Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Baby Names

September 22nd, 2013 3 comments

I was going through some files on my computer and came across the excel spreadsheet Beth and I used to help narrow down baby names. I am sure you can guess whose idea it was to use a spreadsheet!  And in case you were wondering, yes it was color coded and included weighted averages to rank the names; it also listed name popularity and trends based on recent Social Security Administration information.

For some reason it was much tougher for us to pick boy and girl names this time than it was with Mikayla. (I wrote about picking her name a while ago.)  Looking back at the lists of names reminded me of all the thought that went into the process.

Even though we decided to find out the gender with Baby #2, there was initially some ambiguity about the sex so we had a boy name and a girl name. If we had had a girl, the name would have been Elsie Bellissima.  We liked the "throw back names" that were familiar but unique, but it was the middle name that has the most meaning as it honors two children we were close to who were taken well before their time: Bella Shoemaker and Simo Dlamini.  When the names were put together, it just so happened to be the Italian word for ‘Most Beautiful" which we thought was appropriate.

Other girl names we considered were:

  • Ainsley
  • Amelia
  • Arabella
  • Avery
  • Briley
  • Elsie
  • Gabriella / Gabrielle
  • Harper
  • Lindiwe
  • Macy
  • Madeline
  • Mallory
  • Sophia/Sophie
  • Sydney
    Obviously we did not have a girl so Baby #2 was named Maxwell Simo – a name we had originally picked before the gender confusion.  We liked the name Max from the beginning, and it also is a way of honoring Bella since Max is the character in her favorite book "Where the Wild Things Are."  We had always considering giving our child a Swazi name, and after the death of Simo last Christmas, we didn’t think about many other names.  The meaning of Simo is also appropriate.  It means situation/character(istic).  Since being born in Swaziland will be one of the qualities that makes Max unique, it is a fitting name.  And while a name can mean a lot, it is a person’s character that is most important.

In case you were wondering, here are some of the other boy names we considered:

  • Crosby
  • Fletcher
  • Hudson
  • Max (Maxwell, Maximus, Maximillian)
  • Micah
  • Paxton
  • Quinn (Quinton, Quincy)
  • Sebastian
  • Tate
  • Thaddeus
  • Theodore
  • Xander
  • Xavier
  • Zachary

And just because I can… here is a gratuitous shot of my kids:

River, Max at 2months 076

Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Boy or Girl?

April 25th, 2013 4 comments

Things have been busy since January.  We have had visits from my cousin Jana (and her friend Olivia) as well as from my Parents.  I went to Ethiopia (and Dubai) for a week in March.  And, Beth is progressing in her pregnancy.  But, let’s face it, if you want regular updates on the Kickerts in Swaziland, you have to go to my wife’s blog for that.

Now, back to that pregnancy.  The good news is that both mother and baby are doing great.  Everything looks normal and the pregnancy is low-risk.  That means we will probably be delivering in Swaziland if everything continues as plans.  All of that is great, and what really matters.  However, we have encountered some frustration with Baby Kickert #2. 

If you will remember, at the 16 week ultrasound, we saw "definitive" evidence that our new baby was a boy.  Here is the picture looking up between the legs.  That is definitely a penis.


So with that knowledge, we set out to decide on boy’s names.  It was a much more difficult process for us, but we ended up settling on a name everyone liked: Maxwell (Max) Simo Kickert.  It was great to have that decision out of the way…  that is until our 28 week ultrasound.

Here is the picture from that one (sorry it is not as clear because it is a scan of a printed image):

28 week scan (2)

For this picture you are again looking up between the legs from underneath, but the baby is facing the opposite direction.  Also, instead of seeing a penis, you are seeing the three lines that indicate a vagina.  Even more telling, is that when the doctor continued the scan up the body, there was no evidence at all of a scrotum.

Both doctors said that if their respective ultrasound stood on their own, there would be no question of what the gender was.  The problem is that each ultrasounds points in a different direction.

It is possible that the first image is actual of the umbilical cord, but when I look back at it, it certainly looks like a penis to me.  It is also possible that in the second image, the baby was positioned in such a way as to hide the penis. 

So where are we?  We really don’t know.  It could go either way.  We are leaning towards girl since that is what was indicated in the most recent scan, but we won’t know for sure until we have another ultra sound (some time in the next month).

Again, the most important information is that the baby is healthy.  But this ambiguity is frustrating.  We have gone back to the drawing board on names to try and come up with one of the female variety.  It has been just as tough as deciding on a boy’s name, but we think we at least have an idea for a first name.

We will keep you posted.  In the meantime, you are more than welcome to submit your own guesses based on your ability to read the ultrasounds above.

Categories: Family Tags: , , , ,

Baby Legs Argument

October 29th, 2009 7 comments

Beth and I have been married for 5 years and for those most part, we have been conflict free. That has all changed in the last month. I know I should not air out our dirty laundry for the whole blogosphere, but I have to get this off my chest.

Ever since the weather has gotten colder, Beth has been on this baby leg warmer kick. We probably have 10 pairs either in the house or on order. I think they are hideous (Think 1980’s aerobics outfits meet grandpa’s sock drawer). Have a look for yourself. Beth has written a blog post about how much she loves these leg warmers. Here is a picture of our daughter wearing them:

Mikaylas Baby Legs

Mikayla's Baby Legs

Here is the rub… I am not against the “idea” of these infant accessories — in fact, I think they are brilliant. You can keep your baby’s legs warm without having to deal with an extra pair of pants when changing diapers. You can keep them in the damper bag and always have an option if it gets cold. The problem is they are so gosh-darn ugly. No self-respecting father is going to put pink argyle leg warmers on his baby and take her out into public.

