Thursday, June 4, 2009


During my first pregnancy, I knew it was a girl I was carrying, and I knew that her name was going to be Alison (only one 'l' - very important, that one 'l').

My husband had been enamored with "Nathan" as our first boy's name for years.

I had learned early on that you need to be very careful to select your battles, and while I was far from thrilled with "Nathan" (image of Elder Tanner would always come to mind - tall, dry, and far to the right), I could live with it.

And maybe I could stick in a cool middle name which (eventually) we could switch to.

But a healthy, 8 lb. 2 oz., 21 inch baby girl was born, a week and a half before her due date (thank goodness) AND . . . .


She did not look like an Alison.

At all.

Bill had brought up the name of "Harmony" early in my pregnancy, but I immediately refused. It was so sixties - Bob Dylan lyrics - flower power.

And she would HATE it.

But when this sweet little baby was placed in my arms, I was appalled by one thing only - she looked like a Harmony.

Oh, no.

I held out for about six hours, despite the nurse's repeated urging to get the birth certificate completed.

But then gave in.

Her name was Harmony, and she had only herself to blame.

Turned out not only to be a wonderful name for her, but, as Harmony herself puts it, "you can't make fun of it and it doesn't rhyme with anything!"

Joy, on the other hand...

I thought it would be fairly easy to space our kids apart. I was not ready drop a baby every ten months, but I was also not willing to leave it up to chance. My husband, therefore, was the one required to wear 'protection' (hey, I was nursing, I could take the pill or anything, right?!).

So when the time was 'appropriate' for #2, we began... baby-making.

(It was always interesting how the testosterone levels increase when there is actually a purpose for sex)

I got pregnant, surprisingly, RIGHT away.

(It's been kinda easy to tell when I've 'caught' - morning sickness IMMEDIATELY - like the next morning. I swear that it's just because I am allergic to being in the 'family-way')

But with this one pregnancy, I also shortly miscarried.

And it seemed 'meant to be' - Bill had received his orders, much earlier than we had anticipated, to go to the counter-intelligence school at Fort Huachuca, Arizona (sound familiar? like where he works now?). It was going to be six months in there Arizona, and then on over to Okinawa.

Now, the military usually pays to move the family only when the service member is going to be there for more than six months. Less than six months, golly gee, you just get to hang out where ever you are, or go home to visit your folks.

A pregnancy in the midst of this would be, to say the least, awkward. We had planned on Harmony and I going for the six months that Bill would be in Arizona to stay at my mom's in Torrance.

With a pregnany right in the middle of all this, I would be too far along with the pregnancy to be allowed to fly to Japan when Bill was finished with school, and would have to remain in L.A. to have the baby (although the concept of having another Californian in the family was attractive, I must admit).

So, 'losing' the baby seemed to perhaps by the best way around it.

After Bill left for Arizona, Harmony and I drove up to Michigan to hang out with my dad for a couple of weeks.

My dad has always been one of the neatest people I have known. A musician, a writer, incredibly popular with middle-age female piano students (and a few male one - I mean. his name was Bruce, so yeah, he'd have some guys hit on him) AND ate every single meal OUT at Bill Knapps restaurant (which I honestly don't know if exists anyplace outside of Michigan, Illinois and Indiana), which is GOOD FOOD.

Harmony got introduced to all my dad's Michigan family, and, more importantedly, all dad's STUDENTS. Harmony was my dad's first biological grandchild.

But the whole time in Michigan, I didn't feel great. Like a mild case of the fun - I was just tired, and queasy and moving slow.

My dad asked if there was any chance I could be still be pregnant.

I said, "No, no way... well, maybe..."

So when we got back home to Manhattan (Kansas, not New York), I thought, well, hey, let's make certain.

My neighbors to our immediate left were, as 95% of all our neighbors were, a married couple, both students at Kansas State University. We lived in a complex of rowhouses, which you 'owed' and paid 'mortgage' on. I have absolutely no idea how it worked legally, but we got a tax break living there, and the mortgage/rental price was great for a two bed-room place.

Joy and Dan Thompson were a strong youth Catholic couple - we got into some tepid (as opposed to 'heated') discussions of religious differences between Catholic and Latter-Day Saints).

Joy did volunteer work for "Birth-Right" - a group opposed to abortion that offered alternatives to young women.

And she had access to free pregnancy tests.

Guess what.


And yes.

By the time our third pregnancy came around, the "Nathan" name had died out (thank goodness - and without much help on my part), and we kicked around a lot of names still in the hope that this would be a boy (although I would have been perfectly happy with a third girl - her name would have been Patience).

Some German names crept in for about thirty-two seconds (birth was going to be in Frankfurt - although Joy would have been Joy regardless of being born in Torrance or Okinawa... and actually ended up happening in Monchengladback, West Germany).

Joshua was the final choice for a boy's name.

And then Josiah was Bill's great-grandfather's name - and it just sounded cool.

But it was going to be his middle name - it seemed to likely that 'Josiah" would get shortened to "Joe" - which I hated.

Joshua Josiah was born in December of 1983.

And in March of 1984, moved in Michigan.

And in April, Oregon.

In August, Hawaii.

(Really would have been cool if he had been eligible for frequent flyer miles back then)

But when Joshua began pre-school in Honolulu, there were FOUR Joshuas. The name was even listed in "Most Popular Baby Names" books - yuck!

And then in kindergarten, there were FIVE Joshuas.

On the flight in 1989, leaving from Hawaii and moving to Maryland, I asked Joshua if he liked his middle name, Josiah.

He was Josiah from that moment on.


Lisa said...

I think it's harder to come up with boy names than girl names. For me anyway.

Great info on your name choices. They are all excellent names.

Harmony said...

Oh, I loved this entry--mostly because it was about ME! ME! ME! (well, and two sibling. Pshaw.)

I agree with Lisa--boy names are harder (Blake fought for family names--we had the middle names Gaylord and Elwood to work with. NOT going to happen!) ;-)