Thursday, 18 August 2016

Baby Names and Faire-parts naissance

"Born on the xth June, she weighed 3.78kg and was 51.5cm long"

"I don't like the past tense," I told Understanding Frenchman. I was reading over the text for our faire-part naissance and I couldn't help feeling that those verb forms at worst made it sound as if the baby was no longer with us and at best drew a bit too much attention to the fact that we were very late in sending out our birth announcement cards. (Baby now weighs nearly 6 kilos and is 61cm long!) We eventually settled on a less pointed "She was born on the xth June weighing 3.78kg for 61cm".

Faire-parts naissance are a nice tradition on France where you send out a little card with pictures of your baby, the name and the date of birth. However, in the era of MMS, email and social media, they are also somewhat obsolete and had been hanging around at the bottom of our to-do lists (behind things like "buy a flat", "contact insurers re flooding issue" and "keep the baby alive") for weeks and weeks. Unfortunately, while most people probably don't even notice if the card is a little late in coming, certain members of the older generation can become quite vocal if they don't materialise within a certain number of weeks - we had some older family friends on UFM's side declaring that there would be no cadeau de naissance until they had seen one!

If I'm truly honest, designing and ordering the faire-parts was actually on my personal to-do list, not his, but I was putting off doing them because I knew that my inner perfectionist would be frustrated by not being able to devote hours to the project before being called away to feed/change/soothe the main protagonist. So in the end it was UFM who sat down with the computer and created the whole thing in the space of about 45 minutes using the best of our not-totally-professional-looking photo selection, along with a fairly inoffensive design from the standard selection on the site. Now all we have to do is address the envelopes and actually get them posted.

Inspecting my husband's fine work after failing to complete the task myself reminded me of something I found funny when we sent out the 21st century SMS version of the birth announcement to all our friends. Super Cool Baby has a first name and a middle name (let's pretend they are Supercool and Baby), and to me it was natural to put them both in the message, particularly as both names have family connections. Apparently the French don't do this, though, as a whole lot of UFM's friends and family thought we would be using both on a day-to-day basis, despite the fact that he put a comma in between them  (which I also thought was weird). Surely if we'd wanted to use both she would have been Supercool-Baby and not Supercool Baby or Supercool, Baby? It makes me wonder why people here bother with middle names at all if they are so unimportant that you don't even mention them in the birth announcement!

6 comments:

  1. It would totally seem normal to me to include both the first and middle name when announcing a new baby. But I am laughing about the mix-up. I swear, no matter how long we've been here, there will always be things like that trip us up! :D

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  2. We had this discussion yesterday since I wanted to get ours picked before the birth so that J just has to put a picture in and order them (plus obvious unknowns like date and weight). We settled on just the first name on the front and first + middle on the back. But yes I don't get the point of French middle names---J's parents barely remember his and I'm the only one who knows how it's spelled! I on the other hand have my mom's name as my middle name, and my brother actually uses his rather than his first... so they're pretty important to us.

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    1. Eileen, I am in AWE of your organisational skills. (Are you a teacher by any chance? ;-) ) Definitely a good maternity leave project!

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    2. Lol, thanks, well I am on summer vacation still, and getting ready for baby is so much more motivating than even thinking about work!

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  3. I suppose it's because there are so many Jean-Claudes and Marie-Frances etc. running around that they are more used to the double-name thing (although, yes, with a hyphen normally). I am just imagining you calling your kid Supercool, Baby and giving it finger guns now though ha ha ;)

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  4. I hadn't considered making a card but actually it is such a cute idea! I might have to give it a go myself!

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