Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Name Ceremony

Years ago I read somewhere about a naming ceremony for children around their 5th birthday. For the life of me I cannot remember were I first encountered this (I want to say it's from the !Kung, but have no references for this), but the tradition came from a culture where child mortality was high and the community had established age 5 as a milestone.

For the past few years, I've been subconsciously holding onto this milestone. Following infertility, a high-risk pregnancy that ended with the Beats arriving at 32 weeks and then a month-long NICU stay, I got it into my heart that this milestone would be important.

Tomorrow the Beats turn 5. 5 years since they were pulled from my failing body and brought into the world. 5 years of watching them demand to live and live their own lives. And over the past 5 years, watching them define for everyone in their lives who they are as separate individuals.

So it only seems fitting to mark this milestone for them by doing a name-change ceremony of sorts in this space. Because though Sugar Beat was a name of endearment given during a moment where Grey and I were grasping for hope, it's also a name that they have both outgrown.

Prior to the Beats arriving, Grey and I spent a far amount of time arguing about discussing names for these two. While there was a lot of back and forth about their first names, we wanted their middle names to be reflective for the journey it took to bring them into the world. What neither of us could anticipate is how well their middle names suit them, reflecting their personalities and mannerisms.

She-Beat's middle name is from that night Grey and I stood outside the IVF lab where we left a single madeleine cookie for our embryos that were actively growing inside those incubators. "Mads" and "Maddy" have become names we use affectionately when interacting with her, but we also get questions about our little "french girl" given her mannerisms and physical characteristics.

He-Beat's middle name is in honor of the clinic where our embryos were conceived. Located on Roosevelt Way in Seattle, Grey and I had a lot of back-and-forth about which former President's given name we would use. A coin-toss resulted in "Theodore" and given his energy and competitiveness, he seems like a modern-day Teddy in many respects.

Thus, in honor of their 5th birthday, I'm retiring "He-Beat" and "She-Beat," renaming them for this space as Maddy and Teddy. Because though these two shared a petri dish and were womb-mates, they are unique individuals who remind me each day that they are not only have their own paths but their own ways of traveling down them.


  1. 5 years is absolutely a milestone worth celebrating! And I love both the reason for “The Beats” and both middle names. My girls’ middle names have special meaning, too, and they mean a lot to us. Happy early birthday to Maddy and Teddy and I hope you do it up in whatever way will thrill them both.

  2. Love the occasion, love the reason, and love both of these names.

    It reminds me of the Appalachian Trail names the ALI community did awhile back. Once you'd blogged 2 years, you got to pick your own name (like Lollipop Goldstein or Lavender Luz). It's kinda cool to re-evaluation who you have become and what you are called.

    Happy birthday, Maddy and Teddy!

  3. Happy birthday, Maddy & Teddy! I always thought He-Beat & She-Beat were cute nicknames, but this makes them seem more real, somehow. :)

  4. Beautiful. I love the idea of a naming ceremony and the idea of claiming a name once a person's personality has actually developed.

    Happy birthday to Maddy and Teddy!

  5. Happy fifth birthday, Maddy and Teddy! Love those middle names, and love that now they get their more distinct identities here. A naming ceremony is such a beautiful idea.

  6. Oh, I love the names, and I love the symbolic reasons for their names, and for giving them the new names here. Fifth birthdays are really significant here - we go to school for the first time when we turn five. So it seems a perfect time for their new names to be unveiled.


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