Louis. That’s right - silent ’s’. No it doesn’t end with an ‘e’. Yes it’s French. No it’s not ‘Lewis’, that’s spelt like that. Yes I know some people pronounce it that way anyway. They’re American. Also they’re wrong.
When we chose this name for our son, nearly four years ago, I thought we were opting for a less common, but fairly straightforward name. I didn’t envisage the almost daily battle for people to spell or pronounce it properly. The sharp glances at nursery staff who call out ‘LEEEEWWIS’ when you arrive, the questioning eyebrow when receiving messages asking whether ‘Louie’ would like to come for a playdate, the patient but perplexed frown when friends ask why WHY you pronounce it like that. These are the expressions any parent of a Louis will need to practice, even ones of a newly-born prince.
Eventually your child will cotton onto this daily torment and start defending it for himself (it definitely doesn’t count as bullying if the other child was in the wrong to begin with). And it helps too if you’ve already raised him to be slightly prince-like, which we have had the great foresight to do.
So, based entirely on the unique personality of my own boisterous child, this is how you successfully raise a Louis fit to be king (even though he will probably never be one).
Let him drink milk. Forget cake, or fruit juice, or pretty much any vaguely interesting food stuff. Nothing says prince like a child who refuses to eat anything except a few select dishes on repeat. Don’t anger him by trying to tamper with what he already knows, he might get the impression someone else is in charge and also, this way he actually eats something.
Embrace the great outdoors, even at 6am on a freezing wet morning. If your child hasn’t learnt how to dig for worms and beetles by the time they are 18 months old, it’s fair to say you have failed him. A love for being outside, along with the ability to identify a wide variety of creepy crawlies along with other beasts, will put him in good stead for dealing with his environmentally-minded grandfather, if nothing else.
Let him be a daredevil. Those cuts on the head will become badges of pride once the anxiety has worn off. Yes it’s fine for him to ride his balance bike down a bridge on top of climbing frame. It’s perfectly ok to dive off a table, backwards and headfirst, onto a sofa with a wooden edge. Just remember to teach safety first (wear a helmet, when you remember, put down a cushion before they land on the hard bit). Think of how Prince Harry’s career in the army earned him a lot of respect. Then imagine a royal who is also a BMX bandit. See? Way cooler.
Encourage independence from a young age. He wants to peel and chop his own carrot? Just mind the fingers. It’s always useful when your child can switch on the lights, operate the TV/Sky box/radio/DVD player, or perhaps change the plugs, even if they are only 2.5. And picture a royal who thinks for himself and imagine the possibilities. Independence could be a fine thing.
And finally, teach him how to say and spell his name, preferably as soon as possible.