Serendipitously* Naming Babies

Friday, October 04, 2013


Astute readers will have noted that the name Poppy only appeared in the list of potential baby names as a nickname for Calliope. We were fairly certain that we would name our little girl Thea Emily but when I was in labour we were still chatting names and Mr Duyvken was browsing name lists online throwing out suggestions that all sounded pretty good. By the time those 4 hours had passed and I was holding our beautiful girl we were feeling less certain about Thea and were tossing around Thea, Poppy and Evangeline. I still love the name Thea but there was something about this little one when she was born that made me feel that the name didn't suit her. She looked too much like her big brother, Sweetie, and not enough like her big sister, JW. Does that make any sense? Of course not, but please remember that my veins were coursing with post-birth endorphins and other hormones that make it almost impossible to make sensible decisions.
For the following 24hrs I called her Poppy, Hattie, Evangeline, sometimes Calliope and even sometimes Thea. Trying names on her as if they were hats. Some were too big and cumbersome for her delicate little face, some were like a cloche hiding her entirely and a couple felt just right. Even after we settled on Poppy we had to decide if it would be short for Calliope or not. We still haven't filled in the registration of birth form so I may change my mind but, at this stage, she is just Poppy and it seems just right for her.
And then something quite wonderful happened. A few years ago we gave my mum a Meanings of Flowers book for her birthday and when she popped in yesterday to have a few snuggles with her newest granddaughter she mentioned that she had looked up Poppy and it means 'fantastic extravagance'. And that does seem like the perfect name for our 6th child. Our 'just one more'. Our fantastic extravagance.
***
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Heart full.
***

* With thanks to Horace Walpole for this wonderful word.
seren·dipi·tous·ly adv.
Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word."Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."

8 comments:

blackbird :

A perfect name.
I luff it.

OH, and that FACE!

Lynn :

Poppy suits her perfectly. To a T.

Hope you're getting loads of rest...

Stomper Girl :

You have to find a name that suits the baby, I definitely agree. Our firstborn was almost a Finn or a D'arcy but neither seemed right. I do love that flower name meaning, how perfect!

Eleanor :

She's totally Poppy.

Also such a Duyvken!!

I could eat her up (remember when I said that about Sweetie and JW became irate?!!)

kim at allconsuming :

Seeing as I have HELD HER IN MY ARMS I fully concur that she is, indeed Poppy. She is so fine and delicate, and just totally delicious.

The house is also looking AMAZING.

Nancy :

Congratulations, Amelia. Poppy is just gorgeous! And what a sweet name. We thought about Thea for our older daughter but decided against it because it made me think the person saying it had a lisp. I wish I'd thought of Poppy, though we love the name we chose.

kort :

Poppy was on our list too! we got a Joseph instead. i know exactly what you mean about matching the babe + the name! you do good work.

kort :

Poppy was on our list too! we got a Joseph instead. i know exactly what you mean about matching the babe + the name! you do very fine, truly extravagant work.

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