What’s in a name?
That is the question that every expectant parent inevitably asks themselves.
I recently received a blog comment from someone who was clearly trying to troll me by implying I was a terrible mother for calling my child Piglet. Because clearly Piglet is his actual name. Yes sheeple, I wanted something unique…something with a cutesy ring to it…..something that sounds a bit like a baby pig. Ah, PIGLET. That’ll be it.
Obviously, he is not really called Piglet (although I’m not going to lie, I do call him that most of the time). He does, in fact, have a name that is a recognisable and fairly (I hope) inoffensive one. As an avid reader of God’s Own Newspaper, the Guardian (I am a lentil-weaving liberal and PROUD), I stole it from a famous actor after reading an interview with him in said newspaper. I then waited until the Child Also Known as Piglet was born, and when confirmation came that he suited the name, lo I bestowed it upon him. Although he didn’t really suit the name, as people don’t tend to give their babies names that make them sound about 40, hence I had to start calling him Piglet instead.
It was as simple as that.
But that’s not to say that the process is not a literal minefield. Some months ago, we were in a restaurant for my mother’s birthday, and someone on a nearby table was heard to comment “THAT’S NOT A BABY’S NAME” in relation to Piglet (NOT THE NAME PIGLET. Sorry, this is getting confusing).
They were right. It isn’t a baby’s name. He sounds like a character from Neighbours who’s in his late thirties, and that’s why I like it. My brother has been known to all his friends solely by his surname ever since the age of seven, when he ended up as one of five identically monikered boys in his class at primary school. That tends to happen when you pick a name from the current top ten.
Obviously what people choose to call their children is entirely up to them (although I would ask please not Princess. Does anyone else think it’s a bit weird and creepy having to refer to someone else’s child as Princess? Unfortunately it says more creepy knee-rubbing uncle to me than Duchess of Cambridge. Sorry, Princess-parents. It’s just my opinion. Don’t hate me). However, there are certain sensible guidelines that should probably be followed. Take this advice, from me to you. You’re welcome.
1.) Is it likely to be a source of mirth in the future?
Not as easy as it sounds. We can all avoid giving our children initials that spell out rude words (although I have known a surprising number of people whose did), but the future is
not easy impossible to predict. How do you know that a future prime minister, or international terrorist (I’m not sure which is worse) will not one day share the name you lovingly bequeathed your first born. You don’t. Good luck with that.
2.) Will there be an entire class full of children with the same name five, ten or fifteen years down the line?
Again, difficult to know. My parents could have just cut their losses and not bothered giving my brother a name at all, for all the use he has got out of it, but let’s just say that it’s surprising how many of those “a little bit unusual, a little bit retro” names everyone chooses for their children turn out to be anything but.
3.) Did you invent it? Because unless it’s Moon Unit, you probably didn’t. Oh wait, I didn’t just invent Moon Unit. That was Frank Zappa. Like I said, you didn’t invent it. Someone else has that name*
*That clearly doesn’t make it bad. Invented names are fab. One of my students suggested Nevaeh for Piglet before he was born, as I wrote about here (“it’s Heaven backwards Miss!”). She didn’t invent it. I sort of liked it though. I also like names that are types of wine. Don’t hate me.
4.) Is it a type of wine?
If so, I think you should definitely choose it.
5.) Do you care what anyone else thinks?
No? Good. Because even if it’s Moon Unit*, it will almost certainly be fine.
*And if it isn’t, they’ll make like Moon Unit and change it. And if they can’t change it, they’ll just get everyone to call them Dave or something, and it will be FINE.
Not Princess though.
OK, even Princess. It’s your call.