As the dues date gets closer and my wife's bump gets bigger. The big question we keep getting asked lately is..."Have you thought about any baby names yet?"
Now to be honest, of course we have, it's only natural over the course of the last 24 weeks that we would would have uttered the words... "What do you think about [insert name here]?". And if I'm being honest, I'm just suggesting names I see on the intros to movies on Netflix. Don't lie, you've done it too.
But our response to this question, as it is with most when asked, "No, we haven't really thought about it that much".
Which any sane person knows is the code-word for politely saying "Stop asking and piss off". I think I may have mentioned it in a previous blog, but at this point in time we have a sizeable list of all the names that's a definite no.
What I have found interesting, is people's complete abandonment of recognizing that we don't want to discuss baby names. They ask the above question, we deliver the response and then... They continue to talk about names?? Start giving you suggestions, family names, middle names, names they heard friends call their kids, their own names, names celebs have given their babies and names just to wind you up with. This is Ireland, we take any opportunity for a wind up, so I can respect that at least.
It's Head Wrecking
10 minutes has flown by and you're sitting there or still on the phone, thinking to yourself are we still talking about this? Even after I've actually had to come out and say "I don't want to talk about it".
Anyway, Baby Names, what a mind fuck! We have to decide on a name for someone which they'll use for the rest of their life (I know they can legally change it but come on). That's a bit of pressure in itself to get it right, or at least chose an acceptable name.
Right, you like a couple of names for both boys & girls. Next up is seeing does is work with your surname. For some context, if you're unaware, my surname is Armstrong.
Now, if it sounds shit to you or a little bit of tongue twister. Then I reckon bin it. If I can't say it right at the age of 34. What hope does a toddler have when they're only learning the feckin alphabet.
Then you have to consider, can the name be made fun of? I'll say this, I hate bullying, I've been bullied in the past, a lot has been done in schools to stamp it out. But you are naive in thinking that kids still or won't do it? It could just be an un-intentional thing as they get used to school and find out bullying is wrong.
The song "A Boy Named Sue" springs to mind.
I reckon baby name selection is like that 'Whack-A-Mole' game in the Arcade, especially if you have a large extended family. Which I do and so does my better half.
One (name) pops up, but swiftly gets whacked down.
"I have name!! I have a name!! It's perfect babe!"
"Can't my cousin has a kid named [insert name]. You know them, they're twice removed and were at that wedding we went to 7 years ago. The wedding with the funky cake. We can't call them that, can't have two kids in the family with the same name".
(Internally asking oneself, who the fuck is she on about?)
"Ooooh, I know them ya (talking out of my hole)... ah that's a shame, good name though".
But this little exchange above is a reality.
Avoiding Family Name Politics
Ah a separate section for what must be a truly Irish thing, Family Name Politics.
If you're blissfully unaware or in denial. This might be an eye opener. This is where family members will attach "their side of the family" to the name chosen by you, irrespective of the fact that you (The Parents) just simply liked the name.
This can lead to this sort of family one-up-manship.
(Now I do get that some will have valid or sentimental reasons for naming a child after a family member. I get all that, but hear me out).
Best way to describe this, let's take two very common Irish names. And because I love Father Ted references, we'll go with John & Mary. Also, there is probably a John or a Mary somewhere in your family.
Say you name a girl Mary. You "JUST LIKE THE NAME", nothing more it's solid and no fuss. They may not do it in front of you. But by god you can picture that someone in your family saying something like, "the baby was named after my mother/sister/aunt/cousin/that family friend you had to refer to as 'aunt' but wasn't really your aunt.
You can picture it, can't you? At those early family events like christenings or a wedding not long after the baby is born. Christ, it's like they're jostling for position for who the kids best relative is and which side of the family it's the most like. The kid probably can't even keep it's own head up straight for feck sake!
I'm sure if you took 2 minutes right now, you could rattle off a list of baby names that would lead to this response.
So, then you go 'Fuck it'! Bin the name for the reason above and that you'd hate for someone on the other side of the family feeling that they aren't recognized in the baby's names.
Family Name Politics for ya! It's up there with Irish Wedding Politics.
First Name the Same as the Last Name
Why do it?
The classic case was former Man Utd players Phil and Gary Neville's Dad. His name, Neville Neville. I don't know is it pure laziness or what, to name a child your surname. Even typing 'Neville Neville' felt odd. People would probably assume your have tourett's or something if you told your name.
Guaranteed now I'll have a few people respond but a few common Irish surnames that his could happen and not work.
Murphy Murphy... loves the Murphy's that kid.
Then you have the O' names, which then means their initials become their name or nickname. Such as...
Brian O'Brien (I actually know a guy called this. We called him Bob).
Connor O'Connor... well I can leave that nickname up to your imagination.
Just have a think about your surname before going and naming your kid alright.
So, what will you name your baby?
At this moment in time, if the baby was born tomorrow. We'd be goosed as we have no names chosen. Not even close to nailing down one for a boy/girl. I know many people say you'll know when you see them. He/she looks like a [insert name here]. Eh I'm not sure on that one I'll tell ya.
If anything I've learned so far speaking to parents, soon to be parents etc. Is that with great power comes great responsibility. Don't be a dick and don't name your kid something dopey!
P.S. A friend of mine said that Heather and Max are great names for anyone stuck.