I promise I am actually thinking about things other than babies at the moment. Yesterday I thought an awful lot, for example, about European legislation – specifically, the grammar thereof – and had a right little chuckle when I found an article beginning ‘An old cleavage causes new divisions…’ (No, it was about Cypriot social policy.) It was the end of a really long working day.
(Still, it’s been a couple of weeks – weeks, and two of them – since I read a book. Urgh. Has anyone read anything amazing lately? I could use a recommendation.)
But anyway, back to the babies. Just for now, I promise. Because I don’t know how you feel about it, but the pressure of choosing a baby name that’s not so popular your kid will spend the entirety of his school career being referred to by his surname, nor so hideously ‘original’ that he’ll be marked out as the class punching bag for fifteen years, is TOO MUCH. It needs to fit when he’s a baby and a boy and an adult. It needs to go well with his last name. His initials shouldn’t spell out anything obviously dirty. It would also be nice if it came with a selection of accessible nicknames, though we got around that with Henry by getting out the Latin phrasebook.
And there’s also this vow I made to name all of my children after Shakespeare characters. Henry was a good start.
There are three obvious avenues that occur to me.
One, I rifle through my Arden Collected Works for some options. I did that this morning. I wish I’d thought of the fact that Shakespeare didn’t go in for normal names before I made the vow. Here are a few:
Titus Andronicus Jeffcoat
King Lear Jeffcoat
And there I stopped, because Falconbridge Jeffcoat is so obviously a winner there was no need to go any further. Falconbridge Jeffcoat, you guys. I am feeling it.
(Except, as my sister astutely pointed out, with a name like that he’d have no option but to be a superhero, and our genes tend towards the nerd end of things. Bother.)
Ok, then. Two, I look at some other names of English kings. Henry is obviously a popular choice. What else is there? I’m glad you asked.
Edmund Jeffcoat (again)
Edgar Jeffcoat (lots of E names, here)
Eadwig Jeffcoat (too far)
Aethelred the Unready Jeffcoat
Sweyn Forkbeard Jeffcoat
WHOA THERE. Someone called Sweyn Forkbeard Jeffcoat will go far. I can just feel it.
But what if he takes after his father and can’t grow much of a beard, much less a forked one? How will he live with the crippling disappointment of being a clean-shaven Sweyn Forkbeard?
Third, I look in a baby names book. I had a crack at that this morning, too. Maybe we’ve just got a baby name book for dweebs. All I’m saying is, ‘Falconbridge’ is not present, and ‘Brick’, regrettably, is. Brick. There is no origin, because someone had a baby with a square head once and made it up.
I’ll keep looking.
How did you choose your baby names? Shakespeare? English royalty? Or – hang on a minute – something else?