One of the trumpet players in the orchestra here and his wife have recently had a baby. He's awfully cute -- all squeaks and furrowed brows. While we were visiting the little family a few days ago, we were suprised to learn that Danes had a window of six months to name their kiddies. This little guy is still being called "baby" as his "mor" and "far" cannot agree on a name. They've been close, but something always skews the finality of it -- feeding time, laundry, the doorbell, sleep. (Although I think they are secretly enjoying the debate...)
When we told them how in the U.S you couldn't leave the hospital without a name for the birth certificate, they were shocked. "How can people make up their minds with so little time???" they puzzled. For most Americans, we assured them, 9 months was usually sufficient, and by the time the baby was swaddled like a burrito in a hospital receiving blanket, everyone was generally in agreement, happy to slap a name on the kid and go home. They marveled at the militancy of our inflexible system. So bureaucratic.
Then they told us this: "Well, here in Denmark, after six months of no name for a baby, the government gives it a name for you. Girls are named after the queen, and boys are named after the king." Brilliant!!!!!! I guess there must be lots of Margrethes and Fredericks running around.