Saturday, 26 November 2011

You called him What? Oh that's... um nice?

image from here

Here in the House of O there is always a detailed investigation into new babies names.  We test them out, a lot.

We say them out loud, we say them very fast or mumbled (it can reveal some future torture your child may be in for), we look at initials, we investigate short forms and we even google meanings and other people with the same names.


Well quite simply because the workaholic's initials are BO.  Do I need to say more?

Initials are often overlooked by new parents.  They can be a good thing or they can damn your cild to a lifetime of bullying and teasing.

Seconds after my friend told me her son's name I replied how cool it was because we could call him NRG and that's a great nickname for a boy.  It took her a few minutes but eight year on, guess what we call him?

My initials growing up were SLT and when I was being confirmed at age 10, I innocently chose St Ursula as my saint.  My Mum had a conniption when I got home and told her.  She then calmly convinced me to go with the family name of Catherine instead.  So my initials became SLCT.  When I was older I realised what she had averted.  I was pretty disappointed, as only a Catholic School educated teenager can be about such initials.

Then there is alliteration.  My own father is a TT and his best mate growing up is PP.  I'm not sure where I stand on this one, but I know for certain there will not be an OO in this house!!

My maternal Grandmother committed her own crimes of initials.  Both her and my Grandfather had the initials LP, so what did they do?  Named their three daughters LP.  Mail would come for Miss LP and there would be a war over who owned it.  Who knows someone who lives in...?  It was especially complicated when it started being bills that were coming in.  My uncle escaped the dreaded LP by being born on his sisters 15th birthday, which allowed her to demand that she named the baby.  He became PP.  It cracks me up every time I think about it, especially as my Grandmother always looked down her nose at my Dad and his mate for "having parents with no imagination"!

There are so many unfortunate name mistakes (in my opinion of course) out there.  There are hundreds of studies showing the effect names have on people.  I myself tried to have "normal" names with "normal" spellings that were common but not to the extent that there would be five kids with the same name in their class at school.  I wanted to make life easy for them.  Both of their names have multiple options for nicknames and one is quite rude and I don't doubt that he will relish that.  My Mum hates spelling her name every single time she is asked for her name, it bothers her a lot and it rubbed off on me.

Mum also has a name that works for either gender and that is another thing we often discuss in the House of O.  My besty from school days has a name that is used for both boys and girls but hers is quite obviously the female version because it ends in 'elle' rather than 'el' (it's a french name).  It drove her mad because she was forever getting mail addressed to Mr, even when she had indicated that she was female.  She was offered a cadetship with a leading accounting firm when she finished school (at our Ladies College) and the letter was addressed to 'Mr'.  She had been for several interviews, but she was worried they were expecting a guy and phoned them up to check.  How awful.  (it was her they wanted, just some dim typist who had made the mistake).

One of my sisters in law chose two VERY popular names for her boys (now 5 and 2 like mine) but she replaced an 'i' with a 'y' in one and added a completely redundant 'y' to the other.  I can't help but think these kids will be referred to as the "insert name here" whose Mum couldn't spell when they get to school and there are several other kids with the same name on the roll.  There are 18 grand kids on this side and she is the only one who made her kids names "individual".

People make spelling assumptions, of course they do.  We often get our surname spelled incorrectly on correspondence.  It can be spelled three ways and it splits fairly evenly in Australia between the three spellings.  My favourite was that when the Little Man was registered with Medicare they spelled it wrong (I didn't, someone made an assumption as they typed), so I went in and got it fixed.  They told me it was done in the Campbelltown office as the mail gets spread across the network to be data entered.  Almost three years later I added the Munchkin.  When the card came, guess what?  There he was last on the list with his name spelled wrong.  In to Medicare I toddled and explained to the nice lady behind the counter and as she fixed it, I recounted how funny it was that it had happened twice.  She then looked up the data entry and it had also been done at the Campbelltown office!  Someone there knows a family with the other spelling.

Back to my Workaholic and his BO, his Mother did worry about this when they picked the name but my Father in law insisted that being BO himself, it had never bothered him so they went ahead and gave him the name.  It wasn't until his name was registered that she realised that his Dad always initialed things using his middle initial and never just as BO!

Do you look at people's names for their children like this?  Do you have any pet hates, mine is all those Y's replacing other vowels (and man they can replace any vowel apparently) or am I just weird and judgemental?  Heard any funny ones lately?


  1. Sammy, you are weird and judgemental but that is beside the point ;-)

    I always hated being FirstName Initial because there were too many of us. Hence my kids somewhat less common names.

    What really bugs me is that not only does my DS1's name have no religious overtones, it also has a meaning for which I do not care. I am big on the meanings of names. This is the problem when you marry a non-Catholic (no offence out there, guys!)

    Our poor DS2 had a narrow escape, 'though. We had decided his name at 20 weeks and it was only just before he was born that we realised the middle name of "Toby" would give him the initials "STD". Oops!

  2. Oh My friend N, I lurve his name because I lurved the books and of course the series (Ioan Gruffud anyone...). ;) Anyway it means Guardian, what's wrong with that??
    Mrs Woogs just wrote a post about Balmoral and she heard a Hermes getting called to this morning. That's a true shocker!!

  3. Oh, totally get where you are coming from, Sam. "What to name the baby" becomes "They named the baby what!?" at our place. My latest WTF is my boss's new baby boy. They named him 'Obi'. Seriously. I understand that they do have a sense of humour about it as they giggled when they read the note on my congrats card "May the Forceps Be With You"... had to be done!!! x

    PS - I got distracted by your hilarious post, but I did pop over especially tonight to thank you for your kind words on my post. You are definitely NOT a lightweight, Sam, any more than I am!! x

  4. And of course then there are the ones that come straight of the pantry: Saffron, Pepper, Sage - oh hang on. That's one of mine, too!


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