Dear Tiny Baby…

Letters to Ethan. Which he can't read yet. We'll get there eventually.

Names we won’t give you. Promise.

Dear Tiny Baby,

Mommy and Daddy have been looking at all sorts of baby names lists, hoping we can find just the right one for you. This is a huge responsibility. I mean, we are giving you the name that you will be known by for your entire existence on the planet Earth unless you legally change it, which is a huge pain so you probably shouldn’t bother. We have waded through lists of names that are gorgeous and names that are awful. Some of them we laughed at and others we actually cringed – how can people actually name their child some of these things?

The thing about names is that it’s a delicate art form. You have to consider the meaning of the name – while I’ve never found the meaning of a name to be vital to my liking or not liking it, others do, and for all I know, you will, so I should respect your possible opinion. Lots of commas in that last sentence. Bad English major. Anyway. The meaning is semi-important, just so we avoid naming you a pretty name that means “evil deathbringer” or something. And then you have to look at your surname. Ours is Mincks. Fun to say, easy to pair names with – but names that end with M or N can be kind of hard to say with Mincks. I love the name Sam, but Sam Mincks sounds kind of weird. Then there’s the whole thing with the middle name – can you just toss whatever you want in there, or are you obligated to make sure it flows well with the rest of the name?

Phew.

It’s really hard to decide what we will name you. Especially since we don’t know whether you’re a boy or a girl. We have to come up with options for both! Fortunately, knowing what not to name you is easy. Like I said, there are some bad ones out there. My personal favorites:

Hope Diamond
Tiffany Cartier
Aquafina
Delta Dawn
Placenta (I’ll tell you when you’re older)
Vito Brando
Fever
Alias

So rest assured. Even if you grow up not to be thrilled with your name (we promise we’ll try to give you a really good one), you’ll never be known as Alias Placenta Mincks.

Love,
Mommy

Beauty

Dear Tiny Baby,

Since we don’t know whether you are a tiny boy baby or a tiny girl baby, I’m just going to speak generally about beauty and then get to the specifics. Babies are born with this marvelous clean slate, which means they don’t really have a sense of what is or isn’t “beautiful” according to the modern standards of society. For instance, nowadays we find white teeth attractive, but a long time ago, teeth that were blackened by sugar were in vogue. Because you’ll be born when white teeth are attractive, that’s probably what you’re going to prefer. Unless you’re weird. Which may happen.

Anyway.

I bring this up because there is an unfair amount of pressure on both boys and girls to be beautiful. Girls think, for some reason, that they have to be very, very thin and have perfect skin and hair and wear only the trendiest clothes for boys to find them beautiful. Boys think, for some reason, that they have to look like bodybuilding Greek gods for girls to find them beautiful. Neither of these things are necessarily true. Of course, everyone has their personal preferences – some guys really do like those types of girls and some girls really do like those types of guys. However, my narrow observation of the world has shown me that for the most part, that isn’t necessarily so.

Most boys I know love a girl who has personal style, who prefers laughing to applying mascara, and who actually eats. Most girls I know would rather date a good guy with a wiry frame and glasses than a jerk with a six-pack.

And I’m sure you will find (because Mommy thinks this way and points this stuff out to people) that every person in the world has at least one feature that is aesthetically beautiful. No, seriously. There are snarky folks who will say there are some people that are just too ugly, but I promise there is something about them that is beautiful on a surface level. Even I can look at myself on my worst day – bad hair, bad skin, diet gone awry, no good clean clothes – and remember that the freckle on my nose and the shade of brown of my eyes are really nice.

You are going to be born into a pretty shallow society. We put a lot of stock in our appearances and we talk about looks a lot. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of how you look and caring for your appearance – an outside that is put together suggests an inside that is held together – but there’s a lot wrong with caring too much.

