If You’d Been Born in a Different Decade…

This is pointless and, as many pointless things are, pretty entertaining. And it tickles all my most ticklish geek-bones…. yay!

Time has taken the updated Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names and created a most elucidating widget. You plug in your name, birth year, and gender. It figures out what rank your name had in that year (for example, my name was the 35th most popular girl’s name given in the year I was born). Then it references the popularity lists for all available decades and tells you what your name would have been, if you had been born then, and if your parents had chosen the name in the same rank spot. Because, obviously, parents pick baby names based on which “place” they’re in, not the way they look or sound or what they mean or who else has them. 🙂

That doesn’t make a lot of sense when I write it out, does it. I should just show you.

So basically, my name was the 35th most popular girl’s name in 1980. If I were born today, and my parents gave me the 35th most popular girl’s name, my name would be Leah.

Applying similar standards to the entire decade, going back a century:

  • If I had been born in the 2000s, my name would have been Bailey (haha; that was my grandmother’s male doggy’s name)
  • If I had been born in the 1990s, my name would have been Christine
  • If I had been born in the 1980s, my name would have been Susan (really? I don’t know anyone my age named Susan…)
  • If I had been born in the 1970s, my name would have been Renee
  • If I had been born in the 1960s, my name would have been Lynn
  • If I had been born in the 1950s, my name would have been Elaine
  • If I had been born in the 1940s, my name would have been Ruby (and how cute would that have been, with red hair?)
  • If I had been born in the 1930s, my name would have been Bernice
  • If I had been born in the 1920s, my name would have been Eva
  • If I had been born in the 1910s, my name would have been Marion
  • If I had been born in the 1900s, my name would have been Jennie (interesting; I don’t think of this as being a “vintage” name)
  • If I had been born in the 1890s, my name would have been Nora

I decided to do the same trick to Ryan. Turns out his name was the 14th most popular name in his birth year. If he were born today, his name would be Aiden and I would have never dated him based on that alone. 🙂

  • 2000s: Christian
  • 1990s: Kyle
  • 1980s: Kevin
  • 1970s: Paul
  • 1960s: Ronald
  • 1950s: Stephen
  • 1940s: Gerald
  • 1930s: Raymond
  • 1920s: Arthur
  • 1910s: Fred
  • 1900s: Arthur
  • 1890s: Albert

So if you like names as much as I do, you should go find out what your other names would be, and share your favorite (and its decade) in the comments. I think if I had to choose one of my alternative names, I’d throw way back to the 1890s (Nora, which is an increasingly popular name right now on its own) or possibly try Elaine (1950s) on for size. Not sure why but those are the two that are appealing to me right this moment. And obviously Ryan would have to be Arthur.

Mommy Wars Boot Camp

supermomI reckon I always knew that moms were opinionated about How Things Should Be Done in regards to child-rearing. And I’m from the Internet; I know perfectly well that there is nothing more opinionated than someone standing on a digital soapbox, hidden behind a veil of pseudonymic anonymity. Even still, I guess I was unprepared on some level for what the Mommy Wars were really like — and I daresay, I’m still enough of a greenhorn that I am really only aware of the tip of the iceberg.

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is doing it the right way. And everyone assumes that you are ready and eager to be proselytized. Women who would froth at the mouth in irritation if a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness knocked at the door salivate at the opportunity to push their own Doctrine of Appropriate Parenting on their friends, relatives, and people they once went to high school with but now only know through a dormant Facebook connection.

No sooner did I go public with news of our pregnancy than it began. Now, my friends generally know that I’m the sort of person who informs myself about the issues and who doesn’t need to be told what to think, so I didn’t get a ton of unsolicited advice from people I personally knew. The thing is, if you read anything about pregnancy and parenting (especially online) you’ll quickly discover that nothing is neutral. Even the most benign-looking mommyblogs are really written in such a way that you walk away feeling chastised (or affirmed!) after reading.

And really — who would have thought that people would care so much about the sort of diaper you strap to your kid’s bum? Who would believe that store-bought baby food would inspire such heated emotions, or that one’s chosen location for labor and delivery could call down condemnation? Vaccinations! Sleeping arrangements! Nursery decorations!

