Monthly Archives: January 2009

What’s in a Name?

Names. Names. Names.

Tyler, Jason, Ashley, Sarah, James, Elizabeth…the list goes on. And on, and on, and on, and on.

It is perhaps one of the most exciting parts of having a child. Picking a name. And it’s not just picking a name, but picking an identity. The name that a parent gives his/her child will be the primary identifier for their entire life. Put “baby name” in a Google search and you will find over 4 million websites. Some people pick family names. Others pick very unique names. Some choose the most popular name in the nation for that particular year.

Like any parents, my wife and I have discussed many, many possibilities for our child. Many names are met with a, “Ewwwww…really?” Others with an, “Oh…no, I knew someone with that name and (insert bad story)”. And honestly, compromise is out of the question. Both parents have to find a name they both enjoy. It’s probably the number one word that will come out of our mouths for the next 18 years. After much debate and browsing, we’ve settled on our two names.

For a girl: Ryleigh Jean
For a boy: Parker Nathan

Ryleigh (and its variations Riley and Ryley) is a unisex name. But in our case, it’s being used exclusively for a girl. Really, we’re not really sure why Ryleigh. We just like it. Ryleigh (that particular spelling) is the #305th most popular name for girls. Of English/Irish origin, it means “rye clearing”. Runner-up choices were Ashtyn and Reagan.

Jean was pretty straightforward, as it is the middle name of my mother-in-law.

Parker is also a unisex name, though we prefer it for a boy. Again, we don’t have a particular reason for Parker (though I argue should it ever move to Boston he will be called “Pah-kah”). Parker is also of English origin and means “protector of the park”. It is the #108th most popular name in the United States. Runner-up choices were Connor, Colin, and Reese.

Nathan is a family name from my side. Typically given to the first-born son, it is the middle name of myself, my father, my grandfather, and so on.

So there you have it, Ryleigh Jean and Parker Nathan. Thoughts, feelings, observations?

Week 13

As your first trimester comes to a close, your baby has reaced the zie of a peach, about 3 inches long. Your baby’s head is now about half the size of his or her crown to rump lenght, but that cute little body is picking up steam and will continue growing overtime (at birth, your baby will be one-quarter head, three-quarters body). Meanwhile, your baby’s intestines, which have been growing inside the umbilical cord, are now starting their trek to their permanent position in your baby’s abdomen. Also developing this week: your baby’s vocal cords.

So that’s it, one-third of the way there.

Politics of Growing Up

I first became ‘politically aware’ in the fifth grade. I’m not exactly sure why, but I was a Bob Dole fanatic. Seriously, I had his campaign poster in my room, made little Bob Dole political hats to wear around, and was devastated when he lost to President Clinton.

Of course, I don’t know when my child will feel the same way, or if he or she ever even will. But I can remember taking an American government class in high school and learning that the number one factor that determines a  child’s political ideology is influences from family and friends.

As a parent, it’s a very important role we play in our children’s lives. We mold its mind, and not just in its overall development. Child look to their parents for a blueprint to life (sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so…). My parents (and especially my dad’s side) lean to the right. My grandfather was a Republican county commission for 16 years. Not surprisingly, I’ve found myself on the right side of the aisle more often than not.

That said, my parents never pushed me one way or the other. What they did do, was instill in me a sense of responsibility to my friends, family, and country; that I was not to rely on others or the government to get me through life. They taught that respecting others, and especially those different than me, was paramount; that I was never permitted to look upon others with disdain or contempt because they had a different skin color, or religion, or sexual orientation.

And that’s our job as parents. To teach them tolerance and respect. To help them learn and development personal responsibility. To take pride in their country and participate in the democratic process.

I want my child to understand these things. My son or daughter will be born under the administration of the first African-American president in history. I hope in my child’s lifetime they will see a woman elected president. I hope they will see and celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage. I hope they will grow up to be responsible, alert citzens.

But most of all, I hope that all parents can instill in their children what it means to be a citizen of this country. And perhaps then, this world can become a better place. President Obama has asked us to do our part. So I am.

Week 12

Your baby has more than doubled in size during the past three weeks, weighing in now at 1/2 ounce and measuring about 2 1/2 inches. About the size of a large fresh plum, your baby’s body is hard at work in the development departments. Though most of his or her systems are fully formed, there’s still plenty of maturing to do. The digestive system is beginning to practice contraction movements (so your baby will be able to eat), the bone marrow is making white blood cells (so your baby will be able to fight off all those germs passed around the playgroup), and the pituitary gland at the base of the brain has started producing hormones (so your baby will one day be able to make babies of his or her own).

God help me if I have to think about my unborn child making children of its own one day. I suppose I’m still a bit shocked from Friday’s appointment. I look at the ultrasound over and over. It’s almost unbelievable that the image in that picture is a living thing that we created. At our February appointment, our baby will be doubled in size from now.

I plan to update this blog a little more often, probably on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We’re really getting into this now.

The First Appointment

Today was the first appointment for this set of millennial parents. Our doctor was extremely nice and took the time to talk to both of us about our child. As a father, you worry that you’ll be stuck on the sidelines. And while obviously my wife is the quarterback in this pregnancy, it’s nice not to be relegated to the backup punter spot. But the doctor, in our opinion, did a great job of speaking to both of us like responsible adults.

