Friday, March 27, 2009

Name That Baby!

Ok Dear Readers, I am once again soliciting your opinions and advice because presumably if you are a recurrent reader of my blog we might perhaps be functioning on a similar frequency.  Or maybe it's more like you stop by to watch what kind of train wreck I've involved myself in this time.  Either way, I am in a conundrum.  

I have been struggling for months now to come up with a name for this baby.  I have a list of several that I like, but as of yet, nothing is really tugging at my heart and I don't hear the silent cry from this baby as to what she should be called.  And yes, Elsbeth sort of told me her name.  And it just fit.  

I am rather picky when it comes to naming people as I think it is a very important task to bestow upon someone.  So, I'm going to give you my criteria and then my list of names and you tell me which ones you like and why.  PLEASE HELP ME! 

The Dilettante's Name Choosing Manifesto:
 I believe that names have meaning and weight and when we place them upon someone we are saying something about them and ourselves.  

I would never choose a name for someone without knowing what it means or just because I like the way it sounds.  It may be the most beautiful sound but if it means "Shit for brains" who wants that?

I could care less if a name is popular or if kids are going to make fun of my child for it.  I think if kids are going to make fun of you, they'll find a way, funny name or not.  How many times do you think I had to hear "Jack and Jill"?  And unfortunately, when I hit high school it turned into Andrew Dice Clay's version of that nursery rhyme. HEY!

If I happen to choose an unusual name for my child I will raise them with the understanding of why I chose it just for them and why it's special to me.

And without further ado, here is the list of names I've chosen in no particular order:

Genevieve: (Meaning: Of the race of women), and she WILL NOT be called Gen.  Her nickname will be Viva which is Latin for "full of life"

Pippa: (Meaning: Lover of horses) This is also a poem by Robert Browning, click HERE to read it.  

Anya: (Meaning: Gracious, Merciful)  I admire these qualities in a person, particularly in women

Breindel: (Meaning: Blessing) Well, that about sums it up.  My hope would be that she would continue her life as a blessing to others

Ariella: (Meaning: Lion of God) I dig it.  Fierce. Holy.

Sloane: (Meaning: Warrior) Well, I know she didn't ask to be born into economic times such as these, but my hope would be that she would learn to fight for what is right and work hard for what she wants.

Aurelie: (Meaning: Golden)  This is perhaps wishful thinking on my part that she will inherit my corn silk hair as a child.

Margaux: (Meaning: Pearl) Nice, but I'm really just grabbing at straws at this point.


Joie: (Meaning: Joy)  Joy is beautiful and contagious.

Ok, are you ready for this doozie?  

Alnilam: (Meaning: string of pearls)  This is the name of the middle star in the belt of Orion and has particular meaning for me.  Because I moved so much growing up I was in a state of constant change.  I found it extremely comforting that no matter where I was in the world I could always look up into the night sky and find my constellation.  I realize that the sound of this word is strange and hard to pronounce but the more I read about this star the more I fall in love with it.

There they are, in all their glory.  I implore you again, Dear Readers, give me your opinions and if you think of a name that you like that's not on my list, please tell me and don't forget to include the meaning!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Survey Says?

I got an email from a family member today asking me to pose a question to you, Dear Readers.  Here is the scenario:  Wife is sitting at the computer which is around the corner from the kitchen and she hears her husband cough up a nice "loogie" as we called it when I was a tadpole.  She doesn't hear him go into the bathroom (which is not far from the kitchen) to presumably dispose of said loogie.  So she goes into the kitchen to ask to ask him what he did with it.  He said that he put it into a napkin and threw it into the trash.

This disgusted the wife and she said that in her opinion all refuse containing snot, loogies, and things of that nature should be disposed of in the bathroom.  She then asked me to conduct a survey of my readers.

