“Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another!” – The Crucible
Let’s continue on the baby rant theme, shall we? Or perhaps a variation of it…the names some people inflict on their children. Unusual names are fine, I have one for heaven’s sake, but some names seem more cruel than anything else. Here’s a few that have come across my desk in the past few weeks (J., please read this and admit that the nice English names I want to bestow on our children, though odd to an American ear, are far from the worst I could come up with):
Oral – why, by Jove?! Hildebrande – named after what was no doubt an embarrassing uncle Balthazar – are you a video game character? No? Bad choice Stetson – are you a Mountie’s hat? No? Bad choice Turk – is your last name Irish in any way? If so (it was) bad choice Jumber – baffling
Jaraka – an Anglo-American girl from somewhere in the midwest Daxy – after, apparently, a Star Trek character Camillo – wrong last letter Moment – it only takes a moment…to make your child hate you forever
Just so we’re clear, lots of unusual names are quite nice – Janssen’s baby’s name is not common and it’s adorable. Ditto on my godniece. But let’s be clear just because your spawn’s name is unique, it does not follow that it’s in good taste.
PS – See J.? My ideas are looking better and better, aren’t they?
“I can’t think why mothers love them. All babies do is leak at both ends.” – Douglas Feaver
Wise and R2 are both pregnant and due about the same time. I’ve had a slew of acquaintances spawn recently. Last Friday the office girls and I had that conversation about childbirth that traumatized three-quarters of us, and at dinner last night my god-uncle (jokingly) asked when J. and I were going to add to the list. Short answer, not any time soon, Deus Volent. Pregnancy seems to be on everyone’s collective brain these days.
Apart from my completely lack of desire to have children in the near future, pregnancy, as far as I can tell, produces all sort of undesirable social effects. I can’t begin to count the times that pregnant women have been accosted in public places by, as far as I can tell, perfect strangers. People seem to feel it’s their prerogative to run up, clap hands on their stomach, and demand when they are due or coo over them in an alarmingly possessive manner. I can personally guarantee the first stranger who tries that with me when I’m eventually ready to have kids will have their ears blistered.
Also, it seems to turn people (in their minds at least) into friends with everyone in sight. Which can be awkward for the individual on the receiving end of this jovial goodwill.
Friday evening I ran to Nordstrom to find a baby shower present for R2. When I stepped off the tile floor into the carpeted are of the baby section, I might as well has crossed the Bosporus!
There were choruses of “Awww!” from every corner, even though I saw next to no people anywhere. A creepy enough beginning, but it got more bizarre. Wandering past a rack of clothes a perfect stranger leaped at me out of nowhere clutching tiny shoes in her fist.
“Aren’t these the most adorable things you’ve ever seen?!” she demanded shrilly before disappearing behind shelves of diaper bags.
A bit shaken I began flipping through clothes when a woman on the other side of the store held up a pair of pajamas, waved them back and forth to get my attention, and when I furtively glanced up, yelled, “These are just too cute, I had to share them with someone!” I nodded and moved away quietly…
Only to back into a third woman who held up two onesies asking my opinion which one she should buy, launching into the life story of both herself and the person she was buying this present for.
“Uh, the one on the left?” I offered.
“My left or your left?” she demanded. “Are ducks gender-neutral enough?”
“By the way, when are you due? You’re not showing at all,” she said, reaching for my stomach.
“I’m not pregnant,” I managed through clenched teeth, nearly tripping as I backpedaled to avoid her hand.
“Oh. Well, you have time,” she said, patting the shoulder I couldn’t wrench away in time.
“You know those shows? The one where the foreign nanny comes to fix the broken, angry kids and they all scream a certain way? That’s what the kid sounds like.”
In the flat in between mine and Venice’s dwells a couple. About a year ago, this seemingly normal couple spawned and the wife was brought to bed of an apparently fine boy. However as the weeks went by, it became increasingly obvious to all (except the parents) that there was something wrong…
To boil down months of annoyance and sleepless nights to a single sentence, the child is a Screamer. And he has somehow mastered the dark art of knowing exactly when a neighbor is nodding off. Or when it’s 3a.m. Or when you’re carrying something easily breakable and likely to be dropped at the sound of a sudden shriek. Or if it senses smiles and happiness, which the Creature cannot abide.
As rotten luck would have it his bedroom abuts Venice and Val’s, but they aren’t the only victims to this child’s nightly symphonies. Our building is made of three rows of four flats…and everyone one of us can hear the baby. And we have no idea what his parents are doing because he screams for hours at a time and it sounds like no one picks him up or anything, he just lies in his bed and makes his misery heard. I myself have rarely glimpsed Demon Baby out in daylight, just a couple of times while his parents were putting him (screaming) into his car seat. J. says that he’s seen them walking around the neighborhood and the kid, when not screaming, sill has a perma-scowl. It apparently hates the world.
A couple of tenets have casually mentioned it to our landlords, but most of us are keeping mum. Partly because it’s a delicate business making one’s frustrations with one’s neighbors known…and partly because our landlord and his wife are themselves expecting their first child any second now and no one wants to fill the soon-to-be mother with horrible worries. Even though she herself has expressed concern that she will give birth to Demon Baby 2.0. Pray for us all.