Rather than try to convince Beth to lay off purchasing these things (Hey, at least she only buys $7 knit tubes and not $7,000 jewelery — I can live with that), I have decided to advocate for the perfect pair. Something that is functional and not floundering in fashion faux pas. Here is what I want to see. I want a pair of black leg warmers made out of water-proof soft-shell material and complete with adjustable elastic bands. That way it will super-warm; it will match (most) every outfit; they will stay up on little Mikayla; and best of all, if (when) she spits up on them, you don’t have to replace them, you only have to wash them off. Now that is a pair of leg warmers I could get behind.

Until we find a pair like that, I guess Beth and I will just have to continue butting heads. I think we will make it through it. 🙂

What time is it?

October 21st, 2009 2 comments

My vivid dreaming and pleasant slumber is interrupted by the sound of frantic crying heard through the tinny speakers of the baby monitor.  I am jolted to consciousness as I suddenly realize my setting and that my daughter is obviously in need of parental comforting.

“What time is it?” I ask my still-groggy wife with a nervous urgency revealing the high stakes that rest on the answer. Early in Mikayla’s life I asked that question because I was sleep deprived and had no sense of time and needed to get my bearings.  Later, I asked so that I could gauge how long she was sleeping and how close she was to the magic destination of “sleeping through the night.”  Now I ask knowing there is a lot more riding on the answer.

You see Beth and I play a game called Late-night Baby Russian Roulette.  In order to share the burden caused by nighttime feedings, dirty diapers and Mikayla’s recent bout with evening gassiness, we have developed a system.  Any crying before 1:30am I have to deal to with (since she is probably not hungry) and anything after 1:30 Beth deals with.  (Somehow I also ended up with post-feeding post-1:30 crying as well).  So now when I ask what time it is, I know the answer can either catapult me out of the warm cocoon of my bed or give me permission to, in good conscious, put the pillow over my head to drown out the sobs as I drift back to sleep.  You never know which is in the chamber when the baby monitor goes off.

“What time is it?”

BANG – 1:10am

Dang…. I’m hit…. and you get a blog post.

Categories: Family Tags: , , , ,

New Baby Check List

September 15th, 2009 8 comments

Mikayla is now 4 months old and Beth and I have learned a lot.  I remember just a few months ago walking through Target with the price gun to do our baby registry and getting frustrated because I had no clue what we needed.  (This could be my version of hell.  I hate feeling like I don’t know what is going on and I really hate shopping.  To make it worse we weren’t even shopping — at least with shopping you get to get open up something new and read the instruction manual).

Nursery prior to Mikayla's arrival

Nursery prior to Mikayla's arrival

Now that we have a feel for what it is like to raise a new baby, I feel like I can make a list of the things you really need (at least the things we did).  We certainly don’t have things figured out, but if we had to start over, these are things I would make sure we have.

Dealing with poop

  • 15-25 cloth diapers.  We chose fuzzi bunz.  I have written an entire post on our cloth diaper decision.
  • Enough NB/1 disposal diapers to get through the cord falling off and for emergencies — we also used them at night the first month or so, but later learned that was unnecessary.
  • 2-3 wet bags
  • 5 gallon wet/dry pail
  • Diaper detergent (see this post for more insights)
  • Changing pad (we put this on an old dresser and skipped the formal changing table)
  • Diaper bag
  • Travel changing pad (we slip a few disposable diapers and our wipes in this for simplicity)
  • Wipes


  • 6-8 4 oz bottles (we used these initially and now use them for storage)
  • 6-8 8 oz bottles (we use Dr. Brown’s for all our bottles – they are compatible with Medela pumps and seem to work.  See here.)
  • Beth’s stuff (obviously I don’t use this stuff)
    • Medela breast pump
    • Nursing wrap
    • Lansinol nipple cream
    • Breast shells (not shields) – we never used these b/c we could not find them in time, but I think they would have really helped the first 2 weeks)
    • nursing pads
    • 3-4 nursing bras
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Bottle brush
  • Milk storage bags


  • Bouncy chair
  • Some sort of stand-up exerciser
  • Wrap / chest carrier / sling
  • play mat
  • Swing (this has not been used as much as we thought it would, but when we use it, it was golden and irreplaceable)
  • A few tactile toys


  • Crib
  • pack and play
  • 2 swaddling blanket / wrap (kidopotamus makes an awesome one we used for the first 2 months)
  • 2 sleep sacks
  • gowns (don’t even try to use footed pajamas the first few months)
  • a few stocking caps
  • monitor
  • every pacifier imaginable to find out which the baby prefers and then at least 4 of the “winner”
  • Bedding set (no need for a fancy one)


  • you will need some of these, but you will find it has less to do with practicality and more with “cuteness” and personal taste.  My only recommendation is to avoid anything that requires more than 2 steps to get to poop-production-plant.  I personally gravitate towards the onsies.
  • Dressers / cabinets / drawers / etc.

Bathing / Medicine

  • Bath tub (I was opposed to getting one of these because I thought it was unnecessary, but it has proven very useful).
  • Children’s Tylenol
  • gas drops
  • baby wash
  • baby shampoo
  • wash cloths
  • snot sucker (We also use an aerosol saline to help make this more effective)
  • Baby towel
  • hair brush
  • temperature checker
  • rectal thermometer
  • nail clippers (we used nail files the first month)


  • Stroller
  • Car seat (we have a nice travel system where the seat has a base and fits on the stroller)

I am sure I have left a few things off, but I certainly wish I had this list going into the whole process.  Of course Beth could add things, especially as they relate to pregnancy and post-natal care.  I also have listed the things I am sure we will need when Mikayla “goes mobile” such as outlet plugs, cabinet locks and hallway gates, but I figure this is a good start.

Mikayla and me at 4 months at Jackson's Orchard.

Mikayla and me at 4 months at Jackson's Orchard. She has reason to be concerned.