bit ‘different’. (Me)
b) Not unisex (Husband.) You’d be surprised how many names that you’d consider ‘boy’ names in the UK, are also used for girls elsewhere in the world, particularly in the US.
c) Easy to spell (Husband). He thinks this will propel our child to the top of the class...
d) Not associated with a memory of anyone either of us have disliked, either in real life, on TV or in fiction.(Both)
e) Not associated with the name of a pet. (Both)
f) Not a biblical name. In light of son no 1’s name. (Husband.)
So, some basic rules, you wouldn’t think it would be that hard. Would you?
A typical conversation...
Me: "What about Ptolemy?"
H: "We can’t give our son a name with a silent P. It’s just too much". (See criteria c)
H: Checks internet. "No. It’s also a girl’s name in America."
Me: "No, it’s definitely a boy’s name - Irish heritage."
H: "Stats don’t lie - look." Shows me a graph and then firmly refutes based on criteria b)
Me: (Thinking I have a cunning plan). "Ok, Tarquin then. Quinn for short. Tarquin is a good strong Roman name."
H: "I don’t think I can have a son called Tarquin. I’m worried it’s a bit...poncy." (Note, this name meets all criteria but he still refutes it.)
Me: "Rufus. Rufus is a good name."
H: "I think I knew a dog once called Rufus." (Thereby referring to criteria e)
Me: "Well, did you or didn’t you?"
H: "I don’t know. Maybe it just reminds me of a dog."
Me: "Rex - What about Rex?"
H: "That’s definitely a dog’s name. Or the name of a dinosaur." (Criteria e again...note it has now been extended to apply to extinct species.)
Me: "Felix? I like Felix."
H: "It makes me think of tins of cat food." (Applies criteria e to this claiming 'pet association'.)
Me: "Hugo. What about Hugo?"
H: Too ‘Made in Chelsea’. I could never say his name without thinking of the bloke from the programme. (Criteria d)
H: "Absolutely not." (Criteria f)
H: "No.We are not having another biblical name. It says something about us we’re not." (f)
H: "No." (Criteria c.)
H: "Are you serious?" ( Not sure, just starting to feel slightly desperate.)
Me: "I seem to be the one bringing all the suggestions to the table. All you do is veto the names I suggest. You haven’t suggested a single name yet. Go on, you suggest something."
H: "Well, there is one name I like."
Ah ha! .. I await with baited breath...
How does Tom meet criteria a) I wonder?
And so the conversation continues....
Possibly all is not lost. Pip has awarded baby no 2 a name in-utero. In the event we can’t decide, we could always go with that.
I just wish he hadn’t chosen...
Unbelievably, it does however, tick all the boxes on our criteria list.
Did you struggle to determine the name for your child? How did you decide? I’d love to hear your naming stories.
*Disclaimer: If you are a parent of a Ptolemy , Tarquin, Felix, Rufus or indeed, a child with any of the other names my husband has vetoed, please be assured, these are his views only. Personally, I think these are splendid names. *