The Name Game

Baby center released its top 100 names of 2012 yesterday. In the Facebook post, it asked if any member’s had chosen one of them.

Naturally, both A’s full name and nickname fall in the top 20. I knew this going into it. Name popularity was never a factor in choosing A’s name. Most of the comments on the post differed from mine, however. Most members had chosen “unique” names, on the premise they didn’t want their child to be “one of many” in their classes, life, etc.

HOW DARE I

Am I the only one who doesn’t understand this trend? Since when does the name make the child? EVERY child is unique, regardless of his/her name. EVERY child is special and memorable in his/her own way, even if they are a Sophia or Jacob.

I grew up with a popular name (lots of Katys and Katies born in the mid/late 80s), and it never bothered me. If anything, I wanted the more common spelling of Katie/Katherine instead of Katy/Katharine. Back then having personalized crap was ALL THE RAGE and I couldn’t find my name on a damn pencil or cup ANYWHERE. I distinctly remember in kindergarten having to practice writing my name and writing KATIE on the paper and my mom having a fit. “That is not what I named you!”

I don’t remember ever wishing I had a more exotic name. If you remember correctly I named my dolls totally popular names, and if I remember correctly, in sixth grade we wrote a skit and named our own characters, and I chose Brittany. Clearly I was not enchanted with “different” and “unique” names.

When we were picking names, our criteria was simple: It had to go with our last name (no names starting with L or ending with a hard E sound), it had to be adaptable (appropriate for a kid and an adult), it couldn’t overtly get a kid made fun of, and we both had to love it. I also tried to avoid names that were a mouthful, mostly because I didn’t want to scream “OPHELIA WILHEMENIA” when she was in trouble.

Forgive me, but I think a name should be chosen because you love it or it means something to you, and if it happens to be “unique” or “trendy” then so be it. But, IMHO, purposefully picking out a different name just because it’s so far out there no one else would think to name their kid that is a little unfair to the child. Trust me, even with the less common spellings of my names I am CONSTANTLY correcting people. How on earth do Aadien or Mckynzie stand a chance?

Plus, they’ll never find their name on a cup.

Life update and other things

Well hello! I apologize for the lack of posts for the past week(ish). We spent Wednesday through Sunday at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and I always go there with good intentions to post regularly, but then I get caught up in vacation mode. Even though it’s only an hour away, I still consider going to my parent’s house a vacation of sorts: No cooking, no cleaning, and there’s always someone else to hold my kid. Bliss.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving. I hope you did as well.

Yesterday A had her two month well baby visit. She currently weighs 9 lbs 15.5 oz (24th percentile) and is 22.25 inches (36th percentile). Tiny baby is still tiny (over the weekend my dad nicknamed her Tinker Bell, and the name fits her). but very healthy and very strong. Dr. Baby was really impressed by how strong she is.

She took her first set of shots like a total champ; she only cried once and stopped as soon as I picked her up. One of the vaccines, the Rotavirus vaccine, is oral. I was completely bewildered as to how they got two month olds to drink medicine from a little tube. Well, my kid was sucking it out of the tube. She didn’t waste a drop.

When I gave her infant Tylenol and Gripe water (cross your fingers this helps with her colic) later that evening, she did the same thing. I hope she always takes medicine this well.

I went back to work yesterday (boo). It was…emotional. And weird. And really, really overwhelming. I cried a lot. Luckily the company I work for allows a “phase back” period, where you aren’t working full time right away. Right now I’m only there half a day, so I still have my afternoons with A. My boss is also very understanding, as is allowing me to ease back into my duties.

Adjusting to being a two parent working household is hard. I’m hoping it gets easier. It does get easier, right?

Dear Amelia {Two Months}

Dear Amelia,

Holy. Crap. How on earth are you already two months old?! You are no longer my little newborn who did nothing but eat and sleep. Now you are A Baby. You still eat and sleep (a lot), but you are also awake and alert and interested in the world around you.

