But I want her name to be Isabelle like the Isabelle at nursery because she’s my best friend! – JD, 4
As Little Miss J gazes up at me with her big, greyish-blue eyes, I can’t imagine her being called anything else. She is Little Miss J. And upstairs, snoring quietly in a tangle of bedclothes is JD. He couldn’t be called anything else. His name has become part of who he is.
I have to remind myself that they could have been Jacob and Meredith, Joseph and Ella, Oliver and Katie. Merlin and Godzilla – you have to have some joke ones on the shortlist, right? It seems impossible now. They are who they are, and their names are part of their identity beyond just a label.
We agonised over JD’s name. We had our shortlist and JD was one of the choices, but when he was born it took a few days to get to know him before we could confidently say, “yes, he is JD.” And it felt right, so off I went and registered his name.
With Little Miss J, it was a little easier. We had a shortlist by the time I was four months pregnant, and by six months she was Little Miss J. Even though the sonographer wasn’t able to confirm the sex; even though we hadn’t met her yet, we really felt that we knew her – her kicks, somersaults and hiccups – and that she was a Little Miss J. And so she is.
JD wasn’t convinced. With each passing week, he had a new favourite best friend at nursery and wanted their name to be the name of the baby. Sometimes he even insisted the baby should be called JD – now that would be confusing.
Even though some of the names he suggested were lovely, none felt right. Why is that, I wonder? What makes a name fit? We’re undoubtedly, often subconsciously, influenced by the names of those we’ve known. TV programmes, books, poems, songs, rumours and jokes. But it feels like something more elementary. A feeling. As if choosing a name is a psychic endeavour and you send a message telepathically to your baby – “Who are you?” – and they respond with their name. Silly really.
In December, Bounty published a list of the top baby names of 2011. Little Miss J is the top 25 most common girl’s names, JD is in the top 100 most chosen boy’s names. Great minds, huh?
So, how did you choose your little one’s names?