Monthly Archives: November 2016

What matters when choosing a baby name

 

Jason scratched his head. “You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?”
Rick Riordan, The Lost Hero

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/names

What, in your opinion, are the most important name attributes?

  • The way it sounds?
  • The historical meaning?
  • The ethnic origin?
  • The number of syllables?
  • The compliance with the last name?

The author of this post thinks, that the most important thing is the association, that you, the parent, personally have with the name.

It can be the most adorable set of vowels and consonants, but if I know someone evil, unattractive, mean and unsuccessful carrying the same adorable set, I will probably refrain from this choice.

Does it sound stupid? Maybe, but this is the reality for the author of this blog and she is trying be on the right side of her intuition, common sense and information she gets in the internet.

There are (too) many ways today you can find sources of different names.

Names websites:

Hundreds of websites interpreting a name, a nickname, a variation of a name or a nickname and so on. Even when you narrow your search to the most specific options (“native american origin, female names, 2 syllables, starts with M”) – there are either no options given at all (the search was, probably, too narrow) or there are some two-three really weird names, that you don’t like.

Name forums:

With more human touch, name forums is where people (future moms, mostly) exchange their sympathy or antipathy for specific names, asking for advice or opinion and sharing thoughts. The downside of this way of choosing a name is, that there is not a lot of practical information on a specific name (e.g. its historical meaning), but rather the biased opinion of an undisclosed female, which, in some cases, can be nice nonetheless.

The good side of using name forums is, that you can get some information about nicknames and other versions of the name you had in mind – something you don’t always find on names websites.

What if you don’t want to use the internet?

At least at first stages of first rough choice (e.g. the first 5 optional names to choose later from).

I would do a traditional paper brainstorming. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down all the names that come to your mind and make you feel good. Names of friends, literature heroes, movie stars (though I would be careful about that), ancestors (I would be even more careful about those ones) or names you might have wanted for yourself, have you been given the choice at your birth.

I think this nice and simple method open options that do not exist on the web, since they come from your own “field of information” (which is based, of course, on the reality you live in, but still – it’s something that has gone through your system and has not been taken fully and directly from outside sources like the internet).

Here is an interesting thought though, which is related to any choice, including that of a name.

“We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”
Alan W. Watts

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/names

Do brainstorming but be careful about associations with the ansestrs – you don’t always want your baby to repeat the same life as your great grandfather (no matter how magical figure he might seem to you – you don’t know all the details, plus, every person is unique).

Avoid celebs and famous people – naming your baby after a super star (I don’t mean a new galaxy or a supernova) doesn’t seem like the best idea, because the fate of living public people is way too unpredictable. It’s not the same about deceased kings, writers, philosophers and so on. Though I, personally, would refrain from naming a little new individual after anyone at all.

So what is the bottom line?

Use your imagination but don’t give your name a weird baby – sorry, your baby a weird name – she’ll have to live with it her entire life, remember?

Moms’ life rule – thinking, trusting, treating

The three “T” rule became my rule for life since I became a fresh mom many years ago.

The first T: Think less, breath more

“Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.” Ed Asner

http://www.happyworker.com/supermom/mom-quotes#.WC__CCTn–c

It’s not that I don’t like the process of thinking and having this inner dialogue with myself. But not when it begins to control my time and my energy.

From empirical perspective, most of the thinking I’ve done in my life was absolutely useless. It’s hard to admit. It’s the same thing like saying – I wasted tons of time – my only precious resource, a resource will never come back.

Since I started meditating on a continual basis I realized, that conscious breathing and chaotic thinking do not come together. Try it yourself and you’ll see, that it is impossible to concentrate on the flow of air coming in and out your nostrils while your brain is working on a problem at the same time.

Conscious breathing or meditation (choose the most appealing word, even aqualung will do), is what helps mom (and soldiers on a battle field, managers or hunting tigers) freeze the leaks of energy and gain powers.

Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young” – Unknown

http://www.happyworker.com/supermom/mom-quotes#.WC__CCTn–c

Why is it so important?

Moms need energy more than any other human beings. Moms are on non-stop demand (guess by whom). Moms eat on the go. Moms never really sleep. Moms are expected to multitask and still look good (no, really?). Hyper responsible moms have no time to visit cosmetologists (they only have time to put sunglasses to try and hide the blue circles under their eyes). Moms don’t have time for gyms (fitness at home – yes. Aqua aerobics = mopping the floor, weightlifting = picking up the baby, cardio = running between the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom). In short, moms DO need an effective and affordable way to keep themselves afloat.

