What Not to Name Your Kid

There are some topics I would love to write about but I know they’re way too controversial or potentially offensive- this is one of them.  But if I am vague enough and only give over-the-top examples, I might be able to pull this off.


When naming our son who is due to arrive in November, a few ground rules were that the name had to be easy to say and spell, easily recognizable, and not made-up.  So that’s one of the many reasons we went with the classic American “Jack”.  Other than my dad, I don’t know anyone else with that name, yet it’s highly popular in movies and TV- therefore making it popular but not overused.

I do take requests as far as topics I write about.  “What Not to Name Your Kids” was an idea suggested to me by a few different people and I decided to take the challenge.  After all, we all are familiar with baby names that we say, “oh, I like that” when the soon-to-be mom tell us, yet we later tell our friends “you gotta hear this name, it’s so weird…”  So I have come up with a list of “no no’s” when it comes to naming a North American child.

Last names for first names that are not classic or already decently popular. Madison and Mackenzie are acceptable.  But when I hear more obscure ones like Middleton, Smithwell, Dresden, Spurlock, Applegate, and Hester, I can’t help but feel sorry for that kid.

Wrong gender names. Obviously names like Jordan and Taylor are good names that truly are completely neutral and work well for a boy or a girl.  But when I hear of a girl being named James or Scott or Todd, or if a suffix is added to a boy’s name to make it feminine like Markley, Davidanna, or Johnlyn, I get irritated.

Funny names. Jack B. Nimble, Robert Robertson, and Sunshine Day.

Random, made-up names that are supposed to be cute. Spiffet, Tindle, Gladdon, and Marxon.

It used to be that a person’s middle name might be a little different or off-beat.  But nowadays, parents are going all out on the first names.  That will surely be a trait of the Class of 2030.  Weird names.

dad from day one: Light Years Away

Twenty-one weeks.

Baby Jack is starting to kick now.  Of course I’m assuming that he’s also simply moving around and turning inside there as well- not just kicking.  So it may not be his foot, but instead his elbow, or even his head that my wife and I are feeling.  This morning in my less-than-conscious-waking-state-of-mind, my wife placed my hand on her stomach, saying, “Do you feel him moving?”  I did.

And as real as this is, that our son is actually inside there, so lively, it’s still engrained in my brain somehow  Baby Jack is light years away, floating around in a heavenly baby universe until November.  Despite feeling him with my own hand, with just centimeters separating the skin of my hand and the skin of his body, despite him literally being a matter of a few feet away (or less, depending on how near I am to my wife), I’m having trouble grasping that in reality, he’s right there.

Jack's body is the length of a banana.

Jack's body is the length of a banana.

Not in another world.  But here.

Here’s what The Bump says this week:

“Baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid every day, both for hydration and nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting. And, these days, those taste buds actually work! Studies show that after birth, babies are most interested in tastes they’ve already experienced through amniotic fluid. Meaning, think about what you want your future child to eat as you prepare your own lunch.”

http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/blogs/2ndtrimester/pages/week-21-banana.aspx?r=0

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

dad from day one: What Does a Real Baby Do?

Fifteen weeks.

My expectations of what it will be like for my wife and I to have a real baby are pretty limited.  When I try to imagine it, I can only think about a few things: the baby crying, the baby being hungry, feeding the baby, the baby wanting to be held, holding the baby, the baby pooping, changing the baby’s diapers, the baby sleeping, us wishing we could sleep.

And aside from the 80’s sitcom stereotypes, I of course am well aware, thanks to everyone who has ever been a parent and given me any advice: There’s nothing in the world more rewarding than being a parent.

In November I will begin to feel like a real parent (once the kid is born).  Until then I won’t really truly be able to understand or fathom this most rewarding thing in the world.

It’s funny to think that eventually we won’t be comparing our baby to the size of a certain fruit.  (This week our baby is the size of a naval orange.) Eventually, our baby will be the size of a baby.  Interesting thought.

Excerpt from “the bump.com”, regarding week 15:

“Continuing the march towards normal proportions, baby’s legs now outmeasure the arms. And, finally, all four limbs have functional joints. Your fetus is squirming and wiggling like crazy down in the womb, though you probably still can’t feel the movements.”