You’re smiling all the time now, when you’re happy, that is. Whenever you wake up in the morning you look right at me and grin, almost like you’re saying “Oh, hi Mommy! There you are!” It’s the sweetest thing. Sometimes you’ll smile at nothing, too. You’ll be staring off into space and just smile, like you thought of something hilarious. I would love to know what goes on in your little mind.

Some of your favorite things right now include ceiling fans (on or off, either way), the lights on the Christmas tree, the birds above your swing, and your music box toy. You’ve also discovered yourself in the mirror. I’m not sure who you think you’re looking at, but you sure do love looking at her. You’ll go back and forth from the baby to Mommy, like “I don’t know who this baby is, but she sure is good looking!”

And you are. You are the prettiest baby, and it’s not just me saying it, either. Everywhere we go, you get tons of compliments. Everyone thinks you are beautiful. You’re eyes are getting lighter, your hair seems to be getting darker and thicker, and you definitely favor your dad in skin tone. Hopefully this means you’ll be easy to tan, unlike your Mama, who is fair skinned and always burns. You are such a perfect little mix of both your Mama and Daddy right now. You have my eyes and nose, your dads brow, lips and chin. But you are all mine in personality.

Amelia, you are a fiery baby, to say the least. You put your daddy and me through our paces every. single. day. You like things a certain way. Your way. You are loud and opinionated and particular. You want what you want when you want it. And I hope you never lose that. I pray you keep your high standards and will to get what you want your whole life, but especially during high school and college (although I do hope you lose your ability to put your whole fist in your mouth before then).

I can already tell you are going to be smart. I see your brain working when you look at things, and I know you are going to keep me and Daddy on our toes as you grow. You are going to be a curious little girl. You want to look at everything, and I know in just a few short weeks you are going to want to touch and feel everything, and then shortly after that you will be getting into everything. When that happens, go for it! We want you to learn and explore as much as you can.

Amelia, the past two months have been the best months of my life. I’m more tired than I’ve ever been, but I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been. If I never do anything else in my life, never cross anything else off my bucket list, it’s okay, because I’m your mommy. That’s all I’ve ever really wanted anyway. You are SO LOVED, and I hope you always know that. And if you ever forget, I’ll be sure to remind you. I tell you I love you at least a thousand time a day, and you get twice as many kisses and hugs.

This time next week I’ll be sitting in my desk chair crying over pictures of you, missing you terribly. But right now you are napping peacefully in your swing, so I’m just going to enjoy you at this very moment.

I love, love, love you, Boo Bear.

Love always,

Mama

P.S. It should be noted your photo shoot this morning was interrupted by an unexplained episode of the shit-fits (you, not me). By the way, “an unexplained episode of the shit-fits” is the best way to sum up the first two months of your life, but we love you anyway.

Doll baby

When I was little, my favorite toys were baby dolls. I had dozens of them; I got a new doll every Christmas and birthday. I had dolls that looked like toddlers, dolls that looked like newborns, dolls with hair, dolls without hair, dolls that talked, dolls that lit up, dolls that played music, even a porcelain doll (or my “glass baby” as I called it), the list goes on. If it was a doll made in the 90’s, chances were I had it.

And if I had it, chances were I loved it. Like, love loved it. For instance, I named all of my dolls. At the time, I favored trendy names, like Courtney, Brittany and Amanda. And if you mistook Courtney for Amanda, I was sure to correct you. Each doll baby was special.

Often kids who play with the same toy over and over kind of abuse it, but I respected those dolls and took care of them as if they were real babies. To me, they were the symbols of my future babies, and deserved to be treated as such. I dressed them, swaddled them, and took them for rides in a toy carriage. And it was a carriage, an old fashioned pram, and I loved it. It was maroon with white flowers on the sides with a white canopy. I would tuck my baby into it and push it around the house.

