With four children it gets difficult to remember their names so they get called all sorts; each other’s, husband’s, cat’s, although generally not the grandparents. ‘GrandmaFrances’ to an 11 year old would be bizarre, even for me. People think that my husband and I are a very affectionate couple since I generally refer to him as dear or darling, which saves 20% of names to remember if you assume that I don’t talk to myself by name (which I don’t. I just start talking and listen if I feel inclined.)
When the first child was in utero, she was known as Freddie the Foetus. The second one became Oscar, but by the third baby we had reverted to Freddie. Even then we couldn’t remember more than one in utero name as well as two the other children’s.
In an attempt to overcome this block, all the children became Fred. But they started calling both of us Fred, which became unutterably confusing. The next attempt was numbering them Fred 1, Fred 2 etc. However by the time I’d remembered which Fred I was talking to, I might as well have had a crack at remember their proper name.
As Latin has a long and noble history for naming mammals as well as flowers, we felt it should do perfectly fine for re-naming the children. Prima didn’t mind and neither did Duobus, although he is so laid back that we could have called him Camembert Grobblebunce IV and he wouldn’t have cared one iota. Tertius was equally phlegmatic but Quadrimus objected strongly. Since she’s a girl we decided that Quadrimia might be better, but oddly enough, this didn’t seem to appease her much.
Duobus has just started at uni, which means there are less names to remember on a daily basis. My only problem is remembering whose address to find when I text him, although thankfully I only had to hit ‘reply’ yesterday for the following conversation:
D: I’m playing squash tomorrow. A proper match. In Bangor….Wales……
Me: At least they speak the same language…sometimes.… Take a sheep…
D: Will do. Good opportunity to do so. You won’t believe how difficult sheep are to get rid of in everyday life.
M: I believe that sheep guts are useful for restringing squash rackets.
D: I’m actually behind the guy I keep beating though… It’s weird.
M: You’re in the A team?
D: The A team. I’mHannibal.
M:. You must have done something baaaaaaaad to be number two.
D: Oh God… You did not just do that… I’ll have to take a f-lanolin my luggage….see how it feels? J
M: Some things just have to be done. Would make sham poo jokes but Tertius not here. When do you cross theSevern?
D: It’ll be sometime between crossing the Sirx and the Eirght. Could be a looooong trip though.
M: Ewe have a good time
M: no reply? Lost your memory? Not enough ram?
D: You’re just fishing for laughs now. I should bee careful. I’ll have to chicken out and duck whenever the ball flies at me. My calves may end up hurting but I’ll have to grin and bear it. I’ll be back late, so may wake up my neigh-bear.
M: Shouldn’t beef. Raccoon I’ll go to bed now. Dog tired
Certain nomenclature situations can be neatly overcome, although occasionally we notch up a spectacular failure. A short while ago I realised that it was the birthday of a newly arrived student. Grabbing a cake, we made our way to her room and robustly settled into a chorus of Happy Birthday. A few lines in came the embarrassing crunch. Somehow ‘dear student’ didn’t quite hit the spot. The only song in the whole world where you have to know someone’s name to sing it and we had blasted straight in. Zounds. With the children birthdays are easy as, with a bit of practice beforehand, I usually manage to sing the right name. It’s then compulsory to launch into ‘For s/he’s a jolly good fellow and sausage all of us’; a hangover from when my sister was a child and had problems with words. Genetic, the whole business. The current student situation is relatively easy as we have two called Juan. Having explained to the children that this was pronounced Waan, Quadrimia pointed out that as one is excessively tall and the other one not, they are The Big Juan and The Little Juan.
Time to push off as I need to text Duobus to find out how his squash match went. Then Dear is taking me out cycling.