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The Day My Breast Pump Died

Slightly amusing if you sing this post’s title to the American Pie tune… But otherwise this situation is not amusing at all.

Yesterday I hurried into what I call “my office” for my second of three daily pumping sessions. I got all set up and comfy, flipped the power switch on Matilda (yes I named my pump – we spend a lot of time together!), pushed the power lever and… heard the saddest screeching sound coming from the heart of the motor. Matilda was stuck – no suction, nothing but a high-pitch, very loud, constant noise.

Fuuuuuuck.

I desperately needed to pump but I couldn’t. I’m the kind who just looking at my pump triggers let down. I felt like a high school boy in the backseat on a third date with a freshman who won’t put out. You know what I mean…

So after gathering my thoughts for a moment, putting my big girl brain to work, if you will, I figured I had two options (sort of): leave work and drive the 15 miles home to my baby (the best pump in the whole world) OR find a suitable replacement STAT.

Leaving work wasn’t an option. It takes almost 45 minutes to drive home and I would HAVE to come back because I had deadlines yesterday (four projects due 11/1, no getting out of it because, “Um, yeah, boss man, my boobie juicer is stuck so I’m taking off for the day.” Right…).

On to finding a replacement. Luckily there’s a dive-sort of K-Mart around the corner (with a dive bar attached to it!) so during my lunch break I 1) stopped at the Halloween store to take advantage of the 50% deals, 2) got myself some grub and 3) picked up a $30 manual breast pump.

Side note – I tried to call K-Mart ahead to see if they had my pump in stock. I held on the phone for over five minutes, twice, and no one in the Infants department picked up. Very poor customer service. Although if I were to judge this K-Mart by looks alone, the level of service I received (or didn’t receive) is not too surprising. But, they did have one single Avent manual pump in stock (might as well get one that matches all the parts I already have, right?). Victory!

Anyway, I had to dump everything I pumped yesterday because the new pump wasn’t washed or sterilized, but I made it through the day. I got home, washed and boiled all my pieces and I am set for today. But I’m stuck with one-sided, manual pumping. On a positive note, it reminds me of when I pumped milk nine years ago for Kiddo1 and used a manual pump at work because we were too poor to buy an electric one. Ah, memories.

On a positive customer service note, I have called Avent and they were fantastic. Very apologetic about the malfunction and a brand-new pump is being sent to me as we speak. As long as I get it by Tuesday (they promised Monday) I will be a happy camper.

Another positive is that I had planned on buying a manual pump for our holiday travels anyway, so I’m not really bitter about needing to buy one already. I wish I could have planned the purchase to find a discount instead of paying the full $30, but in the emergency that was yesterday I probably would have paid twice that to avoid missing all my work deadlines.

Such is the give-and-take of working outside the home I suppose! But now the big question – what do I name my new pump?!

The Name Game: Finalists!

It’s a good thing pregnancy is nine months long because it is taking us that long to figure out what to call this little girl! My constricting list of rules plus Mr. Handsome’s notorious indecisiveness makes for a long naming process. But I think we’ve come up with a fine list of finalists!

First off, we decided that Baby2’s middle name will definitely be Mae. This name has a lot of significance for us, but most importantly, May is the month we moved to our current city and found our sweet puppy Max a year later. We’re spelling it “Mae,” though, which is the way my great-grandmother’s name was spelled.

On to the first names!

