October 26, 2009

The Name Game

One of my favorite book excerpts comes from Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, which is a continuation of his paper "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctly Black Names."  He talks about how there are no people in power who have really off the wall names that we usually associate with African American youth.  He talks about unfortunate children with names like "Female" because the mother thought the doctors had named her when they wrote down the gender.  He alludes to other famous stories, such as the brother, Orangejello and LeMonjello, whose parents named them after two things they had sitting around the house.

Levitt discovers through his complex economic regression that it isn't the name that makes life hard, but that a bad name is a symptom of a much bigger problem, that being bad parenting.  Essentially, if your parents can't be bothered to come up with a good name for you, most likely, they are going to be negligent parents and you will not get all of the opportunities that will help you succeed.

This is something that I've been thinking about for years, ever since I knew I wanted to have children.  Naming a child should be something on which you spend a considerable of time and energy.  Some names come easy, like naming them after a dearly departed loved one.  Other names can be quite difficult.  With this in mind, I made a small list of rules for naming children a few years ago and I've had to modify them slightly.  They are as follows:

1)  No numbers or punctuation (apostraphes, hyphens, etc.)  There is a girl in my current district whose name is Le-a, pronounced "La DASH a."  Seriously...
2)  Don't name the child something that reasonable people will find offensive.  In Erie, there really is a girl named Shithead, pronounced "Shi-thead."  Seriously...
3)  If you have to pause before saying the name, it's not a good name.   Seriously...
4)  You MUST consider your last name when picking a first.  A coworker of mine went to school with a girl whose last name was Cianci ("SEE-an-see").  Her parents thought it would be a good idea to name her Nancy Ann.  Her name was Nancy Ann Cianci.  Say it out loud.  Even the most benign name can be bad.  Even though he grew into a formidable actor, Billy D. Williams had to spend his childhood as William Williams.

There are a few others, like "If you're going to name the child after an object or an emotion, you need to be VERY careful."  New Zealand actually has laws on the books about what you can name your child.  They are very similar to the first 2 that I put up there.

With that in mind, Sara and I have spent a great deal of time considering names.  We began when we first found out that she was pregnant and continued our discussion for several months in order to find something that we liked.  We wanted names that were individual without being absurd.  We had a hard job to start because we wanted to honor our maternal grandfathers, both of whom have passed and both of whom we were very close to.  My grandfathers name was Herman, so by Jewish tradition, we wanted the first name to begin with an H.  Her grandfathers name was Lowell, even though he went by Eugene, his middle name.  Coming up with good names to fit the initials H L was not an easy task.  We are pleased with our selections and I think they will honor our loved ones while allowing this baby to have a good name.

If the baby is a girl, her name will be Harper Lynn Aion.  If it is a boy, his name with be Harris Lowell Aion.  If it's a boy, we're going to take a page from my aunt's book and give him a nick name right from the beginning to prevent people from calling him Harry.

If we have a second child, and it is a boy, I already have a name for that one too.

October 22, 2009

First Time Posting and First Time Parenting...

I am the female part of this parenting adventure. As I am sure you all know my name is Sara and I am approaching 37 weeks of pregnancy. For the record I am feeling totally exhausted until it is time for me to take a nap, then I want to clean or bake or do laundry. I feel very front heavy, especially when in bed and trying to get out before I pee myself, then it is a pleasant combo of rolling around grunting, trying to find leverage or something to pull me up and then when I actually get to the bathroom it is very unsatisfying due to the fact that my bladder is the size of a pancake with a giant baby head on it.
Other than these few minor distractions I am so excited and amazed and thrilled and happy and ready to see the baby. I never wanted to allow myself to think about the future too much and wish that I was doing all the "grown up things" because that would be like wishing your present life away. Knowing that I would get married and have children was obvious to me and once those times came up in my life I was so thrilled to be doing what I had always hoped. Now I have this little person inside of me, bumping around and I just want to cry, I am so happy. Yes, I do sometimes cry because I am so happy and excited, but that is alright.
When Justin and I made the decision to start a family we were both a little nervous and unsure. How would our lives together change with a little baby? Will it change our relationship? Are we strong enough as a couple to deal with the demands of a helpless little infant no matter what the time of day or what it may need? I am certain that the coming of this little baby will make us stronger and love each other even more than we ever realized. The journey from the beginning when we saw two lines on the stick to the first Sonogram with the little moving (I think it had hiccups) blob with little nubs of arms and legs to the first time Justin got to feel it moving around inside to now when we can lay on the bed and poke at it and it kicks back, has been so astounding and almost unreal. We did indeed make this little person together and we get to meet it soon!!! I have watched Justin during this process and have seen how he went from hopeful to shocked and astounded (because it actually looked like a little baby) to amazed and giggly when it pokes him back or kicks him in the head when he is listening to it. Despite his doubts, he is going to be an awesome Dad and Baby is going to love him. I know it is hard for him sometimes when he realizes that I am with Baby all day and will continue to be when it arrives, but there is always an incredible bond between Dads and their babies, so he won't be missing out.
As for me, I am so excited and ready to see Baby. I am a little nervous about the whole giving birth process, but I get something fun to play with in the end! For now, I am very happy spending my days being kicked in the ribs and head-butted in the bladder.
Baby does have a theme song, "Bump Around" sung to the tune of "Jump Around" by House of Pain. I also make sure to tell it what we are eating and where we are going. I ask it's opinion frequently, but I don't think it cares, nor will it tell me what gender it is. Overall I think it is happy and healthy and soon it will be with us.
Until then, "Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin... get out your seats and Bump Around..."

