Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's In A Name?

When we found out I was pregnant we did what every new parent would do: called our family, stared at each other in shock, looked at our house and discovered how unsafe it was, looked at the house and realized we'd better get it fixed up, looked at our bank account (could it really cost $250,000 to raise a child?), posted the obligatory pee stick photo on Facebook and then sat on the couch, exhausted and realized that this child would have to have a name. Damn. What on earth do you name a kid?

We scoured the inter webs for anything, but our last name wasn't an easy one to work with. Once we figured that out, we looked into Heritage names, something to go with the Swedishness of our last name, we started a Scandinavian search, talk about a culture shock. I didn't want our baby to have a name that stood out, was too hard to pronounce or spell. But when I looked at these names, I wasn't sure this was the right avenue: Algot? Elnar? Agda? Agaton? I wasn't even sure if I was pronouncing them correctly! I learned as much as I could about the culture and the people, the place and the names.

When I found out we were having boys, I wanted to make sure they had strong names. I wanted names  that could work for men, but also worked for a cute little boy running around the backyard.  We decided upon Henrik and Theodor, very strong Swedish names to go with their last name and honor their dad's heritage and we gave them English middle names to go along with mine. Henrik Thomas and Theodor William. It worked. We were successful, it sounded professional, it sounded smooth and not as harsh as a lot of the Germanic and Norwegian names and I was comfortable and confident with our choices.

After I gave birth, and we were no longer referring to my bump as a "name we kind of liked but weren't sure it matched the kid", we looked at our boys, and realized that these were the perfect names for them. I'm not sure how I knew in the first five seconds that I held them, but I knew.

As they grew, we tested out nicknames and variations on their names but a few of them stuck:  Hank-o-Saurus and Thornado. Why? Well, My boys are exactly as their nick names suggest: wild, out of this world, larger than life, exuberant, full of volume, destruction, mischief and curiosity.

Hank-o-Saurus started with Henrik's love of dinosaurs at age two. Before two, Henrik was a calm, quiet, inquisitive child. But when he discovered dinos, he became one. He started stomping and roaring around the house, he took large growling bites of food and he held his arms out like a T-Rex as he chased us around.  His quest for knowledge led him to trouble as he climbed the pantry shelves, pretended to be a fish and got water from the dog's bowl all over the place, repeatedly, climb the fridge, knock over anything in his path, and his loud, wild, dinosaur energy that literally took three hours of hard physical play to diffuse. Around two and a half he discovered the art of the tantrum. By three he'd perfected it. He throws a fit like you wouldn't believe. He roars in a deep, bellowing prehistoric, man voice, he wails or lets out a loud AHHHHH or WAAHHHH, he finds a way to make his body 100 pounds heavier than it actually is as he stomps his way into time out and it takes what seems to be the entire Jurassic Period to wind him down. At three, it's not just the tantrums that make him a Hank-o-Saurus, it's his sneaky, mischievous quest for more. When you say no, he finds out a way to manipulate the situation like stalking his prey. He knows exactly what to say and how to say it to catch you when you're vulnerable.

We stole Thornado, I only wish we were that clever. We actually got it from Dragons: Rider's of Berk.
Thornado, a Thunder Drum dragon who has the strength of Thor and the ferocity of a tornado, is also... our son. Our little viking has the highest pain threshold of anyone  I've ever seen. He carries things that I wouldn't ever imagine a child (an almost 17 month old child) could carry (he moves and lifts dining chairs, he lifts logS, yes more than one log for the fire at a time,  and he even can knock a grown man over just by pushing on him). Just like Thor, Theo is a master of destruction, with every pass, his arms outreached, and BAM, nothing is on the table. He throws everything with such strength and power. He whirls through a room and seriously, the entire room looks like a tornado went through it. Nothing is left standing. Nothing is where it belongs, and things are upside down and sideways. Theo is the master at screaming. I mean, blood curdling, glass shattering, horror movie scream. He throws himself in every direction going "no bones" and then stiff as a board. He picks things up and throws them just to do it. He lays down and scooches his little(ish) body across the floor yelling, screaming and kicking the whole time. And no, it's not just the tantrums that earn him this name, it's his ability to read situations (at just 17 months old) and determine what he will concur next: Disabling the train track? Stealing a toy from his brother? Moving furniture so he can open the fridge or get water? And it's his persistence, at three months he decided that it was time for baby food, at six months he was crawling, eight months: walking, 15 months: doing whatever Henrik does, 17 months: putting on his own shoes, taking off his clothes and diaper, jumping (feet of the freeking ground, jumping). Once this child decides he's going to do something he does it. Through frustration, screaming, tears and without help, Thornado does what he wants when he wants.

Please don't hear that my children are bad kids, they aren't. At all actually. They are just a very large handful. They take every ounce of energy I have, they challenge me, not just with their quest for Independence, but their quest for life and adventure. They are exactly what I wanted in children, I want to raise smart, independent, capable, energetic, outgoing, mischievous, friendly children so that they can become hardworking, kind, responsible, successful members of our society. Yes, if it means I have to battle the Norse Gods and the most frightful dinosaur that ever existed, then I'm up for the challenge, some days I just wish that challenged started at 11 am.

A Meme from Facebook

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