Remembering Babies Names – 7 Things To Do If You Have Forgotten

The other day I was sat in my office pontificating on some aspect of memory improvement, I forget what it was now (oh if only I had a £1 for every time someone cracked a joke like that at my expense ) and the phone rang.

When I answered it I could hear the faint rumblings of rubber on road and the occasional swoosh as a vehicle went past my caller’s vehicle in the opposite direction. Then I heard some muffled fumbling, the line got a little clearer and then I heard “Hello….”

It was one of those hellos that trail off as though they seem to doubt that the technology of mobile phones actually works. It was like the mind behind the voice was saying “I am really not sure this is going to work but I’ll give it a go anyway….”

“Hello….Michael…are you there?..Is that you?”

It was my friend Diana (name changed to protect the guilty party – Denise you can thank me for that later).

“I am off to David and Alison’s place to see them and I can’t remember the baby’s name!” (again names changed to prevent Denise’s embarrassment at forgetting our mutual close friends Warren and Nikki’s baby daughter’s name).

“In my rush to get away to miss the traffic I completely forgot to bring the card with the baby’s name on it…so I thought I’d ring you…” (it is at this point Denise er I mean Diana, would be running her “Let’s get Michael to do something for me” pattern which consists of fluttering her eyebrows, pouting her lips, cocking her head to one side and down slightly whilst looking up and changing the tonality of her voice so that it slowed down slightly and got ever so slightly baby-esque as words became elongated and slightly staccato in delivery – Denise/Diana if you ever read this my only comment is to never let the truth get in the way of a good blog entry!)

I teased here for a little while and for a minute toyed with giving her completely the wrong name but I know she would never forgive me and so let on that Warren and Nikki’s daughter was called Isabella Mae (congratulations to you both again by the way).

One of the biggest problems I encounter as I help people improve their memory is the complaint that remembering names] is the thing that bothers them the most. It is so common that when I talk to people about memory improvement I invariably assume that it will be one of the things we will be covering.

The ability to remember people’s names is a skill that can be developed very easily and that there is one likely main reason why you may have trouble in recalling the name of someone you have just met and that is that you probably never got it in the first place. Anyway expanding on that will be for another time and for now I want to focus on what you could do if you find yourself visiting friends or colleagues who have recently had a child and you can’t remember the baby’s name.

Of course the easiest thing to do is simply ask the parents again “What have you decided to call him/her/it again?” and if you have the confidence and self assuredness to be able to do that then I can save you some time and you can stop reading right now because you won’t need the rest of what I am about to suggest.

However many people would be too scared to ask for fear of embarrassing themselves for not knowing or for not wanting to upset the new parents by not knowing the name of the most important thing at the centre of their universe. If this is you, then here are some practical (and some not quite so practical tips) to help you elicit the baby’s name.

  1.  If you are meeting the parents/baby at a social gathering then hang back a little and just listen…someone at some point is bound to use the baby’s name – be careful though because often newly born baby’s and parent combinations tend to be drawn to each other and there may be many baby’s names flying around – especially as the babies get handed around for a “ooh do let me hold him/her, aren’t you lovely bubba bubba bubba coochy coo coochy coo” cuddle.

2.   If that is not possible then considering hiring an old lady to wander past just ahead of you. The older the better and at least an octogenarian. Have her shuffle up to the proud parents, get her to prod the baby, do a coochy coo routine, ask how old the baby is and then get her to ask the name making sure that she feigns partial deafness and keeps asking the parents to repeat it again but louder (I am sure I don’t need to point at that you should listen carefully at this stage).

3.   When you greet the parents give them each a huge “Mwah, Mwah” kiss on each cheek, hold the mother’s elbows as you stand back slightly making a comment along the lines of “Daaaarrrrrling you look gorgeous, how is the little one” and then once again listen as she says “Well Funnypenny Daffodil the Third [or whatever it’s name is] is blah blah blah blah blah” because the first bit is likely to be the name.

4.   Another good trick if you still haven’t managed to get the name is to ask casually, “So how is her/his name spelt then?” and once again listen as they spell the name. If you get s strange look with an answer like D…A…V…I…..D because it is a really common name then just remark “Oh good I am glad you are going conventional, I do hate it when people have odd spellings for good wholesome names”

5.   If the baby has an older brother or sister, engage them in a conversation and ask them how they like their new sister/brother. Ask them if they like the name and even ask them to pronounce it for you (remember to give them a sweet or something, you know, be a bit pavlovian and condition the little one into only doing things they are going to get paid for) and once again listen.

6.   Another tactic is to take a small pin and prod the baby with it when you give it a cuddle making sure that it starts to cry. Done skilfully no one will ever suspect the cause of the baby’s discomfort. Very quickly mum or dad will appear and will say “ooooh [Baby’s Name] what’s the matter, come to Mammakins/Daddypoo” (and there isn’t a license for these people to reproduce!)

7.   A more extreme version of the previous is to stand up with the baby and gently bounce it up and down making parent-friendly coo coo noises and then accidentally drop the baby….the first thing either/both parents will shriek is the baby’s name followed by “oh my god”. Be careful whose voice you listen to if both parents are there because the higher pitched scream of the mother may be difficult to make out. However, just like a good graphic equaliser on a stereo system, the lower frequencies of the male voice will create a good balance to the higher frequencies of the female voice and the quality of the name will be almost musical.

So there are just a few ideas for you to try. Of course common sense prevails here and I will leave it to your judgement as to whether or not some of the more extreme tactics could be quite expensive and for any morons who have no sense of humour and don’t understand a tongue in cheek blog post when you read one, DON’T try suggestions 6 or 7.