Tag Archives: babies

By Any Other Name

My sister and her husband are expecting their third child sometime next spring, which made it doubly wonderful to spend time with the growing family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hanging out with a tween and a pre-schooler definitely honed the aunt skills, but suggesting potential names for the new sprout proved trickier. Although I’m very good at naming pets, none of my baby name suggestions, male or female, struck a chord with the parents-to-be.

To be fair, naming is a difficult thing, and a very personal one. Whenever you name a person, pet or thing, you want something that sounds good, carries meaning, and can’t be twisted into a cruel or otherwise unfortunate nickname. On top of that, there may be religious or cultural factors to take into consideration, as well as the desire to avoid–or accommodate– the trendy or unusual.

The world wide web is awash with baby name websites, to be sure, but if you have a name to choose, and you’re tired of staring at your computer screen, why not try a different tack?  Make yourself a cup of tea, then settle into a comfy chair in a quiet place with one of the library’s many books about names and naming.  Not sure where to start?  Consider these:

Penguin ClassicThe Penguin Classic Baby Name Book, ed. Grace Hamlin. Looking for a literary namesake? Take a flip through nearly 500 pages of options from the world’s greatest works of fiction.

Mother of all Baby Name Books

The Mother of All Baby Name Books, Bruce Lansky. Because puns are fun! Also, with 94,000 names to choose from, this is a great option if you don’t have room in your bag for multiple books.

Celtic Baby NamesCeltic Baby Names, Judy Sierra. If Western mythology and folklore tend to inspire you, grab this guide to pronunciations and meanings from the British Isles and figure out if Declan, Dylan, or Dana might be a good option for you and your baby (I’d avoid Tristan and Isolde, though, just on general principle).

World NamesA World of Baby Names, Teresa Norman. Diversity abounds in this collection of names that dedicates a chapter to just about every country and culture under the sun, including Czech/Slovak, Hawaiian, Native American, and Southeast Asian names. Perfect for families seeking to honor an ancestor, celebrate an adoption, or otherwise open up their naming options.

Auntie LAV can’t wait to see what they pick, but until then, she’ll just have to wait patiently.  Did you have difficulty naming your children?  Your kittens?  Your computer?  If you were going to take a new name to reflect the person you’ve grown up to be, what would you pick?

Dana Elizabeth Veronica Leigh Anne

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On Babies and Bebop

This post commemorates a special event in my life: this morning, perhaps just as you’re navigating your way to Eleventh Stack for your daily dose, I will be joining my wife at an ultrasound to learn the sex of our first baby. Don’t worry, I’m not going to blather on about the joys of fatherhood and recommend baby care books. No, this post is actually about jazz drumming.

Though the baby is sort of included.

You see, I picture myself telling my grown up kid this story some years from now: “While your mother was busy gestating, I was doing what I could to help out, but was otherwise helpless with worry about your future. Like any other sensible father-to-be, I found an escape from the worry by teaching myself jazz drumming.”

Max Roach, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Max Roach, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“I played drums for years before, mostly John Bonham-inspired rock and assorted heavy metal, and I was a bit out of practice. But just a couple weeks before I learned you were going to be a boy/girl*, I heard your heartbeat and it sounded like a bass drum keeping a steady 140 beats per minute. For whatever reason, it made me think of great jazz drummers like Max Roach, Art Blakey and Roger Humphries, and inspired me to pick up my sticks and play something new. So, I borrowed a copy of John Riley’s The Art of Bop Drumming from the Carnegie Library Music Department (thanks, Tim) and started swinging.”

“It was akin to relearning how to ride a bicycle. But fortunately I stuck with it, and as you know my quintet has now sold enough records to pay for your Ivy League education.”

Ok, ok, fine, I’m daydreaming a bit. I’ll probably never be a world-renowned jazz drummer and sell lots of records.

But my kid will.

–Wes

*Check back later to see which one I’ve crossed off.

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