Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Vacay

We didn't go anywhere for Thanksgiving, just stayed home.... except for numerous day trips :) I am SUCH a fan of taking trips close to home! I'm such a home body that I honestly get nervous if I'm too far away. What if there's a medical emergency with one of the children or a friend/family member in Raleigh? What if things are not working out at our destination? What if the weather becomes awful? What if we lose a wallet or keys? WHAT IF I GET BORED???

It's just nice to know that home is not far away at all, and yet still be able to have that "vacation" feel, you know? Eating out, lazing about attractions, riding carousels, taking too many pictures, that sort of thing.

Thanksgiving was a full on stay-cation for us and it was Won. Der. Fuuuuullll!!!!!

The only bad thing was, well, I messed up. I had thought that P's school was in session M-W, but it turns out it was only M and T, and I found this out like Monday night. And P found out Tuesday that he only had that day of school left and would not be coming back the next day.

P thrives in a very stable environment. There was a time we had to do the same. thing. every. day at the same. time. every. day. At this point a regular schedule works. 5 days in school and two weekends not in school? Totally fine. And a summer where we have a relatively set schedule most days? Again, totally fine. Predictable. Stable.

But this through him off.

It's been awhile since I've had a dis-regulated child. I sometimes forget P has Sensory Processing Disorder, as he keeps it in check so well. We're used to the small quirks and can do some quick sensory diet techniques without even thinking about it.

But Weds? Oh, yeah, he was just plain out of it.

We went to Pullen Park, which is beautiful and incredible and took my breath away even while I still miss the quaint old park it used to be. And we did truly have a fun day. We spent like $20 on ride tickets and more than that on food at their cafe (snack and late lunch), we rode rides, met up with friends, lazed about, took pictures, ran around, played on the playground, and just plain had a great day.

And P held himself together emotionally just perfectly. He was smiling and happy and well behaved.

But he was in full on SPD mode. When he wasn't flapping, clapping, or smacking himself all over his front side (face included), he was throwing his body around, running into things, rubbing people's hair, talking/yelling really loudly, and laughing to the point of hysteria. The kid didn't have a melt down or a rage, he didn't hurt anyone, he didn't freak out, and my Lord am I proud of him! Luckily as the day wore on (and the park got louder and more stimulating) he calmed down. Food in the belly every couple hours, regular enforced bathroom breaks, a few tough (like almost bruising) massages and joint compresses, and an order from me to touch *everything* not attached to a human being with his hands to "see how it feels". Seriously, y'all, if you ever have a well behaved kid having an SPD fit just tell them to roll on the wet grass and rub their hands along rocks/bricks/mulch/gravel/fences/etc and tell you how each feels. Normally he'd look at me like I was insane, but at that time it was like candy to him.

So anyway, yeah, Weds was all about Pullen and sort of helping P through that little bump and moving on.

Thurs was Thanksgiving with my parents and grandparents at my mom's house, which was great except I'd hardly slept the night before and a late nap (9-11) tooootally messed me up! I was a bit of a zombie until towards the end of the meal, when we finally got Ambrose (my all night wake-upper) asleep and I finally got two cups of coffee and some food into me! I was so mad at first, I was exhausted and out of it and we show up and my mother's house smells EXACTLY like it did last Christmas when she made this awesome cinnamon chip scones (my biggest weakness!). I was literally salivating and kept trying to find these things. Seriously, when they weren't in the bread basket at the table I came up with an excuse and went into the kitchen to check the oven and putter around. Where could she be hiding them??? The smell was so strong!

Turns out it was a cinnamon potpourri.

I almost cried.

#firstworldproblems :-)

That night we visited again to see my aunt and cousin, who'd come in from Florida. P switched his cousin obsession from my cousin Tiffany to my cousin Bethany. He loves having a girl to flirt with. And I'm so going to embarrass him as a teen about that!

Friday I took the boys out to Durham Life and Sci for a visit and we ended up spending the day, 9-5 minus an hour to eat lunch at Elmo's. It was great except for the wait in line for the one paying ride we went on! Though again, P was fantastic. I handed him a $5 bill and gave him some instructions, "go up this path and then to the left. You'll see some bathrooms. Somewhere over there you'll find a machine that wants $5 and will give you a token to ride this ride. I'm going to wait in line, you go get the token."