October 19, 2009

Getting Closer

Another week is starting and it's sort of scary to think that on Saturday, Sara will be at full-term.  This baby could be showing up any day now!  I'm excited and terrified to think that very soon, I will be responsible for another life.  I can barely take care of myself!  Why am I being allowed to start this??

I can't wait to meet my child, to look into his/her face and watch as they learn everything for the first time.  In terms of physical preparation, we're pretty much ready.  The room is set up, the diapers and car seat are purchased and we have some adorable clothes to stick this child in which will only cause minimal lasting psychological damage. (This monkey suit is going to be awesome!)

Mentally, I don't know if I will ever be completely ready.  I think that I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

On top of all of this, we are trying to buy a house, our first.  We've been looking for a few weeks and put an offer in on one that we really like last weekend.  The offer was accepted this morning and I'm suddenly  terrified that we made the offer too high.  I think that we will be able to afford the monthly payments if we tighten our belts, and the $8000 first time home buyer tax credit will certainly help, but closing costs and down payment are a bit high.

I am tired of renting, but I sort of like the amount that we pay right now.  This house would have the benefit of wiping out our savings and doubling our monthly payment for housing, not to mention all of the expenses of moving.  We like this house VERY much but I don't want our first year in it to be filled with the stress of trying to make payments.  It may be worth it to wait and miss out on the tax credit to make sure we have a house that we love and can afford without pulling my hair out with worry.

I've been thinking much more about this baby, which could be here as early as next week.  I want to be able to provide the best for this child.  I want it to want for nothing.  I know that's unrealistic and I certainly don't want my kid to be spoiled.  I see enough of those at work.  How can you justify buying a $200 pair of shoes for your kid when you can't even afford groceries?  Why is fashion and impressions so much more important than being able to pay the electric bills?  I suppose that's a question for another day.

I've been trying to hold back my feelings of jealousy of Sara.  I know that she will have a closer bond with our child than I will because she carried it for all of this time, she's felt it grow and she will be taking time off of work in these early days to care for it.  I know all of this is necessary and I don't want her to NOT do these things, but I am jealous.  I want to be able to take time off from work to be with my child.  I wonder if other fathers feel this way?  I am also well aware that I will want time away from the crying, diaper changing and all of the other unlovely things that children do in the first few years.  I'm sure once that starts, I will be happy to go to work.

I am completely in awe of what she and I are creating together, of the life we are about to build and I am so happy to be doing with with.  I can think of no one with whom I would rather go through this experience.  Sara is a wonderful wife and will be a wonderful mother.  Several people have told me that I will be a wonderful dad, but I'm not sure.  I guess I'll have to wait and see.

I do know that it is something to which I have looked forward for a long time.  I am excited.  And scared.

And excited!

October 15, 2009

Baby Blog

Hello again!  I just wanted to let you know that I've started a blog about my experiences as a first time parent.  Once I get Sara set up on here, she'll be posting too, I hope.

If you are interested, here in the link. A Dad's Blog


Samuel Goldwyn  - "I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong."

First Post

I'm going to be a dad!!

Howdy!  This is my first post on my new blog.  I've decided that I want to use this as an outlet to talk about my experiences as a new parent.  In light of that, I'll start at the beginning:

Sara and I have been married for about two and a half years.  We are expecting our first child at the end of November.  That is the due date, but I can't imagine that she'll last that long.  I think this baby is ready to come out soon (as though I know anything about these things...)

We'll be at full term officially on October 24th, so she could go any day now, I suppose.

We are VERY excited.  This process has been slowly taking shape over the past several months, as is dictated by human anatomy.  There have been several points, however, where I have had to step back and say to myself "holy crap!  We're having a baby!"  The first of such moments was the first sonogram.  We aren't able to see much other than a small blob, but it had a strong heartbeat and it was amazing.

The most recent of such moments was last night.  We had a baby shower on Sunday and are so grateful to our friends for their generosity.  Last night, Sara's parents came over to drop off an old dresser.  This was the dresser that Sara used when she was little.  While my father-in-law and I set up the dresser, Sara washed all of the baby clothes, bibs, blankets, socks and hats.  After the in-laws left, we folded and put away all of these clothes that were so tiny, I couldn't quite grasp how a human could wear them.

It hit me like a shot to the chest that in the next few weeks, we were going to have a tiny human that would be able to wear them.

I should say at this point that I'm using "it" to talk about our impending offspring because we don't know what gender our child is going to be.  we made the choice early on that we didn't want to find out until he/she was born.  We have names picked out either way and gender wasn't going to change the color scheme we had in mind for the room.  We're going with a jungle theme and I even bought a monkey outfit, complete with ears and tail for my child.

I'm going to be a dad!



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