October 30, 2013

Naming rights

There are some people who know what they will name their child before they even get pregnant (or even before they meet the person they have a child with). In high school, one of my friends had already chosen names for up to 10 children. The first would be Knife. At the time I thought this was wondrously creative - naming conventions be damned, and all that - but when it came time to choose a name for our own baby I was all together more conservative.

Having been convinced that I didn't want children, I'd never made a shortlist of baby names, and Mr Fantapants hadn't given it much thought either. Convinced from the start I was having a girl, I didn't bother with boy names at first, preferring instead to get to a shortlist by shooting down Mr F's more outlandish suggestions. (Tiger would brand our child a Richmond supporter in AFL-mad Melbourne; Cathol sounded like a brand of petrol; Spitfire was just plain ridiculous.) In the end, we were tossing up between Max (a great name but so popular in recent years - would he be one of five Maxes in his class?) and Digby (which I liked in theory but was concerned about a real live person having to live with). Given our indecision (even while I was in labour we still couldn't commit), it's surprising how easily we arrived at a girl's name.

In the opening minutes of our very first 'what will we name it?' (Mr F was very keen on the baby's sex being a surprise so 'it' was it for 9 months, something that filled me with maternal guilt whenever I referred to 'it'), Mr F suggested Marmalade for a girl. 'It's such a lovely word,' he said, plus we are both fans of Marmalade Atkins. I agreed in theory, but couldn't commit in practice.
'I like Phoebe,' I said. 'After Holden Caulfield's little sister.'
'I like it too,' said Mr F. 'Phoebe Marmalade has a good ring to it.'

That was it. For the next 8 months I regularly denounced Mr F's suggestions for boys' names (William Butler Yeats, Thelonious, Sherman -after the tank, natch, Wolfgang) but, whenever we discussed the possibility of having a girl, Phoebe Marmalade sounded pretty perfect. And it still does.

No comments:

Post a Comment