In a way, it was foolish. He just turned six, he's not super familiar with it, and OMG I let my young child out of my sight. But I'm a huge fan of free ranging when I feel we're in a spot to do so, and letting my children learn independence in reasonable situations. And man does it build confidence and real life skills! You wouldn't believe how proud I was when he returned a few minutes later proudly showing me the sparkly (tiny) token he'd purchased so he could ride the trampoline/take off thing!

Saturday we just sort of hung out. Nik took the kids in the morning while I slept, then they came home for lunch and a nap. Got some grocery shopping done, cleaned up a bit, that sort of thing. In the afternoon we went to my grandparents house to visit my aunt and cousin again before they left but they were all busy playing cards. After spending about 10 or so minutes at the playground near their house and realizing that we were super close to the airport, we packed up and high tailed it over to the airport's observation deck and spent two hours (during a gorgeous sunset) watching all of the planes for Thanksgiving weekend come and go. P found a friend at the sandbox, A stared in awe as plane after plane came in seemingly out of nowhere or took flight and disappeared. It was beautiful and perfect. Then back to my grandparents for some dinner and chatting before heading home to bed.

Sunday we all just lazed about in the morning before heading out to a goat dairy farm about an hour away, close to the zoo. I have to admit, I was only really looking forward to meeting up with our friends through a local inter racial family group, but man the place blew me away! Tiny, quaint, and just the perfect get away for us. We've already made tentative plans to stay there some weekend in February, when they have the new baby kids! Our little guys need more outside farm and woods time, and the suites were adorable, the places was beautiful, and again, close to the zoo :)

Today was a normal day again. Monday. Nik went to work, Paxton went to school, Ambrose went to preschool, and I did some shopping and hit the gym for an hour. In a way, it was more relaxing than our week together! But I have to admit... it was nice once the day was over and we were all back together again :)

I'm so looking forward to Christmas break now!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And Now He Is Older....

Ambrose turning 2 was hard. Really, it was. He was my first baby, and admittedly potentially my only baby. We'd love another, or even a few others, but life gives no guarantees so I chose to wholeheartedly indulge in his babiness while I still could.

Even so, while Ambrose turning 2 was hard, Ambrose being 2 is just fine. Perfect, in fact. I've had a two year old, I'm on familiar ground, and this time I'm doing it with a highly verbal, healthy, and firmly attached child which makes it so much more fun. I'm loving my little guy being two years old!

So I thought I could handle the growing up thing... and THEN, Paxton turned six.

Yeah, six.

Six years old.

That's, like, 72 months.

That's ooooooold!

Okay, so three was hard (how could I have a three year old when I'd only been a mom for a year?) , and four was hard because that was so less babyish, and then five was hard because that's the year you start school and he was so big and it's just such a kid year, not a little kid year, but at least five is at the precipice of kid years.

Six years old is firmly into kid territory.

School aged, reading, writing, knowing too much of the world already territory.

And man "six" does not roll off my tongue the way "five" did!

Maybe it's my own "big" birthday coming up (OMG the big 3-0 next summer!) but having a six year old makes me feel like I'm getting older, and not in that cool "wiser" way but in that totally uncool "mom, you're so old!" kinda way.

I'm sure I'll get used to it. In a few weeks, I probably won't have to correct myself when saying his age and it'll just seem normal to me.

And then next year he'll be seven...


So I should note that his birthday went off without a hitch. Not drama, no tears, no melt downs, no fights, nothing!

The days leading up to his birthday I tried to make super fun. I had to take him out of school early on Tuesday for a dentist appointment, and he was just so, so sad about missing math and PE and being with his friends. I decided to make it up to him by taking him to a huge bouncy castle place, the same spot he'd wanted to have his birthday party before we nixed the idea (too crowded by far, as well as pricey!). It was just my two guys and two other kids for the whole two hours we were there! 6 huuuuge bouncy castles between 4 children. Um, yes, I like those numbers!

