Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's in a name?

Nowadays, you can call your child pretty much what you want. From Apple to Pilot Inspektor (I'm serious, check it out!), to more conventional names. The choice is endless. There are hundreds of baby name books out there. You can make it more original by playing with the spelling, you can find some obscure ancient name if you wish.

I have always liked names that are not too common. I like my children to be unique. But I wouldn't go as far as picking some of the names that celebrities do. Being in a multinational family, choosing your child's name can be quite tricky as you want to make sure that both sides can pronounce it properly. This pretty much ruled out a majority of Celtic names. Even with tweaking out the spelling, you can not escape the fact that Saoirse sounds like 'take the cat out' in French (Sors chat), or that Roisin would end up being pronounced Raisin. And the other way around. Some French names just sound horrible with an English accent.

I have to admit though, that I was a bit shocked here at the lack of originality of some people when it comes to names. No offense intended but how many people from the same family can bear the same name? I think that naming your baby after their mother, father, uncle, aunt, grandmother etc is rather unoriginal (unless they had an original name to start with). I'm not saying that it shouldn't be done, each to their own as my mother in law would say. I do understand there is a sense of legacy behind it but I believe that that legacy can be passed on through a second name as easily as it is with a first one. Marie's second name is a variation on my own great grandmother's name. So I'm not knocking the whole 'naming after somebody' thing. I'm just saying it's not for me. And it does make for rather confusing conversations sometimes.

Picking Marie's name was easy. I had always wanted to use that name for a girl. It is a character in one of my favourite books and there was no convincing me of naming her anything but. It is an international name of neither French nor Celtic origin that can be pronounced easily in both languages.

When it came to Noelie (not her real name), we settled for a Celtic name but that could easily be read and said with a French accent. It is actually of French origin but with a Celtic spelling. We were walking around the shops at Christmas time and both seen this personalized Christmas card. And we both liked the name. It was as easy as that. We just stumbled upon it.

Now, you're probably thinking where is she going with the whole naming thing. It's easy. A baby is soon to be born (no, not mine) to a close family member. And I recently asked about the name of the baby. Some people like to keep it quiet until after the birth, some will tell you beforehand. So out of curiosity, I just asked. And I was told. I was told the first name, which is a perfectly normal and conventional name. However, I was shocked. And my shock came from the fact that it is basically just the abbreviation of Noelie's real name. The most common and natural abbreviation of it. Now, we don't call her by that but I'm sure that some day somebody will shorten her name to that. It did annoy me a bit, and I told Mr Foodie about it. It didn't seem to phase him much. Yes they are very similar names but we chose the name first so it's not a big deal.

Later on in the day, Mr Foodie went out with Marie to visit a close family friend. And while he was there, he sent me a text. First and second names of the baby to come. And my face just dropped. They had picked a second name which was also perfectly normal and conventional. It took me the whole of about 20 seconds to come up with this though. If you put the 2 names together and you say it a bit fast, you end up with Noelie's real name. Not a variation of it, just that, her name. I later found out the mum to be had always wanted to use that name for a girl. So it sounds to me like she settled for the closest thing. And it annoys me because I want my child to be unique. I don't want her to, even remotely, share her first name with a close family member less than a year younger than her. I understand I have no say in what people call their own children, and I don't pretend to, but I would have thought that this wasn't the done thing, at least not without consulting first.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? Have you turned down names because a close friend or relative had already picked it? Did you name your child after a family member? Did you consult with them first?

Disqus for Foodie Mummy