Disclaimer: when I say “think less, breath more”, I do not mean this nonchalant style of living when your motto is “this will never happen to you”. All I am saying is, worry less about hypothetical things. Most of our fears do not come true.

The second T: Trust your intuition

Moms (especially first-time moms) are walking receivers of never-ending advice, remarks, question and criticism from relatives, friends, colleagues and even female strangers on the street.

“Oh, watch it, the edge of your child’s blanked is on the ground…”

“It’s so cold, your child’s hat is 30 degrees on the left than it should be, the tip of his ear is exposed…”

“Do you breastfeed?”

“Do you breastfeed at night as well? You shouldn’t do it, you know”

“You should give yourself some time off, ask your husband to stay with the baby from time to time”

“Don’t pick up your baby, he will get used to it and will never want to stay off your arms”

“The baby must get used to sleep in her own room after the first month.”

“The baby must sleep in her parents’ bedroom until she is at least one year old”

“Never breastfeed in bed”

“I always used to breastfeed in bed, it’s the most comfortable way to do it”

“Never put the baby in bed with you, you might accidentally strangle him”

“Always put the baby on you, stomach to stomach, it will relax her fast”.

And the list never ends.

I’ve learned to trust my intuition right from the beginning, taking apart my own feeling and professional advice. It’s true, that sometimes you have to shut up and listen to what the nurse or the doctor says. It’s true, that moms need to be open minded. However, this does not contradict something very basic, that all women bear in themselves, but do not always let it pop out – our intuition.

It comes handy in a million of situations starting with a newborn, then a toddler, then a schoolkid, a teenager and so on. Actually, trusting your intuition stretches far beyond your motherly duties. But since it’s a mom-focused blog, I will not spread on other things.

So – mom and intuition, just like in Sinatra’s song about love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage. I know moms who cannot make a single decision without asking for somebody’s opinion (though, paradoxically or not, they mostly ignore these advice. It’s more of a tradition – to ask everyone around). I don’t really know what they are doing that – lack of confidence? The urge to get an “official confirmation”?

I’ve never suffered from that and I’m happy to have always walked hand in hand with my inner feeling in every smallest details along my kids’ growth:

  • how many layers of clothes to put on my kid when the weather is unstable?
  • does he cry because he’s hungry or just to get my attention
  • is she really sick or does she pretend only to skip a day in school?
  • is it a good idea to make him read a book now or better do something else?
  • Should I let them watch cartoons and rest or force myself into some activity?
  • Should I allow another piece of chocolate or should I play the strict mom this time?
  • When they fight – should I be the judge or let them try to figure it themselves?
  • Should I praise my kids for every little thing or let them know my honest opinion about the drawing (sculpture, toy-tower)?

These questions are endless. There is not a single book, person or website, that can clearly answer them and give mom the perfect advice for every small occasion. It simply does not exist, because we, humans, are meant to respond and not react in an automatic way (if a then b).

The third T: Treat yourself well

This one is my favorite. As Christmas time is approaching, I find myself spending amounts of cash on gifts, trying to remember everyone – from the cleaning lady’s dog to the painting teacher.

Somehow we, moms, tend to neglect ourselves in this messy gift-buying process. Or maybe we secretly hope someone will get us something magical, like a medium-sized diamond ring or at least two tickets to the opera. Sometimes it actually happens, but to count on that? Seriously? Remember: a mom needs constant supply of positive energy since her energy expenses are enormous, extending far beyond financial amounts she can possibly spend. Mom’s happiness stands above all (of course, that still does not give moms the indulgence to do certain things). Don’t listen to those who say, that happiness cannot be bought. Of course not – in the broad sense of the word. But when it comes to treating and spoiling yourself with little necessities, no one can do it better than mom herself.

Face oil, black lacy stockings, earrings from a bijouterie shop – yes, there are things than money can buy and provide a temporary splash of joy. The problem does not lay in the money. It’s the attitude.

 

 

money saving

3 things I would never buy for my newborn

A newborn means a lot of joy, a bit less (but still a lot) of expenses and even less sleep.