  • Michelle Mae
    • This is the first name I really fell “in like” with. I like that Michelle is a once-popular name that is seldom used anymore. It’s got this 80’s vintage appeal that, well, appeals to me. Some may not like the alliteration with Mae but I think it’s endearing in a way. I also like that she could go by the distant nickname Ellie (I say distant because I do realize this is a stretch) but Mr. Handsome is not a fan of nicknames.
    • I think this is a great name on paper but something just doesn’t feel “it” about the name. In some dreams I call Baby2 Michelle and I do like it but I don’t LOVE it. This is a difficult feeling to describe. I would be perfectly fine with Michelle but not head-over-heals about it. Does this make any sense?! My mind is mush!
  • Lucy Mae
    • Oddly enough, this name was on my list of hated names, but Lucy is starting to grow on me so much! We’ve seen some strange omens, too: at Mr. Handsome’s restaurant, someone left behind a Lucy.com cloth bag the day I mentioned the name to him as a possibility. That week, I also somehow stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about Lucy Stone, who was an activist in the women’s movement and was “the first recorded American woman to retain her own last name after marriage.” I didn’t change my name either!
    • There are a LOT of words that Lucy rhymes with so Mr. Handsome is concerned about kids and their teasing. However, I think that if kids want to tease you, they’ll come up with something regardless of whether it rhymes or not. There are no teasing-proof names.
  • Lily Mae
    • Kiddo1 is desperate for a Harry Potter name to be used; he first suggested Hermione Granger but then I think he realized Lily is more realistic. This name flows well to me and I like that it is simple (one of my rules). Lillian was my grandmother’s real name (she went by Joy) so that’s cool too.
    • On the cons side, my grandmother went by Joy because she hated the name Lillian. Kind of makes me hesitant to use it to honor someone that hated the name, don’t you think?
  • Grace Mae
    • Grace was one of my grandmother’s favorite names (side note: I know what you’re thinking – just name her Joy already! Well, no. There have been two great-granddaughters born in the last couple years and they both have her namesake as a first or middle name. I think grandma is well-honored already and it’s time to share the love with other members of the family. Tangent over). I do like that it is simple, very classic and vintage-y.
    • Mr. Handsome points out that a girl in Kiddo1’s class is named Grace. She’s a nice enough girl so there’s no bad association with the name. I don’t think this argument holds much weight. I don’t feel like Grace flows as well with Mae as some of the other names, but that’s also a very small con.

PhotobucketI like all these names, I love one or two in particular, but I constantly question whether we’re on the right track or not. Mr. Handsome wonders why I (as opposed to him?) am being so wishy-washy. I described it like this: I like this boy, I love him, and I want to marry him, but am I SURE I’m making the right choice? I think this thought goes through every bride’s mind at some point during her engagement and it’s the same thing for naming a person. If I haven’t mentioned before, I see naming someone as a HUGE responsibility that I do not take lightly in any way. I think it is fair to question the decision a little, though I do not doubt that, in the end, we will make the right decision and not look back. We’ll see where we end up!

The Name Game, Rejected Names: Girl Edition

Naming a person is hard work! It’s something that you really don’t want to get wrong for several reasons: the name sticks with your child for his or her whole life and apparently has effects on all facets of his or her life including first impressions, grades, friends, jobs and promotions, etc. AND if you get it wrong it’s difficult to have a “do-over.” I feel like I’ve seen all kinds of articles about the effects of impetuous baby-naming lately – there was even one in “The Week” last Friday (it is a magazine Mr. Handsome and I get delivered weekly; a brother-in-law hooked us up).

To add to the troubles of naming, it seems like I always have great ideas for the sex opposite of what we’re having. I remember back when I was pregnant with Baby1 – before we found out we were having a boy I had all kinds of thoughts about girl names. It was so, so hard for us to find a boy name. We combed through probably every name book the library had (um so the internet wasn’t as popular nine years ago… and we didn’t own any computers back then!).

This time I feel like I had some good, solid boy names on my mind (which I posted about awhile back) and then we find out we’re having a girl (which don’t get me wrong I’m over the moon about. We couldn’t be happier to have one of each now!). Of course I have no idea what girl names I thought of nine years ago and, if I did, I probably wouldn’t like them now anyway. It’s been so difficult for me to think of girl names that I love! And that flow well, fit with our last names, etc.

I do like the names that I suggested in my last post, but that’s not what this post is about really. This post is about the names that I don’t like. Because at least I know that half of the decision!

Before I get into it, allow me a disclaimer: these are names that I don’t like by my own personal preference. I am not offended by these names (except for maybe the first one there!) and I do not at all mean to insult anyone who has, has used, or loves any of the following names. Please don’t let me offend you. Also, all names listed below were taken from the Social Security Top 500 names of 2010, so they are legit.

The below lists also loosely tie back to my naming rules that I posted last time I talked about names. These include no creative or “smoosh” names, no misspelled names, no names that require a nickname, and no names that are “too girly.” At this time I’d also like to add the following constraints: no boys’ names, no place names, no virtue names and no Top Ten names.

