Mama OWL Blog: The Art of Naming Babies

The Art of Naming Babies

Friday, 31 May 2013


My dearest friend K is expecting her first baby in just a few short weeks. The subject of names has come up on occasion and while 'the list' is a closely guarded secret, we've bandied about some ideas and shared thoughts on what we each do & don't like, styles we prefer (traditional, trendy, unique) and the importance of double checking initials before signing the birth certificate... While Thomas Wesley Andrew Turner sounds very nice, you absolutely must think these things through before labelling your child a T.W.A.T for the rest of their life.

Naming your baby often starts with naming 'the bump'... You get your standard cutesy nicknames - bellybean, jellybean, peanut, belly-dweller et al, and occasionally you might opt for an actual name but often not one you will ultimately choose for the baby.
When I was expecting E we referred to her as 'Betsy', which I actually really like but it simply didn't flow with our other kids names hence it not making the list. It was just a nice name that we could apply to her once we knew she was a girl. K & her partner have named her bump 'Gustav', they have no intention of actually calling the baby that but preferred not to go with the usual frou-frou nicknames like bumpy-wumpy or squiggle as that simply is not their style. 'Gustav' is exactly the sort of bump nickname I would expect K to come up with, and it's very amusing.

Choosing a name for your child is very personal, and I completely understand why people choose to wait until the birth to share it. Once the child is born and named, it is much harder for others to state their opinion on it and you are less likely to get 'the face' or the teeth sucking & suggestions of this or that instead. A real live person is already here, already named, and therefore usually much more readily accepted with that name. We chose to keep E's name to ourselves aside from a few. Really, I wish we'd kept it entirely to ourselves because a couple of those that we did tell did see fit to voice their opinion on it, whether we wanted them to or not. Which we didn't. We love E's name as much now as we did when we chose it and frankly I don't actually care what anything else thinks of it anyway.

There are many things to consider when choosing a name for your child. Firstly, remember that your child won't be a child forever - will it still suit them when they are a teenager, an adult, a pensioner? Think about potential nicknames and the inevitable shortening of names that usually happens once they get to primary school and start making friends. You may not want your little Jacob to be called Jake, but once he starts school, that will probably happen and there really isn't much you can do about it. Call them what you want at home, but their friends will usually have other ideas.

I chose Alicia (m: Of Noble Kin) simply because I loved it. I saw a movie poster for Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone and just fell in love with it, I had gone over so many others but that one was it, I just knew. Her middle name is Jai (m: Victory), it was initially going to be Jade but my mum suggested shortening it to make it more unique, and so I did.

The Mister named Joshua (m: God Is Salvation) in the end because we couldn't agree and I told him he could choose. The Mister then went with the very original Adam (m: Man, Of The Earth) for J's middle name, after himself. I actually love his name, it suits him and I really couldn't picture him as any of the other names that I originally liked. The Mister done good.

I would absolutely not be swayed when Logan (m: From The Hollow) was born. I loved the name so much and still do now, it is perfect for him. His middle name is Peter (m: Rock) to honour the Mister's late Grandfather. As things worked out, L ended up being born - 9 days late - on the anniversary of Peter's passing, which made it rather a fitting tribute.

We wanted to honour my late Great-Uncle Harry when we named Harrison (m: Son of Harry) but I didn't want to go with the more traditional Henry because it didn't flow with the names of the others, or alternatively go with just Harry on its own because I felt it was too nickname-y for my taste. We chose his middle name, David (m: Beloved) to honour my father-in-law and also my maternal Grandfather, and it is also the Mister's own middle name. He gets called Harry most of the time now, as expected.

Erica (m: Always Ruler) was named for my maternal Grandfather again, and also the Mister's Great-Uncle. Her middle names are Daisy (m: Daisy Flower, the day's eye) in honour of my maternal Great-Grandmother and Denise (m: Devotee Of Dionysos) as a tribute to the Mister's late paternal Aunt. Again, what turned out to be another fitting tribute as E arrived 10 days late on what would have been Denise's birthday.

I don't regret any of our name choices and the children carry them well, they are well suited to their monikers. Some of their nicknames that have come about over the years range from the expected to the ridiculous and include Frilly, Wish, Bogie Wan Kenobie (also - Obi Wan Kebogie), The Dave & Berry Boo. Silly nicknames come with the territory, it's almost impossible to avoid.

Some people choose not to honour family members like we did, but instead go with a theme or a particular importance in the meaning. For example if you are a sailing enthusiast, you might like to use names that have an association with water such as Calder, Ondine or Naida, or a horticulturalist might like Katniss or Heather. A website I enjoyed browsing when we were choosing names is babynames.com which allows you to search names by meaning, you can also create lists of your favourite names and search their database.

Finally, I think the most important thing to think about when selecting your baby's name is - Do YOU love it? If the answer is yes, then quite frankly sod what anyone else thinks. Go with what you love!

Though I really was serious about the initials.

How did you choose your children's names? Do you regret any of your choices now? If you could choose again, would you decide differently?


I have linked this post with Edspire to celebrate the launch of the very special Matilda Mae bag from Miatui Bags.

4 comments:

  1. Though I have no small people the Mister and I have agreed on our names already and neither of us will budge xx

    http://beautyqueenuk.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. Fab post!! I named Harry, 'Harry' after my granddad who died when I was little and I miss him dearly! Charlie came by his name because we couldn't agree on ANY other boys name and Elicia got her name because I LOVE the name. I also like Alicia but I wanted to be different. We call her Ellie for short most of the time though. (It's a long story how she got that nickname).

    Oh & I agree on the initials, lol! xx

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  3. love all your manes and meanings for yours - and really giggled at t.w.a.t - there could be many more that should be avoided - you are very diplomatic !

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  4. We went more with spur of the moment. Hell, until I got to know you lot there were no family members I would want to name after!! Haha x

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