Today is all about me. It is neither my birthday nor my wedding day, but I am so sick with a cold that keeps getting worse instead of better, and so I’m feeling sorry for myself. So I decided to run a letter that includes a present to me – and it’s not even a compliment!  Well, at least not solely a compliment:

As a big thank you for entertaining me through a month expat year in Mongolia, I would like to give you a gift. It is a Mongolian name and it is beautiful and perfect for repurposement in the West and current name trends right now. "Enerel". For a girl. Pronounced like the "en" in "pen" -En-ehr-el. On-ehr-el. Ann-er-el. Right or wrong probably doesn't matter if it's a name nobody's heard before anyway -whatever the parent likes most. But it is a lovely Mongolian name that sounds like a lovely western name. Mongolians looking for English and Mongolian names though sadly always go with Michele/Michelle -misheel is also a Mongolian name/word meaning smile. Anyways...cheers! Keep the columns coming please. Just don't recommend (okay), (no sweat), (too late), (shoot, this is a good one) or (…seriously?) to anyone. Maybe if you like Enerel we can make a deal ;)

Also curious to what extent do you sense or should parents front load their favorite names (ie first and middle) onto their first child or first child of that gender, hedging bets against whether they have that gender baby again? Or is there a sense of holding names back to possibly distribute across a second boy or girl? With Prince George, as one example, I got the feeling Alexander was their second choice name and they decided to put all heir eggs in one basket, betting on not having two boys. Clearly only an idle question (as yet at least -you might hear from me otherwise in 5 years or so..) but an interesting one. Cheers

Oh, I really like Enerel. I have a sneaking suspicion that if it were used here it would be quickly adapted to Enerelle, because people can’t bear for a gender not to be telegraphed, but I like it a lot. You’ll notice I’ve upheld my end of the bargain and redacted the names you’d someday like to use, but we can only reserve for so long, so you know, get cracking! That’s a reason to have a kid, right? To use up the names you have in reserve?

That, actually, brings me to your next question. Do I think parents should front-load names? Within reason. There are no guarantees in life, in terms of what names and when you’ll get to use them, and for what reason. Maybe it’s going to be your goldfish who winds up being Dalton, you know? Maybe the Holden and Phoebe combo you always dreamed of is going to wind up being two girls and then oops! Surprise twin who’s also a girl! Ha ha.

So don’t hold on, in my opinion, because how can you know, first of all, and because I think favourites can change over time, and you should give yourself freedom for that to be the case. You might have two little girls and be able to name then Nitzia and Nandani as you always wanted, or you might call your first daughter Nitzia Nandani, because you were hedging your bets, and then say ‘what’s wrong with me’? (I grew up near two little girls with these names and I LOVE them. Particularly together.)

Having said that, I think more than one middle name is okay as long as you remember that nobody else is ever going to know it. That’s a gift for you and your kid alone, unless of course he is Born To The Throne. Those guys tend to have several middle names, handed down over the ages, so rest assured if they have another, there will be many many names to choose from – Arthur, Phillip, David, Henry, Albert, and Charles are all in play just in the previous generation. Also, those guys don’t really have last names in the same way. Or forms to fill out. So I think the game is a little different.

Anyway, thank you for my present of Enerel! It’s growing on me even as I look at it.  If you think of any more, hit me up – and that goes for everyone. What international name do you think is totally useable anywhere? I reserve the right to bar you from the premises if you say ‘Sofia’.