Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Name, name, what's your name?

This is the way A.'s ballet class starts out every week. I'm sure at some point they will just start with warm-up exercises but when you're four, you start with a song.

And the song is important because that way everyone knows everyone else's name. Plus it's helped me learn that if you are the type of parent who puts your daughter in ballet, you are also usually the type of parent who names your daughter with something that ends in the letter "a." I include myself in that category.

I will say when we named our daughter, I didn't know anyone else with that name. It also worked perfectly with the middle name we wanted for her, Jo, which was the name of my husband's mother. So it seemed old-fashioned name that wasn't super popular but not something so obscure people looked at you funny.

Safe to say, lots of people must have felt the same way about that name because A's name is everywhere now. And on the rise. Sigh.

Now, I must tell you as someone named Nanette, I have strong opinions about names. I was usually the only Nanette in the room and I liked it that way. Even now, on the rare occasion I meet one, I tend not to like the person automatically. The name is mine...go away and be Nanette someplace else. I'm sorry if this sounds ridiculous but you can't possibly understand my situation if you have a name like Michael or Lisa or Jennifer. If your name runs to the unusual side, well, you tend to be a little protective of it and want to keep it that way.

Of course, as a kid, I totally wanted a name you could find on a light switch or a pencil or a bike license plate. But once I accepted the fact that was never going to happen, I started to feel a little superior and yes, smug that my name wasn't like anyone else's. At least it was memorable. And let's face it, light switches with your name on it are pretty lame anyway.

So imagine my dismay when I discovered that A's name is creeping up the name popularity list. And horror of horrors, she isn't the only one in her ballet class who has it. There are not 2 A's, but three. THREE.

And now, I'm pregnant with a boy. We do not have a name yet. We do have letters we would like to use as his first and middle initials but that is it. I have a few names I like. But. They are not terribly terribly unusual. Most unusual names for boys strike me as trying too hard. Or just hard to wear for a lifetime. So we are struggling. Do we go more common (but not trendy....nothing that rhymes with -aden since that makes me ill) or do we branch out? Do we dare to name him something like Atticus or does that also bear with it the annoyance of having every person he ever meets bring up "To Kill a Mockingbird?" I mean, I can't tell you how many people bring up the musical No, No, Nanette...which is a pretty mediocre musical at best. Do I want to do that to my son?

Here are my personal requirements:

Something simple

Something that starts with M, W, B or J

Nothing too ethnic...of any ethnicity

Nothing that ends in the "y" sound

Nothing that is unisex...since I think once it becomes a popular name for a girl, the girls own it.

Nothing that sounds too harsh to the ear (for example the name Bram would be out since to me it sounds like a noise a goat would make).

Nothing too trendy

Nothing that sounds like it could possibly be the name of a serial killer.

So you see, my requirements are simple, really. Any suggestions? Send 'em my way. I'm sure you have an opinion, everybody does.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Things I am not qualified to explain

There are a lot. Higher math, football special teams, the Tea Party, just to name a few. But it wasn't until a recent trip to Florida that I realized this also included the nativity scene.

I know what you're thinking. What's to explain? It's a baby, his parents, some kings and some sheep. Of course, there is way more significance to it but being a Jew, I can really only topline it. I don't know all the intricacies and to be honest, never really considered them. Until A. and I encountered a nativity scene in a mall in Florida.

A: Look Mommy! Dolls!

I looked around frantically for my husband. As the non-Jewish half of the parental unit, this was his job to explain. I had already covered Chanukah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Purim....even Tu Bishvat. This manger scene surely qualified as his territory. Alas, he was no where to be found, lost in the hateful labyrinth that is Sawgrass Mills mall. I sighed.

ME: Well....they aren't dolls exactly.

A: I want to touch them.

ME: Oh, no, you can't.

A: Why?

ME: They aren't meant to be touched.

A. rolled her eyes at me. A new thing she has learned in PreK. Thanks, PreK.

A: There are kings there. Why are there three? Who is the real king? And where is the queen. Why is that lady dressed as a bride?

ME: She isn't. She is the mommy of the little baby.

A: Is it a boy baby?

ME: Yes. His name is Jesus.

A: Well, it looks like a girl to me.

ME: Trust me. It's a boy.

A: Why are there sheep there? That's funny.

ME: Everyone wanted to visit the baby.

A: Sheep don't visit babies.

ME: Well, in this case, they did. Lots of people thought he was a special baby.

A: Why?

Oh dear. Where is my HUSBAND??

A: Is that lady clapping?

ME: Who? Mary?

A: How do you know her name?

ME: Everyone knows her name. She is not clapping. She is praying.

At this point, A. attempts to leap over the fence surrounding the nativity scene.

ME: Hey. No.

A: I want to hold the baby.

ME: I told you. You can't.

A: But it's a baby doll. I want to hold her.

ME: It's a "he."

A: I think it's a girl. Ohhhh. Look over there.

ME: Santa Claus?

A: No. Ice cream.

ME: Let's go.

A: Can I pet the sheep?

ME: Not this sheep.

A: Bye Jesus! Hey, maybe that's what we should name Baby Brother.

ME: Hmmm. Maybe not.