Saturday, July 12, 2008

his name

We realised the enormity of a parent's responsibility the moment Che was born. We had visualised a dark hairy baby. I birthed a fair, (almost) bald baby. We had discussed a few names that would suit a dark, hairy baby. We hadn't really talked about a name for a blondie. I remember looking at Daniel and asking: "What are we going to name him". And then I asked my baby: "What is your name, little one?".

I do believe that babies bring their own name.

And I believe this because six weeks before my due date I was wandering around a second-hand bookstore and I picked up a gorgeous little hardcover novel titled: "Loving Che". I bought it for Daniel. As a gift. And it sat on his bedside table for the rest of the pregnancy. Sitting there so we occasionally glanced at the words on the cover.

Since I watched this film I have loved the sound of the word Che. The gorgeous Parisian, Julie Delpy, lives in a cluttered studio apartment with her cat, Che. "His name is Che, it's Argentinian for 'hey'," she says.

And I spent a memorable night with friends in London where we watched this and then carried on the South-American theme by enjoying a meal of tapas and paella. The Chilean man I spent the evening with thinks it's a bit strange that we called our son Che because in Argentina it is a word that can also mean 'mate' or 'friend'. To some people in this world we have named him 'friend'. But we're ok with that.

For six days after his birth we cuddled and kissed him and called him 'Bunny' and everyone around us waited in anticipation. Since he first gazed into Daniel's eyes he seemed so interested in the world around him. "He's curious Che" I said. And Daniel replied: "Yeah, curious Che. That's his name."

I know that he will have to correctly pronounce his name (with a 'ch' as in 'chalk') like I have for the past nine months. I often find myself spelling C H E for people. The general reaction has been one of interest. "Oh, that's an unusual name. Hmmmm, I like it" they say. And perhaps his little friends will keep calling him what they do whenever they see us. "It's Baby Che Che" they squeal in delight.

Yes, he is still curious but I suppose we'll have to wait to see if he's a revolutionary like his namesake.


  1. is'nt it funny how kids find their names, fin and willow were both nameless for 2 or 3 days until they told us their names. Jasper was the only one I had picked out months before hand, it's a name I've always loved, and luckily, he was a "jasper". Trust me, no matter what name you give them, there will always be someone who says "oh, that's unusual". Che is a great name, and I'm sorry I called him "shay" the first time I met him!

  2. I love the story behind the name, and what a great name it is!

  3. I love the name. Other people's reactions can really throw you. My daughter's name is Scout. She too was nameless for a few days, until we finally decided that she was a Scout, and that anything else just didn't suit. I still have people questioning her name. I struggled to begin with and wondered if it was the right name, but now I just say it, and say it with pride.

  4. And here I have been thinking it was pronounced Che as in Champagne or Che Fu.
    How is the é pronounced Jodi?


  5. I'm not sure how I ended up on this page, but I love hearing about how names are bestowed. I admit in my head I was calling him "Shay" too...and how funny, the person commenting above has a daughter named Scout as well.

  6. Our eldest is called Harry. When we took him to see his first film another mother asked me if we named him after 'Harry Potter' - which they were going to see. I kindly informed her that it is a family name. She gave me the strangest look as if to say, yeah right. It is average-sounding, but it really suits him.

  7. This is a beautiful story, I love hearing how kiddies get their names. My boy and I are a long way off having babies of our own but naming our future children is one of our favourite pasttimes. I'm sure when they come along they will definitely have a say in what they will be called!