How to Name a Baby Mulligan
Apr 25 2011
There’s a part of me that fears that no one will come to my parties ever again.
Then there’s the part of me that keeps making up new baby shower games.
The second part says to the first part, “Screw you, sucka! I don’t care if you make new friends. I just wanna laugh at others’ pain.”
I usually listen to the second part because she’s more fun. She also gets me in trouble a lot. To which I say, “Eh.”
My sister-in-law, Kim, is ready to pop with Baby #3. That’s 3 babies in less than 3 years. (My brother is reading this and saying “BOOYAH!” right now. So I’m preemptively rolling my eyes at him. Take that, Jeff.)
And what better way to celebrate a new baby than to make 15 women play my awkward baby shower games? Yep! I sure know how to make a girl feel special. Kim’s so lucky.
For Kim’s baby shower game, I drew my inspiration from all those nights I changed babies’ diapers, gasped in horror at the color or odor or quantity or texture, and said, “What is this?”
And then said, “Are you OK, baby?”
And then thought, “I should probably call my mom or the doctor or someone who can explain this.”
And then thought, “Nah. He seems fine. I just want to sleep. Oh, dear God in Heaven, please let me sleep.” Which is the way most of my nightly kid adventures end.
You can see how that’s a lot to fit into one game, though.
I thought long and hard, and here’s what I decided.
The game preparation went like this:
- Steal my kids’ stuffed animals when they’re not looking.
- Mash up different foods.
- Spread the foods in diapers.
- Wrap the stuffed animals in messy diapers. Or make my mom do it. Because she’s a good sport. And also because she’s crazy, and she offered.
Result: A pile of very smelly stuffed animals.
Hey. Since nothing says, “Welcome to my house!” like the smell of clams and peanut butter, I was right on target.
- Blindfold unsuspecting shower guests.
- Make them change a “baby” and identify the food in the diaper using smell, touch or taste.
- Time them so they feel pressured to hurry.
- Hope they don’t ralph all over, because even though the game is gross, I don’t want to be remembered for “that party.”
- Laugh and laugh.
Step #5 was a rousing success, actually. Due in large part to the fact that Kim’s friends know how to get their game on. For which I’m sincerely grateful.
Here’s Miss Kim, changing her Tiger Baby:
And then she pulled his tail out the leg hole.
Which bothers me a little because Kim is having a boy.
And, um, boys have tails.
There’s nothing I can say that will make this better for you.
But I thought you should know, you’re in my prayers.
I write “dear nephew” because I don’t know this dear, sweet baby’s name. His mama doesn’t know his name. His daddy doesn’t know his name.
The baby boy is nameless. And he’s gonna fall out any second.
When I was having babies, I had the ideal and perfect names picked out for every single one. I did such a good job naming my children that people should hire me to name theirs.
Now go back and read those last two sentences with heavy sarcasm.
Truth be told, when I was having my first baby, I had the ideal and perfect name picked out for her. Gabrielle. Spelled the girl way, pronounced the angelic way — “Gabriel.” Nickname: Abby. I couldn’t go with Gabby, because, given me as her mother, I had to plan for verbosity. What if she spent the rest of her life with people saying, “Well, that name is apropos. A Gabby who talks a lot? Cliche.” How embarrassing. And, of all the things in the world, I wanted to protect my Abby girl from embarrassment.
Of course, now Abby’s 12 and hates her name. She’s convinced that “Gabrielle” pronounced “Gabriel” is another dreadful way I intentionally and maliciously embarrass her.
So that was a naming success right there.
By the time I got to Kids #4 and 5 — my twins, Cai and Cael — I was short on time and out of ideas. The only thing I knew for sure was that I did not, under any circumstances, want my twins to have matchy names.
I mean, these are independent beings with their own personalities. Saddling a twin with a matchy name forever? No way!
Cai. Cael. Yeah, those are so not matchy.
So there’s another black mark in the baby-naming success book.
Baby-naming mulligans. That’s what we need. We need a full year, post-baby-naming, to decide whether we like ‘em. (The names. Not the kids.) If, in that year, it dawns on us that we screwed up the naming in an epic way, we get a naming do-over. No penalty.
Can I get an amen? Anyone?
So now, Jeff and Kim, you’re up to bat. You have somewhere between 7 hours and 21 days to settle on the perfect name for your baby boy. A name that will follow him for the rest of his life. A name that should be masculine, unique, and meaningful. A name like a firm handshake.
A name you won’t have to question for, oh, the next 60 years.
You might want to go ahead and name him Mulligan and get it out of the way.
Or Beth. Beth’s a good name for a boy.
No pressure, though.
Just like there’s no pressure to diaper him correctly in the middle of the night.
And there’s no pressure to get him into the right schools and start saving for his college education.
Just like the rest of parenting. No pressure at all.
All of which is to say,
Congratulations! And I love you. And I can’t wait to meet him. Can’t wait, can’t wait.