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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Naming the Baby

Today our baby is one week old. My birthday present to her, in addition to copious amounts of breast milk and nuzzling, is an alias for this blog. In my exuberance, I said her actual name in the “she’s here!” post. But it’s not really fair to give everyone else in the family their anonymity and call her by name. It’s tricky, though, because my four-year-old son and I both have very convenient nicknames that work well for the blog. (Many of my close friends actually call me “E,” and O. is known by the inner circle as often by “O.” as by his actual name.) I don’t think we’re likely to start calling the baby “R.” at any point; that letter doesn’t sound out the initial syllable of her name in the way that “O” and “E” do ours. The other name under consideration was Lucy, and I have to admit one thing I liked about that name was that it has a cool little nickname (“Lu”) built in, one that she could use if she turns out to be the butch, no-nonsense type, and one that would also work nicely as an alias on my blog. But we decided on the other name option, and I am glad. Now that she’s named, it seems like no other name would quite suit her so well. But the first syllable of her name is “rue,” and that doesn’t seem like quite so jaunty or cheerful a nickname.

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.


Blogger Elizabeth said...

Sniff. Your post made me a little weepy. And it makes me want to get pregnant RIGHT NOW. Where's my husband...?

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The perfect nickname for the most delightful name. It'll be so fun to experience little Roo growing up along with our little B.

-Other E (for Other O and Little B)

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

First of all Roo is totally perfect! I have a red cat named Pippi, after Pippi Longstockings, and after the fact I de cided to call her Rooster (cause I love roosters) and Roo is another name that has emerged from it. Roo. ROOSTER ROO.
Second of all, I am SO glad to hear that you love, love LOVE your new baby. I am the one, undecided still on if I should have a second and am gleefully living vicariously through everyone's second children. You, unlike my friends here, were honest about your indecisiveness. So. I shall watch. And learn. And probably have another this spring or so.
Enjoy the sounds and smells of your little gem!
(that was going to be my suggestion - gem, or gemma)

7:57 PM  
Blogger Esereth said...

You know, I was in a miserable dither for the first month or so after Smudge got here, everything so different and weird sound so happy! Maybe it's easier the second time round when it isn't such a shock to your life.

You sound so happy. I'm so happy you are happy. And blogging.

11:38 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Elizabeth - does that mean my blog is an aphrodisiac?

Other E - Yes, I'm excited about little Roo having a buddy in little B. (Also a great name!)

Sarah - Yeah, I always knew that if we had another baby, the ambivalence would disappear. And somehow, that didn't make the decision any easier! Good luck with yours...

Esereth - it's definitely easier the second time. We are just much less out of sorts, and experience is helping us a great deal. But I'm also not recovering from major abdominal surgery, as you were after Smudge's birth. That's got to add to the difficulty of that first month.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Candy Rant said...

It's great reading about the lovefest. Savor every moment. And then of course report to us. :)

11:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ooooh, ooooo! I am so thrilled for you!!! It sounds like everything went beautifully with the birth and that you are doing magically deliciously well. :) Hello, dear Ruby! Welcome to one of the happiest lil familes on earth! I love the way you talk about the intoxication of falling in love with your own baby--a foggy memory for me, but it rings true all the same. :)

As soon as you said, "rue" my mind offered, enthusiastically, "Ruby?" so I quickly scrolled down and voila--Ruby! It is so perfect. And Roo could not be better suited.


(and as a side note, I'll echo that last refrain of yours: for the moment I'm exactly where I want to be and as happy as a clam, but I'm sure I'll see stress and sadness in months to come.) xoxox

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! What a beautiful name (and perfect blog alias).

5:35 PM  

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