On naming Evelyn.
November 16, 2012

Two days before Evelyn’s birth, I found Charlotte sitting at a table drawing pictures for “her” baby when I picked her up at preschool.  Sa maitresse, her teacher, told me that she had asked Charlotte about the baby a couple hours earlier.

“Moi,” Charlotte had told her, “Je vais avoir un bebe.  Et le bebe sera une petite fille.  Et elle s’appellera Evelyn.”  Me, I’m going to have a baby.  And the baby is going to be a little girl.  And her name will be Evelyn.

And if the baby is a boy?, la maitresse asked.

It is not a boy, Charlotte insisted.  It is a girl.  Her name is Evelyn.

You know, la maitresse continued, sometimes babies are born as boys.

She said Charlotte paused for just a moment and then exclaimed THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR THIS DISCUSSION.  THIS IS THE TIME FOR SCHOOL!

And that was the end of that.


Our favorite hobby of late, on her sixth day of life.

When the baby was born, we quickly saw the reason that she had not been able to move into a good position for birth.  The cord was wrapped around her neck and then around her body, tightly enough that she began to turn blue before I had even pushed her shoulders out.

In the blink of an eye, she was out.  She was covered with blood and vernix and some olive oil from the birthing.  The midwife skillfully untangled the cord and wiped her down and placed her on my chest.  Someone helped me tug off my shirt so that my skin could touch her skin.

Charlotte did not want to be present for the birth.  She was busy playing puzzles with Grandpa in the next room.  As soon as the baby was on my chest, I asked for someone to grab her.

And then there she was.  “The baby is a girl,” I told Charlotte.  “She’s your little sister.  Do you want to help us pick a name for her?”

She nodded solemnly, unable to peel her eyes off the baby in my arms.

“We can either name her Lena,” I said, “or we can name her Evelyn.  What do you think?”

“Evelyn,” she said.  “Her name is Evelyn.”

Evelyn.  The name of my great-grandmother.  The woman my grandparents honored when they named my mother.  Evelyn, which has three meanings.  Some people say it means hazelnut.  Some people say it means life.  Some people say it means longed for.

Evelyn, our little hazelnut.  Evelyn, a new life.  Evelyn, longed for.

It seemed awfully perfect, so we let Charlotte name her.  And that was the end of that.


With Grandpa and Charlotte, on her third day of life.

** Charlotte is three years and three months old.  Evie is eight days old.


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  1. By on November 16, 2012

    She is perfect! I love how big Charlottes “little” hand looks holding Evelyn. I am very happy for you all!

  2. By on November 16, 2012

    This made me cry happy tears.  You have a wonderful family and an amazing kiddo.  I’m excited to read about Evelyn growing up just as I have read about Charlotte.  Thank you for sharing!

  3. By on November 16, 2012

    First, I am crying. So beautiful and sweet and wonderful.

    Second? Love what she told her teacher. So funny!

  4. By on November 16, 2012

    It’s stories like this that make life so beautiful. My daughter loves the story of how her name came to be (even though now as a teenager, she won’t actually *admit* to loving it anymore!); and I’m so hoping for the same thing when naming this baby boy cooking inside of me right now.

    Congratulations again. So very, very happy for you.

    Elizabeth

  5. By on November 16, 2012

    Happy happy tears!  This made me sooo excited to think in just 5 short months my little girl will have a sibling too!  She is only 15 months but from the first time I asked her she said it was a “sisis” <3

  6. By Sarah@CrazyLoveGambleStyle on November 16, 2012

    Ooooh perfection!!  I couldn’t be happier for all of you!!

  7. By on November 16, 2012

    Sometimes I think little kids just KNOW. When I was pregnant I was very sick and had to be hospitalized for a couple of nights. My friend brought her 2 year old with her to visit. My friend’s little girl informed her that my baby wasn’t coming now, that she would come in March and be a girl. And she was exactly right.

  8. By on November 16, 2012

    The picture of you and Evelyn made me cry! Then more tears on the next picture! Seeing these pictures makes me want to hold the little guy in my tummy right now!

    I am so happy for your little family! I hope recovery is quick, breastfeeding is easy, and you have another baby who sleeps GREAT!

  9. By on November 16, 2012

    BTW we ask my son what he wants to name his brother, and he tells us “ little Bill! No, I mean Diego! Or how about Spiderman!“

  10. By on November 16, 2012

    Gorgeous :) I love the pic showing Evelyns hand, then Charlottes, then Grandpas :) And now I think I am going to have to start calling my Evie hazelnut as well hehe. I never knew the name meant that (and it suits her colouring!)

  11. By on November 16, 2012

    Very sweet. My friend’s son wanted to name his baby sister Darthvaderlukeskywalker, so I’d say Evelyn is pretty lucky in comparison!

  12. By Catherine on November 16, 2012

    THAT is awfully perfect.  Such beautiful meaning.  Now I’m teary.  So happy for you.  :) xxxxxxx

  13. By on November 16, 2012

    My daughter is an Evelyn. She is named after her great grandmothers and my mother. I love the name. We don’t have a nickname nor will we shorten it. It also means “little bird”, from the French “Aveline”. As an infant, especially when she rooted, I called her my little bird all of the time!

    Congrats!

  14. By on November 17, 2012

    Wow, congratulations! It’s amazing to see what a big girl Charlotte is now compared to her baby sister. But I am wondering how you pronounce Evelyn : eeva-lin / eva-lin / eev-lin .. you get the gist! I’ve heard it said many ways so I don’t know how to think of it when I see it written down!

  15. By on November 18, 2012

    Tears of joy for you!  Best wishes.

  16. By Tracey on November 18, 2012

    I so wish I had my own birth story from my mother. This is a treasure. Welcome to the world, Little Evelyn…

  17. By Sarah Christensen on November 18, 2012

    Suzanna - We pronounce it “Eva-Lin”...but we also call her Evie, which we pronounce “Ee-vee” =)

    Emily - Somehow, “little bird” just adds to the perfection!  Thanks for the heads up!

  18. By Alicia S. on November 19, 2012

    Emily - I hadn’t even noticed their three hands all lined up like that! That is really sweet.


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