How did you name your babies?

Posted Sunday 15th June 2014   By Ericka Waller

I did not realise how many people I hated until it came to picking baby names. Every suggestion reminded me of someone I knew with bad breath, a dead tooth or the inability to close their mouth when breathing in.

My babies were so swollen and hirsute and huge, they did not suit any of the lovely names we’d finally agreed on. I remember looking at Thing-one, as the midwife stitched my perineal tear, merrily whistling in her jaunty reindeer headband (Oh the joys of an Christmas baby) and saying to the husband “Well we can’t call her Nellie as planned, it would just be cruel” and then into the silence that followed “Will that hair on her shoulders fall out or…?” and finally “don’t even think about eating that toast.”

I asked my friends how they picked their baby names. Kate said she thought of her daughter’s name as she was walking up the stairs. Not the best story she has ever told if I’m honest. Another found her daughter’s name whilst wandering through a graveyard in Poland, as you do.

Some people picked names that were in their family, especially for sons. I’m pleased I never had a boy then, because men in my family are called Nigel, Cecil, Ralph, Lancalot and Dick. I’m guessing some people don’t care about the family name, only the sentiment of the mantel, otherwise ‘Cliff’ would have long since have died out.

I berate my mother for the concoction of harsh syllables which make up Ericka. Apparently I’m named after a girl she once knocked out with a prize turnip. I felt like one at school as the children sang “Ericka Mary, had a canary up the leg of her drawers. She pulled the string to make it sing and down came Santa Claus.” Cheers mum.

Some people pick a name before the baby is born, some wait till after. I like it when people have babies and the name changes so many times in the first six weeks, you have no idea who they are talking about.

If you have a terrible name you can always go by a nickname. My brothers called me Derrick. How funny. I answer to it. What a turnip.

Comments