(for Julie)

At sixteen weeks the baby’s head
     measures twelve centimeters
They can’t tell
     us what is
     blade of grass
     ceramic plate
¿Qué es más probable?
I know this carpet
     is pink
                that we should notice
                        her rings
                        and wallpaper samples
                 that they are all torn
And that for her there is no
                    such thing as

Re-naming America?

(I know I’m supposed to be blogging about Haiti and I promised a post today about the Port-au-Prince airport—but, I swear, the issue I address below is an “event horizon,” of sorts.)

In case you missed it, yesterday, BabyCenter.com posted its list of top 100 names for 2010—an annual event that’s more than making a name for itself!

So—I hate to ask a seemingly indelicate question.  But—What’s up with baby names these days?

Why are the first names of most newly-born kids in the US names that merely decades ago would have been nothing other than good, old-fashioned last names?

Why are we so obsessed with family names, we’ve nearly abandoned the sacred tradition—centuries, rather millennia in the making—of assigning “Christian names” to our newly hatched Madison’s and Mackenzie’s?

I know the American “family” is in decline.  I know many now say America a “post-Christian” nation—(which is itself a misnomer, I might add).  Does this underlie the confusion? 

Seriously!  What’s up?

Why is every Tom, Dick, and Harry now named Taylor, Devon, or Yale? 

And what about these names with oblique, more often than not overt, allusions to the aristocrats of academia? 

My own nephew, born last month, is named “Rhodes”—God bless his little, “high-IQ-ed” heart.  I know his grandfather is a professor, and his aunt, yours truly, spent WAY too many years not making NEARLY enough money in academia—(thus, the high dollar move to blogging)—but that’s a lot of pressure on a little guy!  How’s that for a “you-better-make-the-grade-or-else” kick-in-the-ass?

Now, I know I should keep my family out of this.  I know my brother could and probably should kill me. (But he has a really great sense of humor; his name is “Tyce,” by the way, if that tells you anything about the DNA of naming in my family.)

I know, as well as you do, that a rose by any other name should smell as sweet, but what about poor “Baby Rose?”

Why has she morphed into little “Reagan?”  Yes, I kid you not; she’s number 66 on this year’s list of most popular girls’ names in the US.  I love the old Gipper as much as the next left-leaning, non-Bible-toting, “doesn’t-give-a-hoot-about-Hollywood,” Democrat in America.


Enough is enough!

My mother called me “Kathryn” for a reason.  I was named after my grandmother, her first name, I might add.  And there were a total of three “Kathy’s” in my kindergarten class—I was born in an era, now sadly past, when “normal” naming still happened in America—was right up there with good breeding!

Speaking of breeding—does it say anything about all that’s vogue in naming that my dogs are “Ralph” and “Lucy?”

What’s next?

BabyCenter.com has itself used a “top-secret algorithm” to determine what names will climb in popularity next year, and according to the “online parenting and pregnancy destination” the boy’s name “Max” is predicted to “gain momentum in 2011”—climbing from its current spot at number 46.  Are the sons (and daughters) of America already being named after their canine companions?

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

(And tomorrow—I’ll yap about the Port-au-Prince airport—I promise!)