Wednesday afternoon was Chuck E Cheese, and then birthday morning we were all up early enough that I let him pick a breakfast location (Waffle House of all places!) and we all dropped him off at school as a family. Gotta make my boy feel special :)

We brought in cupcakes to his class during snack time and everyone sang happy birthday for him. He was super excited! When everyone started to sing he sort of had this plastered smile on his face, totally awkward, not accustomed to being on the receiving end even though he'd been anticipating it for weeks. He locked his eyes with mine and didn't look away until the song was over. I guess even as a big six year old mommy is still his safe harbor :-)

That was Thursday, and that night we did our normal birthday dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We all ate way too much, including appetizers, and then we had them do their birthday thing where they come out with a flan and put a huge colorful Sombrero on his his while singing loudly, then dip his nose in whipped cream and clap. He had been looking forward to this and asking about it since Ambrose's birthday dinner.

So he was super psyched to get his own public humiliation!

Friday I picked him up from school and we went out and bought his cake, and a balloon, and ate about a million free samples of food at the grocery store. Seriously, I don't know how they expect you to buy any food when they practically give you a full meal just from walking in the door! P picked an ice cream cake, since he doesn't like regular cake or any bready sweets really.

Saturday was party day, and as we had 5 kids coming over with seriously nothing planned, I rushed out to buy some party games. Nik, P and I set up the house, with an adult seating circle upstairs (let's face it, the grown ups come to chat!), a pinata filled with good candy hanging from the pergola, the table pulled out and set up with an array of snacks and drinks, and several little "game" stations downstairs with things like the game Go Fishing on one and a craft on another and "make your own candy necklaces" on another. We taped streamers over the snacks and balloons around the house, and also blew up punching balloons for the kids to casually play with.

So it was my first "kid" party (not baby or toddler) at my house and you know what?

It. Was. Awesome.

I would totally do it again in a heartbeat. The whole party was nothing but laughter and squealing in fun, the cost was low, the set up and clean up was pretty fast (I had the kids find and pop all the balloons for me!), and even the adults seemed to have a great time. The only thing that surprised me was how much the kids loved the chickens! They all gathered the eggs for me, just because, and I had to make them all wash their hands haha! I got this close to setting up Mario Kart on the Wii for the kids to play together in a little Wii tournament, but I figured I'd save that as my secret weapon if the party went South. Never had to touch the TV! And given that we're talking kids in the 5-8 range, they were all kind and respectful and well behaved and, well, it was just a perfect number of kids and a perfect party. I think my favorite part is split between the pinata, which took just the right number of hits to break and was a huge hit, and the end of the party after all the presents were opened when P took his new playdough toy out onto the deck (that stuff's not allowed anywhere near my carpets!) with all of the children and even though they were sugared up and excited they all sat quietly and played together wonderfully with the new toy. All the adults, including us, were in awe!

So his birthday is officially over, and he wasn't immediately bumped up to first grade so I won that argument, and he's a little mopey about the fact that it's over with but not depressed. Instead he's just psyched to fly his RC helicopter for its 5 minutes of battery charge and read his many new books and eat the leftover snacks.

So last year? I arranged 4 parties for my kids in 6 weeks time. This year just two. Last year I swore I'd never do something that that again. This year, I had a blast and I'd totally do the low-key at home party again. Guess I've learned my lesson :-) See? You can teach and "old mom" new tricks!

Paxton tends to think outside the box when it comes to his decorating skills...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just A Moment

We've been having some sleep issues in this house lately. What with a time change, a new big-boy bed and deciding that he'd like to hold it for the potty now, Mr. A has been waking up a lot at night and needing a lot of attention. To say we've been a bit tired would be an understatement, but we've been through things like this before and we know very well it's not forever and we'll all be sleeping again soon.

That being said, I did have a wonderfully delicious 8 hours last night, only to be woken up at 6:30 by Nik coming into our bedroom with Ambrose. The babe had woken up shortly after we'd gone to sleep, at 11, and Nik just spent the night in his room to tend to him when he woke. I took over and brought Ambrose downstairs so that Nik and Paxton could sleep.

While it was very tempting to turn on Laurie Berkner so Ambrose could dance while I woke up fully, I had already received a talking to from Paxton about how I shouldn't turn on the TV until he's awake since it always wakes him up. Fair enough.

So we sat on the floor together, flipping through books and looking at puzzles and playing with little light up toys that make music and stuff like that.

