June 2007

A couple of big things are going on in Emma’s life lately. She has teeth working their way into her tiny little mouth. Last week she cried, and I mean screamed and howled, for two hours straight, scaring the you-know-what out of me until I figured out it must be teething. I couldn’t see anything on that day, but a couple days later two teensy-weensy little white lumps appeared on her lower gum. They haven’t broken the skin yet, but they are definitely there and she is not particularly happy about it.

Also, Emma has figured out that her legs do cool things. She started using the bumper in her crib to pull herself into a standing position last week, so that had to go. The crib rails were a logical next step for her and we didn’t really want her doing a front pike off the top rail, especially since she hasn’t quite been able to stick the dismount yet. So on Monday we lowered the crib mattress substantially so she can pull up to her hearts content and we can stop putting blankets on the floor in front of the crib to break the fall (seriously that happened, and lets just say it wasn’t me who put them there…how cute is that?).

Oh yeah, and just the other day Emma went for a walk in her stroller without the car seat. She strapped in like a big girl, facing front, and went on a walkabout, checking out her neighborhood with a whole new point of view. Next thing you know she’ll be driving.

I wrote this post a while ago, over six months ago in fact when Mike and I were trying to decide what to name Emma. I just went back and re-read it and got a kick out of it, so I thought I would share it with you, my three readers. What is interesting now is that even once we decided on “Emma” for our daughter (a good seven hours after her birth mind you) in the back of my mind I had an image of the kind of person who would be attached to that name – very proper and very Victorian. Needless to say, proper and Victorian do not describe my Emma at all – but lots of other words do – determined, charming, focused, engaged, earnest, tenacious, resolute, sweet and oh so affectionate. In the end, of course, her name has little to do with the person she is becoming. I have to say though, that I am glad she isn’t that original Emma I had in mind.

Naming someone you have never met, and in fact won’t really know for a while after you meet them, is a very daunting task. Does a name make a person what they are, does it carry implications about personality, or is a persona created for a name by the person who carries it. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but they have been swirling around in my head for a while.

As much as I don’t consider myself trendy, for better or for worse, most of the names I have picked out recently for our impending bundle of joy were in the “top ten” of popular baby names in 2005. How frustrating. Mike and I both grew up as one of a few Mikes or Jennifers in our classes, which was annoying, but I guess we survived. Are we, as parents, dooming our child to ordinariness by giving her a name that thousands of other children have, or will she be able to make it her own in a way that separates her from others with the same name? Does it even matter?

According to the Social Security Administration, “Mary” was either the number one or number two girl’s name from 1893-1965. “Michael” has been number one or number two since 1954. Check out this cool site to find out how your name has ranked over the years. Why do popular names stay popular? And in the end, what is the bigger curse – having a name that is common, or a name that is unique? And if you are choosing between two or three names, is a name’s over-popularity a reason to knock it out of the running? Or maybe the goal is to find a name in between “popular” and “weird” that you like, and hope that your kid likes it too…

Emma was six months old on Tuesday. She took three naps to mark the occasion and seemed to enjoy her carrots a little more than usual. She went for her six month check up today and weighed in at 15 lbs. 6 oz. and 25 1/2 inches long (for those of you who are keeping track). She is sitting up (mostly), eating a rainbow of vegetables, sleeping pretty well and laughing almost daily.

I am still amazed to be partly in charge of this little person and at how fast the time with her is going. Every time she does anything I try to lock it away in a special little area of my brain meant only for Emma memories. One day she will ask what her favorite vegetable was (butternut squash), or how old she was when she first took a bath with Moose (ahem) and I will be able to tell her all about it.