Naming Your Unborn Child: More challenging than naming your cat.

Things that are difficult to do: picking out a name for a girl, sitting through 20 minutes of Around the Horn on ESPN, 8th grade Algebra, birthing a child without drugs.  (Those things are listed in order of difficulty, for those unaware).
People, names are important.  Like really super super important.  The name you give the child is the name they will have to live with for all of their lives, unless they head down to the courthouse when they turn 18 and spend $50 to change their name to something else.  I assume most people are as lazy as I am, so legal name-changing is off the table, which makes the task of choosing the *perfect* name even more daunting.
And because we didn’t find out what gender Kid Two will be, we’re tasked with choosing both a boy name and a girl name.  Some of you are thinking, “Well, that should be super easy, just use the girl name you had picked out for Kid One.”  And to you people I will pose the question: Do you even know me?  The favorite girl name two years ago was for potential Baby Girl 1.  The names for Thing 1 were chosen early, but became the names over the course of that pregnancy, because I could feel the personality radiating from my uterus.  And it seemed a little weird for me to use a “leftover” name for Thing 2.
You should know that when it comes to names, I am picky.  Very, very picky.  Spelling, pronunciation, number of syllables, current popularity, characters with the same name, pets with the same name…those are all things my overly OCD mind considers.  I don’t like common names that are misspelled for creativity.  If you like the name Bob, then spell it BOB.  Don’t spell it BAUHB, because your kid is going to have to explain that for the rest of his/her life.  I should know; my name is definitely not unique or unusual, but there are 487 ways to spell it and its variations, and I rarely have someone get it right the first time. 
Our conversations usually go something like this:
Person: And your first name?
Me: Kristin.
Person: And do you spell that C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N?
Me: Sigh.  No, it’s K-R-I-S-T-I-N.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh big deal, you have to spell your name.”  I have to spell my name a lot.  Because most people don’t just say, “Oh, is it IN or EN?”  They think I actually said Kiersten, Christian, Crystal, Cristina, everything but what my actual name is.  And so, after 31+ years of name spelling, my conversations now go something like this:
Person: And your first name?
Me: Kristin.
Person: And that’s K-R-Y-S-T-I-A-N-N-E?
Me: YES!  Amazing, no one ever gets it right on the first try.
I give up.  Sometimes I’ll tell them my name is something simple, like Jill or Sue.  I don’t dislike my first name; I dislike the frequency with which I am forced to spell it for people.  And no, I won’t go by Kris, because after Rule One of naming (it must be a standard spelling) my Rule Two is this: NO NICKNAMES (other than cute nicknames I give my kids, but that’s not for roll call at Harvard in 2021).
I’m not going to name a child Elizabeth and call her Betty; if I want a Betty, I’ll name her Betty.  Nicknames are confusing to me.  Our children won’t have to worry about their first names every being converted into nicknames because Rule Three on my Crazy Train of Baby Names is this: One syllable first names only.
I know, weird right?  We like one syllable.  We have a one syllable last name, and I think the BOOM BOOM of simple syllables sounds strong.  And if there’s anything my kids will be, it’s strong and independent (and probably smartasses, because that’s an inheritable trait, as I’ve learned with Miles).
Rule Four: The name must have some sentimental appeal.  Our son’s name is Miles Clark.  Miles for Miles Davis, my favorite musician, and Clark for my grandmother. 
Rule Five: Unique.  The name needs to be unique, but not weird.  When Miles first started school, his infant room had 12 babies and five of them had variations of “Aiden.”  The other 7 were usually McSomething.  I went to a teeny tiny school in a teeny tiny town, and I still shared my name with at least one other classmate.  Of course, no matter how unique your name is, you’ll probably run into at least one other person at some point in your life carrying the same name.  When I chose Miles, I had a specific and sentimental reason.  I did not know that Miles was a name shared by 1. A college football player and 2. A character on some semi-popular sci-fi TV show that has since been canceled.  And so, lo and behold, Miles actually has another Miles in his classroom now.  My victory is this: my Miles was born first.  But you know what?  I have seen at least two other Miles in my Facebook newsfeed.  Clearly this is a name that could be popular.  I hope not, but if it blows up in five years, well I guess I can appreciate my own unique coolness for choosing it first, and also in knowing that it was chosen for a special reason.
Rule Six: Not weird.  When we consider names, I always like to put Dr. in front of it, just in case I birth a neurosurgeon.  Then I also consider whether the name is too stuffy, because if my kid wants to be a pineapple farmer in Hawaii, it still needs to be a cool name.  Dr. Miles and Pineapple Farmer Miles both sound pretty awesome, in my opinion.  I couldn’t name my son Blackjack Dangerson because no one would ever take him seriously as a pineapple farmer.
We also avoid names in the Top 100 list in the Social Security database and baby name sites like Nameberry.  So yes, I have a lot of rules, but like I said before, the name is super important.
I have found that boy names are super, super easy.  It took maybe two weeks to narrow down our boy names, and only a few more days to decide on what we liked for sure.  Girl names?  Totally different story.  I feel that with a girl name, I could be a little more unique and different, and she could pull it off, but I still want something that fits our other requirements.
If you give your kid an exceptionally offbeat name, like Apple or Moxie Crimefighter (both actual celeb baby names, FYI) then it works just fine if you happen to be a celebrity.  If you are celebrity, I’m 99% certain that your child’s future will be different; the children of Mick Jagger aren’t exactly donning police uniforms or drawing blood or selling insurance.  Your child could have a relatively normal career, like me, in which case having a super weird name would just mean constant explaining (like having to spell it all the time isn’t bad enough…)
Trust me, if I were a brilliant and well-paid writer/musician (like I am in my dreams) then I would totally name a girl something like Barefoot Stevie Juniper Moonbeam.  But we would probably also be living in a cabin in the mountains, and I’d never wear shoes and do lots of twirl-dancing and singing and tie-dyeing in my spare time. 
Me on the weekends.