At one point, though, my little bean realized that he was hungry for breakfast.

"Bar?" he asked hopefully, pointing to the stairs which lead straight up to the kitchen.

I did a quick mental check of the cupboards.

"No, sweetie, no bar. We at the last one a couple days ago."

His whole face scrunched up, eyes close to tears, mouth contorting. His body was stiff and his fists clenched.

"Sooo baaaad!" he called out.

"You want a bar so bad?" I asked.

"Ya," he nodded, relaxing and starting to pout.

He sat down on my lap, leaning his head into my neck, and just breathed there for several seconds.

And suddenly...

It was like a flash, a vision, and image stuck in my mind.

My little boy no longer little, all grown up and asking for something and realizing he couldn't have it. Disappointment, sorrow, anger... so many emotions could follow, as they do in toddlers. But I could see my little boy, now a grown man, letting it roll off of him, controlling himself, changing his plan easily and readily.

I could see this tiny boy as an adult all too easily.

And as an adult, he won't need to me to cuddle him when he's disappointed that we're out of cereal bars, or when he bumps his head on the underside of the table, or when it's his brother's turn to play with a toy he wants. He'll be able to regulate it himself.

And so, I held him. I held this little man, all thirty pounds of him, as he lay against me sad and upset and trying to hold it in and seeking comfort to help make his world okay again.

And a minute later, he left my lap to sit on the floor. He picked up a toy and in the sweetest voice he called, "mama pay wiv me," which is somewhere between a statement and a command.

So we played and we cuddled and we ate cold cereal and leftover home fries and a couple hours later we went to the store together where I bought him a box of cereal bars, which he happily opened in the cart.

It's amazing to me that there was a time I was that little, a time my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother, and all people on this Earth, were that little, that helpless. It's almost as amazing as the fact that one day he won't be so, one day he'll be big and strong and while he may still need me, it won't be for everything and anything. People start small and typically grow up. It's... amazing.

And I'm so, so, so incredibly lucky to be able to take part in it all.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh the deleting...

K so I wrote this post and then realized later that I shouldn't have written this post. Not because it was in any way offensive, I don't think, mostly because it's 3 in the afternoon and I've been up 12 hours already and I think I'm pretty much saving all the brainings for my children and seriously like nothing was translating into words very well. So yeah. I deleted.

Anywho, nothing interesting to report over here. Year's moving too fast, P turns 6 next week, Ambrose is in a big boy bed and learning to go on the potty, something has broken into the chicken tractor twice now but the chickies are okay, seeing my brother and his kids tonight for the first time in over 4 years. Kids are taking successful naps but should be up soon. I feel like I should have done something during their nap, like take a nap myself, but did not work and wish I had but yay internet. Also yay backspace key bc my fingers are not agreeing with proper word making right now. Go go weekend yay!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In which I get a little TMI

Hey, you know what stinks?

PMS. PMS stinks.


PMSing hardcore when there are full Halloween treat bags just sitting there.

I mean, seriously, normally I might have a few of the pieces of candy a day for a couple days and then just send it all with Nik to work and be like "seriously, just take it!" Sure I'd leave some for the kids and probably have them pick out what they'll be keeping, but otherwise it doesn't need to just sit there and look so, so, sooooooo good.

And it's not even that good, really.

It's like bite sized Twix and peanut butter Snickers and lots of weird, gooey, not-chocolate things that I won't even touch.

But I can't stop eating the chocolate.

Mmmmm, chocolate....

So anyway, you know what else sucks?

Wanting another child and getting your period.

Yeah, yeah, I know, we expect this every month and we can adopt again if we want and put our minds to it and we have that foster care thing to try and persue and I'm not exactly desperate for a pregnancy right at the moment but....

But I wouldn't *mind* if it happened. In fact, I'd be downright ecstatic. I might not be actively trying, no more temping or charting or planning ahead, but that doesn't mean I don't wish and hope and dream.

Because it could happen.

The basic ingredients are all there, even if they're in shorter supply than they should be.

And every month when I start to twinge and cramp a bit I do wonder, just for a minute, if maybe this is actually the month. Maybe it actually DID happen, maybe we beat the odds. I try not to, but I quickly add up 9 months in my head or on my fingers, just to see, just in case, which month I might, possibly, if it happened, potentially give birth in, then I try to wipe it from my mind and not think about it.