Here is my personal opinion( and as most of us know I am just a dirty Hippie ), but please let us know your thoughts.  I said that I am guilty of disposing of tissues that I have blown my nose on into the trash.  I blamed the fact that either bathroom is two flights of stairs away from my kitchen but truthfully I'm not sure if that would really make a difference to me or not.

The wife said that her main reason for being disgusted was that, as an example, just the other day she had to pull the newspaper out of the trash for a school project for her son.  The thought that there could be snot rags in there grossed her out.    

UPDATE: In response to a couple of comments, I should note some things about where these people live.  They  live in the country where there is no recycling pick up, and I'm not sure if they even have regular trash pick up.  Their trash is separated into what can be burned, non burnable, and food scraps or compostable materials.  The wife assumed that the husband threw his loogie into the burnable trash which contains mostly paper products.  
Also, I posed this question to my husband when he got home from work.  Remember he's the "Infection Control Officer" at his dental clinic.  He agreed with the wife.  Apples don't fall far from their trees do they?  I said that I thought as long as people washed their hands well before handling food after doing something like that then whats the big deal?  He gave me a withering glance and when I snarkily suggested that we place bio hazard containers in each room for just such despicable materials he looked at me like I had just come up with the genius idea of the millennium.  And then I blew my nose into a dirty sock and threw it at him.

So, you tell me, how do you feel?  And tell the truth, Santa Claus is watching you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A couple of Saturday's ago we all went out for our usual pancake breakfast at a local restaurant.  While waiting for our food,  I overheard a conversation between a Father and Son in which the Father was quizzing the Son in preparation for a test or something along those lines.  After answering several of the questions correctly, the child was hailed by his Father as being a rock star.  

That comment really got me thinking.  I know I certainly had an ample share of rock star years to add to my Dilettante's list of foolish endeavours.  And those years are not something I'm proud of.  What does it mean to be a rock star?  To me, it means one must wear scanty bits of clothing, involve ones self with many dubious individuals, partake in the imbibing of illegal substances, and possibly overdose on those substances or choke on ones own vomit in the dead of night.  It does not entail studying diligently with Daddy at the IHOP on Saturday mornings.

I've begun to notice a growing trend of deifying celebrities in our culture and I now see it trickling down and affecting our children at earlier and earlier ages.  Last night at a local baby store I saw a receiving blanket with a skull and cross bones that said rock star and another that said rebel.  Is this what I want my children to aspire to be from infancy?  By offering this type of praise and encouraging the attitudes and emulation of these characters would I be not only condoning but encouraging this?  It really scares me, to be quite honest.

I do not want my daughters to be the next Hannah Montana, nor do I want them to aspire to look or act like her.  These people are vapid and sad and the more I see of this trend, the more I am compelled to withdraw from fascination with pop figures and culture.  Maybe it's just me, but I think we're headed in the wrong direction and as one of my favorite quotes states, "It's never too late to turn back when travelling down the wrong road."  

So, how will I turn back?  Well, maybe when my girls answer the right questions for a quiz, I'll exclaim that they are tiny little Einsteins, or Marie Curies, or maybe that they posses a literary style reminiscent of Jane Austen.  But I think that mostly, that is the kind of superstars I will try and  expose them to.   And when they ask me why I don't care for celebrity culture, I'll reply, "Well my dears, because they're like shooting stars.  They look so beautiful from far away but they're gone in a second and underneath that flash of light that we call a star is merely a piece of rock falling from the sky.  Here and then gone.  Except for The Rolling Stones, and the only reason they've lasted so long is because they sold their souls to the devil, plus just LOOK at Keith Richards, he should have croaked about a thousand eight balls ago."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where Her Thoughts Come From I Shall Never Know

As a child I loved carrying a purse. I remember rummaging around the house looking for things to fill my purse with. Food was usually high on the list. Cheese sandwiches in particular. Followed by whatever articles I could swipe from my Mother's vanity.

In the mornings when we get ready to go to the gym, I tell Elsbeth to go get a bag and select some items to take with us. This keeps her occupied in the car. It takes her quite awhile to make the selections and I'm sure it involves a very furrowed brow and much consternation because when I check her room later, her toy baskets have been pretty much upended.

