Monday, September 17, 2007

What shall we name the baby?

What in the world are we going to name this child? It seems like such a momentous decision. Just hearing a person's name, you automatically get an image of what that person is like. Choosing a name seems a lot like determining this person's future, and I'm pretty intimidated by that kind of pressure. Just think about what this baby would grow up to be if we really named him "Torquil"? I imagine he'd be the drummer in a heavy metal band called "Fortuitous Bounce."

This weekend, we went to the beach and my mom had brought 2 baby naming books. "The Baby Name Wizard" has lists of different types of names: from Country & Western (Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cheyenne) to Porch Sitters (Myrtle, Bertha, Otis, and Mildred) to Mythological ("Athena," anyone?). We had a blast looking at all of the different possibilities and thinking about their connotations. "Derek" and "Jennifer" were both in the "70's-80's" category with the description (and I quote!), "If you don't choose a name for your daughter, she'll end up Jennifer." So true! Reading that list of 70's-80's names sounded like reading the names of my high school graduating class. Names really do have a life cycle, and I'm wary of sounding either too trendy or too out-of-date.

For a long time, I've been planning to name my daughter Margaret after my grandmother, Margaret Perry. Everyone who knew her called her Appie, a name that I had the honor of choosing for her (albeit as an 18 month old - I was a naming prodigy!). I've wondered if "Margaret" might sound a little too "Porch sitter"? and had imagined that Maggie would be a good nickname, but I'm learning that Maggie may be the new "Jennifer" of this generation. At least 2 people I know have named their daughters Maggie in the past 6 months. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up on the name because others have chosen it, but I also know that Appie never loved being called "Maggie" as a nickname for Margaret, so I'm thinking about other nicknames like Meg or Molly. And the book puts Margaret into the "Timeless" category with Katherine and Caroline, so maybe calling her Margaret w/o a nickname isn't as old sounding as I imagine.

Girls' names are easy - but what if we have a boy? The book had a few good options in that department too. But we're not going to get too hung up on choosing one until we can at least narrow down to girl names or boy names. And heck, I was "Baby McLean" for 3 days until the nurse finally told my parents that they couldn't remove me from the hospital without a name. I have teased them mercilessly about this for my whole life. I mean, you had 9 WHOLE MONTHS to pick out a name - was "Jenny" the first thing that jumped into your head when the nurse tried to kick you out? Could you have been any less original?! Mom & Dad, consider this my official, public, crow-eating apology. Nine months isn't nearly long enough to decide something of this significance, and sometimes we all just need a little time pressure to make a decision.


First, let me say that I am so excited to read about the progress of baby Torquil via web blog... and now you will not have to deal with me calling you bi-weekly to get an update. Second, as a teacher, let me inform you that there are certain names that are quite popular now. Any version of "unique" K names such as Kaley, Kirsten, Kayla, Kendra, or Kelby. Also, while I am a fan of the use of J as the first letter of any name, please stay away from Jake. The odds that the child will be obnoxious increases exponentially if the child's name is Jake, and let's face it, us teachers need all the help we can get in having nice, well-manneres children in our class. Not that all Jake's are obnoxious, but many who are obnoxious are named Jake... get it? Thirdly, I have a 2 Margarets in my class and they went by Margaret and were nice girls. No one nicknamed them "Grandma" or anything. I think Margaret is making a comeback and Appie would be honored.
Love to you, Derek, and Torquil...

Posted by "Aunt" Jamie J on September 17, 2007 at 07:15 PM EDT #

I have been thinking a lot about this, and I think that "Wolfman Jack Foster" pays a nice homage to your alma mater and is a nice throw-back name to the 70's without risking that every other little girl in the class will be named the same thing. I will be back later with a suggestion for a boy. Love to each of you...

Posted by Aunt Beth on September 23, 2007 at 08:57 AM EDT #

Wow - Torquil doesn't even show up on the Baby Name Voyager. Looks like Torquil might have been catching some schoolyard flack no matter what century he was born in. And I thought Archibald (grandfather otwell) was bad.

A delicate balance to strike - uniqueness that everyone can pronounce and spell. Good luck!

Posted by dwight on October 02, 2007 at 12:52 PM EDT #

Friday, September 7, 2007

Making room for baby

It's hard to believe that this baby, while only the size of a lemon, is currently taking up so much space in my life. It's almost funny how much mental energy is sucked up thinkng about potential names, what will s/he look like, what kind of crib should we buy, and how can I justify eating my third milkshake in 3 days... hmmm, the trials of parenthood. But Torquil is starting to take up lots of physical space in our house also. Derek and I spent last weekend cleaning out the room that will be little Torquil's nursery. It's pretty amazing - it's actually the room that was my nursery when I came home from the hospital. I think that's one of the coolest things about renting this house from my folks, watching the cycle of families and imagining my own parents with the same excitement & fear about bringing me home to this same place. I keep nagging Derek to put up the swing I loved so much in the giant oak tree in our backyard. I'm sure we'll get around to it by the time Torquil is old enough to sit on a swing.

Poor Derek - In making room for baby, he has to lose his "man cave" of an office, well decorated with lots of manly NC State stuff (and more than a few cow/veterinary things). In its place, we're creating a nursery filled with baby stuff and Derek's office space gets relegated to a tiny corner of my craft room. So we spent the Labor Day weekend cleaning out all the manly stuff and musty vet school textbooks to make a home for the baby. Most of the NC State stuff came to my office, and many of my co-workers have commented on the explosion of NC State paraphernalia that I brought to work. (Personally, I think we need more campus administrators who love NC State the way I do!) Most of his textbooks went to his office or into storage, and his old notes headed to the recycle bin. It's a liberating feeling, cleaning out and getting rid of things that you no longer use. I'm not sure our trash collectors were too happy with the volume of trash & recycling this week, but it really does fill good to simplify. Of course, I'm sure that space will be filled with all sorts of things that every new parent simply MUST have ... like that video baby monitor that my friend swears that I really need. How did our parents ever raise us without the ability to watch our every move in the middle of the night?!


Milkshakes are a dairy product! You NEED calcium and lots of it!!

Posted by Bethany on September 12, 2007 at 05:45 PM EDT #

Awesome blog, Jen! I feel for Derek and his loss of the man-office. That was a really cool room.

Posted by Ryan on September 12, 2007 at 09:25 PM EDT #

Great blog! This is deja vu for me - I remember the nursery as YOUR nursery and I remember the swing well! Can't wait for our new baby....Love AJ

Posted by Aunt Jeannette on September 17, 2007 at 03:25 PM EDT #