The Art of Namesnobbery

Do you know me? Do you have a child? If so, I’ve probably judged the heck out of you for what you named them.

I’ve met many parents who feel the need to have a boy name and a girl name picked out by the time they find out the baby’s sex, and then announce it with the gender reveal. Not only do I not understand the urgency, I don’t know how they can pick something and stick to it for so long before even meeting the baby.

The naming process became longer and messier with each child. With our first, we found out she was a girl and chose one of the two girl names I’d fallen in love with, though we didn’t announce it until she was born. The one downfall was that Kourtney Kardashian had her daughter Penelope just days before we how our Penelope — before that, the name was relatively obscure. Familiar, but uncommon. Thanks, Kourt.

With our second baby, the pressure was on. We wanted the name to mesh with Penelope’s. Members of the baby name community (yes, it exists) call that a sibset. We had tons of girl name ideas and almost no boy names we could agree on. Surprise surprise, he was a boy! We spent the time between the 20-week ultrasound and his birth kicking around names, frustrated and unable to commit. When he was born, I asked my husband if he looks like a Malcolm, and he said yes, and Malcolm he was.

Our third baby was the only baby with a surprise gender. We had exactly one boy name chosen at her birth and several girl names, and none of them fit her. We chose a first name that we’d never considered for any of our children, and a “word name” middle name, which I’m usually against.

It was that third naming experience that really changed my mind and my heart about striving to find the perfect name before you meet your baby.

We held her, snuggled her, and looked into her little blue eyes for four days before she had her name. We truly felt like she told us what she should be. Friends and family were anxious for updates — they couldn’t stand the fact that she was a No Name McGee — but we didn’t rush it, and we’re so grateful. I’ll always love the names we had planned for her, they just didn’t fit her personality.

And good news: her name only broke two of my babynaming rules. That’s right, I have rules. They are as follows.

  • Can’t end in an s/x/z because our last name starts with S and ends in Z. We’ve already set a lispy kid up for a rough go.
  • Can’t have a long A sound, because it would then rhyme with our last name.
  • Can’t have obnoxious initials.
  • Must have an easy enough nickname.
  • Shouldn’t be in the top 100 for popularity. (Violet was 47 at the time of her birth. Whoopsies!)
  • I must never have met anyone else, ever, with that name. (The only other Violet I’d ever met was an elderly lady, a friend of a friend, so I didn’t have any real association with her name.)

Have I sucked all the fun out of naming our children? Probably. Will I silently judge you for breaking any of my useless, imaginary rules? Uh-huh. But will I politely tell you your child’s name is wonderful and perfect? Yes. Because I know I’m neurotic, and the names of other people’s children aren’t my business, but they entertain me to no end.

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Just peachy!

Yesterday was my first Halloween that included visits from spirits!

I was begging to have ghostie shit happen last year. In my personal experience, when you’re reaching for it, it just doesn’t come to fruition. Set the intention that you’re up for a visit, but then relax and put it out of your mind.

In the wee early morning of Halloween, I was awoken by the scent of canned peaches. Not fresh peaches, but super sugary, swimming-in-syrup sliced peaches. In my bedroom, in the middle of the night, in a home that does not believe in canned peaches.

Here’s why that made me super happy.

Last week, I saw a post on Facebook asking what food you ate too much of as a child and can’t stomach as an adult. Instantly, I commented canned peaches. My grandma gave us so many as kids! And I get that — if there’s something my kids like and are willing to eat that’s not total junk, I’ll give it to them as much as they want. I just overdid it and now can’t go near them.

When I awoke to the familiar aroma, I knew it was my grandma. I also saw some sort of wavy, misty white thing across the room. I figured that had something to do with the peach smell, smiled, and went back to sleep. As one does when they’re a sleep-deprived mother of three.

So, I was pretty jazzed about that in the morning. I’d read about the veil between the living and spirit world thinning at Halloween, and I finally got to experience it! Shortly after, my children were running around the kitchen. I was in the other room and heard a man’s voice ask, “What are you doing?” I saw Penny, 5, look up. I thought my husband had come home, even though it wasn’t his voice, but he didn’t.

After thinking about how to thoughtfully present a question in a non-leading way, I asked Penny, “Have you seen anything funny today?” She looked above/behind me and said, “Something … funny?” And walked away. OK, got it, there’s some dude behind me. Cool. Happy Halloween, kids!

The day continued as normal, with costumes, trick-or-treating, and a healthy dose of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers to round out the evening. My holiday just wouldn’t have been complete without having the daylights scared out of me, but other mediums feel differently — you can get my sister’s take on Halloween as a medium here.

Natural birth: Hey, no one asked you, Theresa!

I give a lot of credit to the normalizing of mediumship to Theresa Caputo of Long Island Medium.

I’m a fan. I don’t worship her, or even watch her show regularly (no cable, boo!), but I’ve seen several episodes and read her first book, There’s More To Life Than This. When she came to town, my sister and I jumped on the idea as a way to celebrate our 30th birthday.