Is there anything left after all those “nos”? Yes, but none of those names will be on these lists…

Names that are “too creative” or “smoosh” (a “smoosh” name is two names blended into one):

  • Nevaeh (Yeah, we get it, it’s “heaven” spelled backward. Great. But HOW is it #25 most popular on the SSA?!)
  • Annabelle, Annalee, Annalise, Annalisa (“smooshes” of Anna and other names)
  • Mariana (“smoosh” of Mary and Anna – Anna seems to be the target of most “smoosh” names…)
  • Julissa (“smoosh” of Julia and Alyssa)
  • Adison or Adeline (you just took the “M” off Madison or Madeline. Not very creative but I still think it falls under this category.)
  • Brielle (you just took the “Ga” off Gabrielle)
  • Cadence or Lyric (these are made-up names stolen from musical terms. They are nouns, not names. It’s like naming someone “Crescendo” or “Adagio.”)

Names that are misspelled:

  • Kyleigh (there’s really no great spelling of this name, in my opinion)
  • Londyn
  • Emely
  • Melany
  • Madisyn
  • Rebekah

Names that scream out for a nickname (Mr. Handsome is against nicknames):

  • Alexandria
  • Elizabeth
  • Samantha
  • Josephine
  • Catherine
  • Alessandra

Names that are “too girly.” What do I mean by this? “Too girly” is a name that is super cute on a little girl, which is great, but let’s say this little girl grows up to be a business executive, a doctor, a judge, a board chairwoman, etc, etc. I don’t feel like a “too girly” name will allow her to be taken seriously, like these:

  • Isabella, Bella or Ella
  • Sophia
  • Daisy
  • Luna
  • Anastasia
  • Layla
  • Lucy
  • Bianca
  • Ariel
  • Aurora
  • Anastasia

Names that belong to the boys’ team:

  • Avery
  • Riley
  • Drew
  • Hayden
  • Peyton
  • Jordan
  • Emerson
  • Kenley (this Gaelic name means “Wolf Head”)

Place names:

  • Brooklyn
  • London
  • Sydney
  • Paris
  • Savannah
  • Dakota
  • Madison

Virtue names:

  • Honor
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Destiny
  • Serenity
  • Harmony

Also, it can’t be too popular, such as the names in 2010’s Top Ten:

  • Isabella
  • Sophia
  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Ava
  • Emily
  • Abigail
  • Madison
  • Chloe
  • Mia

The Name Game

One of the best things about being pregnant and having a new child, I think, is coming up with that person’s name. When done well, it is one of the best gifts you can give your child. That, and a good conscious, values, etiquette, general wherewithal, blah, blah, blah.

I have simple but weighty requirements for naming my child. I will share them with you.

  1. The name must be classic. It must notPhotobucket be a made up name, also known as “smoosh” names, “creatives,” etc. I can’t do it. I’d rather my child show his or her creativity from actually being creative rather than a weird name that no one can spell or pronounce. The name needs to have been around for at least 50 years, if not longer. If it was a “top 100” back in the 1800s then that’s even better!
  2. The name must have a regular spelling. I feel it is some kind of curse to have to spell your name every time you give it over the phone or something. I have a very simple, phonetically-spelled name and I enjoy never having to spell it for people (unless they aren’t paying attention or just don’t hear well, in which case they’re always going to ask you to spell it up).
  3. The name would preferably start with an A, D, E, K or R, as those letters make up our existing initials. I will make exceptions for middle names or first names with a nickname that follows this rule.
  4. Speaking of nicknames, Mr. Handsome is not a fan of them. He feels that the name you are given is what you should be called. I understand that; having a different name on your birth certificate from what you’re called is just one more thing you have to explain sometimes. However, some of the names that I really like just need a nickname, so I’m going to work on this one with him.
  5. The name must be cute enough for a child but also professional-sounding for an adult (but also not too stuffy/serious). It should transcend career choices as well: I want the name to work for everything from athlete to construction worker to doctor to hairstylist. This is the tallest order of the bunch, but I believe that name is out there.

With all that being said, I would like to take this space to document my current thoughts on names. I think the only reason pregnancy lasts for nine months (besides the whole baby-growing being meticulous, laborious work) is so that you can settle on a good name. I seem to change my mind every week or so. I need the time to settle on something worthwhile and then convince Mr. Handsome that it is the right way to go.

