Probably the most asked question you field when you’re pregnant after “Do you know what you’re having?” and “When are you due?” (which in my case was always followed by “Are you having twins?!”) is “Have you chosen a name?” “How are your names coming along?” “Have you agreed on a name yet?”.
How did you come up with your children’s names? Did you do it together? Did you take it in turns? Do you ever wish you’d used a different name? Did you change the name between naming your baby and registering the birth? Did you take days to name them after they were born? There are so many ways to name a baby – none right, none wrong. Here’s how we did it.
The reality of becoming a parent feels so real once you’re discussing names. But it never felt like I expected it to. I had carried a list of names around with me in the backs of journals my entire teenage life and possibly into my early 20’s! (who does that!?) because I always, always dreamed of being a Mama and I don’t know… it was just one of those things I did. I didn’t even think about the fact that there would be a father involved and he’d likely want a say in the whole name game, and moreover, I would want him to have a say. I didn’t entertain the idea that someone wouldn’t also love the names I had already perfectly matched first and middle and hand picked for my future babies. They were such cute names.
But when we hit around four months with our first pregnancy I remember buying a naming book and thinking we should probably sit down and start getting serious about names. With all three of our children we had a surprise of their gender so the task of choosing names was further complicated by the fact that we needed a girl and boy option, and then an A and a B option for each of the genders, so that, you know, you can actually meet the little bebe before deciding fully on which name best suits them. Well that’s how we roll(ed) anyway. So each time we had four sets of names lined up for our soon-to-be-in-our-arms offspring.
Choosing a name for your beloved child is a hard, hard task. There are so many things to consider**:
- Does it rhyme with something rude
- Does it work with our surname
- Does it work with the middle name
- You’re sure you know no one with that name that you detest
- Do the initials look OK and not spell something embarrassing or rude
- Does it work with the other siblings names (if there are other children already in the mix) – this one was a biggy for me, especially by number three. I would verbally practice calling all three of my children’s names out loud as I knew my future self would for dinner or in public at the playground to round them up.
- Is it a name that will be strong enough for adulthood but cute enough in childhood
- Will they be taken seriously in life with a name like this
- Can it be shortened (we decided early on we didn’t want people giving our kids nicknames so chose names that couldn’t be shortened)
- Does this name have a nice meaning
- Is this a name I will enjoy saying for the rest of my life
A while ago I read a blog post by another mummy blogger which has inspired this blog. I thought it might be fun to share our reasons behind our children’s names with you (and for them to read back on as they grow), because I really enjoyed reading that Mama telling me about the origins of her kids names.
My husband and I met on Valentine’s Day 2004. We spent our first anniversary in Paris. We married in June 2007 and discovered just after our first Wedding Anniversary that we were expecting our first baby, and were amazed to be given a due date of February 14 2009! Serendipity!
The name I had always loved for a daughter was (Isa)Bella or Belle. But in 2009 the number one girls’ name was Isabella – thanks in part to Twilight’s Bella Swan. I didn’t want my child being one of four other same-named children in her class, so as much as I absolutely adored the name, I decided I would have to let go of that life-long dream. haha.
On my Mum’s side of the family there is a crazy pattern which I’m not even sure was intentionally created but one I didn’t want to mess with. My Nonni’s name is Nina. Her mother was Bruna, her sisters were Maria and Lilia. My mother’s name is Virginia and her sister Janina. There are seven girl cousins in my generation and every single one of us has a name ending in a: Tulia, Jessica, Vanessa, Rita, Marissa, Alushia, Gina. I am therefore naturally drawn to names ending in A and it felt wrong to be the one to break the chain (even though all my cousins have when naming their daughters!)
Shane had always liked plain-ish names, where as I wanted something original (but not North-like), so when he read Talia out of the baby name book one evening when I was around seven months pregnant I was gobsmacked. I loved it. It was different. I’d never met a Talia before, never even heard the name; it ended with a and it sounded so pretty. I remember looking up from the couch and saying “I love it!”. From that day on I had Talia as the number one front runner in my mind. But I was always worried that people might pronounce it as TaLEIGHa so we decided to put the ‘h’ in to create the longer ‘ah’ sound. It’s Hebrew in origin and means “Dew from Heaven” or “Morning Dew” and the pretty meaning sealed the deal.
We had decided we didn’t want to use family names for middle names as it could potentially cause offense if we chose some family names and not others so middle names were going to be names that we also liked and that would work with the first name of choice. Of course this added extra work to our naming adventures because we were doubling our workload. I couldn’t find anything that I loved with Tahlia and when googling, the only recommendation I was given was Rose. Lovely name, but again, I felt it was too common as a middle name and I wanted something original.
Two weeks before our baby was born, a family friend had a son and my Mama called to tell me they had named him Oscar Valentino. I loved it. When I told Shane, to my absolute surprise (again) he said “We could call the baby Tahlia Valentina if it’s a girl”. Again from the couch – carrying as hugely as I did, I was often firmly rooted to the couch in the evenings – I looked up and said “Are you serious? I love it, it’s perfect!” Common sense had obviously gotten the better of his ‘conservative self’ and he quickly said “If it’s born on Valentine’s Day we can use that name”. I was like whatever. You can’t say that!
She arrived four days after Valentine’s Day and from the moment she was pulled from my gaping belly in an emergency c-section following 27 hours of labour, she was Tahlia Valentina without a doubt. I have always loved saying her whole name, I love the way it looks written on paper and I love how proud she is of her name. Just yesterday as I arrived to pick her up from school I heard her telling a teacher all about why she is named what she is. And above all else, her name suits her to a T.
