Then as these things happen I picked up the book I'm reading and read this passage:
"Norah looked at her son's tiny face, surprised, as always, by his name. He had not grown into it yet, he still wore it like a wrist band, something that might easily slip off and disappear. She had read about people- where? -She couldn't remember this either- who refused to name their children for several weeks, feeling them not yet to be of this earth, suspended between two worlds." K. Edwards, The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Yes that's it, something clicked for me and I can now put into words why we never call Rebe 'Rebecca', Benny 'Benjamin' and Joa 'Joshua'. Quite simply it is not their name.
When we were pregnant with Rebe we chose 2 girls names. She was going to be either 'Beth' or 'Aoife'. For me both of these names are calm and quite names, when Rebe came out she was none of these things and neither name suited her. Andy and I just couldn't decide what to call her. We simply carried on calling her by her nickname that she had gotten when I was pregnant 'Lamb'. Even the nurses in NICU called her that by day 2. But we were under pressure to find her a 'proper' name. The midwives and nurses wanted to know, friends and family wanted to know what we were going to call her. So three days after she was born we finally decided on Rebecca. We tried it out for a couple of weeks, a long beautiful name, we tried shortening it to Becky, Becka. Then, and I remember the moment, I was playing with her on her change mat and chanting her name softly to her when I heard my self say 'Re-Be-Ca'. Rebe! There it was, her proper name. It fitted and felt right and from that moment she has been called Rebe.
Benny's story is similar, we actually thought he was going to be a girl and he was called 'Hannah' all the time I was pregnant. But Hannah didn't appear, she was a he! Andy and I took days trying to find his name, in the mean time we called him 'little brother'. We looked in books and both wrote lists of names we thought might be his. We settled on Daniel - Danny. He wore this name for less than an hour and while I was in the bath, rolling it round my tongue I knew it wasn't right. I just knew it was to be Benjamin shortened to Benny, I got out of the bath and dripped down the stairs to tell Andy he was called 'Benny' and Andy agreed. Again I remember the moment of finding his name. It was as if it was always there floating around with him and we just had to wait.
Benny (Aged about 10 months)
For Joa we didn't even bother trying to think of a name. We knew that we would find it when he arrived. Joa was our record, Rebe and Benny were nameless for 3 days each, we named Joa in less than a day :-) I remember being propped up in bed searching, I knew it was to be a 'J' sound,so I went through all the J names I could think of and I found it, 'Joshua'. It was Benny who found Joa. He used to coo softly to him 'hawow Joa' and that was it, he was properly named.
Joa (6 months perhaps?)
I am glad I have found a way to answer the name question.
There is a lot of pressure to name our children quickly, often before they are born. It is a big task finding them the right name, a name that is appropriate (our surname is Angel so we couldn't have anything like 'Precious') and suits them and feels like it belongs to them.
I feel like we simply borrowed the names Rebecca, Benjamin and Joshua for them to used until we found their right names.
They now have their proper names and my children are called Rebe, Benny and Joa.