What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

My daughter is 3 and has no idea what my name is. None whatsoever. She knows what my husband’s name is, though, indeed she very naughtily calls him by his name often. “Adun!” she shouts, “Adun, where are you?” I didn’t say she pronounced it correctly. She knows the boys’ names and doesn’t confuse them like I do. She can distinguish between her grandparents, Nanny and Grandad and Grandma and Grandpa. She’s even stopped calling Hattie “Pattie”, something she did for some months and I’m still not completely convinced she wasn’t doing it deliberately, after all she could say “hat” perfectly well. But as for me, well, I’m just “Mummy”. Or “Muvver” when Joshua has been being a monkey and calling me “Mother” because he knows it annoys me.

As far as Poppy is concerned I don’t have another name because she’s never really heard it, not at home, anyway. That’s right, my husband NEVER calls me by my name. EVER. Well, not unless he really really has to, like if I’m in a different part of the house and he’s calling me to let me know I have a phone call or something. It doesn’t happen often and on those occasions Poppy’s probably wondering who on earth he’s calling to. It’s all a bit strange, not least because I’ve known Adam since I was 19 when we became very close friends and I’m pretty certain he used my name in the same way that normal people do. But since we’ve been together it’s like there’s some kind of mental blank. Whatever is wrong with him?

I have a vague recollection that when we first got together he called me Helen, the name of the girlfriend before me. He had been with her for a number of years so it’s hardly surprising but in my vague recollection I believe there may have been some merciless teasing about it. On the other hand the recollection is SO vague it may just have been a dream. But if it was real then I guess that could explain his reluctance to use my name. At least at the start.

So what does he call me? Thankfully not “woman” (think “get in the kitchen and make me some pies, woman!”). No, when we were first together I guess he didn’t call me anything. Then it evolved into “lovely girlfriend”/”gorgeous girlfriend” and variations on the theme. When we got married it changed of course to, guess what, “lovely wife” etc. I still think it’s weird but it’s even weirder when he actually says my name. I would worry that he has a whole other secret family somewhere else and keeps it simple so he never makes any mistakes except he rarely leaves the house except to go to the gym. No time for secret families. I’ve asked him why he does it and he doesn’t know, it’s just one of those things. I probably shouldn’t worry about it really until he starts calling me “horrible wife”.

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