Whats In A Name

Dear Button,

Well you may be pleased to know that Sparky thinks I’m nuts. He also thinks I’m pedantic and occasionally unreasonable and a whole host of other traits. Not that you really care right at this moment but I’m sure this will be useful for you later when you two want to band together because you both don’t agree with me. Or, you might slightly sympathise with him whilst, I don’t know, you’re in the middle of actively disliking me because you wish to the depths of your very soul that I’d chosen another name for you…

I know I went through that stage where I hated my name and I wished it was something else. Usually something shorter and easier to spell because I was tired of other people getting it wrong. Or something with a better contraction because I was convinced for about 15 years that the natural diminutive of my name was far to masculine sounding. Later though of course, that was the very thing I liked most about it. Anyway, I do remember being teased early on and resentful, mostly of my mother at the time (really sorry mum!) as though my name were purely her choice alone and my father never had any say in it. Which I know full well is false because I have been told that he vetoed naming me after two former queens and that is why my middle name is not Victoria.

I think choosing a name is important. I think your name can make a real impact on your life and since there is an abundance of options out there, I have decided on the following guidelines to help narrow it down:

  1. No single syllable names for the first name. This is the pedantic, unreasonableness that I was talking about before. Which definitely doesn’t go down well with Sparky who has a single syllable first name. I just have a personal preference for longer names. I think they give you more options. I think they have more…gravitas. As much as I might like some of these names, I am intending that no child of mine will be Ken or Paul or Grace or Jean. I don’t mind if my children want to be known by a diminutive that has only one syllable. Tom or Jack or Elle or Fin are all fine. Just as long as it’s not the full name.
  2. No places. This one usually applies to girls’ names more than boys’ I have found. And it does mean that I am writing off some lovely names so I am really not against them in general. I even know some great kids with “place” names. I have just choosen not to use them myself, regardless of the spelling. So no Adelaide, Sidney, Indiana or Savannah.
  3. No nouns. This one is a little more related to some of the more, shall we say, unusual names out there. Things like River and Apple and Peaches and Thorne. Perhaps I’m terribly boring but I like more conservative names. Although that doesn’t mean that I’d go for Hyacinth or Petunia. I’m not really a fan of those either. This also counts out options like May and June and some other names I’d otherwise consider but at least it helps refine the options.
  4. No unfortunate names. Given my new surname, I’m not sure that there are many options that would really come into this category but just so as you know, I’d never want you to grow up having a name like Anna Sassin, M(ichael) T(homas) Wallet, Justin Time or Barb Dwyer!
  5. No wacky spelling. As much as its nice to be an individual, its annoying to grow up with a name that no one can spell. Sometimes this is a cultural thing and not a stupid spelling thing however. Like with your father’s name. Were he to live in Germany, he would most likely have his name spelled correctly a whole lot more often than he does now. Or it’s a cultural thing like some of the Gaelic names. I have always thought that Saoirse was a lovely name but the majority of people outside Ireland wouldn’t have a hope in hell of getting it right. A lot of Australians have learned how to spell (and say) Siobhan or Niamh but anything less common…forget it. Same goes with weird silent letters that people add to be different, or superfluous letters, like the “y” in Shayne. Kids with that name will be forever spelling it out. I’m not going to guarantee that you’re going to have a name that is easy to spell or that people will never get wrong but at least I am endeavouring to use a conventional spelling of whatever we decide to put on your birth certificate.
  6. No terrible meanings. This one is a hard one. Mostly because its subjective. What I might think of as inoffensive, you might think was unfortunate. I know I have not been overly fond of some of the meanings of my name. I am however glad that I never had a name that meant “bitter” though. As much as some of the names themselves are rather pretty, the meaning somehow doesn’t seem all that nice.

So given these guidelines, we have been collating a list of names that we would both consider but we are still a long way off deciding. The favourite still happens to be one we had before we started looking through the baby name books but I think for the final decision we will reserve judgement until we meet you. Because you might look like someone completely different.


* I would credit the image if I had the faintest idea who owns it.


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