Me on the weekends.

The rest of our kids would be named after jazz musicians and Grateful Dead songs and plants that flourish during Summer Solstice, and we’d all shake tambourines and make fruit leather.  Then on Saturdays, we’d go into town for Dairy Queen because I’m only like 60% hippie and I need chocolate sauce – the REAL chocolate sauce, none of that carob-raw honey-seaweed stuff.  I still need sprinkles in my life.  And yes, I am fully aware of how specific my daydreams are.
But I’m not a brilliant and well-paid writer/musician.  I have to wear shoes and normal-ish clothes and I cook things like homemade chicken nuggets for dinner.  So this potential baby girl needs something less Moonbeam-y and more Murphy Brown-y (but not Murphy; too many syllables and I don’t like things that end in “Y”).
So we have names.  Both a boy name, which was super easy and chosen MONTHS ago, and a girl name, which has changed half a dozen times but we sort of think is definite now.  And both are names that we think are cool and unique and strong and pineapple farmer worthy.  And of course I’m not telling you what they are, because only three people know other than Evan and me, and even that is three people too many. 
Let’s be real…I will probably have to give my favorite girl name to our next cat, because after all these months of deciding, I have sealed my fate in birthing yet another boy.  Fo’ sho’.
Moonbeams and fruit leather and Y chromosomes,

Four Degrees of Burritos

Food.  It’s something that most pregs either love or hate.  Usually, you kind of hate it during the first trimester (never had that problem) and maybe a little bit in the second (still never had that problem) and by the third, you love it.  Even as a non-preg, I have always loved food, so the relationship with food only deepens when I’m also growing a tiny person inside my uterus.  It’s Friday night; I’m a 30-week preg mom of an almost two-year-old (read: I am clearly a crazy person).  Now seems like a good time to talk about how my brain works in terms of food relationship.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (a play on Six Degrees of Separation) in which any person can be connected to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less.  Don’t believe me?  Go to your google machine and search any celebrity’s name with the phrase “bacon number” and you’ll see what I mean.
Results straight from the Googlemachine:
“Vince Vaughn Bacon Number”
Vince Vaughn’s Bacon number is 2
“Steven Spielberg Bacon Number
Steven Spielberg’s Bacon number is 2
“Joe Biden Bacon Number”
Joe Biden’s Bacon number is 2
“Queen Elizabeth II Bacon Number”
Elizabeth II’s Bacon number is 2
My own personal Bacon Number is 3.  In the 90s, my husband met Matt Dillon in NYC; Matt Dillon was in “Wild Things” with Bacon.  This makes my husband’s Bacon Number 2, and as his wife, my Bacon Number would be 3.  Just by knowing me, your Bacon Number is 4!  Feel special and famous?  You should.  And you can thank me later for sending you on the enormous time-suck that is googling Bacon Numbers.
So, food.  With pregs, food sort of works like a Bacon Number.
Earlier this week I needed to replace the garbage bag in our kitchen trashcan.  I opened the new box of bags my husband purchased, only to find that he had purchased vanilla scented.  After inhaling the scent of vanilla, I then needed a cupcake.  Luckily we had cupcakes because HELLO I’M PREGNANT.  So that’s like three degrees of separation:
  1. Need to replace garbage bag.
  2. Open new box of bags; smell vanilla.
  3. Eat cupcake. 
A few nights ago, we decided to watch something on our OnDemand (Alaskan Bush People…do you watch this?  YOU SHOULD.)  Evan pushed the OnDemand button, and Comcast’s superior technology took us to QVC’s channel.  And so began FOUR DEGREES OF BURRITOS:


  1. QVC makes me think of Lori from Shark Tank.
  2. Every Friday night, we watch Shark Tank.
  3. Every Friday night, we get take-out from Moe’s.
There’s your small glimpse into the mind of a third trimester preg.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, a burrito is calling my name. (Also, all this talk about Bacon makes me hungry).
Always hungry,
Greatest Bacon film, ever.

Greatest Bacon film, ever.

Crazy Cat Boy

I read an article on Huffington Post yesterday about a pair of moms who are designing and creating dresses for girls that feature things like dinosaurs, aliens and trains.  This was seen as “unconventional” in the world of fashion for young girls; I’d have to say, I agree.  Just walking through the aisles of the toddler section at Target, I’m bombarded by either pink-ruffles-pearls-princesses or ninja-super-alien-fire truck.  There is no gray area in terms of clothing for young children; it’s either very blue, or very pink. 
A few months ago, one of the boys in my son’s class had a birthday, and cupcakes were brought in for all the toddlers to enjoy (because toddlers totally need cake and frosting at 3pm on a Tuesday, right?) There’s an even split of boys and girls in Miles’ classroom, which this student’s mom had noticed.  She brought in eight blue cupcakes and eight pink cupcakes. Each was adorned with some sort of plastic trinket on top, with the blue cupcakes having soccer balls, and the pink cupcakes having Hello Kitty rings.  The plastic choking hazards were removed prior to cupcakes being served.
As each student left for the day, one of the teachers invited them to grab one of the plastic items from the basket they’d used to collect them.  Two moms who arrived at the same time I did chose for their children: soccer ball for a boy, kitty ring for a girl.  When it was our turn, I let Miles choose.  And do you know what he picked?
I instinctively prepared to defend his choice, thinking his teacher might suggest a soccer ball, but she just smiled.  Miles happily took his kitty ring, and we were on our way.
He didn’t choose Hello Kitty because of its color or cupcake association; Miles chose the cat because we have four cats at home, and by default Miles loves cats as much as his crazy cat loving mama. 
Not a day passes where he doesn’t give at least one of them a “big hug” (read: squeeze their internal organs).  Most car rides home from school involve some sort of discussion about Frankie or Patches or Blueberry or Pookie.  He loves these little furballs.  He also loves our dog, and if the choice were between plastic dog ring and plastic cat ring, I’m not sure what he would have decided (catcatcatcatcat).  And he really really loves dinosaurs, so if the decision fell between cat and T-Rex, well, that would be an obvious choice for him.  He simply chose what he liked.
Kids don’t see things the way some adults do: pink or blue.  Kids see things the way they truly are: fun or not fun; yes or no; want or don’t want.  It’s very simple for them. 


NOT FUN. Thank you, RHONJ.

Thank you, RHONJ.

So, boys can like cats and girls can like rocket ships, and life still goes on.
Kudos to the mamas thinking outside of the pink and heavily glittered box.
 (BTW, they are officially sold out until July!)

No, we didn’t go to the ER.

Earlier this week, I posted a question on my personal FB page regarding toddlers and their tendency to shove things up their noses.  The responses I received taught me two things: first, I am amazed at the number of friends whose children have experienced nasal passage blockage from intentionally placed foreign objects, and second, we have a pretty good village of folks.

So Miles may or may not have shoved a fruit snack up his nose.  We lean heavily toward not, but my inner panicking parent needed some information that Drs. Google and WebMD are just unable to provide (side note: why do so many of my questions receive a “seek emergency care” response?)  We were on our way home from school when Miles said from the backseat, “Mama, I pickin’ nose!” (look, we all pick our noses, we have discussed the art of using tissues and such, but toddlers are toddlers so I don’t really freak when gross stuff happens).  So I asked Miles if he had a boogie, and if he wanted a tissue.  Once we reached a stop sign, I turned around to repeat these questions, and that’s when I saw him attempting to shove the fruit snack up his nose.

