The baby name game


Dare I wade into the minefield of class and ethnic warfare that is naming a child?

I can’t help myself.

Yes, the time has come to choose a name for foetus Max. Poor Lola went nine days without a name because I could not cope with the overwhelming responsibility for picking just the right one for her, and even now I wonder…

Max is Max for the moment because I got tired of calling him Senor X, Dirty Harry or Bruce Lee. And to try to prompt his dad into engaging into this, my favourite pregnancy discussion. Until Rufus suggests something better, I decreed, he shall be Max. Also Max is my friend’s dog’s name, and she helped me come up with this ultimatum. And I don’t want to tell this kid one day that he was named after a Jack Russell called Maximum Maxi-wobble.

What could be better than fantasising about what your future child should be called? What kind of boy will Max be? Rufus apparently thinks there are MANY things more interesting. Angry Birds for example. He is so chilled out, I know he just thinks the right name will present itself when Max himself does. But after Lola, I know better.

So, the list of potentials, to date:

Luca           (My favourite… but does it matter if your kids’ names all start with the same                          letter. Like the Kardashians… they are my definition of a complete waste of                          space. Who ARE those people and WHY does ANYONE care?)

James        (Love, but is common as muck of course, and now the future King of England                      might also be called this, according to the bookies…)

Dante         (Can’t imagine myself in the park yelling “Dante! Dante!” to be perfectly honest)

Fabian        (He will end up being called Fabby)

Hugo          (I love love love and Rufus hates.. also in Latin America he would be “Ugo” and                          people will assume we are raving leftie Hugo Chavez fans)

Sebastian   (I love this, Rufus thinks it’s ok; but more importantly everyone seems to have a                          Sebastian these days. Does it really matter if a name is popular?)

Finn            (Rufus thinks this is just finny because “fin” in Espanol is “the end”. Also that poor                        actor Finn from Glee just died so now this name makes me sad)

Bruno         (I like two-syllable boys names that end with O… they sound kind of cool and                                assured. Maybe Ludo?)

Raphael      (Love this, Rufus is all “meh”. But also last name starts with an R – is alliteration                     a good thing, people? Or bad?)

Felix            (I think this is cute, Rufus not so much)

Darcy          (I like this but can’t get over the Pride and Prejudice association … BBC series,                          Colin Firth striding out of lake all wet and glistening, for those not in the                             know. One of my favourite pieces of TV of alltime, but still, a bit naff to name                         my son after an 18th-century literary hearthrob modelled on a toff)

Gabriel       (Nice but maybe a bit wishy washy?)

Junot          (Grasping at straws but I kind of like)

Jasper        (Kind of cool… but also a wee bit posh twat)

So that’s the current list. Tell me if we are crazy. Other recent input includes Rufus’s dad, who wants him to be called Frank after Sinatra. His half-brother who wants to call him Lars after some heavy metal drummer. And a friend who also has a son with a Latin American just emailed me her thoughts on names that work both ways – ie English-Spanish: Oscar Stefano Dante Mateo Felix Leo Rafael Tiago Valentín Tomás.

So that’s some name possibilities. The politics of naming a child are endless. There was an amusing spat on UK TV recently in which a smug blonde woman attacked people who give their children misspelled (or spelled “orginally”) names. I have to admit I totally agree with her… making up creative spellings of names for your baby is one of my pet hates. It can leave the kid open to a lifetime of spelling out their name or making assumptions about their background (ie, their parents didn’t know how to spell). But then, ALL names say something about the parents, and the parents’ desires or aspirations for their kids. And about their prejudices.

Celebrities call their kids ludicrous things, I think, because they are secure in the knowledge that they are so wealthy and privileged and entitled that their kids will get along just fine, whatever they’re called. It’s like a bit “F*** U” to the rest of us plebs who actually have to wonder if little X Y or Z will be taunted in the playground or bullied or at a disadvantage when they apply for jobs/college/music school. Seriously, who calls their kid Blanket? Was that the first thing he saw when the baby popped out? Maybe I should just stop torturing myself and call him scrubs, or forceps.

Anyway, even though I get her point I just did not like this woman’s tone. She was being a total snob. And the presenter sitting across from her obviously felt the same way because she dealt her a real body blow when the blonde started in on people who name their kids after places: ie Posh and Becks’ Brooklyn, or the Hilton’s Paris, I spose.

“But… your daughter is called India!” the presenter said, incredulous.

Kapow! Fantastic.

Of course, India is actually a really popular slightly posh name in the UK, probably because it references the glorious empire years. Or maybe that blonde is a bit thick and doesn’t realise that India is a place.

There are also cultural and religious reasons for choosing a child’s name, or family reasons – like X junior or little Arabel (After great-great-absolutely-loaded-with-cash aunt Arabel). And who has the right to go barging in with an opinion on anyone’s religion or culture?

I have a lovely child of hippies friend called Honey, which is not really so out-there. And she ended up meeting a lovely child of Welsh hippies guy called something-from-Lord-of-the-Rings (and this was before the movies came out).

What do I aspire to, for Max? I want him to be a happy little vegemite. I want him to have friends. I don’t want him to be teased. When he applies for a job I don’t want people to laugh at his resume. I want the world for him, like most parents do for their kids. Picking the right name is part of that – perhaps it is even the very least part of it.

Only once did I have a boyfriend whose name I particularly liked. I have lots of friends with names I would never choose for my kids. In the end, the person outshines the name, and if it doesn’t, he can always change it, or use a nickname.


4 thoughts on “The baby name game

  1. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything.
    Do you have any suggestions for first-time blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Hi there… sorry I have been offline a lot lately with baby no 2. Was just thinking about writing how scatterbrained motherhood has made me. I am no blog expert.. I think it’s best to write about what you know and enjoy, or what you’re experiencing at the time. And maybe keep in mind that what you write could be useful to someone out there, rather than just using your blog to vent. Altho lots of people out there do that too! Let me know when you start up!

  2. From your list, I particularly like Luca. I’m not sure if Lola really is Lola or if that’s a webby nickname? But Lola and Luca sound amazing together! My second favorite is Jasper, third favorite is Sebastian : )

    • Lola is a webby nickname and also what we called her in the belly.. but she does have an L name too! Luca is also my fave…

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