And then I start bleeding and that's all over and I get sad for a bit. Not the hardcore depressed I used to be, no crying or laying in bed staring at the ceiling, and my blues now are far more hormonal than emotional, and I swing upwards again very quickly.

The truth is... every month that it doesn't happen, is another month gone. Another down. Another month older. During our marriage our "possible due dates" have gone from July 2006 to July 2012, and yet still there has been no pregnancy to even begin the countdown. If it weren't for our children I think this fact, this 6 years since we first started TTC, would drive me utterly insane. Instead it's just... sad.

I know I shouldn't but sometimes, pretty much only on the first day of my period, I feel broken.

Women from all walks of life, all ages, all cultures, all situations, become pregnant so easily. They conceive and carry and birth without any real issue. I wonder what it would be like to decide you wanted to conceive a child with the person you love and to just do it and have it happen and just bask in it. Even if we were to ever conceive it wouldn't be like this. It would either be highly planned, ie with doctors involved, or unplanned in the "not trying not preventing" sense. We could never just make love with the semi-assurance that a baby will likely come of it.

I know it's not my "fault" and yet I can't help that feeling of helplessness, of failure, in my inability to do something that the vast majority of those around me can do. I'm not so much angered by it, nor does it stick with me all day. My friends announce pregnancies and go on about their babies to be and truthfully I'm 100% happy for them. I can handle big bellies and newborns and birth announcements and parties and it doesn't get to me. In a way I think having my children and being their mom has sort of buffered me in that way.

So outside influences... well, for the most part they don't get to me, except for extreme circumstances.

My sorrow is for me alone, for the lack of a baby in my belly, for the lack of a set due date, for the lack of that joyous moment of seeing two lines, that moment of telling my husband, children, family, friends, for being able to tell the world, for buying maternity clothes and going to prenatal appointments and feeling kicks from the inside... I have so, so much and I know it and I'm so incredibly thankful and grateful for it. But that doesn't stop me from hurting, just a little bit, just one day a month, when I realize that another month has passed and it still, after six years, has no happened for us.


K, time for a peanut butter Snickers...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Name rant addendum

K, so now I'm feeling all bad that I wrote insulting things about popular names. I think.


I've been riding high on sugar for like a week now. Halloween candy is totally awesome. Also Paxton was super sweet and got a ton of candy and told me that all the chocolate is for me. How can I pass that up? He's too sweet. And so is his candy. Yuuuummmm.


I should mention that my own kid's names have been the subject of ridicule online in several places. Oh, the things that have been said, the judgments that have been made. Also, the day we got P's referral? The day we first heard his gorgeous, meaningful, and also very common Ethiopian name? We shared it with people. And what did they tell me on this most wonderous occasion? "Ew. You can change that right?" "You NEED to change that right away! He'll be teased!" "You have to give him a normal name. You don't want to send him into a business interview with that name do you?" "Teachers will treat him poorly if you keep that name! If you want him to do well in school he can't be named that!"

And of course everyone had "statistics" to back it up. Seriously? This is the age of Google, and if you want to find a study, paper, article, or statistic to back something up, you can. Just take the opinion you already have and only look at, and latch on to, that which agrees with it. I mean, seriously, *I* do it, why don't we all admit that we take statistics and studies more seriously when they agree with what we already believe to be true?

Anyway, yeah, that was my first taste of name hate.

So my own name, very common and popular and, IMHO, overused, is considered just fine for any (female) child. But a name like Tariku? Uh, yeah, I've met two people in the US who can pronounce that (other than Ethiopians or Ethiopian adoptive parents). It's TA-ri-ku, with the r sounding a bit like a d. He was called Tari (TA-ri) in Ethiopia and I can't tell you how close we came to keeping his name.

So why did we change it?