Here’s what’s currently “trending in my mind:”

Girls:

  • Michelle Grace or Michelle Rose
    • I google all the name combos that I think of just to make sure they’re not already super famous or have a malicious association. Interestingly enough, Michelle Grace is a movie producer and Michelle Rose is an actress. That’s not enough to deter me though.
    • I love the Beatles and I love the song My Michelle. I would love to sing this song to my daughter. “I love you, I love you, I loooove you, and I always will…”
    • In keeping with my “initials” rule, I would probably call her Ellie. Also I just love the name Ellie but I don’t feel like it is a solid stand-alone name (and Ellie doesn’t really fit my “professional” rule). Also it’s a bit too trendy right now. Mr. Handsome probably wouldn’t call her Ellie, but I would. I’m okay with that.
    • Grace is a name my grandmother always loved. Since she passed away there have been two great-granddaughters named after her. They are the only two great-granddaughters that have been born since her passing. She was a good grandma.
  • Eleanor Mae
    • While I’m not a fan of following name trends, I have still always loved old lady names. Eleanor is a classic; it makes me think of Eleanor Roosevelt. There’s also an “Eleanor” Beatles song, but it doesn’t have the positive association that Michelle does. I still like it though: I can still use my Ellie nickname.
    • Mae is my paternal great-grandmother’s name. I always thought it was so pretty. I don’t think it defies the “no strange spellings” rule because this spelling has been around for soooo long. My great-grandma was born in the very late 1800s, I believe. I’m embarrassed that I don’t know for sure!
  • Kate Elise
    • I just like the name Kate. I have since I was in high school. It is in keeping with Mr. Handsome’s “no nicknames” rule this time, mostly because I’m not a fan of Katelyn or Katherine. I am afraid that Kate will rise in popularity this year, though, because of the lovely Duchess.
    • Elise is getting to be a bit too popular too (I think I should make “not too popular” another one of my rules…). I don’t mind using a more popular name as a middle name, though, because no one cares if there are three girls in the same class with the same middle name.
  • Also:
    • Ana/Anne
    • Ava (too popular, which makes me so sad because I really love this name so much)
    • Emily (also very popular, but not currently. One of the most popular names of the century, though.)
    • Etta
    • Rae (as a middle name because this was my mother’s middle name before she got married. I’m afraid it won’t work with our last name though because it starts with the same sound. Sad face.)

Boys:

  • Adam Dean
    • I like Adam. It fits well with Kiddo1’s name and both names would be religious although we are not (appeases the grandparents though).
    • Dean is another one I like and it is in my mind because Mr. Handsome and I love to watch the show Weeds. Dean Hodes is not a proper role model for my child, though (well I guess that depends on his choice of lifestyle, but still, no). Still like the name though.
  • Elton Jude
    • I love, love, love Elton but Mr. Handsome does not. Elton is a Jane Austen character (Emma, another girl name that I love but is too popular) and also a character in the movie based on the book, Clueless, one of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies of all time. Mr. Handsome and I also love Elton John. We saw him in concert once (and we don’t see too many concerts so that’s a big deal).
    • Jude is from yet another Beatles song. Mr. Handsome says he has an Aunt Jude though.
  • Eric William
    • I think Eric is a good, classic boy’s name. It really bothers me that so many boy’s names are being stolen by the girl’s side. It’s hard enough for me to find a boy’s name that I like, let alone one that hasn’t yet been “femininized.” But I digress. I have a couple friends named Eric but I’m not naming my child after them (sorry friends), I just like their name. NBD.
    • My grandfather is named William. Since all my cousins have named their daughters after my grandmother, I feel like he should get a little name-love too. After all, he is a great grandfather!
  • Also:
    • Arthur (I just dig it)
    • David (another semi-religious name that I like. I would hesitate using it as a first name, though, because Kiddo1’s name starts with a D and I don’t want to be too “matchy.”)
    • Drake (popular now because of the rapper, but I went to Drake University for a second and I just like how the name sounds. Another “D” hesitation though.)
    • Jack (although I had a boss for like two seconds who was named Jack and I didn’t like him very much. I’m afraid I would think of him when I say my child’s name and that sucks.)
    • Ross (but I’m afraid it doesn’t work well with our last name, which also starts with an R)

There you have it: the names that have been running through my mind for the last eight weeks or so. Let’s see how they evolve over the next six months!