The appointment wasn’t long at all. From the time we were called back, we were out of the hospital in less than an hour. During that time,  we learned three things about our baby (singular, by the way, so the ‘hilarious’ twin jokes can cease) today. One, it exists. Two, it has a beating heart, which, at this point in the pregnancy is about all we can hope for, and three, its August 3rd due date. Anatomical development/progression will be monitored in future visits.

Oh, and the ultrasound. Yeah, we had that too. At 11 weeks, we were expecting…I don’t know…a speck on a screen. Maybe a peanut-looking shape. But no, what we saw was this:

baby

Clearly a human with a head, nose (one that takes after its father’s), and legs. At that moment, this pregnancy became a lot more real. Not only was the sonogram showing us that a human was indeed inside of my wife, but that human also had a beating heart, the ability to kick and, once while on screen, even jump. What we saw was 44 millimeters of flesh that is growing into our baby.

Confirmed on film. We’re having a baby.

Week 11

Your baby is just over 2 inches long now and weights about a third of an ounce. His or her body is straightening out and the torso is lengthening. Hair follicles are forming, and fingernail and toenail beds are beginning to develop (nails will actually start to grow within the next few weeks). Those nails are forming on individual fingers and toes, having separated recently from the webbed hands and feet of just a few weeks ago. And though you can’t tell baby’s geneder by looking yet (even with an ultrasound), ovaries are developing if it’s a girl. What you would be able to see is that your fetust has distinct human characteristics by now, with hands and feet in front of the body, ears nearly in their final shape, open nasal passages on the tip of the nose, a tongue, and palate in the mouth, and visible nipples.

Week 11 is here. And if we weren’t sure how real this really is, our first trip to the obstetrician is this Friday. We chose the university’s faculty practice as our medical team. Here’s hoping that our baby is healthy and progressing well! Another update will be forthcoming.


Growing Up in the City

My wife and I are both from small towns. At last census, 3,600 people in her town, 5,200 in mine.

Columbus has just over 700,000 residents within its city limits, not to mention a metropolitan population of nearly two million. We’ve made our choice that Columbus is our home. It will also be the hometown of our child. Years from now, when people ask where he/she is from, the answer will be “Columbus” (or, most likely, one of the many surrounding suburbs).

We both grew up in towns without movie theatres or malls (given, mine had a three-screen movie theatre until I was about 10). Driving thirty minutes to shop was considered normal. Restaurant choices were between the many fast food establishments and Bob Evans (though we did get an Applebee’s later down the road). We did have a lot of banks though. And churches. Did I mention they were white? Oh, very, very white. Her town was 91%, mine was 98%. Columbus is more around 63%.

Our child has a unique opportunity. To be born and raised in a very large, diverse metropolitan area. A city with multiple major malls, thousands of restaurants, and hundreds and hundreds of schools. There are more people in this metropolitan area than in my entire home state. More people attend football games each Saturday in Ohio Stadium than the two largest cities in my home state combined.

But again, the wife and I remain an “odd couple” for a metropolitan area. According to a demographic study by the Washington Post, of college graduates aged 25-29 in metropolitan areas, only 13% of men and 31% of women have children. But like our child, we see this as a unique opportunity to raise our child in a large city as young parents. We enjoy visiting malls and parks and other areas of this city that we’ve never seen, and things we absolutely hope to share with our child. Having grown up ourselves in small towns, I think we agree that we do not want to shelter our child from a big city.

Columbus may not be New York City, but it is diverse, it is exciting, it is a place of action. And it is our home.

Week 10

At nearly 1 1/2 inches long (about the size of a prune), your baby is growing by leaps and bounds. And in gearing up for those leaps and bounds (and baby steps), bones and cartilage are forming–and small indentations on the legs are developing into knees and ankles. Even more unbelievably for someone the size of a prune, the elbows on baby’s arms are already working. Tiny buds of baby teeth are forming under the gums. Further down, the stomach is producing digestive juices, the kidneys are producing larger quantities of urine, and if your baby’s a boy, he is actually producing testosterone (boys will be boys–even this early on!).

Quite insane if you ask me. Here’s to Week 10! And hopefully the new baby gives his/her Buckeyes some luck tonight against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl (since it happens to be in attendance).

A new year, a big year.

2009.

It’s definitely here now and definitely the biggest of our lives. August seems like such a long ways away, but when it’s filled with work, doctors appointments, and preparations, eight months can fly by.

Approximately 31 weeks left.  I hope to update this blog at least twice a week. In it, I’ll try and bring my thoughts and concerns, as well as a “play-by-play” of what our lives entail. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I hope this blog will help friends, family, and others to understand the intricacies of pregnancy, as well as our feelings, hopes, excitement, and frights.

Each Monday marks a new week in our baby’s development. One of our favorite books to read during this time is What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which, each week, gives a detailed description of the development of our child, which I will post on here as well.

If you have some sort of reader browser (such as Google Reader), you can click “subscribe” at the side of the page and receive notification when this blog is updated. Beyond my blogging, I want to talk about subjects and answer questions that are on the minds of anyone reading this. If you have any questions or comments, you may either setup a WordPress account (it’s free!) or send an e-mail to me at millennialdad@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!