Well, I could give you the normal reasons like "this was our first child and we wanted the honor of naming him since we'd missed everything else" or the acceptable "we felt it best to give him an American name so that people wouldn't have trouble pronouncing it all the time" (which helps, yeah, but not the case). What it boils down to, though, is that one day I was sitting around and a voice popped up in my head and said "You're going to get a boy and you'll name him Paxton" and I just couldn't get that out of my head. We even had a couple other potential names, Solomon and Cassian, as well as a slew of baby name books handy, and we really did come close to just keeping with Tari, but he just... well, he was Paxton. And we kept Tariku as his middle name and he's allowed to go freely between them and he has my express permission to ask to be called Tariku permanently if he so chooses. But he says he likes Paxton. He may change that when he's a teenager and I can totally see him taking back his birthname legally on his 18th birthday (and I'll be there to celebrate with a cake that says "Happy Birthday Tariku!").


My fingers are numb and my brain is fried and this is getting me nowhere.

So let me just say this then:

I love my kids names and those were THE NAMES for them, for our own reasons. They're actually rather long, complicated stories that involved a lot of what ifs and that one perfect moment of THAT'S IT!!! And lots of second guessing afterwards but, that really was it and our minds were stuck and somehow, someway, both times we were absolutely stuck on a boy's name, certain of that name, before even knowing we were having a boy.

(should I mention now that we've had a girl name picked out for a year that we're both stuck on?)

So, the thing is.... The perfect name for your kid is the perfect name for your kid. If they don't like it they can change it, like Nik did, or they can grow into it, or they can adopt a nickname that they use full time, or go by initials or a middle name and use that if they work in a business environment.

What they do when they grow up is their choice.

But when they're born you're making the choice and the name that seems perfect is perfect.

Whether it's Jacob or Bear or Apple or Emily or Pilot or Liam or Honey or Lily or whatever.

Or Sophie, which is a name I'm perfectly enamored with but beyond being highly popular is also the name of several children I know which just makes it weird to me to give to my own child, like I'm stealing a name. Oh, but she's the main characters in Howl's Moving Castle... I like Howl too... wonder if I can sell Nik on that one. Howl Everett? Howell Everett? Naaaah... maybe middle names?

Okay, I'm about to pass out from cold, sleepiness, lack of company with Nik stuck uber late at work, and the sugar buzz wearing off.

So I think my point is this: You give your kid their name because that seems right to you, due to whatever factors seem important like:
-family members
-the way it sounds
-who you did or didn't know with the same name
-real or fictional people or places with that name
-what sort of life you see for them (business office? Freelance photographer?)
-your last name
-your own experience with names
-how popular/unique it is
-culture of origin for you or child or ancestors
-influence from friends or children around you
-cultural attachments
-a bajillion other factors

And everyone else does it the same way. Some people are pretty much handed a name if these factors don't mean much to them, others toil away at choosing a name for years.

But not everyone is picking a name for the same reason you would pick a name, nor do they have the same factors.

A name that sounds crazy and pulled out of nowhere to you might be the name the parent has loved since 5th grade due to... some reason. A name that's uber popular might be uber popular for a reason, such as a good meaning, nice sound, and close family members with the same name. A Caucasian middle class parent giving their child and ethnic name might have strong ties to that culture and name and not just be trying to be "trendy," and even if they are that's still their decision.

What gets me, really, is just this name hate and how defensive people get over their right to judge, declaring that the parents are dumb and selfish for forcing such hideous names on children. Seriously, unless you live in their family, in their culture, in their town, go to their work, their place of worship, know their family history, their ties to this name, and know for a fact that others of the same name have fared worse than those with names you yourself have chosen.... yeah, I don't think you have any right to judge. And yeah, that goes for Pilot Inspektor and Audio Science too. And Apple. I mean, seriously, it was in baby name books far before Apple Martin was born, it's not like she's the first, or last, and it's not like names have always been homogenous.

Okay, back hurting, time to pass out asleep and dream of Reese's Cups and the strict diet I'm going to have to (attempt to) go on starting the end of the week....

Night y'all.

A quick rant about names...

Okay, why, WHY, do I bother going to "baby name" forums? I mean, seriously, I LOVE names. I love the histories of names, the reasons people have for giving their child a certain name, I love unusual names and classic names and, well, just names.

What I do not love, however, is name judgment.

Since I'm too much of a wuss to create an account, log in, and say this to people directly...

Seriously, y'all, get over yourselves.

