Naming the Baby
As so often happens, though, my son taught me otherwise. When my Old Man read my last post, he said “You used her name. That’s interesting,” and I told him that I planned to use an alias from now on, but was having trouble coming up with one. O. was not in on the conversation, but of course he was absorbing every word. After my Old Man and I had gone back and forth over possible options (this baby has already gathered several little nicknames and terms of endearment, but none seem blogworthy), O. piped up. “The baby’s nickname could be Roo, like in Winnie the Pooh,” he said. Hm. “Roo” is totally different than “rue.” And I’ve always dug Roo. (At least the A. A. Milne version; I’m thus far blissfully ignorant of the Disney versions of Pooh and his crew.) He’s small and cute but scrappy, always leaping in and out of sand pits to keep his jumping chops up. And both he and Kanga are unflappable and can take a joke, and even turn it around to joke the jokers (see chapter seven of the first Winnie the Pooh book, “In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath”). He’s also often tucked into his mama’s pouch, and as an ardent fan of the baby sling, I am already walking around wearing my little girl in a pouch some of the time. It seems like a fine nickname, plus it fits the family pattern of first-syllable-as-nickname (which my Old Man can’t really rock, his name itself being one syllable). So Roo it is.
So what to say about this baby girl I’ll call Roo? (New as she is, it will take some getting used to, calling her by anything but her sweet name.) Well, it’s only been a week, but I am deep in love. I’ve never been one to fetishize tiny babies, or to wax nostalgic about nursing days gone by, and yet now that I’m in it, I’m entranced by the smell of her little head, the softness of her face, the funny sounds she makes, the sight of her face relaxed into the bliss of breastfeeding. It’s bringing me back to my love-addled days as the mother of newborn O., and at the same time, it’s a whole new thing, an encounter with an entirely other being and her particular rhythms and charms. And watching my Old Man father her with such love, such humor, such patience, makes me appreciate him even more than I already do. It’s a downright lovefest around here. True, we’re short on sleep. True, it’s a challenge sometimes juggling a newborn and a preschooler. But all-in-all, things are pretty fucking great. If you stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll have some wit’s-end moments in the coming weeks and months, but right now, I’m just happy to be where I am.