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Naming rights


What’s in a name?

Oh, just your entire familial wellbeing.

I recently held the adorable new addition of some dear friends. He was a perfect little human, with that addictive baby smell that makes you want to hold them close and never give them back (no, I’m not clucky, not in the least).

I did hand him back, but only after having some serious flashbacks.

Remember those days when your life was consumed by baby powder and stale milk, breast pads and nappy wipes, giggles and gurgling?

Beautiful but painful memories, for lots of reasons.

This little man fell fast asleep in my arms after just a few minutes of cuddling (seems I’m pretty good at putting men of all ages into a coma.) 

“He’s just gorgeous. What did you name him?” I asked.

“He has no name. We can’t agree,” said Mum, sounding exasperated.

Uh oh. I touched a nerve. Dad had apparently come up with “at least twenty names” but none of them met Mum’s extensive suitability criteria.

It was a stalemate. Poor little bub, at almost five weeks old, nameless. Well, not entirely: he was being called “Pickles” in the interim.

A rather appropriate label given that was the predicament he had left his parents in.

Dad rattled off his list. Nothing too outlandish or overly objectionable.

Mum rattled off hers, as well as why Dad’s list was absolutely abhorrent.

No child of theirs would be receiving an Oscar, initiating world peace, or inventing the next renewable energy source, if he was called Arthur or Fred or Pat or Luke, she said.

“Luke is not a strong name. He needs a strong name, a masculine name,” explained Mum.

In Mum’s defence I completely understand her concern that an ill-conceived name will be a bone of contention forevermore.

Best all parties at least be indifferent to the selection in order to avoid World War III.

I also appreciate the desire not to name a child after the kid who bullied you at school, or your first boyfriend, or to lumber the unfortunate little soul with the same name as every other Tom, Dick and Harry getting around the playground.

I will of course have to qualify my argument by stating that I come from a family who boast the odd left-of-field additions – Echo, Theo, Roarke, Ziad, Ingrid, Rudi. Not your usual naming conventions, but thankfully no Apples or Tigerlillys just yet.

With just sixty days to register bub’s birth, the happy couple are now feeling the pressure more than ever.

The countdown has begun and I don’t mind saying I’m glad I’m not a fly on the wall of that bedroom when the pillow talk turns to a moniker melee.

There’s talk of giving Pickles two middle names, with Mum-in-law now weighing in on the debate and the list of prospective candidates growing by the day.  

What is a fair compromise in this christening conundrum? Who has the final say? Given Mum pushed the little fellow out, does that give her a greater stake in the name game, or does that simply mean it’s now Dad’s turn to claim some ground?

P.S. All naming suggestions are welcome and will be passed on to the couple in limbo. Let’s help put them out of their misery and save Pickles from anonymity.  


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110 comments so far

  • Name shmame, I think whatever you name a kid it suits once they have that name.

    With our first it was easy as we had a "favorite" which he got, but the second was more difficult as we didn't want to use the ones which got the cut from the first time round.

    Once we got down to a name and gave it to him I wasn't 100% on it, but it now suits him perfectly.

    I think giving kids weird out there names can be a blessing and a curse as the kid may be an extrovert in which case it is good to have a stand out name, or if he's the shy type he may get shunned at school for being the weird kid.

    I used to know a Jamien who was that quiet weird kid....most people accidently called him Damien..

    Date and time
    May 08, 2012, 7:50AM
    • I wanted three kids so I could call them Tuscon, Phoenix and Flagstaff Arizona Birmingham.
      But my wife said no.
      She doesn't understand me at all.

      Date and time
      May 08, 2012, 7:52AM
      • Nice. I don't think anyone else got it JB

        Date and time
        May 08, 2012, 9:19PM
      • Please explain the Tucson thing.

        Date and time
        May 09, 2012, 7:33AM
      • Tucson is a cool name.

        Date and time
        May 09, 2012, 1:13PM
    • I say pick the most normal name for the first name - and that lady's idea of what is or isn't a 'masculine name' is silly. there's been kings and emperors and dukes and generals with names like luke george michael nick... - anyway, you pick the most normal name you like for the first name, then feel free to go nuts on the one or two middle names.
      Michael Burninator Campbell? go ahead!
      Lucas Spartacus Chaucer Howell? nice!
      Jonathon Tyrael Smith? hell yeah!
      Gary Leaf River Benson? o'course o'course!
      Because then you get all the cuteness of a weird name, they won't spend their whole life wishing their name was easy to spell or being teased about it, and if they like thier middle names then they can use them as their name.

      As for your friends, how about Alexander as a first name? Not only is it a good name, male, can be shortened easily in a couple ways, the same as 'The Great', but it also starts with the letter A, meaning he'll often be at the top of a list, but with the 'x' he doesn't necessarily have to go first every time.

      chewing salty razors, Brissie
      Date and time
      May 08, 2012, 8:25AM
      • A fair compromise would be to give the child a middle name. Or even two middle names. At least when he's older he can choose which he prefers. I wish I had a middle name as I hate my first name. It ain't Josephine and it's so bad that I use a nick name instead.

        I agree that mum should have the choice of the first name.

        Date and time
        May 08, 2012, 8:34AM
        • Why should the mother get first dibs? Yes she carried Pickles for 9 months and "did the hard work" but why does the father have a lesser right?!

          Date and time
          May 08, 2012, 10:53AM
        • ummm... Fiona, I think you just answered your own question.

          Red Pony
          Date and time
          May 08, 2012, 4:25PM
        • Fiona, because 1/3rd of marriages don't last, and it's usually the mother left 'holding the baby'.

          As a mother, with my first I agreed early on husband could choose the first name and I'd choose the second if it was a boy, and the reverse if it was a girl. He wanted to call it Dwaine, so I was immensely relieved when the emerging baby proved to be female.

          For my second child I made the same agreement. After the birth husband said he wanted to name our son after Hans Christian Anderson, and left me sorting out the paperwork. So I obediently named our son Hansel, mistakenly thinking Hans was short for Hansel. (Hansel is actually the diminutive of Hans.) Husband threw such a tizz when he saw the copy we kept. Apparently he'd wanted to call him Christian. I told him if I'd known he wanted to name him after a religion, I'd have called him Tao.

          With my third I insisted I wanted to call our little boy Dwaine, (ultrasounds were invented by this time,) so then husband agreed to the (totally original) name I really wanted instead. Son, now 30, loves his unique name and uses it as his moniker for all internet stuff.

          Date and time
          May 08, 2012, 7:25PM

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