Berry Juice is a collection of the best blogs on baby names, pregnancy, and parenting from around the web, including everything from personal naming stories to the academic study of names, pregnancy information to tips on decorating the nursery.
An FBF look back at some of the often-forgotten Vice Presidents’ names.
It’s no surprise that U.S. vice presidents don’t get a lot of respect in history books. The job doesn’t confer much actual power (unless the commander-in-chief comes to an untimely end), relegating most VPs to the footnotes of American statesmanship.
But when it comes to baby-name inspiration, VPs may actually be No. 1. The men who served as second-in-command have had some truly extraordinary monikers — both first and last names — and several of them could work nicely on a 2017 newborn.
By Meredith Testa
There was a major snowstorm where I live recently, which of course got me thinking about names for babies born in a blizzard. I couldn’t find any examples that mean “terrible timing, little one,” but some of the names below may work.
Victor Hugo, the nineteenth-century French writer best known for Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was a keen observer of people and society. I’d wager he was something of a name enthusiast, too.
His books contain not just memorably-named characters, but also a lot of comments on names.
If someone has an unusual name, it usually has a back story. For example, Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was named after the first word in the liturgy on the day he was found as an infant.
Hugo’s characters talk about names, their own and others, just like we do in real life. In Notre-Dame, a group of women laugh at Esmeralda’s outlandish name (although they can hardly talk, with names like Amelotte, Colombe, Mahiette and Oudarde). Elsewhere, a man called Félix complains that his name is a lie because he is not happy.
It was early April in 2014 when my husband, Rick, and I learned we were pregnant. After a long struggle with infertility, we were stunned, cautious, and absolutely thrilled. My husband immediately got busy turning the home office into a nursery; I immediately got busy searching for the perfect name. As an academic who spent years studying naming practices, I was excited to finally put my research skills to personal use. And when I later learned that I was expecting twins – a boy and a girl to boot – I felt like I hit the onomastic jackpot. Choosing the perfect names for our little girl and our little boy became a top priority during the pregnancy.
Every day it seems like there’s a brand new baby gizmo, pregnancy gadget or totally techy item that you absolutely, positively have to buy — like, right now. Your baby still has a few more weeks (or maybe even months) to cook, but you’re already on the hunt for the latest, greatest gear. Before you start stockpiling everything with an “e-” slapped on the front, take a moment to think about how much you really, truly need it. You may actually end up using that space-age baby monitor everyone’s drooling over — but you should know which e-items will just end up being expensive dust-catchers.
YOU WON’T NEED…
1. Wipe Warmer: This isn’t exactly super-duper-fancy high tech, but it’s probably a step above what your own mama had for you. Do you need it? No. Seriously, this is a waste of a baby shower registry pick. Unless you’re all about buying yourself a TP heater, skip the wipe warmer. If your home gets cold enough that the ambient air temp will chill baby’s wipes to the point of freezing, you’ve got bigger concerns.
2. Crazy-Fancy Video Monitor: Believe it or not, there used to be a time when the shrill cry of a newborn woke Mom up in the middle of the night. (Oh yeah, that was yesterday.) No one is saying that you shouldn’t know what baby is up to: When they’re in their crib, you don’t want to wonder, “Gee, are they okay?” At the same time, you don’t want to create your own sleepless nights by gluing your bleary eyes to the video screen. (It’s a crazy-maker for new moms.) The regular ol’ audio-only version will totally alert you if there’s an issue. If your room happens to be anywhere near baby’s, you might not even need that.
3. Movement Monitor: Sure, this is a completely necessary gadget… for some households. If your baby has a medical condition or another issue requiring constant monitoring, your doctor may recommend one. But if your baby has no problems it’s a bit much. It’s cool that you can download an app to check out how much your baby is moving in their crib, but this type of high-tech monitor won’t replace your watchful eye or safe sleeping standards (such as placing baby on their back and keeping fluffy, puffy, quilty items out of the crib).
4. Care Timer: You say you want to set up a schedule for those oh-so-essential care activities? This gadget lets you program in diaper changes, sleep times and feedings. But do you really think you’ll forget to change baby’s diaper if there’s not a beeping, blinking alarm telling you to do it? Probably not. That magical aroma coming from your kiddo’s bottom will do much more than a timer ever could.
5. Formula Dispenser: You already have a set of measuring cups, right? Chances are that at some point you felt enough like a grown up to buy yourself this kitchen staple, even if you don’t cook much (or ever). Pressing down a button and getting the just-right amount of powdered formula dispensed into a bottle sounds nice, but it’s not at all necessary. Especially if you’re nursing!
YOU’LL PROBABLY WANT…
1. Breast Pump: We’re not talking about just any old breast pump here. The super low-tech kind that uses some sort of suction-y, hand-worked arrangement isn’t exactly effective. If you don’t have time to spare (and who does?), you won’t be able to make the most of your pumping sessions without a more tech-savvy version. If you’re looking for a crazy-easy, amazing pump, this spring brings you Willow. It’s a wearable breast pump that fits into your bra without external tubes, cords or bottles dangling from your boobs. Bonus: It’s got a tracking app!
2. Paci-Thermometer: (shown) Your newborn will not open and say “ahhhh” when you try to take their temp. They can’t hold your grown-up thermometer in their mouth, and even if you do it for them, they certainly won’t keep their lips zipped long enough to get a good reading. That means… well, you know where the thermometer has to go. A pacifier version is much easier, for everyone involved! It’s one of the most inexpensive baby gadgets out there, making it a must for new mamas.
3. Your Phone: Don’t go asking for a new one on your registry or anything, but your smart phone is THE go-to piece of baby tech, with something like a zillion uses. There are apps galore, for everything from playing white noise to getting a quick reference cheat sheet on infant safety and first aid. That’s not to mention the wealth of info available online through that tiny computer in your hands. Along with apps and access to the internet, your phone also has that very necessary camera for taking photos and vids to share straight to IG and FB.
What’s your must-have baby gadget?
Erica Loop is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. When she’s not busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies, you can find her trying to hang out with her teenage son, being chased by her two Olde Boston Bulldogs or teaching a children’s karate class (she’s a third degree black belt!).