I promise that you will be beautiful. There’s no way you won’t be. Mommy and Daddy come from whole families of pretty people, so you have nothing to worry about. We’re both cute in a geeky way, and we have great genes to pass along. You’ll be fine. Find those things about yourself that you like, zero in on them, and remember them on your worst days. Everyone has days when they feel ugly and don’t want anyone to see them. Fight that urge. Remember that you have fantastic ears or really graceful hands and get out there and be you.

Love,
Mommy

Farmer’s Markets

Dear Tiny Baby,

One of Mommy’s favorite things is to wake up early and go to a farmer’s market. These are places where lots of fresh produce, baked goods, and homemade pretty things are on display for people to browse and buy. What’s even better about these places is the abundance of adorable babies and dogs. Everywhere you turn, there is something that makes you say “awwww!”

Well, guess what? By next spring, you’ll be here, and the farmer’s markets will be in full swing again. And everyone will be looking at you and saying “awwww!” Because you will be adorable.

Love,
Mommy

Woozy

Dear Tiny Baby,

Well, it seems that I am officially out of my first trimester! This should mean that before too long, I’ll be a little more energetic (we can probably cut down to hour-long naps instead of three hours at a time), should have less morning sickness (just try the watermelon, honey, please?), and shouldn’t have as much of that random dizziness I get sometimes.

Speaking of which.

While Mommy is at meetings, please don’t use that time as an opportunity to make Mommy dizzy. It’s inconvenient. Having to squat on the floor with my head between my legs is hardly dignified and doesn’t make a great impression on the people I am trying to work for. As soon as I get home, that’s fine, make me as loopy as you want. There are beds and couches here. Let’s avoid doing that around construction equipment and dusty floors, okay?

Love,
Mommy

Whompawhompawhompa

Dear Tiny Baby,

Yesterday, Mommy and Daddy got to hear your little heartbeat at the doctor’s office! You sounded a bit like a very small, very fast washing machine. Which reminds me: we don’t have a washing machine. So on the occasions that you make a really big mess, don’t panic if Mommy starts acting a little crazy. It’s just because I’ll have to actually get in the car and travel somewhere to do a decent wash. Hopefully, that will change if we move anytime soon, but if not, just…I don’t know. Contain any spit-up and other violent bodily functions as best as you can so that clean-up is minimal. Otherwise it will get really gross really fast.

But it was an amazing thing to hear your heart beating. It was nice, too, because it meant I could relax a little bit. Remember when we talked about “pregnancy madness”? Part of that is panicking between each doctor’s appointment and being very nervous until the moment when the doctor actually says the words “everything looks fine”. When the doctor takes a long time to do this and decides to first talk about Mommy’s weird hemoglobin (and then inform her that it’s actually nothing to worry about. Mommy is apparently weird in an entirely harmless way), that tends to set off the pregnancy madness to the point of terror. That’s why you may have felt Mommy tensing up a little bit. My blood pressure was actually high enough for them to remark on it for the first time in my life. Usually I get the “…are you actually alive?” comment because it’s so low.

Anyway, little Tomato, it’s good to know that you are healthy and progressing just as you should. I go back to the doctor’s office in about three and a half weeks, so do me a favor: while I don’t like the throwing up or the other crazy symptoms, keep up some light versions of those so that I know everything’s okay. I’d appreciate it. Especially since I’m not Tom Cruise and do not own an ultrasound machine. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll explain all about him when you’re older. Much older.

Love,
Mommy

The Blustery Day

Dear Tiny Baby,

We made it through your first earthquake and your first hurricane within a week of each other, and it went splendidly! The earthquake was no big deal – Mommy didn’t even feel the aftershocks and it was more scary than damaging. The hurricane was a little scary, too…rain and wind all day and into the night, plus we lost power for about 24 hours. Not a big deal now, but that might be a little trickier once you come along.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being so good in there while Mother Nature threw trees around the neighborhood!

Love,
Mommy

Why Mommy’s fuse is a little short these days.

Dear Tiny Baby,

I hope you appreciate the fact that Mommy has given up coffee, sushi, and wine for you. Those are my three favorite things. I know you have no frame of reference for those three things, so let me see if I can explain why each one is so very important.

