Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post. We are home… again. And now, may I introduce…
About a month ago, Zachary said to me, “I have a good idea. Let’s call the baby Lilah. Isn’t that a pretty name?” Given that he had initially wanted to name her “Applesauce Muffin,” I had to agree it was a lovely choice.
I assumed there must be a child at school named Lilah, perhaps in one of the older classes. J and I had already chosen a name, but I was happy that Zach was showing such interest and ownership in his little sister.
I think I may have overrated ownership. He kept returning to the name “Lilah.” When we tried to gently explain that the baby would be named XXX, he would say, “No. I want to call the baby Lilah.” It got to the point that, one night after the boys were in bed, I broached the subject with my husband.
“I actually like ‘Lilah,’” I told him. “Maybe we should consider it.” We talked it over, yet ultimately returned to our original choice. The next day I went into labor.
A friend went with me to drop the boys off at school before we went to the hospital. The contractions were persistent, but I wasn’t even sure I was in labor. The doctors confirmed that I was, and we moved forward with the necessary Cesarean. Needless to say, my friend did the school pick-ups that day.
When she arrived to get Zachary, the teachers said that he had been a bit worried about me in the morning. My friend assured him that I was fine and the baby was going to be born. “She’s going to be named Lilah,” he announced to his teachers. My friend, excellent sleuth that she is, at least got to the root of the name choice. Zach was intent upon naming our baby after his woodworking teacher.
That afternoon, he came to the hospital to visit his baby sister. He also got on the phone with another friend of ours. This is what his side of the conversation sounded like: “I’m going to call her Lilah… That’s not what her name is, but I’m not telling you her name… I want to name the baby Lilah.” He was in a pretty pissy mood for about 24 hours, in fact, every now and then grumbling that we didn’t name the baby what he wanted to and that Lilah would be her nickname.
I probably should not have worried he wouldn’t take an interest in his sister.
The next morning, when his teachers asked about his new baby sister, his very first response was, “They named her XXX, but I am going to call her Lilah.” J figured this was improvement; at least the boy was deigning to speak the name we had selected.
Over the next day or two, he resigned himself to XXX. His proprietary sense, however, simply grew more sophisticated, as he insisted he be allowed to walk while holding her (not gonna happen) or go in and stroke her while she slept (more likely). He has let go of the dream, the beautiful dream, of a baby sister named after his illustrious woodworking teacher.
I think his fierce insistence upon the rights of a big brother is admirable, and I want to honor his sense of responsibility to the little one. And so, I offer him this weak consolation prize: since I always refer to my children by pseudonyms here on my blog, I hereby bestow upon my baby girl the blog name of Lilah. I know it is not quite the same as putting it on the birth certificate, but it’s all I’ve got in my bag of tricks.