Aston Kobe Mathew
When we were pregnant with Tahlia, had she been a boy she was either going to be Harrison, Cohen or Denham. But when we were pregnant the second time around, it was so crazy how our tastes had changed significantly. I still loved Cohen but Shane was never 100% so it sat on the list, but got pushed further and further down as the months wore on. If it was a girl we were pretty set on Mia although I was begging for Soraya, but the boy name was proving tricky. I returned to Cohen and Shane liked Ashton but neither name really stuck with us and I was concerned that if we called a boy Ashton, everyone would think we were naming him after Ashton Kutcher who I am not a big fan of and I didn’t want that comparison. That might have also been influenced by the fact that I once swam in Ashton Kutcher’s pool while he was upstairs making out with Brittany Murphy and that all felt so wrong now that she had passed. We added Kobe to the list somewhere along the way but it was never a front runner.
One day, as I was parked up in the DHL Depot in Mt Wellington, heavily pregnant waiting for the staff to locate a rogue bolt of fabric that was missing, my Mama called from Christchurch which is where she lived at the time. She told me that she’d had a dream the night before about the baby being a boy and us calling him Aston Leon. Although I didn’t love the Leon part (even though I love Kings of Leon), the Aston felt perfect. I knew Shane would like it as it was close to Ashton, but it was different enough at the same time.
When our 7″12 baby boy arrived into the world screaming his lungs out (which was good for his Apgar scores, but not so good because the obstetrician had quite literally sliced into his cheek with the scalpel as he cut my belly open) we knew he was our little Aston and that his name was going to hold him in good stead for the rest of his days. He got Kobe for his middle name and his Daddy’s middle name Mathew too. There is significance for Shane and his family behind Mathew and I gave him the option to include the name or not. Aston loves being the only one in our family who has two middle names and it’s his special little claim to fame. I love his name and think it’s just so cool, but I am surprised how many people call him Austin or Ashton and I am constantly correcting them when they do so. When we tell them it’s Aston like Aston Martin the car, they always get it!
When he was about three we were discussing the meaning of our names around the dinner table. Nonna was here for a meal and asked Tahlia what her name meant. She replied “Dew from Heaven”.
“Aston” Nonna continued, “what does your name mean?”
“What does my name mean Mama?”
“It means ‘From the East'” I told him.
He turned to her with a big grin on his face and said “Yeah Nonna and that’s right because I love Easter Eggs”. 🙂
More recently, the kids came excitedly running to tell me that they’d been googling their names and what they had found. Tahlia had found a contestant on America’s Next Top Model and Thalia the Mexican singer and Aston had found a very nice car which he said he better buy when he’s older because it has the same name as him. “You’ll need a really good job to be able to pay for one of those my friend” I told him!
Beau Alexander Rehm
Third time around and this name game gets so hard. Again we had no idea whether we were having a girl or a boy and so we needed to be super prepared, but we were struggling. It was down to one girls name – Coco and for a boy, well we just couldn’t decide. We liked Jet, I was still holding on to Cohen. But we didn’t love them. Jack I loved, and it was my grandfathers name but firstly we had decided we weren’t going to use family names and secondly it was a pretty popular name. I wanted a name like Jack – strong, short and to the point, to round out the other kids names, but it was proving a real mission to find it.
I read movie credits, book inside covers, scoured every printed document, pamphlet, instruction manual, magazine, novel, kids book, you name it. I was looking everywhere for a name to jump out at me. About two weeks before our baby was scheduled to arrive via planned c-section (two emergencies and I wasn’t trying for a third), I downloaded another list of names from the interwebs and read all the boys names out to my husband hoping we would find a name that just stuck. I read them all, including Beau, and he said no to everything. Then he said “Let me take a look at the list”. He’d had my phone for all of about one minute when he said “What about Beau?”. Ummm…. I just read that to you and you just said No, I told him. He explained how he liked the way it looked but not necessarily the way it sounded. We didn’t know anyone called Beau, had never heard the name other than knowing it was French for handsome. We both loved the way it looked but just couldn’t decide if we liked the way it sounded. So as we prepared to leave the house for the hospital, entrusting the older two kids to my Mama who had come to stay for the night, we asked her what she thought of the name Beau. “I love it!” she declared. And just like that, we knew what our baby would be named if he came out with the family jewels.
One of my favourite parts about having c-sections is the undeniable state of euphoria I feel and the blissed out state I stay in for several hours following my procedures. This time was no exception – except that they had pretty much overdosed me and it took hours for my numbness to wear off, leaving me pretty gaga for several hours after Beau’s birth. We were keen to text our family and friends and announce his arrival and his name (sending a birth announcement without a name just wasn’t our style) and as yet we were undecided on a middle name. I would kind of doze off every so often and wake to Shane reading me a list of potential middle names. Jet didn’t sound right, neither did Cohen or any of the other boys names we had had on our first name list over the years. In my memory, I came up with Alexander during one of my brief ‘awake and with it’ spells, but Shane assures me that actually it was he who discovered the name on a google list as he perused frantically for a name for our baby while baby and I both dozed under such oppression from the morphine. Either way, despite the originator of the name, we both agreed that Beau Alexander had a perfect ring to it. It’s a short name, strong, and to the point and just as I had always wished, the final combination of Tahlia, Aston & Beau was music to my ears – even shouted loudly at dinner time or on the playground.
Of course now Beau seems a super popular name – especially in business names, but I’m not sure whether that’s because I have a Beau and it’s so obvious to me now or if it really is gaining popularity. Hopefully he still will be the only Beau in his class. 🙂
So there you have it, a super long post, but a full capture of the background to my baby names and a little history for them in years to come.
Thanks for reading
** which is why it astounds me that people like Kim Kardashian can call her children the names she has (not wanting to judge of course)