Just because you don't like a name does not mean a child will be bullied because of it. So you can make a silly rhyme with it, so what? It sounds like a body part? It's "ethnic"? It has a "youneek" spelling? So. Flipping. What?

Seriously, okay, my name is Megan. The most typical spelling of one of the most popular names of my generation. I grew up with several other Megans in my class and because of it I always had a secondary label, like Megan M or Megan #3 or Brown Haired Megan or Megan Who Sits On The Left.

And don't even get me started on those dang blasted "personalized" pencils/stationary pads/mini license plates/hair clips/etc! People with uncommon names got actual personalized gifts on vacation or from relatives. I got pencils that said Megan. A LOT of them.

So no, no, I'm not in any way all about giving my child a common name. I hated having a common name and honestly? It never felt like MY name because of it, just some label stamped on me that didn't really fit. I'll respond to it, sure, but it doesn't feel in any way special or "mine."

Oh, and here's the kicker: My name was so, so, SO wicked popular, and also so simple to spell and pronounce.

And for my entire life I've been correcting the spelling and pronunciation.

Oh, and I was teased because of my name. The kids wanted to tease me (semi jokingly, as they were sort of friends) so they came up with a rhyme anyway even though it didn't make sense. I did the same to my cousin with his common name as well. They didn't need to sound like a bodily function or fictional character, if a child wants to make a dumb rhyme they'll do it.

But, hey, you know what? I've spoken to other people, children and adults, with rare, unique, or even "ugly" names, and you know what they say? They LOVE their names, they feel more individual because of their names, they stand out and are proud of their names, they love being able to be known by their first names alone and they would certainly give their own children unique names.

And so, here's my point:
When you are posting on a baby name forum, blog, or even writing a book and you are giving naming advice and literally bashing names and the parents who choose said names... you are being a jerk. A bully. YOU are the people who would think less of a person and their family because of a name choice.

When you are deriding a use of "cutesy" nicknames as a first name you are forgetting names like my own, Megan, which are in the truest sense only a nickname being used as a first name (and for some reason people still take me seriously). When you groan about how new spellings of older names are becoming popular, you are forgetting that very, very few of the names we have now started out in the spelling we have (I mean, seriously, who spells Guenevere like "Jennifer"?). When you joke about names from other cultures and how "we" (white people) shouldn't use them, honey, that's just discriminatory and there's no reason "our" names are okay for all other races and yet "their" names aren't just as good for us. When you laugh at people giving a child the name of a person from a book... uh, yeah, Bible much? And then there's names like Wendy, which were created only for a fictional tale. Oh, and when you're making fun of "feminizing" very masculine names for a girl? You're making fun of my mom. You don't want to make fun of my mom. She will mess you up :-P

(Hi mom!)

So am I not bothered by what other people name their children?

Well, I do take a bit of an issue with naming a child a super, super, over-popular name JUST SO that child won't be teased. Congrats, bullies, you have already won the battle while they child was still in the womb! I have to admit I'm also a bit put off by people giving their children that same over-popular name and not knowing how popular it is, as if it's a shock years later when they discover that it was #1 that year. I mean, the charts for top 1,000 names are available online readily so I don't know how people can be unaware of the popularity of their children's names. In our case, P's name was rising in popularity but now appears to be skyrocketing, and we've already met a few other Paxtons. But he was #777 on the top 1,000 list the year we named him. He's still the only one in his school at least! And, again, he's known by first name only (and boy does he LOVE his name!).

Okay, so this rant is getting me nowhere, just kind of a mental dump.

I guess I should finish this by stating that a blog I've recently started following had a post about what not to name your baby, poking fun at names just for laughs. I wasn't laughing. Poking fun at baby names is tantamount to poking fun at real people, and then declaring that someone else will bully them because "children are so cruel"... Um, no, you're the cruel one. I see people listing names from their children's classes, from hospital birth announcements, from their friends and families, just to laugh at them, and feeling fully justified. And I'm mortified and disgusted.

I'll probably rant about this again. It's just... seriously? You really think naming a child something like, iunno, Urijah, is setting him up for failure? I've met so many people with similar names (Yuri (m & f), Uri, Uriah) and no, they aren't teased, and yes people do take their names seriously. Really? Get. Over. It.