Circumcision, of course, is a big one. The minute it became known that my baby had a penis, I began getting unwanted advice and pressure about what I should do about it. (In this category I will forgive my student, C, who was so amusingly disappointed that it wasn’t a girl that he told me, “Maybe it will fall off! I know it’s a girl!”)

And don’t even get me started on breastfeeding. HOLY MAMMARIES is that a hot topic! Some of the remarks I’ve read on this subject have literally taken my breath away; it seems that nothing pushes more mommy buttons than the source of a baby’s nourishment. I’ve sensed disdain on the other subjects, but when you read about womens’ opinions on breastfeeding, there is — shockingly frequently — hate clearly written on the page. Astonishing. (I think my favorite diatribe so far attacked people who claimed to have satisfactorily survived being fed formula and said that any text that even acknowledged the existence of formula and bottles was engaging in a subliminal campaign to subvert the breastfeeding culture. Did someone page Mel Gibson?)

And on a certain level, I guess I get it. Intelligent, worldly, well-informed people often adopt causes and become very passionate about them. They feel that they are improving, even saving, the world. These women are warriors, evangelists, superheroes fighting against the evils of powdered formula or the nefarious scheme of the epidural-free delivery. (And yes; lest you think I’m just complaining about Granola Moms, the same sort of thing is coming from all sides of pretty much every debate.)

As an intelligent, worldly, well-informed person myself, I have my own opinions about how I want to give birth to and raise this baby. Am I going to share them all here? Nope. (Ladies and gentlemen, what my husband and I decide to do or not do with our son’s foreskin is none of your business.) Are you likely to figure some of them through casual mentions of things like feeding, etc.? Of course. But I’d like to think that I’ll be able to keep from trying to change your mind, or make you feel in some way inferior if your opinions and choices differ from mine. I’d like to think that I will practice what I preach: every baby, every family, is different, and you should do what works for you and yours.

And yet.

I can feel it.

In the past few weeks, in one-on-one conversations and online, I’ve caught myself getting a little hot under the collar over other women’s pregnancy/delivery/childraising decisions. Something stirs inside me and I want to educate them, I want to tell them why they are wrong to think as they do. Worse, I feel a wall coming up between myself and that person — the “How can we even be friends if you believe that?” wall that is all-to0-familar to many of us during political season.

(Maybe that’s the thing I’m trying to get to here… maybe parenting is a never-ending political campaign, and in today’s culture of “I can say anything I want however I’d like because I am ONLINE and that is MY RIGHT,” maybe things have just gotten ugly.)

It’s ridiculous! I’m doing the very thing that I dislike! What in the world?

If I’m being honest with myself, I think that the primary thing I’ve started to feel is defensiveness. I still, ultimately, don’t care whether Friend A has an epidural or Friend B uses bottles or Friend C sews her own cloth diapers and drinks placenta smoothies while doing naked baby pilates in her front yard. Maybe I just don’t want them to disapprove of me. And isn’t that a stupidly normal sort of thing to wish? Ah, the pangs of caring what other people think… so dumb. So self-defeating. Such a waste of time and mental energy!

So I write this, both as a reminder to myself and a preemptive apology to you. I may not understand why you would choose to do such-and-such, and I may even think you are quite wrong. (There are, if I’m truthful, a few parenting issues that I think do have a universally right and wrong answer.) But I will do my level best not to preach, proselytize, patronize, or… er… something that starts with “p” that means condemn. And if I do — I’m sorry. The Mommy Wars… they change a person. 🙂

Are You On Facebook?

dyhjIf you’re on Facebook, but aren’t my friend there, then you might not know that DYHJ recently got its own Facebook page (yep, just like when people make FB pages for their dogs, only with less slobber).

Basically, whenever I post something that is of something approaching general interest (so not the pregnancy posts that only another pregnant person or a family member would care to read) I post a link to the Page. It’s a nice way to get the word out that the blog has been updated for those of my readers who don’t use any sort of RSS aggregator or subscription service.

It’s also a place where people can comment, because sometimes the actual site inexplicably decides to make leaving a comment at DYHJ ridiculously difficult.