Coffee is the reason Mommy is able to move around most mornings. Usually, upon waking up, I tend to be very confused about where I am, who I am, and why there is bright light glaring into my eyes. Furniture just looks like odd shapes that are inconvenient things for me to move around to get to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the only thing that is in sharp relief is the coffee maker, which is usually glowing with a heavenly aura. I somehow manage to make the coffee in my bleary state, and from the first sip, everything suddenly starts to make sense. My feet start to allow me to move without falling down and my mouth allows me to say words that aren’t “aaraaargh”. Coffee is very important. Without it, Mommy is a scary monster until she has been awake for about an hour, and she is just really spastic after that.

Sushi is Mommy’s favorite food. It consists of some combination of rice, seaweed, vegetables, and raw fish, which sounds terrible but is actually delicious. There are five sushi restaurants that Mommy and Daddy can walk or quickly drive to, and plenty more that are only a slightly longer ride away. Knowing this makes it very difficult for me to avoid eating lots and lots of sushi at all times. While sweet potato tempura rolls are delicious, they are no replacement for those specialty rolls with clever names Mommy relishes ordering. Mommy and Daddy ordering a Jim Roll and a Pam Roll respectively makes Mommy giggly and happy. No fair, presence of mercury in fish.

Wine is a grown-up version of grape juice that in small doses tastes lovely and lets Mommy relax a little, and in high doses makes Mommy think that “Family Guy” is funny. Mommy usually has a glass of wine every night, and it is a wonderful treat at the end of a long day. Few things are better than resting on the sofa with an episode of “Mad Men”, some dark chocolate, and a glass of red wine. But now Mommy can’t have wine. That makes it a little tough after work when all Mommy wants to do is put her feet up and savor a tasty glass of malbec.

According to most of the research I have done, I technically could have a small amount of each of these things without risking you being born without hands or something, but for every study that says “it’s fine”, there’s a panicky and judgmental mother to say “YOU WILL MURDER YOUR UNBORN CHILD AND SATAN WILL PUT YOU ON HIS HIT LIST”. It’s a little tricky to decide what the balance is. So for now, Mommy is avoiding all three of these things entirely. Mainly because those judgmental moms are really loud and Mommy has tension headaches.

There was literally nothing in my stomach.

Dear Tiny Baby,

Exactly what was in my very empty stomach that offended you? And was that reaction to it absolutely necessary?

Love,
Mommy

Go nuts with the doughnuts.

Dear Tiny Baby,

What is it with you and doughnuts? I mean, yes, they are delicious, but you have a bit of an addiction, sweetie. Mommy can’t keep eating them every day. You’ll come out of her on a sugar rush and that’s a terrible way to start things. That, or there will be so much sugar in her system that her pancreas will just choke.

I will admit, however, that the sourdough doughnuts from the farmer’s market were pretty outstanding. Let’s just stick to having one of those each week, okay? Otherwise Mommy will get so big that everyone will ask if she’s having triplets.

Love,
Mommy

Grocery shopping is tricky now.

Dear Tiny Baby,

You make grocery shopping a challenge. I love you and I love grocery shopping, but the combination of you and grocery shopping is not a convenient one. Let’s just say that Mommy stared at three varieties of grapes for ten minutes, knowing that you wanted her to get grapes but having no clues as to which kind. That was not helpful. Specificity is something we’re going to work on once you’re on the outside.

Sorry about that half-cup of caffeinated coffee. If I didn’t have it, I would have fallen down on the floor in Trader Joe’s and I’m pretty sure that would have caused more net damage than a couple of ounces of coffee. Still, I apologize, because you’re probably bouncing off the walls of the womb right now. Of course, I can’t feel it because you’re about the size of a prune, but I’m sure you’re being very enthusiastic in there. Keep it up. One of us should be allowed to be energized right about now.

I’m going to get some of those grapes you requested. Here’s hoping you did indeed want champagne grapes.

Love,
Mommy

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