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/blogs/nb_checklists/pages/how-big-is-baby.aspx?r=0&MsdVisit=1

The Importance of a Setting in Real Life, Not Just in Fiction

 This could be Heaven or this could be hell.What makes old graveyards creepy, besides our sneaking suspension that the bearded ghost of a Confederate Army General will appear through the foggy mist and try to tell us a haunting story of he ended up with a hook for an arm?  (Pirates don’t have exclusive right to those things, you know…)  Take away the graves and all the preconceived ideas that human curiosity has handed down to us over the centuries, and chances are, the land itself is still not a beautiful piece of land to begin with.

I assume that the land used for graveyards and cemeteries often was the land that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing as the acres used for building homes, schools, and businesses.  Safe to say it wasn’t feng shui. 

Instead it was the leftover, out of the way, dreary land that someone was just trying to get rid of.  So they sold it for less than they would have liked to an investor who saw its best potential and destiny was for it to become a graveyard.

We choose destinations for a reason.  Why do coffee shops serve as such a great pre-date and unofficial first date venue?  Because there are plenty of other people around in a coffee shop whose collected friendly conversations make for the perfect background murmur, so that while the two single people are surrounded by people, it’s intimate enough of a setting where they can, in a sense, feel alone- without the awkwardness of actually being alone when they don’t yet know each other that well. 

If nothing else, the coffee itself serves as a convenient social crutch, as mentioned in Campfires.  A coffee shop is a setting of safety, comfortableness, and relaxation, as well a symbolic “garden of growth”.  I know this first hand:

Before I asked out my now-wife to the sure-to-get-a-second-date John Mayer concert, I primed our new friendship with several Sunday night meets at the local Starbucks.  It was the coffee shop that watered and fertilized our friendship into dating, then a little over a year later into marriage, and two years after that (present day), a baby.  A human life is scheduled to make its first out-of-the-womb appearance this November.  And it all started, in theory, by me choosing the right setting- which in this case was a coffee shop.

What if instead of asking her to coffee when we first met as strangers, I would have asked her to dinner?  It could have been awkward.  Eating with a stranger she just met the week before.  I could have ended up in a category of guys she had dated but it never really went anywhere- and I wasn’t willing to make that gamble. 

I knew that if I built the relationship on true friendship first, it would be much more natural and relaxing to eventually eat a meal together at a restaurant.  But not before coffee at a Starbucks.

We can choose where either good or bad memories will take place.  Where does a guy propose to his fiancé?  Where do parents announce to their children that they are getting a divorce?  Because those places will never be the same again after that.

Where were you when you found out the cancer is in remission? Where were you when you heard about the two planes crashing into the Twin Towers?  Those places will always be associated with the big news, good or bad.

It’s why the phrase “may I speak with you for in a minute in my office, please?” is so epic.

Whether we choose the place, or it chooses us, the setting is everything; lasting an entire lifetime as it attaches itself to a memory of hope or a memory of damnation.

dad from day one: Baby Bean’s Heartbeat

Twelve weeks.

We have a new doctor.  Actually, a group of them: Midwife nurses (http://www.vanderbiltnursemidwives.org/).  Things are the exact opposite as they were at the other place.  It’s so important to know that the people taking care of us actually care about us. Friendly, informative, patient people there to help us.  Last week for our visit, we got to hear the heartbeat for the fist time, thanks to a Doppler device.

Whoot-whoot.  Whoot-whoot. Like listening to the sound effects of an Atari game played in a submarine.  A bit eerie, a bit awesome.

Our baby’s heartbeat is 150.  Supposedly, that’s typically the speed of a female heartbeat.

In addition to trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am responsible for causing another human’s heart to beat, creating physical life, I am also fathoming the thought that I am responsible for causing a soul to exist as well.

It’s just a theory, and not even an important theological one at that, but I believe that the soul is passed on through the man, not the woman.  Jesus’s father was the Holy Spirit, not Joseph.  While his mother Mary was completely human.  And Jesus didn’t have a sin nature like his half-brothers and sisters born after him.

I take a certain verse quite literally, Romans 5:12, that says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”.

Humankind wasn’t cursed when Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit.  It wasn’t until she offered it to Adam and he ate it that God kicked them out of Paradise, took away their eternal life, caused women to have labor pains, and forced men to have to work hard for their food.

From that point on, the human soul (complete with a natural tendency to do wrong) has been passed on through all generations through the man, with the exception of Jesus who was fathered by the Holy Spirit.

So if that theory is indeed correct (and no one in this lifetime can know for sure), then I accept the gravity of it, as best as I physically can: Another human being with an eternal, spiritual soul, will take its first breath this coming November because of me.  (Of course, Lord willing.)

The word “legacy” is an understatement here.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com