Anyway, if you’re a citizen of Facebook, I’d love to invite you to join the 73 other juicers (wait, is that an okay thing to call us?) who have liked DYHJ there. The page is at http://www.facebook.com/didyouhavejuice — invite your friends! Juice is best when shared. 🙂

Weekend Update

Workout Routine

Kermie has previously establishes himself as a martial artist with particular aptitude for fetal kung fu. Recently, perhaps due to diminished space, I’ve noticed that he has two distinct categories of movement. There is still the kickboxing, in which he whacks me in the stomach (or bladder, or cervix) from the inside out. But he is also doing yoga — slow, deliberate, stretchy/rolly type moves. He’s been doing quite a little bit more yoga than kickboxing the past two days; one might almost characterize him as being lazy.

I am supposing that all of this is normal, but I have officially entered the crazy stage of pregnancy where I’m immediately wigging out because his movement patterns have changed, so I’m paying a lot of attention to his acrobatics. I don’t like that he’s doing more yoga than kickboxing, y’know what I mean? Change is scary. So if you’re reading this and want to reassure me, that’d be cool. (Or, I suppose, if you want to tell me that I shouldn’t be reassured, that’d be… a good thing to know.)

Physical Symptoms

My weight gain seems to have tapered off a bit, which I was half-expecting based on family history. I’m a trifle concerned, though, that I’m not eating enough; I’m sure Kermie is getting well-fed, but I feel like my legs look skinnier than they did pre-pregnancy, which gives me pause. (Hey, maybe it’s just relative.) I have been having trouble with my appetite in the past couple of weeks; I’ll hit patches for several days where I don’t really feel hungry, nothing sounds good, and nothing TASTES good. Foods and drinks I usually love leave a bad taste in my mouth. And I know my stomach is getting squished up in there, so I can’t eat as much at a time — and the life of a teacher is not necessarily conducive to six meals a day, particularly when nothing, especially quick-eating staples like granola bars, tastes good.

Back is getting tired and sore, although I blame the majority of that on having to walk like a demented slow-motion penguin everywhere because the world is covered in a sheet of ice. The skin on my face is dry no matter how much water I drink or moisturizer I use… like, facial dandruff levels of dry. Lame sauce. My tailbone is often quite sore, which is also lame sauce.

Other than that, no new physical symptoms to report (well, perhaps, but we’ll get to that at the end). My belly is a bit bigger and the stretch marks are more impressive. My belly button is getting shallower; I confess that I’m dreading the belly button pop more than I ever dreaded stretch marks, weight gain, etc.. I just rather like my belly button the way it is (was). Oh well! All part of the bargain, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Emotional Symptoms

Of late, I am painfully tired, and I am far more out of patience with my students than I think I’ve ever been before. To a certain extent, they deserve it… but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am getting fed up with them at a rate that is out of proportion with how awful they actually are. Perhaps this is where the myth of the cranky pregnant teacher comes from: the third trimester.

I did tell one of my classes that if they really wanted me to fulfill the cranky pregnant teacher stereotype, that I would be delighted to stop restraining myself and just let my hormones take over. Told them it would be quite relaxing and perhaps even a little bit fun just to yell at them and occasionally burst into tears because they were acting so awful. (It had the desired effect, in that they laughed and shaped up for, oh, seven minutes or so. That seems to be the extent of their ability to act like civilized human beings this week.)

My New Favorite Website

My new favorite website is PARENTING: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. Instead of finishing the very good novel at my elbow, or writing blog entries, I am making my way through the Crappy Pictures archive and dying of laughter (and, at times, dreading toddlerhood). It’s hilarious and you should check it out if you are expecting or have ever had a toddler/small child — especially if they are/were little boys obsessed with bodily functions who do things like steal your high heels, think cats poop on “kitty glitter,” or yell “penis” at the pizza delivery guy.

I’m going to post a panel from Crappy Pictures for your viewing enjoyment. After the panel is the TMI section. It has to do with butts. Scroll at your own risk.

The TMI Section (Because Every Pregnancy Post Needs One)

One’s digestive tract is a frequent victim of the pregnancy process. Vacillations in nutrient absorption, hormone levels, and abdominal real estate lead to alternating bouts of hurried digestion (in which nutrients make too hasty an exit) and retarded digestion (which is a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE use of that word and means that things get, shall we say, backed up on the assembly line). These delays have been, in my case, a whole new category of unpleasant in the past six months.

