Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Is it really THAT DIFFICULT?!

Names can sometimes be a bit of a problem, can't they? Some people don't like their names, some have random spellings of their names, etc. Sometimes people tell you their name and you instantly forget it, then you spend the next hour waiting for someone else to address that person by name so that you don't have to ask them a second time what their name is (yes, I did that. More than once. I am hanging my head in shame). When I was at university, I told someone that my name is Kirsty and she called me Tracy. I corrected her once but I was too much of a wimp to correct her again and for the next three years of my degree, I was known to her as Tracy.

I have always liked the name Caleb and so when we had our little baby boy, we obviously decided to name him Caleb. I have to say that the first time I heard it was through watching "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and not from reading the Old Testament, but in my defence, I was also five or something, so reading the Old Testament wasn't exactly at the top of my five year old priority list! But I like the name for these reasons:

1. It means whole hearted and faithful. I also read somewhere that it means dog, but we'll ignore that meaning!
2. It's not a really popular name but it's not so unusual that people would think it was weird or anything.
3. It's biblical and I quite like biblical names.
4. It's a "say it as you see it" kind of a name. Or is it just me who thinks that? Because I'm not too sure.....

For the last 16 months, I have heard his name pronounced Challeb, Chayleb, Kaleeb, Celeb, Calleb. Kolob. Yep. It's usually at the doctors surgery or hospitals when the poor boy gets these mispronunciations of his name. In all fairness to them, I've no doubt that they see all manner of patients with weird and wonderful names, many of which are probably made up, but I really didn't think that the name Caleb would be too hard. I remember when we were sitting in the waiting room at the doctors surgery and the nurse came out and called, "Celeb?". Was she asking if there was a celebrity in the room?  I had a little chuckle to myself that one of these poor people sitting in the waiting room had been named Celeb by their parents and wondered who in the world would do that to their poor child. Didn't they realise the grief the child would get their whole life because their name was Celeb?! It was at around this point that I realised that no one else was standing up...... when I realised that she meant my son, I actually said, "oh.....Caleb!". I felt a bit bad because I probably sounded really rude in correcting her, but I was amazed that she would somehow think that his name was pronounced Celeb. I let it slide though because in all honesty, how easy is it to just not look properly at the name and mistake the A for an E? But then, in the appointment when she was asking me about him, I kept saying his name so she would realise that his name was Caleb. She still called him Celeb and looked at me like I was the one saying it incorrectly!

I spoke to a friend of mine about it recently and she said that even though it's not the most common name in the world, it's still not so unusual that people wouldn't have heard of it, which is pretty much what I thought. I'm wondering if when he goes to school, he will constantly have to correct people on how his name is pronounced. I'm no stranger to this, my maiden name is Samaroo and people often had difficulty in pronouncing it and spelling it (although ironically, since being married and changing my name, more people have asked me how "Manning" is spelt than have ever asked me how "Samaroo" was spelt!) but I didn't think that in naming my son Caleb, he would potentially be faced with this too. I suppose that time will tell!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Father Christmas Debate

I grew up believing in Father Christmas. I'm not quite sure at what age I realised he wasn't real but I was definitely a believer when I was younger. Father Christmas was never the one that actually bought our presents, that was Mum and Dad, but Father Christmas came at night when we were asleep and filled our stockings. I always remember Christmas Eve - before we went to bed we would do the thing that all believers would do and write our letters to Father Christmas then leave him a mince pie and a glass of milk along with some smarties for Rudolf. Yeah, we didn't believe in helping reindeers to be healthy in our house, no carrots, it was all about the smarties! Laura would sleep in my room on Christmas Eve and we would wake early in the morning to look through our stockings and see what Father Christmas had left us.

Seth's childhood was very different. He didn't believe in Father Christmas. I think one of the reasons was that his family didn't want to detract from the real meaning of Christmas (I can kind of understand that) and they wanted to keep it Christ-centred. Ours was also very much Christ-centred, we just believed in Father Christmas.

So now, we have Caleb. Before he was born, Seth and I both knew we had different opinions on whether we would want our children to believe in Father Christmas, but now we're getting to the point where we need to make a decision. I think we might be safe for another year, as Caleb will only be 17 months old in December so he's probably too young to remember much either way, but I really want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas! It was such a fun part of childhood for me, writing the letters to him and trying to stay awake to see him, but Seth doesn't want him to believe in Father Christmas. Seth is really straight down the line when it comes to lying and he says that encouraging Caleb to believe in Father Christmas is basically lying to him. And then there's the issue of how the children will then react when they realise that he's not real. I don't remember when I figured it out (Laura probably told me!) but I don't ever feel like I was lied to and I never thought it was a particularly big deal. However, I have a couple of friends who, when they were younger believed in Father Christmas and it got to the stage where their parents had to tell them that he wasn't real.They were getting to a stage where they were a bit too old to be going to school and talking to their friends about Father Christmas when a lot of their friends knew he wasn't real. One of my friends burst into tears and wouldn't talk to her parents because they had been lying to her about him and the other person was just completely shocked by it.

So therein lies the debate. We've not come to a decision either way. The thing is, I agree with a lot of Seth's argument on why he wouldn't want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas but I still want him to! To misquote Shakespeare, to believe or not to believe? That is the question! If anyone has an opinion on this, please feel free to share!