It was Rob’s call really, to keep it a surprise, as I am quite impatient and would have liked to know- just to visualise, to make it a bit more real, to buy themed nursery decorations and outfits until their third birthday. But, I thought, there’s not much in this whole pregnancy thing he gets to actually gets a say in, so while I get to feel the kicks and wiggles, I’ll let him have this one.
I just assumed that I would know. I dream alot, anyway, and I was sure that I’d see our little precious in my sleep, and he or she would always bear more towards being a he or she. Six and half months in, and still no idea on that front.
Or maybe, I would have this instinctual gut feeling- I’ve been calling him a him since day one, but then I call everything a him; cars, dogs I see in the street, inanimate objects, puddings. It’s just natural, no? In this society- if in doubt, it’s a him. So Spud was a him in the nominal sense but I never really thought ‘he’ would be a boy.
Of everyone we told early on, all but three said with certainty ‘It’s a boy.’ But the three who didn’t were my mum, Rob’s mum, and my Piha friend Chelsea, a mama of two (the youngest born when I was there.) So motherly instinct said girl, but general consensus said boy. Now that I have a bump, I’m carrying quite low, so mum’s quietly confident she’s got a grand daughter on the way. The Matthews Clan is quite male heavy, there have been a lot of baby boys born into this family recently, so a little girl would be a nice change.
So. With this slightly grungy, androgynous and surfy upbringing being thrust upon her/him, names become a point of contention. Rob’s criteria are that it is (1) English (2) A name and (3) Letters at the end of the alphabet are ‘too hipster’. (What? Where does he even get these ideas?!) So, at the time of writing, -and I still don’t know whether he is doing this to wind me up- Rob’s favourite name is Sally.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely dinner lady called Sally, and directly or indirectly I know some great Sally's.
But for a baby?
Its that 100 year rule where we like our grandparents names but our parents generation of names seems totally bizarre. Could you imagine a baby Derek?
Maybe that will be back in vogue by the time Spud has kids of his own...
- Met twice as many people who are dicks. Ie. “Oh no, not Florence, Great Auntie Florence was a nightmare”- WHO?!?
- Lived through twice as many pop culture references. Ie. Margot? What, like Margot and Jerry from the Good Life??” - BY THE TIME SPUDS 20, EVERYONE WHO WATCHED THAT SHOW WILL BE DEAD!
- Got crazy ideas about the future. Ie. “Isreal? No, too risky in this day and age- it might not even be around much longer. Also because ISIS.” -?!
- And had twice as many cars. “Cleo? Nova? Hahahahahaha that’s funny!” I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW A NOVA WAS A CAR!
THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.
Mum has been sending me lists of names that she must have sourced from either the Abercrombie and Fitch Models page, (eg. Jude, Beau and Bear) or Water Pixies Anonymous. (Bay, Wade and Ocean), while the Cornish contingency would like something cultural. Which all sounds like Welsh to me. So, nope.
Don’t get me started on girls names. I keep hearing so many beautiful and different ones that if I could I would have a tribe of nature fairy daughters who didn’t give a stuff about if they have to spell their name out for strangers, or if people thought they belonged to a cult.
I gave up on Atlas pretty quickly, employing the tactic that if I go in with something REALLY obscure, the more middle of the road ones would seem less weird. But seriously I love Atlas for a girl, how beautiful. Please, if you have more liberal boyfriends than me, by all means steal this name! I would just like to meet one Atlas in my life.
Also on the list of names I have had to ditch are other Greek goddess names such as Xanthe, Artemis, Juno and Calliope. Maybe I can name the chickens?! On the botanical front I like plants over flowers- flowers are too girly, but I’ve had Clover, (“like the butter?”) Hazel and Willow. And the old lady names, Margot, Nellie and Florence remain firm favourites.
I like N’s and we have run through Noa, Nahla and Nova and Neve with varying measures of distaste from Rob. As it stands, we can agree on Teddy (he likes Theodora but I’m happy to compromise my Greek-bent with Theia), Sidney (again) and Nahla, if Rob can get over the “Swahili-ness”.
If we do have a daughter, her middle name will be Adele, after my Nanna. That much is certain, and it's not open to negotiation.
Sometimes I think that I have to remember that I am in Cornwall, not trendy Fremantle or affluent Richmond, and those liberal attitudes and bend-the-rules ideas for names have not reached down here yet. You don’t get many farming families popping out baby Quinns. Spud’s school class might be full of Johns. As long as we don’t call him Devon, we should be alright.
But then I think, stuff all that, I’m not going to fundamentally change to fit in down here. I will keep my soft, emmet-isms and Spud is going to be a rad little baby of joy, the biggest thing in my life, my purpose of living. And my purpose of living is not going to be a Derek.