Friday, July 27, 2007

The name game

Naming children is a difficult task. We certainly ummed and aahed over naming our first born.
He went through a series of names during my pregnancy before we finally settled on Joseph for our boy.
Other names on the list included Lewis, Max, Oscar and, if he had been a wee girl he would have been Phoebe.
The husband one had already vetoed my most favouritist name in the world ever Grace as, bizarrely, it reminded him of the old comedy classic ‘Are You Being Served’.
He had also, being English, requested no overtly Irish names so Saoirse was out from the outset. “If you have to explain to me how it is pronounced, we aren’t having it,” he said - which was fair enough.
Jointly we vetoed my father’s suggestion of Sally. (Sally Allan - it’s cruel really), and we spent many an hour looking through baby name books and laughing at some of the suggestions (Thor, Algernon, Brunhilde, Yardley or Fairfax).
Being from Derry, I did that typical thing of laughing uproariously and shouting “Imagine calling him/ her in for their dinner. ‘Fairfax, your a wanted!’”.
In the end we copped out and named him after someone. My grandad was Ernest Joseph, so we conveniently pushed the Ernest to one side and opted for Joseph. We then gave him two middle names after his own grandfathers - so he became Joseph Peter David.
What we didn’t do, however, was try and roll them altogether to make up a whole new name like Jopeda (although that does have a certain ring) - because we knew when it comes to giving a child a name it has to stay with them through their entire life. That includes the times in school when the teacher reads out your middle name and all your class mates laugh. It includes your graduation day, when the Provost reads out your middle name and all your fellow graduands laugh at it and your wedding day when the priest reads out your full name and all the guests laugh etc.
Your name has to carry you into your career. Jopeda Allan, Attorney at Law, doesn’t have the ring of authority about it, nor would it look particularly good in a by-line.
And much as I love my son with all my heart and soul, and call him Handsome Pants as a pet name, I could not imagine actually making this part of his name. Handsome Pants Jopeda Allan really, really doesn’t work. (It’s almost as bad as Sally Allan).
Which all brings me to my point, which is why in the name of all that is pure did Kate ‘Jordan’ Price and the human Ken doll she calls a husband think it would be a good idea to call their new baby daughter Princess Tiaamii?
I know with parents such as Katie and Pete and a big brother called Junior (just Junior, not Peter Junior, or Jordan Junior... ) she wasn’t like to have a normal childhood anyway, and we would have been surprised if her name was something fairly pedestrian, like Katie or Peter for example - but Princess Tiaami?
Surely I’m not the only person who A) can’t help but hear ‘Princess’ in a creepy Dirty Den style voice or B) thinks Tiaamii sounds like some weird Eastern exercise regime? Apparantly they called the little baby Princess because ‘Tinkerbell’ was already taken by a host of celebrity dogs. (I kid you not) and the Tiaamii after their mothers, Thea and Amy. Although apparantly they ‘put two i’s at the end just to make it look a bit different’. Did they not know Princess Tiaamii looked pretty different anyway? You don’t get many of them down in the Bogside.
But then celebrities never have been known for choosing normal names for their children. I’m not sure if they are just so supremely arrogant that they believe their children will escape a good beating in the playground because of their unusual monikers or if they just don’t care.
Names of choice from the great and the good in recent years have included Phoenix Chi and Angel Iris (Scary Spice), Coco (Courtney Cox), Poppy Honey and Daisy Boo (Jamie Oliver) and, perhaps my favourite, Moxie Crime-Fighter (some American comedian pair).
I just don’t know what happened to good old fashioned decent names and I suppose celebrities aren’t the only ones who can be guilty of being a little wacky.
When I had my wee man, and was recovering in hospital, the chaplain called in to offer us a wee blessing on the new baby. When she asked his name and I replied “Joseph” she breathed a sigh of relief :”Thankfully, one I can pronounce and spell!” We’ve all heard tales of Beyonce Doherty, Kylie McLaughlin and a host of double barrelled or uniquely spelled names which sound like they should be in an instruction manual rather than a baby book.
A friend recently sent me a picture of a child’s name label in nursery which proudly declared that this is where Octavious Fooks hangs his little duffle coat. What we need to start remembering is that a name is for life and it would best not to name a child something that you wouldn’t be proud to wander about with yourself.


Kerri said...

This reminds me of an episode of The Likely Lads, where Terry finds out Bob's middle name is Scarborough (much to his amusement) during the run up to Bob and Thelma's wedding...

Keris said...

Hey, I love Moxie Crimefighter - seriously! I do not love Jason Lee's kid's name Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf Lee. That's just mean.

Shauna said...

Hi Claire,

I followed your link from the BWBD forum and now lazing around on a Sunday evening reading your blog. This post was gold (Moxie Crime-Fighter... lordy!) and will definitely have to track down your book! :)


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