The point of this is that recent developments in the gestation of Hurricane Baker have, yesterday, caused structural damage to this brick house’s back door. That sort of structural damage not only feels exceptionally unawesome but produces a fair amount of blood for a short period of time (say, a couple of hours). It is not serious, is very common during pregnancy, and will heal itself in a day or two.

The thing is, it is enormously traumatizing to experience bright red toilet paper when “pregnant after a loss” (the message boards’ terminology, not mine) even when you know perfectly well that the blood does not originate from babyland. So yeah, that’s fun. In a totally “I’m proud of myself for not hyperventilating and/or bawling like the hormonal mess I’m pretending not to be” sort of way.


ANOTHER Snow Day?!

Yesterday, they were calling for a “big” snow storm in our area. Instead of snow, we got freezing rain, which differs from sleet in that it falls as a liquid and freezes on contact with anything — and everything — it touches. End result? A quarter-inch sheet of pure ice on the roads, sidewalks, and any cars unfortunate enough to have been left outside overnight.

I hadn’t dared think we’d have a snow day, but turned on the news anyway. It was nonstop traffic coverage, with the ACHD saying that the roads were just about the worst they’d ever seen. In fact, both directions of Interstate 84 was shut down all the way from east Boise to Mountain Home when I turned on the news, and the closure extended beyond that within a couple of hours — 87 miles of undriveable highway, with semi trucks stranded and unable to move on the ice rink.

picture by The Idaho Statesman

picture by The Idaho Statesman

While we watched, pretty much every school district and charter/private school east or west of Boise announced that the roads were too bad to hold classes. My district was one of the earliest to cancel. We waited. The Boise School District called in to the television station to tell them that they were not going to cancel classes. The clock kept ticking; no word from Ryan’s district. Finally, the news came in that they were holding classes as well.

Parents were not amused. Lots of angry comments online and on call-in segments on the news. Later, the BSD released a statement regretting their decision. Regardless, Ryan had to go to work, and I didn’t….

Mom came and rescued me from my iced-in house (I sent Ryan with the good car and was not about to ice skate across the street and try those insane roads in a Tiburon). We got Panda for lunch. Then, lacking anything terribly constructive to do, we went over to BRU and I showed her the stroller we registered for. After my complete incompetence operating the thing last time (hey, those things are complicated if you’re not used to them!) it felt good to be able to demonstrate all the bells and whistles as if I actually knew what I was talking about.

I was looking for some specific used books for a unit I’m about to teach, so we went to Deseret Industries (a thrift store associated with the LDS church — has a good selection of books, although not the best prices in town, and the absolute best selection of used maternity clothes). I found some of the books I’d wanted, and then found several maternity t-shirts and XL fleece jackets, all in the $3-5 range, and all things I’d been wishing I had but hadn’t wanted to spend the inflated prices for maternity clothing at regular stores. As I was trying on the tops, I kept thinking how much I liked each of them, even though several were pretty uninspired… and then I realized that what I was really liking was the way I looked in them. I really like my bump! I have (have always had) a weird sort of mild body dysmorphia, in that I usually think I look smaller/thinner than I really do. (An unpleasant surprise when a photograph pops up!) I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the mirror lately, worrying that my bump wasn’t as big as it ought to be. Well, something about this particular mirror or these particular shirts dispelled that notion! I looked every bit as pregnant as I thought I ought to look, and I loved it. 🙂

I waited pretty much all day to hear back from some people who were selling a glider and ottoman on Craigslist. It was the perfect chair for a very good price, and from my perspective they’d indicated that we could pretty much have it — but then late in the afternoon, they texted me and told me that they’d sold it to someone else. Boo, disappointment. Oh well. I’m convinced we dodged a bullet. Clearly it reeked of cat pee and was covered in dog hair and vomit stains. Clearly. But I am anxious to get a chair into the nursery. I like to be in there, but there’s nowhere comfortable to sit….

My snow day has ended with the first episode of Project Runway season 11 — hooray! — and a science experiment, a.k.a. trying out a Pinterest recipe. I substituted mixed berry pie filling because Ryan isn’t a big fan of peach desserts (I know, right? Pass the divorce papers) and may have been a little generous with the brown sugar. It has just come out of the oven and I’m letting it cool a bit, which is an enormous exercise in self restraint because this cold weather and squirmy baby have really triggered my sweet tooth.