Her choices always amuse me and yesterday as I was looking at what she had packed, I decided to interview her on her little inventory. What follows is the real conversation that occurred. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did me.

ME: (Holding up her purse) What's this?

Ellie: My purse

Me: What's inside?

Ellie: Some toys. (she says this nonchalantly as if it is so obvious I should be ashamed of myself for not knowing this fact)

Me: (Holding up a small Etch a Sketch) What's this thing?

Ellie: A Wonkin

Me: What's it do?

Ellie: It draws a Donkin, Mommy. (again, she is not amused with my complete ignorance of wonkins and donkins)

Me: (Holding up a toy baby bottle) What's this thing?

Ellie: A bottle. It's orange. It's for feeding Mouses.

Me: Holding up a pair of mesh Barbie underwear: And what are these things?

Ellie? It's her diaper.

Me: Who's diaper?

Ellie: Cinderella

Me: Why did you choose to put it in your purse?

Ellie: So I can give it to Daddy. I need to give it to him so he can take it to work.

Me: Hmmmmmmmm.

Me: (Holding toy car keys) What are these things?

Ellie: My keys.It goes to my car. (she seems to be getting exasperated with my ignorance of what to her seems like things Mommy should obviously know)

Me: Well, where is your car?

Ellie: (again, sighing at me) In the garage, Mommy.

Me: (Holding a tiny hairbrush) Wha.....

Ellie: (Cutting me off, she seems to be tiring of my interrogation) It's a brush, it's for paper. (she's been beginning to eyeball my pen and paper) OH, I need that to brush my hair.

Me: (Holding up a pair of eyeballs) And what the heck are these?

Ellie: Oh, those are Tato's (Mr. Potato Head) eyeballs. They help me take my shoes off. (At this point she attempts to use the eyes as some sort of macgyver-esque shoehorn. The attempt is unsuccessful, but she remains unfazed.

Me: (holding a toy cell phone) What's this?

Ellie: My phone. It calls Daddy. (she is intensely eyeing me writing all of this down) She flips it open and says: Daddy can you get me a pen so I can draw? (She has not taken her eyes off my pen this entire time) She hangs up and says to me matter of factly: Daddy says I can have that pen.

Me: ( Holding up some small post it notes with scribbles on them) What are these?

Ellie: Ohhhhh, those are my messages. I need to do my messages. Can you give me that pen?

I have to hand it to her. She was persistent. And at least there were no cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Nature and The Economy

For all the times I've moved across this country, if you tally it up, I've spent the majority of my life in Mississippi.  In the south one doesn't experience the change of seasons to the extent that we do in Indiana or say, here in D.C.  It pretty much goes from mild with occasional chilliness to DAMN YALL, IT'S REALLY HOT!  The Earth doesn't get a chance to go into winter or as I like to call it: funeral for the year.  I think that's why New Orleans smells so bad.  It hasn't had a good bath in centuries.  And NO, Katrina doesn't count.  There was sewage in that water.

People I know in all the places that are experiencing winter have been complaining about their readiness for spring as they do every year.  Perhaps it's because I went so many years without it, but I have come to appreciate winter and what it means.  Throughout these last few months when I would go outside and absorb the sight of  a very limited natural color palette, I would remind myself that every day I experienced this would only make those first few green blades of grass that much sweeter.  

Walking to the store yesterday, I noticed the tips of Daffodil stems beginning to force themselves up through the cold earth.  And the Forsythia bushes had the start of tiny green buds on the ends of their branches.  Robins ran around the playground looking for worms and gathering bits of this and that to line their nests.  We were obliged to shave Fairway's back half to provide the birds with some soft nest lining; consequently he now looks like a buffalo.  A one eyed buffalo.

