Announcing Ella

Elanora Willow Bruinooge came into the world at 7:37 PM on the first of December. Ella weighs 7 pounds, 7 ounces and is 19 3/4 inches long. She is very healthy and quite serene, at least compared to all the little screamers in the nursery right now. Needless to say she is the beautifulest baby ever.

Suanna is happy and tired. I am happy and ought to be tired but am ramped up on caffeine and adrenaline. All three of us are living in light.

Concerning Ella’s Name


It’s a Tolkien reference, albeit a subtle one. ‘Elanor’ is the name of Sam and Rose’s daughter at the very end of The Lord of the Rings. Here’s the bit that explains the name:

‘Well, Mr. Frodo,’ [Sam] said. ‘I’m in a bit of a fix. Rose and me had settled to call him Frodo, with your leave; but it’s not him, it’s her. Though as pretty a maidchild as any one could hope for, taking after Rose more than me, luckily. So we don’t know what to do.’

‘Well, Sam,’ said Frodo, ‘what’s wrong with the old customs? Choose a flower name like Rose. Half the maidchildren in the Shire are called by such names, and what could be better?’

‘I suppose you’re right, Mr. Frodo,’ said Sam. ‘I’ve heard some beautiful names on my travels, but I suppose they’re a bit too grand for daily wear and tear, as you might say. The Gaffer, he says: “Make it short, and then you won’t have to cut it short before you can use it.” But if it’s to be a flower-name, then I don’t trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful flower, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still.’

Frodo thought for a moment. ‘Well, Sam, what about elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlorien?’

‘You’re right again, Mr. Frodo!” said Sam delighted. ‘That’s what I wanted.’

(LOTR VI 175-6)

With apologies to the Gaffer, we’ve made the name even longer by putting an ‘a’ at the end of it: partly because we like the sound of it, partly because the trochaic feet slide nicely into her last name that way, and partly because her nickname (and what we’ve been calling her most of the time) is ‘Ella’.

Ella will be forever correcting people who assume that her name is ‘Eleanor,’ but that will give her a special bond with her mother. ‘Eleanor’ is evolved from ‘Helen,’ which means ‘light’: a fact that Professor Tolkien was certainly aware of when he made his Elvish word. But the Elves aren’t the only ones who can lay claim to our particular spelling: as we discovered after we had settled on the name, ‘elanora’ is also an aboriginal name meaning ‘a home by the sea.’


Suanna and I have always been partial to willow trees. When we were dating we’d seek them out to picnic under, and so the name was on our short list even before we knew we were going to have a child. We like the fact that Ella’s names are a flower and a tree, respectively.


An unpronounceable mouthful, to be sure, but it’s what she’s inherited. The word is still out on whether an infusion of Steeby DNA has produced another Bruinooge who actually has brown eyes. They’re big and grey at the moment, but we think we can detect a hint of brown in them waiting to come out.

UPDATE: If you’re coming to this entry from the printed announcement, you should also know that Elanora has her very own website, called Cerin Amroth. Feel free to stop by.