As many of you know, we are about to expect our second child - in fact, any day now, or even any hour!
With this pregnancy period it's been a particularly long haul over the last several months due in part to a few stresses in our life... dealing with a learning, growing, and developing toddler, some growing pains with our little house, and the fact that I had - up until Friday - a tyrant and total jerk of a "boss" at work - luckily, I just switched segments which is pretty much like starting a new job, I suppose. And I usually don't cite work on my blog due to protective reasons (although I guess there is no harm in it if all names and company references are omitted). So there is a bit of celebrating that is going on for me personally, and my wife is relieved that I no longer work for an A-hole. (I'm trying to keep this site "G-Rated").
And as my neighbor is found of saying, when little ones are about to arrive, God sends his blessings along. I think that is particularly true in this case. And by the way, God - just so you have it in writing - I am thankful!
So what's a new father to be, to do? Well, how about everything his wife tells him or else face her wrath. As I've previously mentioned, we have sort of outgrown our little house. So boxes, furniture, and things tend to migrate from room to room so as to appear to clear up space in one area which, of course, creates clutter in another. The only way to win the game is to throw things out - but its hard to fathom what to throw out because an evil little voice in your head warns, "don't throw that out, you'll need it and have to buy a new one." Or the ever present, "in a new and larger home, there will be room for that." Ever heard these voices?
Another source of pure annoyance in a small home are the toddlers toys. How many toys does she need? And by God, how many toys does she really need to play with - at one time? Each toy seems to receive attention for about 10 minutes until its tossed aside in favor of another toy. And where does that discarded toy wind up? On the floor, so daddy can trip over it or stub his toe. Arggh!
Last year I did the right thing and bought a toychest. But for some reason I forgot to seal the toys in it, or purchase a pirate chest size lock and throw away the key. Honestly through, she has learned to put her toys away, but no matter what, some of these toys like the rocking horse and little car she rides cannot fit in the toychest; toys just take up a huge amount of space. Thank God they can be recirculated with the next child or else I would be forced to open up a toy store and start to get rid of the dozens and dozens of beeping, moving, spinning, singing and obnoxious toys.
But back to the new baby.
A trying issue for any new set of parents is trying to determine what to name the new baby. We've spent significant time hemming and hawing about what name fits best. And its not like naming your pet cat or dog, its this life-long, permanent thing that your child will be stuck with for the rest of his or her life. And since you need to get it right the first time, it takes a lot of energy to go through the thousands of options available. A recent mom or dad may have encountered a similiar set of criteria of cans and can'ts to deal with:
- The name can't be overly popular. Remember how many Ally's popped up when the Ally McBeal series came out? Besides, what kid wants to grow up with six kids in their grade with the same name? Everyone wants to have some individuality!
- It can't be the name of someone you don't like. I can't tell you how many times that has just killed off a great name as an option. Think of all the wonderful names that have been ruined because they "occupied" by an annoying or filthy co-worker, family member, or television character, or even politician. Will anyone ever want to name their kid "Adolf" again?
- It can't be hard to pronounce or spell. This is key for parents, who will be calling the name alot - particularly during the toddler years!
- It has to make sense. A relative told me an interesting story which I'm obliged to share here: And this is a true story:
He was in Home Depot, and a lady was standing next to him in the paint department with her young son at her side. She starts talking to my relative about the variation of colors and choices and how wonderful they are. As a shop teacher and a painter, he agrees. She points out a color and says, "I like color so much that I actually named my child after this color." Impressed and eager to learn what color she named her son after, she points to a bright blue color on the wall, smiles and and surprises him by saying... "Enamel". And then she points to her son and says, "I've always loved that color, and decided to call him Enamel."
Nuff said on this point. And yes, this is a true story. And my relative didn't have the heart to explain anything to this ignorant creature.
- It has to "flow" when you say it. The consonants have to be easy on the throat or jaw when they are said. Some names are a mouthful and you understand why people go by a nickname or two initials - like J.T. or something along those lines. You'd hope to pick a name your child and others will want to use.
- It has to fit with your heritage or background. Names like Wha-Ching Mendoza just don't seem to fit together.
- You have to consider the potential rhyming of the name. And remember, kids can be very cruel. We though at one point of naming our current child Belle. But worried that if she grew up to have a large frame that kids might refer to her as "Big Belle".
- You have to think about what it will look like on a resume in 22 years. Cute name, but who is going to hire a "Candie" for anything other than a job a Hooter's?
- The the first letter of the first, middle and last name can't spell something, like F.A.T. or P.I.G.
- You have to be careful about not putting names together that may imply something you didn't intend. Harold Pond sounds nice until someone starts calling him "Harry Pond" for the rest of his life. You get the visual, right?
- The name can't be too plain or ordinary. Too many John Smiths, Kelly Sullivans, and Hector Sanchezs in the world. Let's give the post office a fighting chance to find your kid.
- And not to be taken as a derogatory comment, but you need to be cognizant that some races have the market on certain names that used to be used by other races... names like Harold and Tyrone; these are great names that are not used by the white community as often any longer.
- And lastly, it has to be a name that you both agree on. This may be the toughest part of all.
Some people have all sorts of rituals on how to chose a name, for example - they may name after themselves or their parents, or grandparents, or even their favorite Aunt. And some just want a fresh start all-together and decide based on how the name sounds and may go out of their way not to pick a name that's already in use. And some agree to let the moms chose the girl's names, and the dads chose the boy's names. It's tough work because you can just go out of your mind trying to pick the "right name".
The whole name selection thing led me to a fun exercise that you parents-to-be might want to give a try - as I started to wonder about what kinds of names my ancestors used in our own family line. Now I am fortunate to be able to trace back to about 1690 or so, with some bridges (or leaps of faith) to earlier centuries, so I had a lot of good material to pour through and have fun with. And it gives you an opportunity to sort of mix the old with the new in terms of name ideas. On one hand you might get an idea about a name that hasn't been used in your family for generations, while at the same time be able to say, "you are named for your great, great, great Aunt Thelma who lived in Wethersfiled in 1750. "Ha Ha.
While looking up the names associated with my family, I was reminded that I had a great grandfather named "Elmer". I probably wouldn't have chosen that one today as Elmer just sounds "like a old person's name" and isn't much in use. And I did enjoy seeing many of the old Biblical names used by our family line during the 17 and 1800s, many of them from the Old Testament - for example, one such as "Moses". Living in West Hartford, you often hear many of these names in use today, but that is only because of the large jewish population that abounds. But to think, back in the day - OT names were used by Christians on a regular basis in reverence to God and scripture.
I guess the names must have become more modern - for lack of a better word - as our society became more secular. Although many of the newer names found today are in actuality - derivitives of older biblical names.
I offer only one piece of advice when going through the painful process of picking a name. Do not share the names you are deciding with anyone. You don't need to see the reaction or hear the opinion of anyone outside of anyone other than your spouse. This applies not only to parents, but also to co-workers and friends, who have their own views, beliefs, customs, biases, and opinions. And don't take options from them either - in fact, just shut them down if they start in - you can do it with humor and be polite unless they become pushy. The last thing you want is someone you like today and might dislike tomorrow trying to take credit for naming your child. So, in summary - pick the name together, and let the first time others hear it be when they meet the child for the first time, or when they read the annoucement. That applies to everyone - even if it delays the receipt of a custom-made blanket with his or her name on it! If they can wait nine months to meet him or her, they can wait just as long to learn the name.
My last point on this topic is that we plan to go to the hospital with a few names in mind. Once we look into the baby's eyes, we will make a decision at that very moment. And that will be the baby's name for the rest of her life!