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Nov 11 2011

Weekly Roundup: Mommy Cams, Bad Twitter Names & C-Sections in Seoul

By at 3:10 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

aimee wheeler

– You’ve heard of a nanny cam, but a mommy cam? For a fee, one Los Angeles therapist will record and analyze, frame by frame, your interactions with your children. (The Los Angeles Times)

– Go the f**k to sleep, mom! More mothers are apparently leaning on sleep aids. (The New York Times)

– Mississippi’s electorate voted down the so-called “personhood amendment,” which would have defined a fertilized egg as a person. Buoyed by anti-abortion activists, the measure would have effectively criminalized abortion, and could also have outlawed some forms of birth control and placed new restrictions on reproductive medicine. (The Washington Post)

– European Jewish leaders are moving to prevent anti-circumcision initiatives from becoming law. (Ynet)

– It’s 11/11/11 — and it’s a big day for C-sections in Seoul. (Reuters)

– Time to say “dayenu“? Over at Babble, Stephanie Wilder Taylor has an open letter from “19 Kids and Counting” star Michelle Duggar’s uterus. (Babble)

– And before you give your newborn a name like “Trendy,” we suggest you consult Kveller’s Jewish Baby Name Finder. (Yahoo! via Babble)

Jun 20 2011

Kveller Helps Name a Baby!

By at 12:30 pm

Kveller readers may remember the contest we had back in February to help name my friend’s baby. She wanted to honor her grandmother, Goldie, who recently passed away. The winning name was Orli, and I am so pleased to let you all know that my friend decided to use it.

Orli Rose was born on June 11. She showed up about 5 weeks early, so she’s still in the NICU, but doing well. Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest, and especially to MusicJulia for her wonderful suggestion!

Read about the contest here.

Apr 21 2011

On Naming Twins

By at 2:10 pm

There’s been no shortage of talk about twins in the newspapers lately. “Twiblings” borne of three women and one man who pooled their genetic resources. Twin speech patterns examined. The bizarrely cruel ways people reacted to novelist Samantha Hunt’s twin pregnancy…the list goes on. I am transfixed. I am pregnant with twins, due in just a few days.

Gratefully, I haven’t had the negative experience Hunt describes (no one has told me it was my fault for having twins, as if having twins was something negative) and presumably, I’m several months away from considering speech patterns. Perhaps I should be thinking about the psychological nuances of twin-ship—but I hadn’t been until now. Instead, I’ve been obsessed with the challenge of naming our twins.

Maybe my husband and I have chosen to focus on naming because it’s an aspect of this situation we can actually control. As friends and family asked questions about how we’ll manage in our cramped apartment, whether I might breastfeed, if I will have a c-section and how we’ll navigate the religious aspects of our children’s births (a double bris? A double baby naming? One of each?), we remained undeterred in our task. Each night we climbed into bed and debated names. I was partial to Modern Hebrew names. Jon wrinkled his nose at such designations. He wanted to be sure our babies had names that Americans could easily pronounce, that wouldn’t sound “too Jewy” and for some reason, seemed vaguely presidential. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 10 2011

Time for Another Winner!

By at 11:27 am

Thank you to everyone who helped name my friends’ baby!

Thanks to your lovely suggestions, there will be one less Gilgamesha out there (thereby keeping the grand total of Gilgameshas on the planet at zero, as it should be).

After much consultation, my friends chose Orli, which means “light” in Hebrew. Perhaps more importantly, however, it is related to the French word for gold, or. (It is also similar to oro, which is gold in Spanish and Italian.)  When I asked the expectant mother why she chose this name, she noted that “I think it’s sweet and although I am (er, we are, rather) still undecided, that one has stuck with me.”  That seems like as good a reason as I’ve heard!  Thanks, MusicJulia, for the great suggestion—a onesie will be headed your way soon!

