Every once in a while I write a story that really catches my imagination. That gives me such pleasure – nay, glee -– to write that I can’t believe people are actually paying me to do this job.
This week, I had such a story, all about naming babies, which, I have to confess is one of my favourite topics of all time.
I love names. I love the anguish that goes behind choosing a baby’s name. I love seeing whether the baby grows into the name or the name grows onto the baby. I even love that illicit thrill when a friend or family member names their child – and all you can think is WTF? Seriously, you think you know a person, and then they name their children (not that I’ve ever had this feeling with regards to my own family and friends, I hasten to add).
The best names always belong to other people. Who name their children – true stories, for these are all examples from a lengthy conversation on the Fibro Facebook page today – Chaos, Rowdy, Epiphany, Jesus, Sunshine, Handsome, Precious, Dolly Rockstar, Jonny Wolf, H (just the letter), Shanthony, Xanadu, Bluegum, Rubella, Shame and Waynette. And that’s just a selection.
In the course of my story – you can read the whole thing on Kidspot here – I spoke to social researcher Mark McCrindle, whom I would add to my next dinner party guest list in a heartbeat. We talked about why the class of 2030 will be full of children named Kate, Will and Pippa. We talked about why biblical names are making a comeback (Hepzibah, anyone?) and why the top 20 names in Australia has remained fairly much the same for the past ten years. Nay, longer. We talked about why some names rise to the top and stay there, and others are merely flashes in pans (Britney?).
We discussed the fact that chasing a ‘unique name’ has become a trend in itself, perhaps a backlash from people who’d endured years at school as Melinda A, Melinda B, or Melinda C, and wanted their own child to have a name that stood on its own and would never be confused with anyone else in the class. We talked about how some of those names might be difficult to live with. Particularly in an era when our name is so much a part of our identity – it’s everywhere (Facebook, email, everywhere).
Eight years ago, when the Builder and I were naming Mr7 (then not even with us), we endured the agony that is choosing a child’s name. We ran the gamut of options – with girls he started at Charlie and I began with Audrey, so we had some ground to cover. We had a boys’ name within minutes and a girls’ name pretty much with just minutes to spare before the birth. It was HARD.
Now, as a writer, I get to choose names all the time. I have three different baby books and love to check out the ‘popular names’ sites on Google for inspiration. The beauty of those sites is that you can find names for characters from any era. All your characters born in the 1970s? The top 10 names is at your fingertips (Michelle, Nicole and Lisa, in case you were wondering).
I also get to use up the names that I loved but didn’t quite make the grade for my actual children. Not Audrey, not yet, but soon….
Did you find it difficult to name your children? Did you have ‘leftover’ names?