Parenthood is weird. And scary. And wonderful.
Parenthood is weird. And scary. And wonderful.
It’s a snowy day and there’s a sleeping baby in the house so I thought I’d talk about Alex’s name.
Many years ago I had a dream where I had a son named Alexander. There was some debate in the dream if his middle name should be Liam or Noel (not sure if it was intentionally related to the Gallagher brothers or not). That’s beside the point though. I woke up suddenly knowing that I wanted to name my first boy, should I ever have one, Alexander. And over time the name really really grew on me. It’s a sharp, strong-sounding name, deeply ingrained in antiquity, but it also sounds modern. As a bonus, it has the opportunity for so many nick names! Alex! Lex! Xander! I’m also a really big fan of etymology and Alexander has a good meaning: Defender of Men. Obviously back in the day, I think “men” was used to refer to “people,” much in the same way that the race of Men in Middle Earth includes men, women and children. I now especially love his name because I’ll be able to teach him values like compassion and tolerance, and to stand up for those less privileged and more marginalized than him. I want to encourage him to be a warrior for the disadvantaged. Basically we could really use a generation of white men raised by feminists. Everybody wins.
His middle name, Richard, is after Alan’s dad. It means Dominant Ruler. A quite kingly name for a very small dude (but let’s be honest, he’s actually a pretty big baby). I dug the opportunity to honor his grandpa while also squeezing in another historically royal name in there (Alan’s middle name is Robert – for his grandpa – another name with royal lineage).
And then his last name is my last name. I broached the subject with Alan long before we decided the time was right for kids. I started to wonder why it was still so commonplace for children to have their father’s name, which things like patrilineage aren’t a “thing” anymore. And I had this opportunity in front of me to tip the scales a little bit. Alan wasn’t on board at first, but with persistence, we had many conversations and we decided that our kids would bear the last name of Royce and we’re both happy with that decision. I personally have taken a more feminist stance on the subject, thinking that it totally makes sense and is in no way weird for a kid to have his mother’s name (why should it be?). After all, I carried him, I birthed him, and now my day-to-day life is caring for him. The irony is that Alan is so cool about the fact that this thing he probably assumed was a given his whole life has had a different outcome, that I feel like he should pass his name along too! But, I’m definitely overthinking all of this. My main concern now is that Alexander Richard Royce is such a good, strong and meaningful name, I’m not even sure where to draw from when kid no. 2 comes along. Do I go big again? Does it matter? Should we just pick a name that we like and forget about the deeper context and stop making things so damn complicated?
I’m averaging roughly 100 photos a day of Alexander, which is way too many, I know, but I’m also taking more than I can edit and share at a time, so here’s a good old fashioned photo dump. Some from the holidays and others from just me and him hanging out, and him and Alan hanging out (extra days off from work have made a huge difference — and we will miss that extra time with him!). Alex loves to just chill.A few window crystals — we were #blessed with a polar vortex the weekend before Christmas. It was so cozy and bright and cold. My favorite kind of winter.Early Christmas gift from my mom to Alex — a handsome little bodysuit inspired by Hamilton which she is #1 fan of. For my handsome little guy!Christmas eve at my parents house was a classy and low key affair with a gourmet meal made by Chef Adam (my sister’s longterm bf). Check out all the presents! Two parents, 4 kids, 4 spouses, 7 grandkids…Cousins.Overall, Alex’s first Christmas was pretty good. We didn’t give him any gifts (except the gift of life? Which I’m pretty sure counts as like 5 Christmas presents), but he got lots of little gifties from grandparents and “cousins” (pretty sure they didn’t buy them, but). It’s exciting to think that next Christmas he’ll be walking around. He’ll be a completely different little person. It’s exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. Luckily we got a coupon to get 101 prints from Shutterfly for free (coupons for their services show up EVERYWHERE especially in regards to baby products. Thirsty). It’ll be nice to have a little baby album that he can look at in years to come. I still look at my baby photos from time to time.Seriously — THIS KID! I’m completely enamored with him. But as a new parent I have conflicting emotions constantly. I want him to keep sleeping, but I want to be with him, I want him to grow up and become a little person, but I want him to stay exactly this way forever. When your baby is born, they truly hit the ground running and start growing and developing immediately. It can be such a blur. I’m glad I have done my best to document his progress with voracity because I kind of just have hazy recollections of those first days.
And I’ve always heard that the first couple months are truly the hardest, and indeed, things ARE getting easier. Sure, we’re still totally wiped out, but we’re getting the hang of the breastfeeding thing, and figuring out how the best ways to get him to sleep. Even though carrying him around still kills my back, there’s a stamina I have now that I didn’t before to just stick with it a little longer because I’m pretty sure he’s dozing off.
The Polar Vortex is BACK and I’m super pumped, especially because it has brought with it a really respectable amount of snow. It’s going to be a White Christmas after all! Early on in my pregnancy I fantasized about taking my baby out in the cold for winter walks all the time. In nordic countries this is the norm. With the subzero temps right now though, and him still being a little guy, I’m anxious about exposing him to the cold just yet. BUT REST ASSURED. When the time comes, I will be more than prepared. I’ve compiled a little group of items that would come in most handy for taking babies out in the cold.