Naming your baby trooper is a tough business. There’s the whole issue around any name needing to be a good fit with your surname, as well as avoiding acronyms and all the names you have negative associations with (the kid at school with unsavoury habits, annoying colleagues with unsavoury habits, any boss you ever had, unsavoury habits or not etc). But the naming of my own troopers is an increasingly unusual story.
First, Samuel Robert Sinclair. Named after my wife’s granddad Samuel Lucas (or more accurately, Ernest Edwin Samuel Lucas, but that’s another story) and her dad, Robert ‘Bob’ Lucas. Both great men and two great names. Job done.
Then Jude Bonaparte Sinclair. Yes, you read right. Jude was originally destined to be called Peter Edward (using my own dad and
granddad’s names) but my wife took a bad fall when she was pregnant and we thought that she may miscarry. Then one day soon after the drama was over, she said, “I think we should change the name of this baby you know. He’s a fighter.” So we looked up the patron saint of second chances and his name was Jude.
We got Bonaparte from my other granddad, Napoleon Bonaparte Sinclair. Yes, you read that one right too. When my granddad was born there was much ado about which family names he should be given. In the end his dad declared he would be named after someone he admired to end the argument. I should add at this point that the whole family is from Thurso, Scotland.
Finally, Liberty Maeve Sinclair. Now this is the kind of story I need to preface with ‘I have witnesses’.
Naming a girl is difficult, because not only are there millions more names to choose from but every noun can plausibly be a girl’s name (Willow was in the running for a long time, for example). We knew her middle name was to be Maeve as my wife’s nanny had been of Irish descent (Florence O’ Rourke from Cork) and her auntie is a Maeve and she is a Tara. But we went through every first name under the sun and couldn’t agree on a single one.
Then one night I had a dream (stay with me) that my wife handed me a baby and said: “This is your daughter and her name is Liberty.” Now, I should tell you that we were living in Hoboken at the time and I thought, well maybe I have just picked up the idea from the Statue of Liberty and didn’t give it much thought.
Then later that morning I heard my wife talking on the phone to her sister. She too had a dream. In a very brightly lit room our son Samuel had said to her “You have to call the baby Liberty mom. Two beings made of light told me.”
All this talk about cold weather got me thinking about my Arctic training in Norway…. Now THAT was cold. That was the kind of cold that would freeze your tears. Or take your fingertips off.
Take this picture for instance. I am in a snow hole, baking in a balmy 1 degree above freezing. I should point out it was -50 degrees (with the wind chill factor) outside the snow hole.
Here I am in Cam Whites, being inspected before taking part in the 20K patrol race. That’s me on the far right.
And finally, don’t tell my own troopers (who I have spent the last week telling not to throw snowballs) but here’s me getting ready to pelt my superiors.
Here in Staffordshire it started snowing on Saturday and snowed right through the night.
The troopers loved it, and spent all day sledding, making snowmen and digging out drives. Amazingly, the same three troopers that spent eight hours playing out in the snow on Sunday were the same ones who complained bitterly about the cold (and the injustice of it all) on the 15 minute walk to school on Monday morning….
Here’s the snowman I made with Liberty. I say ‘with’ but it really entailed me doing as I was told while she sat in the warm conservatory eating an apple….
I didn’t mind that she stayed inside though, as here is the monster she had made with all the troopers on our street (picture features my son Sam, Liberty and her best friend William). Jude is sledding at this point.
We also helped out a few of our neighbours in the street by clearing their drives of snow. Here is Sam proudly modelling the spade he used to clear our neighbour’s drive (please note – he is not wearing gloves because he had just taken them off soaking wet when I asked him if I could snap him
I am just awaiting ‘action shots’ of Jude on a sled…
The troopers are all praying for more snow, and if I’m honest…. so am I.
It may not seem like it now, but you have a really short time with your little troopers. There’s not much more than 1800 days between birth and age five.
When you’re in the thick of parenting, multi-tasking, running here there and everywhere it is easy to forget how quickly the time slips by.
It sounds like a cliche but it really does seem like only yesterday that this picture of Samuel was taken.
Seize the day.