What’s In A Name

What’s In A Name?

My parents got a new dog. He doesn’t have a name yet. I spoke with them earlier today and they told me a few of their ideas, one in particular. I ran it by my husband.

“I don’t like it. It’s not him.”
“What? I love it.”
“I don’t.”
“How did we name anything?”
“Stickers on cars.”
“Well, and one dog came with a name in place.”

We named our youngest son on the way home from an ultrasound. We wanted him to have a J-middle name, but felt clueless about what his name-name should be. The car in front of us at the light before the courthouse had a sticker with a football and a name.

I read it aloud, followed by our last name. We looked at each other and shrugged.

We owned baby name books. We read them over incessantly with both boys. Ridiculous names. Strong names. Presidential names, whatever that means, Donnie. Irish names. Gaelic names. Names names names. Then we saw that name on the back of a car, and everything felt right.

I later worked with the mother of the child whose name was on the back of that vehicle. She’s a smart lady.

Someday, probably when he is in the process of choosing baby names—or even dog names—our youngest son will question our procedure. But when he arrived and we looked at him, all fresh and new and so different from our older son, he just seemed like him. Now, at almost 10, he is simply himself. He resembles his name. He his who he is.

The adoption agency told me not to give my daughter a name.

“It will cause you to think of her as yours. And she’s not.”


Prior to falling ill at 18 weeks, I toyed with some names. Classic names. Names I had written with young boyfriend’s last names to see what they looked like, as I did with my own. But they told me it wasn’t my job, to name her. So I didn’t. I still can’t tell you what I would have chosen, though some birth mothers can. There are two that sit deep in my soul; maybe they would have combined to her fist and middle names. We’ll never know.

When we named our first dog, we sat in the darkening night and ran through name after name, the old baby book on my lap and a smartphone I hand. I hate that it feels like I put more thought into my dog’s name than my daughter’s name. But no one told me, “You don’t have a right to name your dog.”

Just my daughter.

This is one of those adoption issues I can logically recognize; the adoption industry used my lack of knowledge against me. They knew that mothers who names their babies were more likely to make the—lawful—decision to parent. It’s the same reason why they told me not to breastfeed. But still, I hate that I didn’t see it for what it was. I was so naive, so green, I couldn’t see what they were doing.

Someday, if my daughter ever asks, I will share the two names that sit with me. She might hate them, and knowing her as I do, I’m not sure they fit her. But I will tell her. If she asks. If she lets me back in. If.

I named the baby we lost to miscarriage, Rose. After my great-grandmother, after the roses in my flower garden. We don’t know if she was a girl, but the name fit. She fit, so briefly, in our lives.

I hate my given name. It was the number one name the year I was born and a handful of years on either side. Our youngest, our sticker car baby, has a name in the top ten of his birth year and some surrounding years. Maybe he’ll hate it. Maybe he won’t care. Our older son prefers the shortened version of his name, even though I prefer his given name.

What’s In A Name?

I don’t know what my parents will name their dog. I’ll love him no matter his name, just like I love my children and all of their names. But more so. Because they’re my children.


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Good for Something.

Good for Something

I almost sent the youngest kid in the house to school on Friday. His head felt a little warm, but his temperature only read 99.2. Both boys sleep very “hot,” so I thought he might be fine.

“How do you feel, Bubba?”
“I feel awful.”

I watched him get out of bed, all knees and elbows still and always. He looked a little paler than normal, but the kid is pale every single day. He went off to the bathroom and I took the dogs out. Once back in the kitchen, I looked at him as I got breakfast ready. Something didn’t feel right.

“Bubba, you’re gonna stay home from school today. I’ll call the doctor at eight o’clock. After you eat breakfast, you can go back to bed.”

He finished his breakfast, hit his bed, and was fast asleep before his older brother finished getting ready for school. I got him off to bed and then I did a thing. Originally, I had plans to leave as soon as the boys went to school for Super Early O’Clock Yoga. I don’t know why yoga is Super Early on Fridays, but it is. But since I now had a sick kid, I sent myself back to bed as well.

This year has been a huge adjustment for us as a family. There’s only one morning person among the four of us, and it’s not me. Nor is it my husband. It’s certainly not the youngest child either. Our older son has been a morning person since Day One, so he’s had no problem taking the new middle school schedule in stride.

The younger kid, however, is struggling. 6:52 on the bus means a 6:15 wake up at the latest. He’s exhausted. He goes to bed earlier than last year. He takes naps, sometimes willingly and sometimes unexpectedly in the car on a nine mile drive. His mood has taken a hit and really, he’s just straight up exhausted.

I’m dealing. I get a lot of work done very early in my day now. My 3:15 coffee has moved to 2:45 and is not a maybe but a requirement. Ten o’clock at night is now a struggle. But I’m doing my best. I don’t go back to bed, but this was a special occasion. Or maybe I knew I needed my rest. Either way, I slept hard until almost exactly eight o’clock.


There’s really no worse sound coming from inside a bathroom. Because it means vomit. In the sink. On the floor. The bath mat. His shorts. He started apologizing, and I told him to stop. I took his temp and it had spiked up over 101 in less than an hour. He got ibuprofen and in the shower while I cleaned up the mess.

He was asleep before the nurse called me back at 8:30.

“It’s strep.”
“It could be a virus that’s going around, too. We’ll have you come in.”


I get it. They don’t prescribe antibiotics all willy-nilly like they did back in our childhood days. Superbugs and what not. But I knew it was strep. He gets strep once a year. He starts with a low-grade fever. Complains of a scratchy throat. Then his fever spikes, he vomits, and bam! It’s strep.

We didn’t have our normal pediatrician as she was on hospital rotation. The doctor who saw us was nice enough, but dismissive too. “It could be a virus that’s going around, too.”

No one is shocked that it was strep, right?

The kid got medicine, enjoyed a lunch date with me, and spent the rest of the day sleeping and cuddling with me.

Good for Something - Lunch Date

We thought he was on the mend until last night, almost 36 hours after the initial puking episode. More puke. Everywhere. You guys. I don’t understand. I also don’t know the last time I washed the wall behind the toilet, but it’s clean now. Thanks, kid.

He’s feeling better today. We hope.

I’m just glad I didn’t send him to school on Friday. He really didn’t have any fever, so to speak, but my mommy instinct told me that something wasn’t quite right. The fact that I then listened to that instinct and was, shockingly, right, felt good. I don’t mean that I’m glad my kid had strep, because let’s face it, those germs are pervasive and after getting THISCLOSE to random crevices in the toilet last night, my chances aren’t really great.

I mean that I’m glad I still have some ability to gauge parenting situations appropriately at all. Because ain’t not much of that happening round these parts lately. I’ve been doubting absolutely everything about my motherhing and motherhood. Like, who thought I could do this?

At the very least I can spot strep. I’m good for something. And cuddling.

Good for Something - Cuddling

And cleaning puke.