Observing all of this change that we wait and pine for every year got me thinking about our current economic crisis.  (Please pause for a moment while I drag my soap box from the closet and dust it off.  Now I heave my ever expanding self upon it).  Even after listening to NPR almost constantly for the past several months, I still don't understand all the ins and outs and financial complexities of the problem we are in.  But I do understand one thing.  We have become a country so insistent upon instant gratification that we, the average American consumer, have put ourselves into a debt that we may never be able to climb out of.  Credit has become a dirty word to me.  It makes me feel almost as dirty and when someone says "Britney Spears".

We stayed with Jeremy's Grandma on our recent trip to Florida and I gleaned some valuable information from our conversations together.  Growing up and even now, she was taught to save the cash for something and pay for the whole thing, like a car.  Understandably some things like homes were too big to always pay cash for,  but forget about the freakin Jonses!  They're probably in foreclosure and standing in the unemployment line right now.  

Where are the parallels in this diatribe you ask?  Well, when I look at the perfection in nature I see alot that we as flawed humans could learn.  There is no rush in nature.  We wait.  And we wait.  And when spring finally arrives and the last blooms have opened on the dogwood trees, it is glorious and oh so worth the wait.  

Pregnancy has taught me the same thing and I think God intended it that way.  If I only carried this child for a short time, I don't think I would have the complex bond that has been cultivated over the course of the 40 weeks that she will reside in me.  Every movement from the first subtle bubbles to the feet jammed on top of my bladder increase my love and sense of protectiveness for her.  And when she finally arrives, it will be with relief and great joy that I hold her for the first time.  And it will have been oh so worth the wait.

And so in waiting for spring and waiting for this baby and listening to WAY too much NPR, I have learned that waiting is good.  Waiting and saving.  Saving and waiting.  Because in the end what does it matter that you got the million dollar house and luxury vehicle when it all gets taken away?  Like Aesop said, slow and steady wins the race.  

Take THAT Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pregnancy Photos 28 weeks

Here is a characteristic Elsbeth face.  In this moment she's contemplating which method of disobedience she will soon use to prevent us from forcing her to go inside and eat.  Why eat when there is dirt to be poked with a stick and fire ants to be crushed underfoot like foolish Lilliputians!  She eventually went with the sad, sad face and alligator tears.  It didn't work.

This week marks my official 30th week of pregnancy, but the photos you're about to see are from two weeks ago on our vacation to Naples, Florida.  Perhaps it was the humidity in the balmy air, but while in Florida my body seemed to literally absorb water through osmosis.  It probably didn't help that I spent a great deal of time imitating a walrus in the swimming pool.  On most days I was unable to get my wedding rings off without wetting my fingers and my face, as I previously mentioned, began to take on a shape all its own.  And when I say that I mean that I grew jowls.  JOWLS!  

Along with that disheartening discovery came a whole new gift of pregnancy that I did not experience with Elsbeth.  Melasma.  The rest of my body tanned better than it does when I'm not in "the family way".  But the face.  Instead of getting a tan, I developed an extensive network of freckles and brown spots that look like a map of the Caribbean islands.  And all while sporting SPF 50 sunblock.  I'm told that this should eventually fade after birth and breastfeeding are over.  But if it doesn't, hey it's just another thing to add to my growing arsenal of guilt employing tactics when my girls are teenagers.  

Other than that, it's going rather well.  I'm happy, my voice hasn't dropped octaves, and I can still put my hand around my ankles.  I have ten weeks to go and just because I don't like anything to be easy, we've decided to move to an apartment so Jeremy can be closer to school.   At least this time I have a good excuse for not doing any heavy lifting.

Yeah Florida's retirement community, this is how WE roll!  Shout out to all my senior homies back at "The Village"!  This adult tricycle proved amazingly useful in our maneuvering around the neighborhood where Jeremy's Grandma lives during the winter.  Not only did Ellie love going for rides in the back basket, but the large seat provided plenty of space for my girthy bum.  Being pregnant and being a geriatric are very similar I came to learn.