I’m not big on the your child should be doing such and such by this age type of rules it has to be said. I’m a big believer in little people doing things when they are good and ready. I don’t think that it’s always a good thing to compare as in my experience, they all do different things at different times – the time that is right for them of course. But I can’t help but think that my youngest daughter was always going to be at a disadvantage when it came to the being able to write her name before she started school rule. Twenty six letters. Oh, and a hyphen thrown in for good measure. The poor child didn’t stand a chance really, did she? But she’s getting there with lots of help bless her.
You see when I was pregnant with our first child, I wrongly or rightly made the decision that he would take both of our surnames as we weren’t married. I couldn’t stand the thought of my own child not having the same surname as me. Unfortunately for my children this means that they are left with quite a mouthful of a surname. (Not helped by the fact that my name is spelt in such a way that you have to spell it out to people every single time and then they still question if that is really how it’s spelt. You wouldn’t believe the number of people that think that I don’t know how to spell my own name. Seriously.) And I know that the double barrelled thing can seem crass. But it felt so important to me at the time. I know it’s just a name. But it was my name. And it really mattered that they shared it with me.
As time has gone on, it has to be said that I have questioned if I did the right thing digging my heels in and going down the double barrelled route. I have always said to the children as they have got older that if they wanted to drop either of the surnames then that would be absolutely fine. But to my secret delight, they are horrified at the thought. They are fiercely protective of their far too long surname that nobody can spell. And this makes me think that maybe I have done the right thing after all. Their name is as important to them now as it was to me when I first made that decision almost fifteen years ago. I’m starting to believe that a name really is so much more than a few too many letters and crass hyphen. It’s actually a big part of where we came from and who we are.