I love the naming process. Even when I don’t have a child to name in the immediate future, I’m always on the lookout for names. Writing down new ones. Making lists.
Sam doesn’t think about names. Even when we do have a child to name in the immediate future. It’s as if he will only allow himself to think about it once the child is here and the task is pressing.
Those who listen to my rants on Twitter will know that we had our girls name sorted (we’ve actually had two contenders ever since I was pregnant with Arlo, and firmly cemented one as the front-runner during Rory’s pregnancy), but boys names, as ever, were proving a struggle.
I knew I wanted Rory. Arlo and Rory. Those were the names I saw together when I thought of two boys. Then at some point during my second trimester, Sam changed his mind and decided that he didn’t think the name was right.
Cue me trawling through every single name in the name books and on Nameberry, writing down my top two boy names for each letter of the alphabet, but finding nothing that I liked as much as our original choice.
Meanwhile, Sam kept going back and forth on the name. Not willing to decide if it was definitely vetoed. He knew that I had looked at lots of other names and still there was nothing else I’d rather call our son. He didn’t have any suggestions of his own. He knew that I felt wound up, like he was playing a game of poker – I was playing with an open hand, whilst he was holding his close to his chest, only to reveal them once the baby was here. (Can you see why it took us 3 days to name both our children now?)
His silence panicked me. I was worried to get too attached to my favourite name in case he decided to veto it at birth. Anxious that he would come up with a whole host of new names not previously discussed at a time when I was knackered and not in a position to think straight.
I plodded on, assuming that it would be like it was with Arlo - that his indifference meant that he was secretly OK with my choice but wasn’t willing to confirm it until the time came to do so.
Baby 2 was born and we quickly discovered he was a boy. One of the first things I said to Sam was, “Well, you know how I feel about his name”. Sam wasn’t ready to decide there and then, and the next few days were very busy and we were apart for a lot of the time. Eventually, on day 3, he agreed to what had been our original choice from the start of my pregnancy – Rory.
Rory takes my dad’s name, Michael, as his middle name. It’s a long story, but my dad hasn’t actually met either Arlo or Rory yet, and we thought he might appreciate this gesture.
My advice for naming disagreements: Don’t just focus on the name itself when in discussions with your partner. Rather than just saying “No”, explain the reasons why you don’t like a particular name. Does your partner know exactly why you love your favourite name? Perhaps if they know just what it means to you, it will mean more to them.
Having a proper discussion about names rather than trading endless “No”s and “Yes”es is how I got to the bottom
of Sam’s problem with Rory – he thought it was a bit run-of-the-mill compared to Arlo.
At first, we weren’t sure if Arlo was the right choice for our firstborn. He needed to grow into it, but he did, and we fell more in love with the name. We liked that people would comment that it was unusual and ask us where we got our inspiration from. Sam wanted us to find another ‘Arlo’ that we loved equally as much.
But it wasn’t happening. Our search for more unusual names felt like we were trying too hard for a name that didn’t fit ‘us’. I also didn’t think it was important how much their names matched. They won’t always be known as siblings, as a pair. They will be individuals with families of their own one day.
What I have learnt from naming my children – one with a name that is not (yet) commonplace, and one with a name that everyone has heard before – is that the most important thing is to pick names that you truly love, regardless of how popular or unusual they are, or how well they fit with your other children’s names.
I’m linking this up with Edspire’s ‘What’s in a name?’ linky. Do check out Jennie’s post for more info and details of how you could win a Mia Tui bag named after Matilda Mae.