I played with dolls for a long time. Probably longer than I should have. But, like most kids, I loved to imagine what my future would be like. And for me, the only future I wanted or cared to hear about was one involving motherhood and babies. I was basically drowning in unused maternal instinct. I had no younger siblings, no young cousins close, and I wasn’t old enough to babysit. I had no one to smother with my love and affection, so I used my dolls.

A is getting her first baby doll for Christmas. A soft, huggable baby that laughs when you squeeze her. She’s too young to play with it now. Maybe she’ll never play with it at all. I just couldn’t help myself. Yes, I bought it for her, in hopes she will want to be a little mommy herself, but in many ways I bought it for me too. Whenever I see that doll sitting on the floor, waiting to be wrapped, I can’t help but pick her up and give her a gentle squeeze. When I hear her giggle, I see two little girls playing. I see myself as a child loving all my babies, and I see my real baby as her future little girl, and I imagine what her little laugh will sound like, and I smile.

Now, whenever I go to the store, I always walk down the doll aisle. Dolls have changed a lot from when I was growing up, but they still mean the same things to the little girls who are playing with them, so I always straighten the displays so they look their best for their future little mommies. And wherever I am, if I see an errant baby doll, I always pick it up, smooth its hair or clothes, and give it a kiss before placing it back where it belongs. While I love my real life baby far more than I ever thought possible, I can’t help still having a little love for all those doll babies.

On cats and babies

Back when I was pregnant, I wrote about how I was worried about how the cats would take to having a baby in the house.

When we brought A home from the hospital, I was expecting some sort of grand reaction on the cat’s part. A little commotion, maybe, a lot of smelling, definitely. What we got was anticlimatic. Neither cat really cared. John had gone home a couple times during the hospital stay to feed the cats, check the mail, take a shower or nap, etc, and they were more curious about the new smells then than they were when A came home. Suki, our big cat, showed absolute indifference. She never even approached the car seat. Harleaux, who is more curious, came up and sniffed a bit, and walked away.

Neither one came up to the baby right away after we took her out of the car seat. They just went about their business like, “Whatevs, nothing major happening, I’m just gonna clean myself on the back of the couch, and then take a nap. Business as usual.”

Since then, both have shown slightly more interest in her, but not much. Every now and then one will come up and sniff A, usually when she’s nursing, probably because she’s quiet and still. Harleaux is still much more interested in A’s stuff than she is in A herself. She watches A’s swing intently while it’s in use, and for a while I kept finding Harleaux napping in the crib.

Now that A is much more engaged in the world around her, I catch her looking at the cats occasionally. Every now and then, when one of the cats is sleeping, I’ll sit down next to it and let A “pet” the cat, saying things like, “Soft kitty, nice kitty,” in an effort to introduce them to each other more fully.

I know when she’s bigger and mobile, she will be going after the cats none stop, and then I will never know peace again, so I guess I should just enjoy this era of mutual disinterest while it lasts.

*****

So, I drafted this post last week, and since then Harleaux has taken a definite interest in A. She’s been decidedly clingy and dependent the past few days, always wanting to be with whoever has baby. She has been paying more and more attention to her. In addition to just sniffing her, she is even laying next to her in our bed. This morning, John was holding A, and Harleaux decided she needed to be held too, and climbed up on his chest. I keep saying she’s jealous, but she hasn’t acted out in anyway, so maybe it’s more of an intense curiosity that has just formed because she’s finally realized this weird looking kitten is sticking around for good. I’ve been trying to get a picture because it is SO CUTE when they nap next to each other, but I never seem to be fast enough.

I hope they’ll be best pals when A is older.

New look

We’ve got a new look here at HSM. John used his graphic art skillz and made me a new header, and I’ve been tinkering with the layout and colors.

I’m pretty happy with it so far, though I do think I want to tweak the colors some. John is upgrading me to WordPress Pro for my birthday (yay!), so I’m sure we’ll be able to get it exactly right soon.

At any rate, it’s moving in the right direction. Let me know what you think!