May 13 2010
Chalk it up to the fact that we’re pretty blase this time around. I haven’t even bothered to dig out the infant car seat. And as Martin pointed out, “We can buy some diapers on the way home from the hospital.”
But snagging a few bottles and diapers is one thing; choosing a name for life is another.
In a manner of speaking, the kid has had a name for months. A title that he/she will shed instantly in the hospital.
Most expectant parents wind up naming “the bump” something, because it’s weird to have a nameless stranger occupying your midsection for months on end. But Martin and I have never been keen on the “sweet pea” or “peanut” monikers. We’ve shunned “jellybean.”
We’ve gone to the dark side.
With my first pregnancy, we knew we’d be having a boy. And we decided that any nickname would have to be something we’d never use as a real name; we didn’t want friends and family to latch onto something that we might later discard.
And that’s how our first unborn kid earned the nickname Baby Hitler. (Mussolini was too clunky). Not everyone appreciated the joke, so Martin and I shortened the name to “BH.” And it worked. During my pregnancy, friends would ask: “How’s BH doing?”
Baby #2, the future Barbarian, was to be a girl. I don’t remember who offered it up, but 5 months in, we called her Shaniqua. It wasn’t on the same level as a murderous, antisemitic dictator but still, not a name in the running.
This time around — the FINAL time — we don’t know the gender, and that stumped us in the nickname department. Simply calling it the “the accident” or “the surprise” or even “lymie” seemed too cliche.
But months ago, while dipping our feet in the name pool, I tossed out “Harper.” It didn’t stick but that evening, Martin was over at my mom’s house, and she offhandedly inquired about names. Martin said that there was one that he liked, but he couldn’t remember it.
He told my mother it was “something like Hoffa.”
“Hoffa?” Mom asked incredulously. “Like Jimmy…. the missing union boss?”
Well Hoffa stuck and since then, has been regularly referenced. As in, “Hoffa’s kicking,” or “Hoffa’s squashing my ribs.” It’s been a suitable unisex name, guaranteed to get tossed curbside in a couple of weeks.
Wow, just a couple of weeks to go.
BH and Shaniqua can’t wait.