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What’s in a name?

October 24, 2011

The whole issue of what to call The Spaniard is beginning to be of great concern … it seems unfair for it to go through life known as The Spaniard to all and sundry so I have been pondering names.

I’ve had two names – one for a boy and one for a girl – that I decided on years ago, but now it comes closer to the time when this precious person may be born (I hope and pray), I’m not sure they’re quite right.

There is no problem with girl names, I have a list as long as a long thing, lots of old-fashioned, off the wall, beautiful names – none sadly with a Spanish sound though that is still something I’m pondering and I keep adding to the list when I hear beautiful words or see wonderful plants or think about books I’ve read, series I’ve watched (gosh I have always loved Poldark names) … so no, no problem with girl names, in fact if The Spaniard is a girl there will be a big problem deciding which names not to call it!!

The issue is with boy names. I have a brother with 4 sons, each with 3 names – so that is 12 off the list. Roy has 2 sons with 2 names each so another 4 gone and many of those names are names I love … so I’ve been pouring over the list that Roger Darlington emailed me some months back of all the boys names allocated in the UK in 2010 (you can download the boys and girls names lists here http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-225089).

Roger has spent many hours analysing the data and considering issues around naming children not just in England but world-wide – and has written a great article here.

I love Oliver and Olivia but don’t want The Spaniard to be one of 8 of them in its class so it needs to be something a bit different.

Anyway – we’ve spent time pondering places we’ve been to see if that brings anything out as a possibility and also chatting to other people to see if anything leaps out. Last night I popped in to visit a friend and her two daughters 7 and 9 … both mad keen for me to have a girl so it can be called after them! I asked them if they had any ideas for names for boys and they vanished into the kitchen for an hour and then proudly came back and read through the following list; which made me smile.

Elisabeth, Elizabeth and Susan - long lost cousins

On Saturday, I popped in, after a lovely blustery walk, to see my cousins from just outside Cambridge – only to find out that one I’ve never met before (and I’ve only recently found these ones – joy of the internet & local press cutting about me a few years ago) – a couple of times removed on father’s side.  They were looking at a family tree (cunningly laid out on a long roll of wall paper) and I spent a good 20 minutes jotting down family names to add into the mix as well.

It me feel remarkably safe somehow to be able to see the names, dates and jobs of all the people who The Spaniard will be descended from on one side of the family and to know that it will have lots of cousins. We grew up with none … well no close cousins at any rate … just some wonderful and very distant cousins in Australia and California, so finding cousins more recently has been a revelation (once I’d interrogated them closely to ensure they weren’t after my vast fortune … ha!!).

So, back to the naming issue … one friend called her daughter after the fragrance of the jar of hand cream that was in the hospital after the birth was over and done with, another friend has a child named after a Springsteen song (and no I’m not going to call The Spaniard Bruce if it’s a boy!!) – both gorgeous names … but I still have no idea. Several people have suggested finding out the sex to make the whole process simpler, but I really don’t want to know until it is born so that isn’t going to happen unless one of my 4 upcoming scans gives the game away which would be seriously annoying!!

It is such a huge responsibility to saddle the poor soul with something for life so I need to take the naming thing seriously.

I sense more lists are on the horizon!!! Oooh and also HURRAH, The Spaniard just did a whole series of big bounces, its little ears must be burning. It hadn’t moved much over the weekend and especially not in the last 24 hours so big relief … wish there was a small window I could look through from time to time to check it’s doing ok.

Right then, back to work.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Leonie permalink
    October 24, 2011 1:45 pm

    Lovely post Ellie! I was in a similar situation with a list of girls names, but really struggling with boys names… I envisaged sitting staring into baby’s eyes on the sofa having a babymoon and that the name would come to me…. But a 5 day stay in hospital and the madness of life with a newborn meant that we didn’t have a name for the first four weeks! Was a bit embarrassing to have to keep filling Alex’s name as Babyboy Schneider at the GP surgery and breastfeeding support groups 😀 .. xx

    • October 25, 2011 11:08 am

      phew glad to know it’s not just me … glad you got to such a lovely name in the end and looking forward to seeing your healthy bouncing boy at sometime soon x

  2. Nicky Getgood permalink
    October 24, 2011 6:46 pm

    This is going to sound mental but I’ve heard of once couple who found there kid’s name by taking leisurely walks in graveyards and pondering over the headstones! :-/

    • October 25, 2011 11:07 am

      I know several people that have done exactly that – and I did look around the other gravestones last time I went to visit my father’s grave … so not mental at all!! x

  3. Nicky Getgood permalink
    October 24, 2011 6:47 pm

    Good God, my grammar’s shot! Anyway, you get my meaning. 🙂

  4. Linda permalink
    October 24, 2011 6:58 pm

    As you know my surname is Gilder…..we didn’t have names for either of our girls until after they were born…..they were known as Hilda and Matilda 🙂

  5. October 26, 2011 4:20 am

    Tara got her middle name (Herminda) when great granny (bisabuela) threw herself on the bed a mere couple of hours after I was rescued from a laundry cupboard postpartum, mourning one of the 13 children in a family I barely knew. Keziah got her middle name (Xusana) in the registration office when they refused to allow Susanne (after my best mate killed 10 months earlier) as there was a Spanish equivalent, so I demanded a Basque book of names from the shelf to find something cussed.

    In fact, in many other countries, there is a book. A single list. Find a name, put it on the birth certificate. End of. I had to get special dispensation for Keziah which a rather fab person in the Consulate pushed through via Madrid as “a common English name”. Yep, it’s Hebrew and means fragrance of cinnamon but with me on the other side of the counter losing it about Guanche fertility goddess names, Herminda and give me that puta book of Basque names now, I reckon I’d have let it through too. (It took nigh on 3 months!)

    If they’d chucked a boy into the mix, he’d have been called Ty. Cos I could spell it and it would have used one of the remaining high scoring Scrabble letters.

    I hope you have been careful on your travels tonight. We are awaiting a baby in the village right now and you pregnant women are such a damned worry. Sandy, good luck with the induction tomorrow hun xx Very sadly, there is someone else in the village who we all have loved who may be heading out of the other end of life at the same time. Take a breath and you see the flow of vitality, in such a small ‘family’. Never bad to appreciate the cycle and boy am I glad I put that rhubarb on her steps all those times. Not sure the new bairn will appreciate it so much but, next year he/she/it of Sandy’s will get the fruit to keep the cycle going and as a memorial to someone who has coloured many years in this village. As I’m positive all these new babies will!

    • October 27, 2011 9:09 am

      Oh Linds thank you for sharing that … I wondered what Kizzy was short for … you are amazing how you’ve battled for those girls since day one … and I love how each name is a story.

      Sorry for your loss though, but you’re right about the rhubarb … these gestures and kindnesses are what make life so special. One day I’ll get up to the village – and you can show me and The Spaniard around xxx

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