Parenting a child is a daunting task. No matter whether you give birth, adopt, find one in some reeds somewhere, or otherwise legally procure a infant human being, taking on the responsibility of parenthood is not for the weak. Not only are you responsible for raising a person who other persons can tolerate, but you are also in charge of giving this person their first identity marker: their name.
So many factors are involved when choosing a name for your child. There are cultural influences to be honoured, family expectations, your last name, how many drugs were taken in labour... Some parents want to be creative, and there's no fault in that. In today's digitally connected world where everyone has an avatar and screen name, no one wants to be a John or Jane.
Well, duck your heads friends, because the pendulum is swinging. There is a huge upswing in unusual baby names, and it seems we've moved away from produce (Kale, Apple) and onto children - actual live human babies - being named for their parents' favourite Instagram filters. Not only can you take a picture of your newborn baby and apply a specific filter, people are now naming their brand product - sorry, babies - after filters like Lux and Amaro. I'm just going to thank god my parents weren't hipsters in the age of the Polaroid.
My teenage daughter is also breathing a sigh of relief; she's relieved she was born in 1999, before the integration of Instagram into our daily lives, lest she be named after a filter or effect. She rather suits the name I chose for her, and it's difficult to even think we narrowly missed naming her for something that essentially means "looks like a jar of cloudy urine," or "appears to have been taken from a dirty bird cage."
Also, labour is painful and long. I've been there. So, if like me, all you wanted after hours of pain was a sandwich and a nap, please sleep the drugs off before choosing a name for your child. Allow me to introduce my second child, "Spiced Turkey on Rye I Need to Pee."
There is only one hard and fast rule when naming your children: BE KIND.
You do - technically - have the right to name them whatever you'd like, and although some countries have court systems that put the kibosh on names they deem inappropriate or insensitive, for the most part we don't run into that in Canada. I've met people with names running the gamut from months of the calendar to random adjectives, to pieces of kitchen equipment. And you know what? November Lemon Reamer was a nice kid, but he never got a job that wasn't paid in dimly-lit VHS porn tapes.
When you first meet your child, look deep into their eyes. Think about how this child will one day become an adult - an adult who will continually need to spell the name of obsolete pieces of farm machinery to baristas for the rest of their lives. I know of what I speak; my name is Jennifer, and it's only the most popular girls name since biblical Mary, and I've heard rumours that even Mary was called "Jen" by Joseph's close family. There were five Jennifers in my third grade class, and so we were assigned numbers like some sort of cattle grouping. At several points in my life I've dreamed of having a name like a constellation or a feeling. But then my parents added a twist. I'd be "Jenny" for short. But they didn't spell it "Jenny" or "Jennie" or even "Jenni." Nope. I was "Jeni," and I am forevermore stuck telling people, "No. One 'n.' And one 'i.' No 'y,' and, yes...ONE 'N' JESUS CHRIST, JUST CALL ME SUSAN."
So go ahead - be creative! Just remember this: you're already going to pass things on to your kids like your larger than average nose, your tendency to interrupt people in conversation, or your genetic disposition for alcoholism.
Why make it worse for them when they have to stand up in front of a group of people in a church basement to say, "Hi. My name is Patronus Construction Cone, and my parents are assholes"?
In January 2016 I joined a gym.
I joined the exodus of stuffed-full holiday revelers, awash with grand illusions of a newer, leaner me, and stood at the the gates of hell to pay for the privilege.
But this was different. I meant it this time. I was going to go, and I didn't care if that meant strapping on a helmet and facing down my fiercest rival of all - the treadmill. I was going to do it this year and really get my shit together.
This did not happen.
1. It's free for three months, so why would I go while it's free? I'm not even paying for it yet!
2. There are like, 40 stairs or some shit leading up to it. That's a lot of climbing. No thanks.
3. It's located right above the grocery store and wine shop, so I'm actually saving calories by not going, since afterwards I would be tempted to buy junk food and alcohol.
4. I can't find yoga pants that fit yet because I need to workout.
5. My 12 year-old won't show me how to use iMusic so I can get a goddamn workout playlist ready.
6. I had a big meal yesterday and they say don't swim for an hour after eating. If you extrapolate that, it probably means don't go on a treadmill for six days. It's simple math.
7. The dog looks sad. She probably needs me to be around today.
8. I just had a baby and that baby needs me to drop her off at University orienation day.
9. I have my period.
10. All my yoga pants are in the laundry.
11. If I lose weight, I'm going to have to buy new clothes. Then I'll probably want a haircut and maybe a manicure. That's going to be expensive. This is getting out of reach financially.
12. I read that gyms are basically Petri dishes, so why would I go there if it's bad for my health?
13. I own too many pairs of yoga pants. I can't decide. I'm frozen now.
14. Gyms are notorious pick up joints. I'm not putting my relationship in jeopardy.
15. I'm highly competitive but incredibly unathletic. That's a recipe for a broken ankle right there.
16. They offer tanning. TANNING? That shit'll KILL you.
17. I am ample in the boob department. If you too are ample in the boob department, I don't need to say anything else about working out in comfort, do I?
18. I have exactly enough friends: Two. (Hang on...one is still mad at me for that thing, so... one. I have one friend. I think I'm still good.)
19. My blood pressure prescription refill costs are putting several health care worker's children through medical school themselves.
20. I am not a morning person.
21. I am not an afternoon/dusk/evening/night person.
22. I cannot remember that trainers name, the one who was so nice to me, showed me around, gave me a free water bottle and t-shirt, and that seems rude. I mean, it's a nice water bottle.
23. I lost my water bottle.
Feel free to use this list should the occasion present itself. I find having it laminated on a small card and keeping it in your purse can be helpful should you receive an invite from a friend or a polite "What happened to your willpower?" call from that trainer whose name you can't remember.