"I like Madeleine," Jesse proclaimed of his choice for his baby sister's name. Mae and I are not convinced that he could be so sure, so we decide to throw him a few other suggestions.
"How about Madison?" I asked the boy. I actually did like this one. It is a very cool, very comtemporary name, I thought. "That's a silly name," Big Brother said with a chuckle. Mae concurred, shrugging her shoulders. Mother and Boy were right, of course. Most Malaysians are likely to think we named our kid Medicine - and no kid's name should ever be associated with sickness and suffering. There was also that little issue of how it would sound with our surname. Unfortunately, Madison Tan would sound like "Maddie Lays an Egg" in Mandarin. *sigh* And so this one was out.
"How about Elena?" Mommy asked. As a kid, she had always wished that someone had named her Elena. Of course, she probably also wished that someday a prince on a white horse would sweep her off her feet. And look where that got her. Nope, I didn't like Elena. Neither did Jesse.
After that, we were just throwing names just to see if he'd change his mind about Madeleine. "How about Augusta?" I offered. It was just a name from a list starting with A that I had found online. "That sounds like Octopus," the kid countered. And he just went on and on with his smart-alecky answers for every name we threw at him.
"Annette?" I suggested, reading from the list. "Annette is for catching butterflies," my clever little son said. And if my boy can catch a humour in that name, so will poor little Annete's school friends, subjecting her to a life of taunting and teasing.
It was one of our major criteria of rejection. No taunt-worthy names. We've known of too many people with names they parents must have chosen for them when high on drugs. Like poor little Diana Saw, or sad little Harry Kok, or poor little Chow Chee Beng.
So Madeleine it is. Sure, some cruel (but wildly creative) kid in school will probably think of something, but for now, we're happy to be calling her that.
Ah, Madeleine. Sounds like a nice French pastry. :)