Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Middle Name

Matt and I went back and forth about Claire's middle name for a while, but we've agreed on one now. So, we wanted to share it, along with the short and long versions of its explanation.

Her name will be:  
Claire Moriah Kelley

Our short caveat: "Moriah with an 'o'. It's biblical, not like Mariah Carey."

I wouldn't saddle a child with a first name requiring explanation or frequent spelling clarification, but I figure beyond her first weeks of life, how often does one have to explain his or her middle name except in the context of friendly conversations about such things--the same conversations where people usually pull out their drivers' licenses to compare photos. That said, here's the longer explanation of "Moriah."

Moriah was the place at which Abraham bound his son Isaac for sacrifice. It first crossed my mind as an interesting baby name way back, during college, when I was reading Genesis 22 and pondering the notion of giving that which we are tempted to hold onto too tightly over to God. More generally, to me it signifies acknowledging God's ownership of all things and people, and our stewardship of God's gifts. It's hard not to claim "ownership" of our children, and thinking of parenting in terms of stewardship brings a good perspective, I think.

That place, Moriah, is then traditionally considered to have become the place where Solomon built the Temple, i.e. the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Since we found out we were pregnant on the day Matt left for Israel/Palestine last February, Matt liked the idea of an homage to his pilgrimage as well. (And given that the Hebrew meaning of Moriah is "ordained/considered by the Lord," it's also fitting since hopefully Matt will be fully ordained next year!)

And Mariah-with-an-A, by the way, is not just a different spelling, but a completely different name. It's a variant of Mary (Marah) which means "bitter" in Hebrew. (for example, when Ruth's mother-in-law says "No longer call me Naomi, but call me Marah, for the Lord has made me bitter.")

So, Claire Moriah it is, which seems to fit the baby-naming precedent we set with Kate: classic first name just 'cuz we like it (i.e. that I liked before ever knowing Matt) and less common middle name with more meaning. Kate is Katharine Barry. Yes, we have to specify "K-a-t-h-A..." when spelling it at doctor's offices and such--this even led to her being listed twice on our insurance when she was born, as Katharine and Katherine--but Kate very rarely requires clarification. If it weren't for that Cate Blanchett. And Barry is a female family name on my side. With Claire, a few people have wondered if a) we're using the "i," since there are some Clares out there, and b) if we're spelling it with a K, which I don't think anyone would wonder if it weren't for the "Kate and Claire" alliteration (is anyone actually named Klaire?)

What is your philosophy of baby-naming? First names, middle names, nicknames... do you have any "rules" you go by?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Kate is now asleep. After protesting my final goodnight with some mild bellowing and a headlock. After begging for "one more book" several times. After insisting on putting on big girl panties over her nighttime pull-up, and getting nasty with me when I tried to help. After literally running circles around me to avoid letting me unbutton her shirt. And I didn't even try to brush her teeth tonight.

Toddlerhood brings some tough moments, and bedtime is usually one of them. Where, oh where, is my super-sleeper baby, who slept through the night at two months, went down with no trouble at all, and made us the envy of family and friends?

Long gone. But she could come back. Who knows?

If there's one thing parenthood will teach you, it's that everything is a phase. You may take this for granted the first year or two, especially with an easy baby who makes it easy to assume she's just naturally good-natured and you've got this parenting thing down. But nothing lasts forever. Good or bad.

We like the song by Darius Rucker (AKA Hootie of Blowfish fame, turned country singer), It Won't Be Like This for Long, which describes a father's experiences through phases of his daughter's growing up, good (it won't be like this for long, so cherish it) and bad (it won't be like this for long, so hang in there). There are days I just have to take a deep breath and sing it to myself, sometimes from the upside and sometimes the downside.

Battling to get her in her carseat? It won't last long.
Spitting and licking for fun? It won't last long.
Sleeping on the floor every night, rather than in her bed? It won't last long.
Having conniptions over completely random little things? It won't last long.
Refusal to brush her teeth? It won't last long (I hope).

Sweet girl saying, "I wanna hold you, Mommy!"? That won't last long, either. 

Everything's a phase. Survive it. Cherish it. It won't be like this for long.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday: Mommy Groups in Church

Working Mom WednesdayIt's been a long time since I wrote a Working Mom Wednesday post--and I've actually had one percolating for quite a while now, but this is not it. No, this is a piece I wrote for Ministry Matters, the website for church leaders that I edit in my day job, and since it deals with working moms and church fellowship opportunities, I thought I'd share it here.


While visiting my parents this past weekend, I had the opportunity to worship at my home church (which I've gushed about before) and something in the bulletin caught my eye:
Mothers in Faith, a Kingdom Group for moms of young children, meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm.
My heart lept for joy, despite the fact that I live 150 miles away and couldn't actually be part of this group myself.
Why was I so happy?
Because this was the first small group, Bible study, play group, or fellowship gathering for moms that I'd seen that did not meet at 10 am on a Wednesday, or some other time that--intentionally or not--sent the message that working moms need not apply. . . . 

