Every evening, I settled my pregnant body on the sofa and opened my baby name book.
“Annabel? Maybe. Muriel? No. Phoebe? Yes. Phoebe Elvis? Definitely not.”
I pondered each name, wrote it down or moved onto the next one. My possible name list grew... and then shrunk again to nothing as I changed my mind. Finding the perfect name for our soon-to-be-born baby always seemed an impossible task. There were thousands to choose from so why couldn't I find even one that I liked? The weeks of pregnancy flew by and I imagined bringing home a child with no other name than ‘baby Elvis’.
When I went into labour with our fifth baby, I threw the baby name book into my bag as we rushed out the door to the hospital. But then…
“Charlotte Mary… How do you like Charlotte Mary?” I asked Andy, between contractions.
“Yes!” Andy agreed. "Perfect." That was a close call.
For the first few weeks or months our children were called by their chosen names. Then gradually these names morphed into nicknames. Charlotte became Sharlie. Imogen turned into Immy… It took a bit longer for Gemma-Rose to become Gebbles. All our children have a shortened form of their name or a nickname… except for Thomas.
We always call Thomas ‘Thomas’. I guess he would have become Tom if he’d lived. But then again we might have given him a more unusual nickname. Gemma-Rose didn’t become Gemma but rather Gebbles.
Last weekend I spent a long time visiting baby name websites looking for possible names for story characters, and I discovered something very interesting.
At dinner on Sunday, I was eager to share: “I found out what Tintin is short for?” Ears pricked up. Tintin is big news at the moment in our house. We all watched the latest Tintin movie the other night and the girls have also been working their way through the comic series on DVD.
“Tintin is a French nickname for Augustine.”
“Thomas’ middle name is Augustine.”
“Tintin can be Thomas’ nickname!”
Everyone smiled. I think they like this idea.
A few months ago we gave Thomas his confirmation name which somehow we missed giving him at the right time. On Sunday he received his nickname.
What do you think Thomas? Do you like Tintin?
After we chose Thomas' confirmation name, I wrote the following in my story Introducing Thomas Augustine Joseph:
I feel I have been given a little gift from God. I thought Thomas’ story was over, nothing new to add. And now I have just given him an extra name. I am sure God stores up little surprises for us, giving us unexpected moments of joy. I wonder what other Thomas gifts God will give to me in the future. I have no doubt that God will reveal other little details of our son that I will treasure forever.
So once again...
I’d like to introduce Thomas Augustine Joseph Elvis... otherwise known as Tintin.
“Tintin… What's Tintin's last name?” asks Sophie, thinking about the comic character.
"Does he have a last name?"
No one here seems to know. Do you?