Today, on Father’s Day, 2009, I’d like to introduce our second daughter, Eulalie.
Eulalie is a dream baby so far. She’s a good sleeper and champion nurser, and big sister Beatrix is in adoration (mostly). The most difficult challenge thus far– and I include the birth in this– was what to name her. Evidently, you can call it “it”, even if it’s just for a day or two.
Papa says I am too involved in names and take the fun out of it. :-( I have to admit to feeling myopic.
The good thing is that I love so many different names, I would have been happy with many of them. Papa just wanted me to be in love with one. Yet after multiple exchanges, we still managed to have an unnamed child for 47 hours.
I went into the birth anticipating a Theodora should we have a girl. He’d never been wild about Theodora: he’d of course dated a Thea and can’t stand the Explorer, so we were at an impasse. But I figured hey, it was way more important to me than to him. After all, I do write a name blog… he’d get used to Theodora.
Trouble is, she came out looking nothing like a Theodora.
Our baby girl was born soft and delicate, with rosebud lips and cheeks beyond their weeks. Theodora was just too heavy a name to saddle on our newborn, and Papa was even less convinced than before.
So back to the drawing board were we.
“She’s NOT a Theodora”, he said. “Too harsh.”
My face belied both the pang of the prospect of leaving Theodora behind and the knowledge that he was right.
“She looks like a Rose”, I offered.
“Could be. I’m sort of meh on Rose.”
“Rosemary? Rosalie? Rosabel?”
“ROSEMARY?!? Sounds like an old lady. No, no, and no.”
“She really looks like a Posy to me. Josephine?”
“Joséphine c’est pas mal… nah, I don’t really love it.”
And then it started in earnest.
“Cassiopeia!” he offers.
“Gimme some Greek names.”
“Thisbe. Evadne. Penelope.”
“She’s not a Xanthe”, a name we’d discussed in recent weeks.
“I love Cecily.”
“To be honest with you Elisabeth, Cecily is a name I cannot stand” (this vehement dislike is news to me).
“Louisa?” he offers, knowing it was once at the top of my list.
“I love Louisa.”
“That ship has sailed though.”
“She does look like an Eloise.”
“Could be, I’m not that wild about it though.”
“She could be a Charlotte” (his perennial favorite).
“I know, she could be. But Charlotte’s much too popular in our state. She’s bound to have another in her class. I would want to call her Lottie.”
“I love Lolly.”
“What about Eulalie? he says with a French accent, the “eu” rhyming with the vowel sound in book. You haven’t mentioned that one in a while.”
“I LOVE Eulalie. In English it’s yoo-LAY-lee though. Are you ok with that?”
“Sounds like ukelele.”
“I know. But there are worse things to be associated with.”
“What does it mean?”
“It’s from the Greek. Beautiful voice, good words, or sweetly speaking. It’s an old French name, very nineteenth century.”
“Eu-lah-lee, va au lit…” he sings gently.
“It suits her. I love it with Beatrix and our last name.”
“So Eulalie it is?”
“Eulalie it is.”
Image above by childrens’ book illustrator Eulalie Banks. Below, B+E.