Monday, February 23, 2015

Judy - Finding a Name & Then There’s Twins #5

Click (here) to see Baby Names Comedy Sketch - Nick

One stressful aspect of expecting a baby is choosing a name for said baby. Think of the responsibility--you are deciding what this child will be called among friends, family, and classmates forever. You decide whether or not he will be teased, looked up to, admired, or scorned. (No pressure.) If you have other children, you might have run out of all the names you both like. And what if he doesn’t like his own name? One of my 6-year-old nephews told his parents, “Why’d you have to name me Vance? Why couldn’t you name me Blood Ax?”

There are always family names to choose from, but of course you have to be careful with old fashioned names like Gertrude or Hepsibah. Also, you can find thousands of names in books, and we used them at least once when we’d run out of ideas. To me, the most interesting name books were those with ethnic names like Irish or Italian or Japanese.

Then there’s the middle name. None of my girls have one because ever since I got married, my own middle name has been like a third arm, and I didn’t want to saddle them with it. Don’t know how they feel about that, but my sister didn’t have one either and always grieved over it. So she made up her own, calling herself Marilyn Rose. On the other hand, this is where you could really get creative. Maybe you don’t want to make the child stand out too much with her first name, but you can let ‘er rip with the second one. Like the child called Janet Pocahontas Johnson.

The best source I know for choosing a baby’s name is the Social Security Website. It lists all the names sent in for social security cards and shows the most popular names for any given year from 1880 to today. If you want to choose the most popular name in America for your baby, it’s there. If, however, you want to avoid your child having the same name as five other kids in her class, you can look down the list of the 1,000 names of each year for one you like.

For example, in 2013, the latest year for which they have data, the top five boys names were: William, Mason, Jacob, Liam, and Noah. For girls they were: Ana, Isabella, Olivia, Emma and Sophie. (I’m not even going to mention celebrity kids’ weird names.)

One of my favorite stories as a little girl was about the Apple family. Because of their last name, the father thought all the children should be named after apples. Their first son was Jonathan, then came a girl named Gala, another boy, McIntosh, a girl, Honeycrisp, and a boy--Fuji. Then came the twins, a boy, Red Delicious (called Red), and a girl, Golden Delicious (called Golden). With their 8th and last child, a little girl, Mr. Apple wanted to call her Granny Smith. "Please," said Mrs. Apple, "Could I name this one since it is our last?" Mr. Apple agreed and so the baby was named Mary.

There there’s Utah names.

When my daughter, Kristen and her husband, Nathan, already had two little boys, they found themselves expecting twin boys. Nathan said, “Now whenever we go anywhere, half the family is sitting in your seat.” They were at a complete loss for two more boy names.

Nathan’s co-workers, however, had a solution. He is a mathematician, and his colleagues suggested naming the twins, who would be their third and fourth children, after the third and fourth moments in statistics. The first moment is “mean,” the second is “random,” the third is “skew,” and the fourth is “kurtosis.” But Kristen inexplicably vetoed this practical suggestion.

Up until their birth, the boys were known among the medical staff as Baby A and Baby B. Then, since the doctors had given them at least the first letters of their names, they were eventually called Alec and Braden.

sidenote about twins

Evidently there is a baby boomlet in twins and other multiple births these days, due in large part to use of the fertility drug Clomid as well as older women having children. Many  hospitals report more and more twins being born, and school systems are enrolling more twins than ever before in school. Since the 80’s the percentage of twins jumped 52%, according the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (NOMOTC), and Clomid is responsible for two-thirds of this hike.

One of the things that worried Kristen, besides having four boys under six, was whether she’d be able to breastfeed two babies. Her five-year-old reassured her, “You won’t have any trouble, Mom. You have two of those feeder things.” And she did manage just fine.

If you find yourself expecting multiples, all I can say is, get all the help you can get! Lean on everyone--far-flung family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, church members, the UPS delivery man--everyone who will lend a hand. And if you can, line them up before the birth so you have as large a support group as possible in place. I know of at least one web site that is helpful: National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs. It is full of constructive advice, much of it from other parents who have been there, which is the best kind.

Soon after I returned home from helping Kristen, I got a call from Emily, another pregnant daughter, who wailed down the line, “I’m so sorry, Mom. But the doctor says it’s twins!” She had a boy and a girl. Then, a few years later, my son’s wife, Megan, a twin herself, had another set of twin boys. We had ourselves our own little baby boomlet.

Next: The Delivery

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