Thursday, November 28, 2013

The naming of Iris

Choosing a person's name is a pretty big responsibility and I find it to be one of the great joys and great stresses of having children.

While pregnant I collected names from everywhere – online, in playgrounds, friends and family trees. Iris, as a name hadn't been even considered for either Oscar or Nora, but came into consideration after asking Rodge's Abuela (who Nora was named after) for all of her siblings names: Maria Teresa, Irma Esther, Blanca, Maria del Carmen, Rosa del Alba, Juana Iris, Jose Pedro and Adair. Alba, Esther and Iris made my long-list.

Once my shortlist was finalised Iris sat at the very bottom, scraping through because of the family tie, the beautiful meaning (rainbow or messenger) and the bilingual appeal. I thought she'd be a Margaret (after my own grandmother, whose birthday was only days before hers) or a Fern (a long time favourite name). She could have also been an Adelaide, Eve, Ines, Harriet or June. I had all the names written down and packed into my hospital bag.

 Yet as soon as I looked into her puffy red face, I knew she was an Iris. She needed the strength and history of the name Iris. This took me by surprise. I didn't announce her name to anyone for days (not even Rodge). I tried calling her Ines instead. It felt too soft for her. She was definitely the most beautiful Iris ever.

Strangely, as a flower lover, I didn't name her for the flower. I named her for the name alone. Slowly, though, the flower, one which I've never really given a sidelong glance to, has been creeping into our lives and I am certain will now be a firm favourite, following our family wherever we go. To my surprise, in amongst our weeds and mess, we happened to have some iris bulbs, which have been dug up and potted, to now be treasured.

Her initial full name was to be Iris Juliet Pearl, but altogether it felt to heavy. Juliet felt too tragic. She needed a lightness in her name, rather than a name most famous for a youthful suicide. So Juliet was scrapped. Pearl, the meaning of Margaret, was kept. This is where her naming became tricky. Iris ? Pearl. Iris ? Pearl. I was snatching at all the names, searching the long list in vain. Artemis, Thea and Iolanthe were dismissed as too Greek alongside the already Greek Iris. Amy (after my sister) too short. Sunday and September too wordy. I found myself scouring this lady's beautiful (albeit no longer written) blog. I said each of the names in this list aloud.

It was while sitting with my older sister discussing her name choices for her to be born baby, that Eulalie was suggested. Iris Eulalie Pearl. I said it aloud. Perfect. I looked up the meaning. Eloquent. What a brilliant name meaning, what more could you want for a child? A well-spoken woman. I loved the idea. I checked the Spanish version. Iris Eulalia Perla. Again perfect. I was completely smitten.





So we have our smiley little girl, with her beautiful, lyrical, eloquent name. Iris Eulalie Pearl.

We call her Irie most days. Oscar also calls her Iwissy or Penguin.

This post was inspired by Jodi - who kept her naming post much, much briefer.

The top photo shows Iris on her birth day, already at home. The bottom photo shows Iris with her Aunty Amy, her cousin Ottilie (in utero) and her namesake flower.

12 comments:

  1. Oh I loved this post, the consideration, the turmoil, the intent focused on your beautiful babe. And what a truly magnificent and perfect name you chose. xx

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  2. Lovely Post. I feel inspired to do a names Post after reading Jodi's too. I love all the names of your children. Iris was on our list too, as was Pearl. They're beautiful. You can't copyright a name but there's been a few times where a name has been on my list but because it got used by friends or other people I began to not love it quite as much. But that's not the case for everyone. For example my cousin just had a baby and called their boy Noah, the same as one of our Kids. He called just before the birth saying they really loved the name and would I mind. Well, of course I don't mind! However the rest of the family have already started referring to their Noah as Noah 2.....Mel x

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    1. Thank you Mel.

      You should do a name post – although, I imagine with 5 children, that'd be quite an undertaking!

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  3. Well, you know I'm a big fan of the name Pearl. Iris Eulalie Pearl is beautiful xx

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    1. Thank you Greer. I love your three girls names and they sound so beautiful together.

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Iris's naming story...she has such a beautiful name!

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  5. Ohmygosh that 1911 census list is amazing! Thanks for the link. That's so funny about asking Rodge's Abuela for family names. When my aunty was here recently I asked her to write out the family tree for my paternal family. You've mentioned quite a few names that I love. Beautiful post, and so timely for me - I'm wondering what will happen when we meet our little one - which names will be for her. x

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    1. That entire names blog is pretty amazing. A great resource. I look forward to meeting your bub and hearing what name is chosen.

      I love scouring family trees for names, I have all my family's names written down – but most of Rodge's family names seem to be lost, he couldn't tell me his own paternal grandmother's name, let alone other relatives. I've made sure to start a record of what I can find out, starting with the knowledge of his (maternal) Abuela.

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  6. I love a name post and I love Iris' name. My best friend's mum's name is Iris (it's actually Isabella, but funnily enough, Isabella seemed really dated 60 years ago, when she was born, so everyone called her Iris instead), so I'd never thought of it for a baby until recently. Such a lovely name! I've loved names since I was a kid, so by the time I was pregnant with Olive I already had a huge list of names. We were still tossing up between Elizabeth, Harriet, Daisy, Esther and Olive but, like you said, we just knew as soon as she was born that she was Olive. Her middle name's Evelyn after her late great grandmother.

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    1. I too loved names since childhood – Fern and Adelaide where from some of my earliest name lists.

      Olive Evelyn is a gorgeous combination. Olive always reminds me of Olive Cotton (who is a wonderful namesake) and Evelyn was in serious consideration for both my daughters, as it is my mum's middle name.

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  7. Congratulations Imogen x This is a beautiful post. I love that Iris' name has so much thoughtfulness behind it. I love the name Iris too. I've always thought the responsibility of naming another person is huge, although I'm yet to have the pleasure and stress of doing so xx

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  8. This is a wonderful little story, and Iris Eulalie Pearl is an exceptionally beautiful name!!
    Our first daughters name was known without a doubt, especially middle name after grandmother. Second daughter always had a first name but it took us a month or so after she was born to settle on her middle name. Third daughter was without a name for even a couple weeks after her birth. And then suddenly I knew, like you with your Iris I started trying out the name to myself, quietly to her, it definitely fit and became her.
    My older daughters collect names, for their dolls, stories, songs… you have given me some good ones to share with them!

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