How to Choose a Baby Name When You Hate Your Partner’s Tasteby Annabel Port
“What about Blade for a boy?” he said. “Or Hawk?” My heart sank.
Before becoming pregnant the biggest decision that I’d ever had to make with my partner was what to watch on Netflix. Which is obviously a long, drawn-out difficult choice. But we’d managed to avoid a lot of the big, life decisions. He’d moved into my home, so there was no choosing a flat together or decorating it. In fact, we still haven’t had to do that. Of which I’m glad. As it turns out we have very different taste in many things. And especially in baby names.
It was when he suggested Fang that I realised we had a big problem on our hands. We’d easily picked a girl’s name but it was the boy’s names that were proving tricky. My boyfriend is a lovely, sweet man but is inexplicably drawn to very aggressive sounding boy’s names. If I had ever said, “What about Smashemup?” He would’ve shouted ‘YES! And with Hammer for a middle name.”
I definitely prefer more peaceful sounding boy’s names. Gabriel, Joe, Sidney, Lenny, Billy. These were the boy’s names that I loved. I was finding it hard to imagine shouting in the playground “Blade, come here now!” without sounding like the scariest mum ever.
I knew I was never going to be cradling a Fang in my arms so I decided to leave the choice until after the birth. It could be a girl, in which case, problem solved. And if not, I thought that the baby would somehow look like one of the shortlisted boy’s names. That he’d come out and we’d both declare in unison, “Well that’s a Gabriel, if ever I saw one!” But of course, babies just look like babies. And of course, it was a boy. Who didn’t look like any particular name. Unless Cryingbaldthing was a name. Which it quite rightly isn’t.
I was also secretly hoping that after the baby had arrived, my partner would be so in awe of my unselfish child birthing heroism that he’d let me call the baby whatever I wanted. Even if that meant Peacelily. But I was utterly pathetic in childbirth. The most he ever said about it afterwards was that he’d found my repetitive groaning sounds ‘quite annoying’.
My plan A had failed and I’d failed to make a plan B. And so, our baby boy was nameless. Neither of us was prepared to budge. As a name just feels so massively important. It can shape a person’s future. And I felt sure that Fang would end up having bad teeth.
At our son’s five-day check-up, he was sent to hospital for jaundice and poor weight gain. When I was asked for the name of this poor, skinny, yellow baby, I felt like the worst mother ever.
I looked up what others do in this situation. Some suggested letting one parent pick the first name and the other pick the middle name. But it was clear that one of us would be getting the short straw and we’d never decide who. Others recommended letting the losing parent choose the name of the second child. But I knew that I was unlikely to have another. And also, couldn’t imagine having a Billy and a Fist.
So, what we actually did was make a list of names that we’d both consider. Then we gave each one a mark out of ten. The highest scoring name would be the winner. Which is how we ended up with a Rudy.
I hope my son likes it. And that the people around him like it. I’d always assumed my grandma’s name was Sarah as that was what my grandad called her. But it turned out she was a Muriel and he hated it so much he refused to use it. I’ve no idea where he got Sarah from. I can only hope it wasn’t an ex-girlfriend.
But if Rudy does grow to hate it, he can always use one of his middle names instead: Slash and Destroy. Not really! Gabriel and Sidney. I kind of got my way in the end.