What’s in a name?


What’s in a name?

At 09:43 on Saturday the 16th of October, our son was born at the Vale of Leven hospital. Arriving one day ahead of schedule, he caught us on the hop a bit with regard to his name.

Although we’d had several months to come to a decision, we just couldn’t think of anything we were entirely sold on. I wanted to make sure we gave him a name that would set him apart, so he wouldn’t be one of the three kids with the same name in his nursery or school. At the same time, I wanted to avoid giving him a name that would seem old fashioned in ten years time.

This is harder than it might seem, as a lot of the time there doesn’t appear to be a clear reason for the rise and fall in the popularity of a name. Some will hover in the top 20 for decades at a time, while others have brief moments of favour before dropping into obscurity.

I had the notion of giving him a Scottish name, but my cousins Jamie & Emma Jane had beaten us to the good ones. Ross, Lewis, and Ewan were all taken, and although I liked Connor I wasn’t ever 100% sure about it. The others I looked at were either a bit too steeped in tartan and lochs or felt a bit ambiguous as to whether they were Scottish or Irish.

In the days after he was born, the stream of text messages and Facebook wall posts asking if we’d chosen something helped build the pressure on us to come up with something we could both agree on. By the time he was three days old I got the impression that people thought we were holding off for some grand reveal. However, two nights in a row I’d gone to bed with what I thought was a good list of names to choose from, and twice I’d looked at them in the morning and gone back to the baby name books.

By law we had three weeks in which to come up with a name and register his birth, although it’s not clear what sort of trouble you’re in if you fail to do so. From what I gathered, even at that point you can play for time and change it later if you’re really indecisive. The thing is, I didn’t want to string it out. The longer he went on being called “the baby” or simply “him”, the tougher it would be to make a name stick once we’d decided on one.

Finally, on the morning of 20/10/2010, we both agreed that Jason was our favourite of those under consideration. It wasn’t a super popular name according to the figures, which was good, but neither was it languishing in the basement of the popularity charts with the little Adolf’s & Saddam’s of the world.

Although we wanted to let everybody know, we wanted to let Elisha be a part of it, too, so with a family gathering happening at my mum’s place that afternoon we thought that would be great time to announce it. After I’d collected Elisha from school we told her what we’d decided, then let her dash into the conservatory to announce it to the others what her little brother was called.

This worked reasonably well, even if it took the big sister in question a couple of attempts to get the words out, and everybody seemed to quite like our choice. At last, Fliss could update those who’d been waiting on the word on Facebook, too!

One week on we’re starting to get used to calling him by his actual name, too, even though Elisha is selective with remembering it. She’s been a good big sister otherwise, though, so I’m sure Jason will forgive her a few slip-ups in the first month.

I think as parents we’re a lot more relaxed this time around, too, which is maybe demonstrated by the time we took to come up with his name. So far he’s been a very content baby, only really crying when he gets changed and it’s too cold for him, although in his second week he did start to have problems with wind. Fairly normal stuff for a newborn, though.

For some reason it also feels like we have a more complete family now that there’s four of us and, finally, I’m not outnumbered by girls. Thanks, Jason. 🙂