On baby naming

baby-names

So you may remember that we were having some minor difficulty with finding boys names that we could both agree on. Difficulty that started to resemble panic and infatuation. At the end of all that, we went to the hospital with 2 names for girls that we loved, and 4 names for boys that we were alright with (none of which were Benjamin) and ended up with Benjamin Rudolf!

Why?

I have no idea.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Rudolf is my hubby’s middle name, and his father and grandfathers’ names, and we both thought a namesake name was perfect in the middle name slot. (But I kind of like that people ask me, “Rudolf?? Because he was born at Christmastime?”  It would be hilarious if we had named little Ben after a reindeer just because he was born in December. Hilarious and tragic in equal parts. But I love that people think it enough of a possibilty to ask!)

Hubby suggested Benjamin about 4 days before he was born, as kind of a last effort to scour the baby name book and come up with something (anything!) that we could add to our list of boy names. We both vetoed it, and put it in the pile of names that we had considered, but not seriously.

And then he was born and we both (separately) thought, “Benjamin!” And so he was.

So now I look back at all of the those hours I spent reading name blogs and name books and writing list and after list and I think: crap. I probably should have used my time a little more productively… like maybe by finishing my thesis before Ben’s birth 🙂

Did you have a hard time naming your children? Did you have a process for coming up with names? I’ve heard everything from a brainstorming session over drinks a la Rosie Pope to hockey playoff charts that pin names against one another! How did you choose?

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Birth Announcement

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Benjamin Rudolf was born on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 1:14am! At 3525 grams and 52 cms he was an adorable little bundle. And now he is ONE YEAR OLD!

For a long time I contemplated abandoning this blog (and I did for more than a year!! oops!), but it always felt like a loose end that needed to be tied, and so here I am back to writing.

I don’t think I need to explain my absence. Anyone who has a new baby knows that life gets extremely busy. And the very last thing this momma wanted to do was sit and the computer and type! Higher on my priority list were things like: sleeping. And eating.

Then I blinked, and he was one!

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Partly to blame was another international move. Three months after Baby Ben was born, we relocated to Seoul, South Korea. You can see what he’s been up to here if you like!

If you could sum up the first year of your baby’s life in a few words, which words would you choose? What could you manage or not manage in your child’s first year of life?what were your priorities, and what did you let fall to the sidelines? Any advice for new parents? Any regrets? I’d love to hear from you again!

Weekend Picks: holiday fun!

An unreliable internet connection eliminated an entire week of blog-writing and so here we are at another weekend, which also happens to be the first Advent, or the first of four Sundays before Christmas. I’m new to Germany and so new to the whole advent thing, and discovered very quickly the best part of being 4 weekends from Christmas: Weihnachtsmarkts!

1. Christmas Markets: 40 weeks pregnant and waiting for baby in a small German town surrounded by rolling pastures and livestock has been uber relaxing, but this city-girl needs a bit more excitement and if a Christmas market is the new thing in town, then I am there. We spent the weekend wandering through our local Bavarian market, tasting some delicious Christmas treats and smelling the gluhwein with envy.

2. Movies: Our second new discovery in town has been our local video store and I’m sad to say that it was the highlight of our week. I’m sure there are other mamas out there who might relate to the excruciating boredom and crazy uncertainty that comes with waiting for potentially the most painful and fulfilling experience ever to occur in my life, and in my opinion a little distraction is in order. Add to this that watching a Christmas movie is second only to a hockey game in my husband’s eyes and you have two happy campers. We have also discovered that for a Christmas cartoon quick-fix, youtube has some of our favourites.

3. Music: I say this with tongue in cheek as my husband, who some might say is Christmas-obsessed, has a favourite Christmas album that drives me absolutely crazy: Boney M. It happens to be the only album that he has downloaded on his computer and has therefore been on repeat all weekend. Here is a glimpse at the nightmare that is my Christmas music reality at the moment.

4. Cookies: I brought my cookie cutters and rolling pin to Germany with us and planned to make Christmas cookies as a labour project. I read that it’s a good idea to plan an activity to keep yourself busy with when labour begins to keep your mind off of contractions and to let labour progress while it is still easy to deal with. Always the optimist (and cookie enthusiast), I thought that perhaps starting on the labour project would help to kick-start actual labour and have baked (and consumed) at least 6 dozen cookies since arriving 2 weeks ago. No labour yet, and the baby feels humongous. Yep, that back-fired.

5. Snow: Okay, there’s no snow here yet, but it’s been hovering around 0 degrees every day and I’ve been promised snow very soon by a very reliable source. According to said source, 0 is very warm for this time of year, and I am inclined to believe it as it seems as if the locals think it’s summertime. As I was tromping through the town in my Ugg boots this weekend and shivering in a scarf and toque and jacket that doesn’t close in the front anymore, the locals seemed happy as clams eating in outdoor cafes in sweaters and jeans! And just last night as we were walking back from the Weihnachtsmarkt in the crisp and clear -4 degree night, we saw a couple laughing together, coats unbuttoned, eating ICE CREAM! Let me tell you, Germans are sturdy folk.

I came from a very “Christmas” family, and my husband’s family is equally festive and so the holidays are typically the highlight of the year for us. This year promises to be extra special as we are returning home to Canada the day before Christmas after being overseas for a full year, and with a new baby to boot. So even though it is still November, I’m happy to start the countdown to the holidays on this first advent!

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? Do you have any songs/movies/activities that you just can’t live without during the holidays?

Mother Goose

I’ve taught songs and rhymes to parents and children for the last four years in Canada with the wonderful Parent-Child Mother Goose Program, and since living in France, have started up a class here as well! Today was our very last class for the season and I know I will miss our tuesday mornings together! In honor of our classes, I wanted to share a couple of my favourite songs and rhymes for you to use at home with your own little ones so I added a new page to this blog with the lyrics of some of my favourite songs and rhymes for children that I will try to keep adding to!

Many of them come from talented folk singer Kathy Reid-Naimen and her 12 award-winning childrens music CDs. You can listen to some of them here.

But my absolute favourite lullaby is by my favourite childhood singer, Raffi! May there always be sunshine.