“A lot of people will tell you advice like “sleep when the baby’s sleeping.” It’s good recommendation unless the baby sleeps when you’re driving! “

http://congratulationsto.com/baby_congratulations/funny_new_baby_quotes.php

I have been wondering recently where lays the root of this uncontrollable desire to spend more and more money on our children? Clothes, toys, educational posters, smart devices… are you in the club as well?

So here is the hypothesis:

The act of buying, the act of spending money on another kid-friendly gadget gives us an illusory feeling of satisfaction. Illusory, because we don’t really gain anything in the long run. Does your child really need all the bunch of toys and educational stuff you buy for him or her? How many devices are really being used for good? How many are stored idly somewhere in dark corners of the apartment? How many are you trying to resell on eBay?

Guided by these thoughts, I made a short list of three items, that I, personally, think parents don’t need. If you disagree, you are welcome to state your opinion in comments and I’ll gladly prove why you are wrong confront it.

1. Newborn swing (jumper, bouncer)

Why? Too expensive and short-termed.

Buying something so expensive (around $100 on Amazon without shipping fee) just for a few months use sounds inappropriate to me. Plus, as an experienced mother, I know a child will not really spend a lot of time in this thing. Why? Because all children really want is their parents’ attention. It’s not like you can relax in peace and quiet once your newborn is peacefully playing and entertaining himself in the swing. You will need to spend the same amount of time and energy as you would if you put your child in a regular baby car seat (you know, these semi-car seats intended for home use to carry the baby around) which can be purchased in perfect condition for 5$ on a second-hand market. So why spend $100?

Final conclusion: is not worth the money and is too short-termed for use.

2. Musical potty chairs –

Why? They are more like toys than real potty-training equipment. Some are even annoying.

Musical potty chairs are just another kind of useless toy and is something I can definitely live without saving myself about $30. Kids (well, my kids) got potty trained perfectly well using these regular cheap plastic potties without musical background and cheering sounds. Why do I think this item is unnecessary? Its cost-effectiveness is low if you think about the initial purpose. Plus, if you made a thorough research like I did, and read the cons and the pros for every hyped and branded potty there is on the market, you would find that the cons are not that negligible as they may seem. For example: slippery potty rings (the part where the child sits), music sounds that you CANNOT TURN OFF (unless you take the batteries out or smash the damned thing on the wall), lids, that don’t shut properly, music, that stops working after 4 weeks of use and so on.

Final conclusion: if you want another toy at home, go for it. But remember, that children learn perfectly well with a regular potty (it doesn’t have to be the cheapest plastic thing that slips and moves under your child, but you can find some decent, stable pot that will stay still and keep itself silent).

3. Baby food makers

Why? A simple gadget available in every human’s kitchen can successfully replace any baby food maker.

Ok, I know it may sounds like a revolutionary product that makes mom’s life much easier (ask any grandmother). However, as an experienced mother who raised kids deliberately not buying all these shaking devices, I’ll tell you what makes me step back when I see those fancy electric bottles, cups and blenders:

a. I want my kids to use their teeth and actually chew the food. Steel fork! A primitive great tool to mash and squash whatever is at hand. Here is a great article explaining why I am not the only weird mom one who thinks so

http://tribecanutrition.com/2015/03/textured-food (if the link does not work please let me know in comments).

b. I don’t want to waste time washing the electric device (yes, I know most are super easily cleaned. And still, to rinse a fork requires less brain activity and less movements).

“If you want to make good use of your time, you;ve got to know what;s most important and then give it all you’’ve got.” Lee Iacocca

http://sourcesofinsight.com/time-management-quotes/

I am sure every mom has her list of must-haves and things-she-will-never-buy.

The three items listed here –are my personal choice based on experience of raising several kids. I believe, that it goes far beyond the child’s list and that we don’t really need most of the things we spend money on (another USB? Another pair of shoes? Another book? Another set of clothes?)

It’s not a sin to buy these useless things that make you happy as long as you are conscious of what you are doing, knowing that it’s for the sake of shopping therapy only. As a mother and a woman I am guilty of that as well –buying stuff I don’t need just because I like to take my wallet out, open it, pay and then put it back into my bag. The only thing I am really trying forced to do is to minimize the financial damage and arise consciousness.