I can already see one problem; the cake mix didn’t get fully incorporated into the fruity buttery yumminess, and there are a couple of spots with just plain dry cake mix sitting there. Yuck. Either there wasn’t enough liquid in the pie filling, or the recipe fibs and I ought to mix it up a little bit. (By the way, the recipe calls this a crunch cake or a dump cake, but it really seems like a very simple cobbler to me so I’m calling it a cobbler cake.)

Heck, it’s great big and there are only two of us. We can eat around the dry bits. And it’s got brown sugar and berries and walnuts, and I’ve got a can of whipped cream wonderfulness. How bad could it be? 🙂

Comic Relief

I found a great blog the other day. 269 Days by author/illustrator Brie Spangler is the account of one woman’s pregnancy — told in very charming, funny illustrations. (I love this sort of thing. Well, maybe everyone does, but I have an excuse in that my sister Meredith is an annoyingly talented multimedia illustrator, and so I’m particularly drawn to the field. Ha ha, that was a pun AND I DIDN’T EVEN MEAN IT.)

269 Days is so great because it’s so honest, and because it embraces — sometimes literally — the less-discussed experiences of pregnancy.

Me. Except that the thought of the word  "wintergreen" makes me want to lose my breakfast. It's all about the assorted berry flavors.

Me. Except that the thought of the word “wintergreen” makes me want to lose my breakfast. It’s all about the assorted berry flavors.

Being what essentially amounts to an autobiographical webcomic (dude — I hope Spangler has thought about doing this as a graphic novel, or whatever the heck you’re supposed to call an illustration-based memoir! People would love this as a book!), 269 Days stars its author and her husband. It also features some great cameos from her pets, organs, and other important characters on her babyquest.

This is so true, and no one ever tells you about it. Who would think that pregnancy -- even pre-bump -- would make sneezing so dangerous?

This is so true, and no one ever tells you about it. Who would think that pregnancy — even pre-bump — would make sneezing so dangerous?

She was writing the comic on a two month delay, and had their baby on March 10, 2012. Sadly for the rest of us, her maternity leave from the comic has extended for some time — but who can blame her, really? I’ve subscribed to 269 Days in the hopes that an update will eventually pop up in my Google Reader, but in the meantime, it’s well worth stopping by for the first two trimesters. 🙂 I started at the beginning (bottom of page) and read my way backwards to her most recent post, in June of last year. Check it out!

The Perfect Name!

The other day, as I was driving to work at oh-dark-thirty, my favorite morning DJs were talking about Baby Center’s annual collections of popular, rising, and unusual names. Because it was a morning radio show, they naturally focused on what the DJs called the “worst” baby names of 2012.

And man, were there some doozies.

Later, I decided to go look up the original list myself. The DJs had cherry-picked the absolute best from the “Unusual Baby Names of 2012” list, which is compiled only of names that were given to U.S. children BY MORE THAN ONE SET OF PARENTS. Your one-shot naming aberration doesn’t make this list; in order to get on this list, that name has to have been given to at least two children within the space of a year. This really makes one wonder what sort of unusual drugs and/or networking takes place to lead to more than one American child being named Haven’T, Sanity, or Ball.

That being said, if a person has grown bored with all of the traditional, classic baby names out there… this list certainly provided some alternatives. And as we went through the list, wondering what sort of parent names their baby boy Hippo, we found THE NAME.

The perfect name.

The sort of name that you give your child if you want him to be able to grow up to be anything. Why, with this name, this child could be a professional wrestler or a star meteorologist! A used car salesman or a motivational speaker! This is the sort of name that makes history!

And so it is with great pleasure that I announce our intention to name our firstborn son…

(drum roll please)


Oh, I see your dubious looks. I can sense them right through the WiFi. But hear me out! Just say that name a few times. Let it roll around in your mouth, in your mind. Isn’t it wonderful? Doesn’t it have a great ring to it?

And just think of all the great moments in parental punning.

Rock you like a hurricane

Looks like a hurricane went through this room

See — what’d I tell you? Perfect.

And if the little guy ever wants to shorten it to something a little… dryer… he could certainly be Ric.

Hurricane Baker. That’s the name of a kid who would change the world.

If you’re not sure we picked the right name from the list, you can take a look for yourself and tell me your favorites… 🙂



This post is dedicated to everyone who thinks that we should name the baby Stormageddon.