20 July 2012

What's in a name?

I previously wrote here about the process of choosing a name for our daughter. I thought you might like some more specifics about how we ended up with Madeleine Ngaire.

I'll start with Ngaire because that's where we started. Ever since George introduced me to this Maori name, I have loved it. Shortly after learning that we'd be having a girl, George and I hoped to include Ngaire in her name. However, we knew that our daughter would spend at least some part of her life living outside New Zealand and the South Pacific, so giving her a first name that was not phonetic and virtually unheard of in most of the world seemed harsh. Using Ngaire as her middle name seemed like the perfect way to remind her of her Kiwi roots and give her name some international flair without all the hassle of a difficult first name. Ngaire it is.

Choosing a first name was much (much, much, much) more difficult. (Again, see the criteria we used.) After about a month of trying on virtually every female name imaginable and not finding any names that we both really liked, I suggested that we think about the characteristics we wanted for our daughter. George and I both want our daughter to be strong, determined, and independent (remind me of this when she is a teenager - yikes!). So, we started thinking of women in politics who embody these characteristics. Helen. No. Margaret. No. Eleanor. No. Hillary. No. Madeleine. We both agreed that we liked the name Madeleine. A day, a week, a few weeks later, and we still liked the name. So, we started calling my belly Madeleine. It stuck. After considering the various spellings (Madeline, Madelyn, etc.), we decided to be true to the name's French roots and use the traditional spelling. We've also decided to wage a war against her being Maddie/Maddy. Her name is Madeleine. :-)

And...that is how our daughter ended up with the name Madeleine Ngaire.


Janie said...

...and Madeleine Ngaire is beautiful, just like her!!! Yeah!

aaron and misha said...

I love her name - it is so perfect! Also, good job making her middle name short so if she wants to keep all of her names when she gets married she can. ;)

JuliaZ said...

This post gave me goosebumps! <3

smacris said...

I love it!! What a beautiful name! It's crazy how much thought we put into a child's name. I like when people say, "So what are you going to call her?" Alexandra. That's why we picked it. :)