Friday, September 09, 2011

ZooTwos! (and a Mommy Confession)

Last Saturday, Kate and I went to our first session of ZooTwos, a program offered by the Nashville Zoo. Every Saturday morning for six weeks, we'll go for an hour of parent-child fun with an animal-related lesson, a craft and story, and we get to meet two animals each week up close. (They offer separate classes for toddlers, twos, threes, and I think older kids, with a weekday session and a Saturday session for us M-F working parents.)

This first week, we talked about animal tracks and walked around the room to look at several types of prints (printed on paper and adhered to the floor), then came back to the circle for our animal meet-and-greet with an opossum named Penelope and a rabbit named Amelia.
 Zoo lady holding opossum

Other kids touching rabbit

Kate didn't want to touch the animals; I'm not sure why, and she even declined the hand sanitizer brought around after the animals--I figured she'd take that even though she hadn't touched the animals! We then did a craft--decorating a mitten-shaped piece of paper with animal stamps and crayons--and came back to the circle for our story, The Mitten, about a boy who loses his snow-white mitten in the snow and a bunch of animals decide to squeeze into it all together.

Kate seemed to enjoy the class, and was very well-behaved. The kids had to sit either on their parent's lap or on the carpet square in front of the chair, and would be asked to step out if they couldn't sit still--which a couple kids didn't! When a parent took her child out, Kate said to me quietly, "They didn't listen." Nope, they didn't. Not like she's a perfect listener--especially at home--but she's much more subdued in public and in large groups.

Which brings me to my Mommy Confession... I don't know what to make of the fact that Kate is apparently pretty quiet and reserved in groups of other children. She's always been such a live wire at home--totally fearless, loud, silly, sassy--Matt and I assumed she would be the same as she got into social situations, and we were glad that hopefully she wouldn't deal with the same social awkwardness and insecurity that plagued both of us. She's never shown separation anxiety and seems comfortable with new people--being a PK and being in day care from four months onward have their benefits. However, teachers (at her old school and now here too) tell us how quiet she is at school. They have to ask her to speak up, and she's more passive in her interactions with other kids. I'm glad she's well-behaved at school, of course--and I know it's normal for kids to "let it all out" at home--but I just hope that confidence and bold personality we see in her doesn't get hidden away when around her peers.

I frame all this as a confession because I feel guilty for giving any of this a second thought.

We think she's amazing and love her no matter what. But when she was the only child not to touch the animals at ZooTwos, my immediate concern was that she would regret not seizing the opportunity--a silly thing to worry about, I guess, since toddlers mainly live in the moment and probably do not really experience "regret" the way us older people do. She's excited to go back, so I don't think it tarnished her experience in any way. It's fine if she just didn't want to touch the animals, for whatever reason, and if she's shyer than we thought she would be, but I worry about her missing out or (and this is my real concern) having a tough time socially as she gets older.

Am I overreacting? It's natural for parents to want their kids to have an easier time than they did (and for Matt and I, making friends and being social in large groups were our main challenges) but we turned out fine and I really embrace my introversion. Actually, I don't call Kate an introvert because she doesn't seem to need time alone or to get drained by other people. I guess you can be a quiet extrovert? Whatever. No need for labels anyway--other than "awesome," which she is :0)

What's your confession this week? 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

7 Months

Maybe it's just because I've been such a blogging slacker lately and so I only write a couple posts between my monthly belly-updates, but it feels like these monthly milestones are just flying by!

I'm at seven months now (32 weeks) and definitely at a stage where strangers do not hesitate to ask me when I'm due, whether it's a boy or girl, etc. (The pic above has a bad shadow from the morning sun, so I'm not quite as big as it may look at first glance, but still.) My wonderful in-laws painted the nursery yesterday, and now it's time to get everything together!

Claire is getting big and moving quite a lot these days, and pressing on something down low that doesn't feel so good. She's growing right on track, though, and everything seems perfectly normal and healthy. I no longer have a belly button, since I have such an extreme innie that it just goes completely flat when stretched by a baby. I'm about eight pounds shy of where I topped out last time, and I'm hoping to stay under that (especially since I started about five pounds lighter this time), but we'll see. With Kate, I barely gained at all until the last three months, which included Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I'm glad this pregnancy will be over by then (well, probably not Halloween, but the others) but I am tending to crave more substantial things--sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies--as opposed to with Kate, who was all fruit, all the time. 

I'm having heartburn regularly, and still getting sick a few times a week. I just kind of accept the sickness, since I'm prone to motion sickness in general and Kate also made me throw up right to the end, so it's just the way it is. Still, I don't enjoy when it makes the blood vessels in my face burst, such that I have red freckles not just around my eyes but all the way down to my jaw. And week before last, I did this:

Crazy. Almost two weeks later, there is still a hint of bloodiness right next to my iris.

I saved that for last in case a bloody eye is the max of TMI you can take and you stop reading here. Pregnancy updates are, by nature, pretty TMI-filled, so what can you do?

Two months left!


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