Dec 23 2010

What to Call Grandma When “Grandma” Just Won’t Do

By at 11:13 am

When my husband and I became parents, he became Abba and I became Mommy. This was true for all our friends except for the two couples who planned on moving to Israel and chose “Ima.” The rest of us agreed that “Ima” sounded like a screechy shriek.

Oh well. “Mommy” can too.

When my friends and I became grandparents, there were many more names from which to choose. “Bubbie,” “Bobba” and “Bobbie” were early favorites- mostly chosen by those who had (already dead) European grandmothers whom they had called by those names. Grandma sounded like an old lady but if you had had a beloved Grandma, (by then probably also dead), it had a good association.

My Grandma was still alive when I became a grandmother. So that name was hers. My Nana died when she was only a little older than I was at the time I achieved “grandmotherhood” so, although I loved her dearly, I had unhappy baggage with that name.

My own mother was Mama and although I really liked that, I thought she should just keep it. I was in no way a “Bubbie” or any derivative thereof. I didn’t knit, wear orthopedic shoes, have gray hair in a bun, bake or talk with an accent other than that of a native Noo Yawka.

My grandfather’s second wife who we all disliked wanted to be called Granny. She looked like the evil stepmother in Disney’s Cinderella.

“Grammy” had a nice Wasp-y ring to it but the movie “Annie Hall” kind of put a damper on that appellation for nice Jewish grandmothers.

What to do? What to be called? As I rocked my twin grandsons, the first grandchildren, I knew this was a momentous decision. My husband, who did not know his grandfathers, decided immediately on Zaidie. Zaidies usually go with Bubbies. Not us.

“Savta” has a nice soft sound. There are lots of young Savtas. The word had no connotations or baggage for me. I tried it. I’d say to the babies, Savta’s here, Savta loves you, Savta thinks you’re terrific! They said Savta by the age of 14 months. By then, I felt like a Savta.

Last week, the twins, now almost 7 were talking about our “savta sandwich.” Jack said that they are the bread and I am the deli! They were teasing me that Savta sounds like “soft-ta.” They laughed and said they liked that. When we cuddle, even though I’m actually a little bony, they like snuggling up to their “Soft-ta.”

I like it too. I’m sure I’m smiling as, cuddled together, we all drift off to sleep.

Sep 16 2010

Yikes! My Son Gained a Name and I Lost One

By at 9:38 pm

When my husband and I were expecting our first child, we anticipated that our lives would change, that we would shift all of our attention from nurturing ourselves (as two people who got married in our mid-30s, we had several decades to perfect that skill) to nurturing this fragile life.  We spent hours selecting a name for our child (something unique as in ‘special’, but not too unique as in ‘weird’) but once we brought the little bundle home from the hospital, something happened that we didn’t anticipate, our names became irrelevant.

We were “Ima” and “Abba” (that’s “Mom” and “Dad” in Hebrew), the newest members of a club with millions of others who carried the exact same name.

I found myself buying into this new reality with gusto.  I started writing thank you notes for gifts that Tamir received, referring to myself in the third person, “his mother is going to love dressing him in the adorable onesie!”  The phenomenon didn’t stop there.  In a music class that my little Beethoven-to-be and I are in, the “Hello Everybody” song begins with the little tikes and their names pronounced precisely – Eva (hard “e”), James, Matan (long second “a”), then the caregivers (named one by one.)  Then, last but not least, “Hello to the (anonymous) mommies.”  Hold on, everybody – aren’t we at least caregivers too?   When did our names dissolve into anonymity?

I should have seen this transition coming.  After all, we had 8 days after our son was born to understand it.  There’s this ‘liminal space,’ an in-between time in the Jewish tradition, between the birth of a boy and his official naming, through the ancient ritual of brit milah (circumcision).  While we knew what we wanted to call him, no one else did.  He was in a waiting period before getting his unique name and that gave us time to adjust to losing ours.

While our new names, “Ima” and “Abba” are not unique to us, they are relational.  They only makes sense when our son says them.  Perhaps that’s the point.


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