“Is it a boy or a girl?”
It is – almost without exception – the first thing people ask me after I tell them we are expecting another child. How is that important? Even if I would know (I don’t), it would be none of anyone else’s business, so I wouldn’t share it. But everyone is so incredibly obsessed with it. Especially family. My mother was reading all the bodily signs like some kind of wicked voodoo witch. Belly shape, kicking behaviour, the amount of nausea in the first months, the way Heike walked, hell she probably just sensed the aura. Whatever she did, all signs were clear. This was clearly going to be a girl. My mother, by the way, was not the only one who claimed this. Only two out of many people guessed it right. The first was my brother, for the simple fact that he would say anything that disagrees with my mother. He just got lucky. The second, I think, also just guessed it, although he claims to know these kinds of things. I’m not sure what to believe, but at least he had it right. Not that I believed him for a second. Heike and I both believed firmly that the crowd was right. Our gut feeling also told us – this was going to be our girl.
When Rafa was born, this was quite an interesting scene. We did not really know what it would be. We chose to keep it a surprise. But since we basically knew for a fact that it was going to be a girl – and maybe because Rafa came ten days early – we had only made a firm decision about a girl’s name. The jury was still out on the boy’s name. I was personally pretty convinced by the name. Rafa is a cool name (and don’t you fucking dare say otherwise!). We hated all names in all the baby name websites, and were getting increasingly annoyed about it. We had to get inspiration elsewhere. We were at the time also binge-watching Narcos on Netflix, where some loco cartel boss’s name was Rafa. Not exactly the type you want to name your child after, but I thought the actor was pretty charismatic, and I still think Rafa is a pretty cool name. You can probably guess why Heike was not so sure about it. More or less in the same time span, we were also binge-watching another Netflix show, this time one on cooking, called The Final Table. We enjoyed watching that show, and one of the finalist cooking duos was Rafa and Ezra. This naming combination just sounds good, even though one of them was probably also named after some drug lord. They were also charismatic and friendly guys. These were more examplary for naming a child – maybe. This show was fun to watch, and luckily also gave Heike another source of inspiration than a Netflix series based on Mexican cartels. Who cared anyway. We expected a girl. So we never spoke of it again.
We were in fact really so convinced that it was going to be a girl that we did not take the ‘formal’ decision on a boy’s name until the very last minute*. The whole birth process took about twenty hours, and during this time, not once did we evaluate the chosen names. Our baby was born, naked, nameless, but with his boy parts firmly present in the nether region. How was this possible? Ah well, who cares. We didn’t. We were equally happy with our little boy worm! But it was there and then, in the middle of the night, 00:54 on the 15th of July, that the question was finally presented to us, and reality kicked in.
“It’s a boy. What’s his name?”
I kept my mouth wisely shut. There was a moment of silence.
“Rafa”, she said, after a clear moment of quiet contemplation.
I’m not sure what our son was named after, but it feels good to have both backup stories, depending on who asks…**
*We’re much better prepared this time… (and no, it’s not Ezra or some other drug lord)
**The number one question we’re asked after “What’s his name?” is “Oh… eh. From Raphael?” (What a stupid thing to ask. We have just told you the name is Rafa.) Now we all know where it may come from.