I am name obsessed. When I am reading at bedtime to my eight-year old son, I will pause as we encounter new characters, “Hmm … Polly, that’s a good name isn’t it?” before he puts his fingers in his ears and begs for mercy, “Stop the naming madness, Mummy!”
I scan the credits of every TV show, hoping for divine inspiration.
My own mother taunts me; “You have been making lists of names since you could write and you can’t even chose a name for your own daughter. But I don’t like Ruby, dogs are called Ruby, the stupidest person I know has a granddaughter called Ruby, I don’t want a granddaughter called Ruby.”
Family and friends all seem to have grudgingly accepted Leonora. I don’t mind Leonora, it’s distinguished, but I HATE NORA. In the UK there is a cockney expression “Bleeding Nora!” or “Bloody Nora!” which is an exclamation of horror. There also a long-standing sitcom character called Nora Batty, a wrinkly old lady harridan whose pantyhose are always falling down round her ankles. Can I imagine calling “Leonora!” up the stairs at dinner time? Whatever I do, the emphasis always ends up on the Nora bit which is the bit I don’t like. Also Lenore is a kind of fabric softener in the UK. I really don’t like the name Nora. I know Nameberry likes it. I just don’t. But maybe I like it better than the alternative, which after Leonora sounds a bit bland.
The Baby A alternative to Leonora is Mary Frieda. Mary and Frieda are the names of his grandmothers, Leonora would be after the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. My partner is a gallerist and he flew to Mexico especially to meet Leonora Carrington when she was very elderly, having always admired her work, so it is meaningful to him.
Things are now heating up. My partner has said if I let him have the surname he will buy me a new car (a Mini Countryman Estate) and if I let him choose both twins’ first names and have his surname, I can have a new car, a holiday in Japan and £1000 spending money. I didn’t think he could afford these things, so that is interesting. My best friend has wisely suggested I hold out for naming both twins myself AND the car and holiday. She also won’t talk to me unless I call the baby Ruby–Rose. It’s like the best/worst gameshow ever.
But my partner won’t discuss names with me at all anymore. If I say “Gwen?” he says “That’s nice dear” so I say “what about Booger” and he says “that is lovely dear.”
I may be on the brink of madness.
So these are the parameters:
Surname is hyphenated B-Y (2 syllables, 1 syllable)
Baby A will either be called
Would you like to see my shortlist?
Rose (Number 78 in UK)
Rosalie (I love this name)
Perdita (partner likes but meaning a bit sad – not in top 100)
Martha (suddenly love this name out of the blue – is <umber 77 in UK)
Names we can’t use – friends’ children or ex-girlfriends:
Aglaia (Upside – partner has Russian heritage so we could get away with this. My mother and friends like it. Downside – have had the experience with Soren of always having to explain a name: is that something I want to do again?)
Agatha – I obviously really like the “ag” sound.
So get to work, Berries, and send your suggestions NOW!