Friday, 27 November 2009

A Rose by Any Other Name

Photo credit: Kuzeytac
Peanut’s First Photo Opportunity
I had my 12 week scan yesterday. I was surprised to see so much at such an early stage. With Els, I was only offered a 20 week scan. I just presumed that my scan photo this time round would look more like a weather forecast than a foetus. Given that Peanut is only 5.5cm long, I was amazed s/he looked so much like a baby.

J was thrilled, said seeing Peanut move about on the screen made it feel much more real for him. Poor love, missing out on all the things that have been making the pregnancy very real for me - nausea, tender breasts, frequent night-time loo trips and extreme tiredness!

Peanut looked a bit boyish to me. I can't wait for the 20 week scan as I'm really keen to know what flavour s/he is. I want to narrow down my name list to male or female only and start harassing J for his real opinion. So far my favourites aren't his and vice versa. Plenty of time to sort it out though.

Is One Surname Better Than Two?
Talking of names, on the morning of the scan whilst cuddled up in bed together before getting ready for school, Ella told me she wasn't sure about being a Barrass-Higgs anymore. I’ve reassured her that whatever she wants her surname to be is OK with me, but she doesn’t need to make that choice until she’s a few years older. But our conversation did make me feel a bit frustrated. Allow me to explain...

When J and I got married I thought it was a great opportunity to finally share a surname with my daughter (I never have done). Being an ultra-reasonable person, I wouldn't dream of taking her dad's name from her (Barrass) so I thought she could have both names ie Barrass (her dad's) and Higgs (my new surname).

I discussed it with her dad, who wasn't too keen for some reason (it's not as if I was suggesting losing his surname in favour of mine). However, he agreed I could discuss the idea with her and let her decide. I assured him I wouldn't change it legally until she was older and completely sure she wanted to add my name to his.

Having both surnames seems to me an apt reflection of her Shared Care Daughter status. She has two families - her House Family which is me and John and her Boat Family which is her dad and his girlfriend. The House and Boat terminology is Ella's own. Her dad lives on a river boat and we share her care 50/50 between both families.

The Freedom of Choice
Anyhow, as much as I thought this new name was a good idea, I am a great believer in Ella having choices and freedom so I was keen to give her the option of being a Barrass or a Barrass-Higgs. After all, it's her name.

So, I discussed it with her in a very neutral way, said it was her choice and I was happy with whatever she chose.

After a few weeks of quiet contemplation, Ella decided she'd like to have both surnames. So I told the school, doctors etc she is to be referred to as Ella Barrass-Higgs on their records but isn't yet listed as that legally - and won't be until (or if) she confirms she'd like to share my surname as well as her dad's. I thought ten years old would be a good age for her to decide once and for all. If she's still sure then, I'll change her name by deed poll.

Fair, yes? Enough said on that topic until she's ten, no need for anymore discussion. Or so I thought.

From our conversation this morning, it turns out El's dad has been chatting to her about how it's not important to have the Higgs on the end of her surname, and giving her examples of other families she knows who all have different surnames from each other.

He’s perfectly at liberty to discuss anything he wants with his daughter, but I was stunned to find this ‘name thing’ has now been playing on Ella’s mind. It was a non-issue for her until that conversation, and I really didn’t think we needed to discuss it again until she becomes ten. I felt quite annoyed.

What’s in a Name?
Ultimately, 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet' so I agree with El’s dad that it doesn't matter either way. Ella is part of my family whatever her surname. However, I have deliberately held back from influencing her choice as I think it is one she should make for herself
in a few years' time, with no undue influence from me or her dad.

Of course I'd like Ella to share a surname with all the key members in her family - her dad, me, her new brother/sister and her step-dad. But, if she prefers to be a Barrass only that's completely cool too.

So why am I getting my knickers in a twist - over something that is really nothing? Pregnancy hormones perhaps....

I'd appreciate your views on this. What do you make of it all?

On a more positive name note, here are my current favourites (but not necessarily J's!) for Peanut:

Jasper (J likes this too)


Alicia (J likes this..)
Daisy (..and this..)
Phoebe (..and this)

Which do you like best for Peanut Higgs?


Anonymous said...

When I had my 12 week scan I referred to my daughter (now 6) as Peanut, so your post made me smile. She was in the wrong position at 20 weeks for them to tell me her sex but I was able to find out before she was born.
I live Amelia best, followed by Daisy. I've always been useless with boys' names and thankfully didn't have to choose one in the end!

Anonymous said...

I like Amelia (very classy) and Zac (very cool) xx

Hayley said...

The names you have for the new baby are simply adoreable! They are the sort of names I would have liked for my DS but his dad refused so we went with something more plain!

As for the surname thing, my sons dad is no longer in his life but I think if he was and he had done similar I would feel pretty annoyed that he was trying to influence her descision just because he wasnt happy with it!

*big hugs*


hari said...

Ok I'm rooting for Kai, my friend has a kid called Kylan and Kai for short - it's nice. No comment on the girly ones - I dont think it's a girl (although I haven't seen you for a while), so I'll choose girly ones later if I'm wrong.

On the surname - what underhand, cheek. But you know he's insecure. Leave it for now. There's no need to discuss it now, if you arn't changing it till she's ten. Not good for her to have stuff on her mind right now. A baby coming is enough. (what's he saying about that one I'd like to know). Laugh it off and play at adding all her fav names so she's happy about it like, Ella, Beyonce, Higgs, Angelina Ballerina, Barrass.

Discuss it when she's ten.

You dont change name by deed poll. You get a Deed Of Name Change and have a signed by a solicitor. Will cost you a tenner. I think I may even have the Deed on my computer if you want one. Valid for passports and everything you'll ever need. xxx

Home Office Mum said...

Congrats first of all. I've been away with the fairies so missed the whole arrival of peanut.

Sorry to hear about the surname conundrum. Tricky one.

But on the new baby names, my top faves are Jasper Higgs or Laila Higgs. Lovely