I’d only been to one other group reading, which was about a dozen people in a retail shop, and each person got a message. Obviously, Theresa’s show was a totally different experience — there were 1,800 people crammed into chairs and bleachers in a tribal casino banquet hall. She was able to give 10 or 15 readings, and they were amazingly correct and clearly life-changing for the audience. It was emotional. Seeing these people, knee-deep in grief, getting messages tugged at everyone’s heartstrings. My sister and I even saw a middle-aged man crying before it even began. Sadly, he didn’t get a reading.

All was well, until Theresa began to read a young pregnant woman.

I should clarify: I’m a natural sort of mama. I’ve never had an epidural — in fact, two of my three babies were born at home. I breastfeed well into toddlerhood. I babywear like crazy. It’s just who I am and what I do; I know my choices differ from those of others. That’s not an issue.

The issue was when Theresa asked the woman if she had fear around giving birth. She said yes, she did. Theresa asked if she was planning an all-natural birth and the woman replied, “I’m going to try.”

It was then that Theresa, being her loud, boisterous, Italian self, joked to excess that there’s no way she should attempt that. That was for our ancestors. Now we have drugs, she said, so use them. It’s as stupid as going to the dentist and declining novocaine.

My heart sank.

This woman, pregnant with her first child, aiming for a natural childbirth, was mocked for her birth plan in front of 1,800 people.

When I was newly pregnant, my introverted self realized how much people want to talk to women who are with child. On more than one encounter, I had completely random people tell me to get an epidural. Like, we weren’t even talking about that. “Oh, you’re pregnant? GET. DRUGS. TRUST ME.”

I don’t care if other people get epidurals or elective cesareans or whatever they want. I hope their choices are educated ones and that they’re supported and not bullied, that’s all. And maybe it’s because I’m an empath who easily lets the opinions of others get to me, but in plain English: If Theresa had said that to me, in such a large setting that’s supposed to be loving and heartwarming, I would be broken. She would’ve broken my spirit. Three kids in, I would’ve given her hell. But as a newbie to the parenting world, I would’ve been shaken.

The thing is, when you’re giving a reading of any kind, be it mediumship, intuitive life coaching, astrology, whatever — you’re in a position of power. As anyone who’s seen Long Island Medium knows, she supposedly clears her mind to allow the thoughts and emotions of spirit to come through. The anti-natural birth message she gave was her own opinion to make the audience laugh; it’s not at all what the woman’s grandmother had to say. She should’ve been more kind and conscientious. One joke would’ve been plenty, but it continued on for entirely too long. I wasn’t surprised that she pushed an epidural on this stranger, but I don’t think it’s right for anyone to shove their birthing views on pregnant women. Especially when you’re a medium, and a celebrity, in the middle of a reading.

And for the sake of honesty, I will tell you: I found the woman after the reading. I, the owner of a big mouth, apologized to her for how Theresa had treated her. I told her should CAN do it. She seemed embarrassed and overwhelmed, and quietly said, “I’m fine.”

Do I think she was fine? No. Do I regret pestering her? A little, yeah. I would’ve appreciated some support if I were her, so I took a gamble and hoped my words would be well-received. I can’t say they were, but I tried.

Let’s get ghostie.

This is the story of a family of 5: two strong-willed little girls, a semi-rabid wild boy, a super smart engineer, and a woman laughing through the struggles, seeking for inner peace, and trying to figure out what to be when she grows up.

I’m Kelsey, mama to 5-year-old Penny June, 3-year-old Malcolm, and 1-year-old Violet. Strangers at grocery stores love to tell me that I have my hands full… and they’re correct.

I worked as a journalist for a few small-town newspapers until I had Penny, which is when I realized that being a mom was way more fun than attending city council meetings and hitting deadlines. I got a job at a now-closed mom and baby boutique/support center. It was there that I fell deeply in love with attachment parenting: babywearing, breastfeeding, bonding, the whole 9 yards.

Anyway! As a writer who is also a mom, I needed a platform where I can share hilarious stories about my children. I want to talk about my life, my struggles, my parenting experience, and… ghosts.

Bet you didn’t see that coming!

Up until a few years ago, I’d seen ghosts here and there. I always believed in them, and would feel their energy. But when my grandma died in 2015, my psychic gifts opened. As I said goodbye to her, just she and I in her memory care room, I told her to visit all the time — come see my kids play and watch them grow up. She’s always welcome.

The next day, she died. And a few days later, Penny casually told me, “Mom, she’s here ALL. THE. TIME.”

My mind was blown. My twin sister’s gift also opened at that time, and she now works as a part-time medium, selling readings online in which she connects to clients’ loved ones who’ve crossed over. I haven’t made my abilities into a sort of career yet, but I have plans to once I stop blaming my children for my lack of time and get to work.

The name Mothering By The Moon represents my connection with spirituality — the moon is a divinely feminine symbol of fertility, intuition and motherhood. I chitchat with the moon when she’s out and my house is finally calm and quiet. I believe in moon cycles and how her energy affects us. If you ask me, the moon can shift tides, so there’s no reason why she can’t shift emotions. (No one asked me.)

So, this is a mom blog, but not an ordinary mom blog. Let’s get ghostie, shall we?