Of course he’s tried to shove plenty of things up his nose, but he’s never actually done it, he’s more or less pretending so he can get the usual “AAAAAAHDON’TDOTHATYOU’LLGETITSTUCKFOREVER!” response from me.  Because I am the epitome of calm when it comes to shoving peas in your nose.

I gently asked Miles not to do that with his snack, reminding him they were for eating only, and that putting things in our noses can cause an owie.  I turned back to the road since it was my turn, and that’s when I heard it: “OWWWWIIIIEEEEE MAMA!  OWIEOWIEOWIEOWIE!”


I turned around and noticed he was rubbing his nose, and his eyes were watering.  I calmly (not calmly at all) asked Miles if he had put a snack in his nose.  He responded with, “Snack in nose, Mama!”  Double ugh.

The “owie” and nose rubbing continued for a few blocks.  I’m completely fuh-reaking out because I just don’t know if he shoved anything up there, since I was totally focused on operating a moving vehicle and not running us off the road in my state of panic.

We get home, and I do the nose check.  Of course the snacks we buy have to be some damn organic brown rice fruit leather thing that are impossibly dark, rendering me unable to really tell if there’s something shoved in his nasal cavity.  So, you parents who choose to feed your kids the Red Dye 73 fruit snacks probably have one up in a situation like this, because at least you’d see the Day-Glo gummy bear hanging out in there.

I press on his nose, and he says owie.  Did I push too hard, or is there something lodged up there?  I turned Miles upside down and used a flashlight.  He thought this was hilarious.  He also thought it was a camera, as he continued repeating “CHEESE!” the entire time.

I moved on to repeatedly asking him if his nose was owie, if he put a snack in his nose, if he put anything in his nose.  I consult Dr. WebMD, who gives me a list of “symptoms” for “foreign object in the nose.”  Is his nose swollen?  No.  Is he rubbing it more often than usual?  No, because I’ve been doing all the rubbing/pressing/poking for him.  Is his nose bleeding?  No.  Is his nose running?

Hmm.  Is his nose running?  WebMD, are you familiar with toddler noses?  Because they run.  A LOT.  Let’s give a quick rundown…

Reasons My Son’s Nose is Running Today:

  1. It’s cold outside.
  2. It’s hot outside.
  3. We are outside in general.
  4. Flowers are blooming.
  5. He shoved his face in the cat’s belly.
  6. He’s teething.
  7. He found the box of Bisquik, then applied it liberally to his face.
  8. He shoved a crayon in his nose.
  9. He’s pretending to “blow” his nose, but not using a tissue.
  10. He’s a toddler.

So, yes, his nose is probably running.

I really don’t think he can fit a big, square snack up there, but I’ve been wrong before.  To test this theory, I had my husband attempt to shove a snack up his own nose.  See, I’m a rational parent.

After Miles sneezed several times (was it fruit snack related?) and I held him down to use the Nosefrida on him TWICE, we voted against an unnecessary ER trip.  It’s simple math:

length of ER wait + number of minutes past toddler bedtime = NO.

Instead, we agreed to monitor his breathing overnight.  And this morning?  He’s fine.  Now, if he starts sprouting leaves from his nose in three days, I’ll feel an enormous amount of mom guilt but GUESS WHAT?  I feel mom guilt every day, nothing new.

But what I really learned is this: it does take a village to raise a child (and determine if anything is stuck in their nose).  Our village can be in the physical sense, with folks we can depend on to help care for our children, be there for us during challenging times, and babysit when OMG MOM NEEDS A BREAK, but our village can also be in the virtual sense, by having the ability to reach out via social media or email for answers to our questions.  Our village begins as close as our next door neighbors, and stretches as far as the other side of the country.  Grow your village, people.  They will help you SO MUCH.

Side note: I wouldn't let the guy with the wrench near my kids.

Side note: I wouldn’t let the guy with the wrench near my kids.

I am very, very thankful for the friends we have made whom we consider to be our family, because they’ve made all the weirdness of this parenting gig seem so very, very normal.

Next up, transitioning to the big boy bed.  Cue the Psycho violins and sleepless nights.  HELP ME, VILLAGE.

Foreign object free,