As the year and decade come to a close, we are about to be inundated with Top Ten (and 40 and 100) lists. We will see them for albums, books and movies. And I look forward to them all.
But if I were to generate a list of my favorite lists of the year, BabyCenter.com's most popular baby names of 2010 might well come in at #1.
I'm not sure why these baby-naming trends interest me so much, but I could spend hours analyzing the reasons behind each and every Addison (# 9 for girls) and Aiden (the top spot for boys). Yes, the Baby Center's data is all self-reported vs. the official Social Security Administration's data (even Uncle Sam is in on the list-making). But the mere fact that "hundreds of thousands of parents" took the time to share their baby names with the website shows how deep the "what to name to name your baby" obsession runs.
Much of my fascination with the subject stems from the fact that I have a very uncommon (I'd hate to call it unpopular) name. Come to think of it, I was the only Sari I'd ever met until college -- and the other one was actually a Sarah. So, as a kid, I never had a fake license plate for my bike with my name on it. Nor a key chain or t-shirt or whatever personalized tchotchke you could buy at a cheap gift shop at the airport. I was forever jealous of the Jennifers and Julies who had an automatic bond (and matching nameplate necklaces) with their namesakes everywhere they went.
My husband, on the other hand, is a Michael. Yes, he and just about every other boy born in the 1960s (though #18 in 2010) shared that name. This meant, he claims, he was never called by his first name by anyone, but instead always by his last, in that way that guys are prone to do.
So with our own longstanding issues as a springboard, we approached the naming of our own kids like a project. It was so much more fun than painting a nursery. My husband wanted unique; I wanted familiar. We both wanted something classic and classy, but that wouldn't date them (like the dreaded "i" at the end of my name --very '60s). And most importantly, we wanted something that didn't rhyme with anything tease-worthy on the playground, if at all possible.
13, 11 and 8 years later, I think we made the right choices for our kids. But no one ever really has baby-naming regret, do they? How did you find that perfect name for your child? Did you use lists, books or family history as inspiration?
And perhaps most importantly, do you actually know anyone in Madison in with a baby named Madison? It was after all, #8 for girls last year. Yep, Mad Town has made yet another Top 10 list.comments powered by Disqus
Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race?
If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.
On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.