⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

January 10, 2012


Such a tricky issue. Naming. Even trickier when a lot of the people who will be pronouncing your baby's name speak one language and not the other, or the other and not the other (and even trickier still when your naming partner is Xavier - you'll see what I mean as I continue). We have gone through lists of names and decided on a few, only to overturn them (maybe). Most parents probably do this. Were this child a boy, he would be Louis (likely) - a family name and a good French one, obviously. Loo-eee. Easy pronunciation. She is girl though, and I have my heart set on one name and Xavier hums and haws about it and won't agree. Before we go to sleep at night he nudges alternatives in my direction: "What do you think of Lucie?" "Madeleine?"

Associations attached to names are often forceful. Especially with a guy like Xavier. One example:

Me: "Laurence - do you like it?"
Xavier: "C'est un prénom de grosses. Tu imagines? En France, en plus?"

(Translation: "It is a fat girl's name - can you imagine? And in France on top of it!"
Please note: If your name is Laurence, don't take offense. This is clearly an arbitrary and unstable analysis of a very nice name. Jocose nonetheless.)

Some of you know Marguerite's full name:
Marguerite Kelly Maya Hätsveda
(ask to see her passport if you're dubious)

Xavier had a formula for such a creation:
First name - a nice, traditional choice.
Second name - a favorite American TV show character.
Third name - a favorite cartoon character.
Fourth name - an IKEA product.
The breakdown: Marguerite (lovely), Kelly (90210), Maya (the bee), Hätsveda (wicker chair)
(Our child, were this system to be applied, will be even luckier because she will also have a double barreled last name).

To give you an idea (because I think Xavier will forgive me for giving this away) - Xavier's choices for the second, third and fourth names of the little baby soon to be born are: _________ Shannon Joanne Shruvsta (J J). That does not reveal the first name choice, but it does reveal just how weird our children will inevitably become. (For context, Joanne is a lady heroine in Capitaine Flam - French cartoon - and Shruvsta is an IKEA swivel chair).

In France, people often have two middle names. Xavier's full name, for example, is Xavier Nicolas Michel. Howbeit, in France, people do not often have IKEA product or extra cartoon character names. Xavier is proud of his naming conception because there will be two important events in his children's lives where their ridiculous names will be read aloud in front of many people in an official setting: 1. The day they take their Baccalauréat 2. The day they get married. I do hope the official at these events speaks some Nordic language so that pronunciation of the various products will not be a bother.

We have seriously considered Marie-Antoinette for the first name. And then Louis-Philippe for the first boy. Royal.


Maria Petrova said...

!!!! Really? Ikea??? LOLLLL

Ben said...

Rick Doane has a funny story about this. He and his wife were settled on the name of Parker for their second boy. That is until they shared the name with his Bostonian grandmother, who with excitement exclaimed "Oh, Pahkah, I love the name Pahkah!!!

alison said...

This post really made me laugh. Names are so hard! We're still trying to come up with names for twins, and it has been a huge challenge. One that we're thinking of is Sylvie. How do the French view that name???

Anonymous said...

Seriously. It seems like fun now but maybe later kind of cruel?

Emilie said...

words of wisdom.

Xavier Joly said...

To anonymous: A boring life is way more cruel for a kid.

To Alison: Sylvie is fine but you have great names for twins anyway:

- Starsky and Hutch
- M&M's
- Wallace and Gromit
- ...

Rosie said...

Do you remember when Brad wanted to name Melanie - Gertrude Wilhemina?

Anonymous said...

Anytime I hear of unusually-named children, my comparison is always the names of the children of Frank Zappa:
Moon Unit
Ahmet Emuukha Rodan
Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

Nothing has yet topped Frank ;-)

Anonymous said...

- Starsky and Hutch
- M&M's
- Wallace and Gromit
- ...

For that 4th names, would it be pronounced Ellipsis or simply Dot-Dot-Dot? (more appropriate for triplets, eh?)

Lacey Bediz said...

That IS hilarious! The whole Ikea thing... I really love it.

Gabriela said...

Pregnancy has been rampant among my cousins. It seems they've all decided on plucking names from a Spanish History textbook:

-Octavio Alonso
-Diego Alonso
-Vasco Matias

I do believe they are conspiring to build their own armada of conquistadors.

*note: My family's way of rebelling against the Hispanic tradition of giving each kid 17 names is by giving them one name -- no middle name, no muss and fuss.

alison said...

Thanks, X.
You're right. I'm missing out on a great opportunity here.

D1Warbler said...

Tell me you're kidding, Rosie -- "Gertrude Wilhemina?" Really!!!!

What did Melanie have to say about that when she first heard about it?

Jano Fred said...

N'auriez-vous pas encore choisi de prénom pour le futur little baby ? Quelques idées for a boy : Pierre, Camille, Godefroy, Quentin, Samuel, etc.
For a girl : Gabrielle,Elisabeth, Charlotte, Solange, Marie, Pauline, Bénédicte, etc...
Rien que des prénoms classiques et très frenchies. Mais tout cela n'est qu'affaire de goût. Et qui sait ce qui passe parfois par la tête des parents quand ils optent pour un prénom plutôt qu'un autre... La plupart du temps, les enfants n'aiment guère ce prénom "arbitraire" sur lequel ils n'ont aucune prise.
Rester soft dans le choix ? Ma foi, un art bien difficile. Alors pour pallier l difficulté, en trouver une ribambelle, histoire de noyer le poisson

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