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SOS: Help name this Berry’s imminent girl twins asap!

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By Hannah Young

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.”

I am due with non-identical twin girls in about four weeks time. My partner and I agreed we’d name a baby each. He has chosen his name – Leonora Mary.

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.

Please help me name Baby B! Also which Baby A name is best?

So these are the parameters:

Has to be a full name not a nn, so always Elizabeth, never Eliza, Margaret, not Daisy. I am quite old school. Only exception is Greta for Margaret.

Would be nice if it went with my eldest son’s name Soren Sebastian F-Y

Surname is hyphenated B-Y (2 syllables, 1 syllable)

Baby A will either be called

Leonora Mary Louise

Or

Mary Frieda

I would prefer initials didn’t match but will allow Leonora and Lily.

Would you like to see my shortlist?

Phoebe (Bee)                           (Number 28 UK)

Josephine (Posy/Jojo)            (Not in top 100 UK, my Mother is called Joanne so is                                             a way of honouring her)

Elizabeth (Bess)                      (Number 38 in UK)

Rose                                        (Number 78 in UK)

Rosalie                                    (I love this name)

Ruby-Rose                              (baby’s godmother-to-be is wild about this name)

Perdita                                     (partner likes but meaning a bit sad – not in top 100)

Lily                                         (I love this name but is Number 5 most common name in UK, we could always use Lily as a nn for Elizabeth or nn for Leonora)

Petra                                        (Downside – we have a friend called Petra that my partner always calls Dagmar by mistake – was my absolutely certain name before I fell pregnant)

Martha                                    (suddenly love this name out of the blue – is <umber 77 in UK)

Magdalene (Maggie)

Astrid (Sassa)                         (Upside – goes well with Soren, downside– has the word “ass” in it! Only my generation likes it – the oldies hate it and partner not a fan. Love the nn Sassa)

Greta                                       (very old and much-loved family friend, would go well with Soren – friends like it but no one else does including Mother-in-Law!)

Names we can’t use – friends’ children or ex-girlfriends:

Alice

Sylvie/Sylvia

Audrey

Cicely/Cecily

Polly

Saskia

Nell

Vivienne

Rebecca

Charlotte

Florence

Eve

Maisie

Daisy

Poppy

Freya

If Baby A is called Mary we cannot use Maude, Magdalene, Martha, Rose or Elizabeth for Baby B.

Family names:

Sarah-Jane

Maude

Louise

Laura

Coralie

Ruby

Rosamund

Guilty Pleasures:

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.

Chiara and Clara guilty because partner doesn’t like.

Grace, Scarlett and Ruby – guilty because too common!

So get to work, Berries, and send your suggestions NOW!

Hannah Young is a half-American half-British nameaholic whose default mode is going through the alphabet choosing favourite names letter by letter.

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