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First comes the baby, then the baby-naming bureaucrats.

October 1st, 2010 Comments off

Our Cassie has always been direct and to the point, not one to beat around the  bush. Always spoke her mind, always did what she wanted to do, always walked to the beat of her own drummer.  Raising Cassie was all about unconditionally loving and supporting her — and frequently about staying out of her way when she was on a mission to complete something.

And so it went Sunday, Sept. 26, when Cassie wGrantas wheeled into the delivery The new family.room after a half-day of contractions and, with four strong pushes, presented Grant Geldhof, front and center.  Jeanne took the photos and Kurt shot video (I stayed in the waiting area) and the event was over in less than eight minutes. Ba da bing. Looking at the photos of the doctor and nurse grinning, apparently they too enjoyed the easy delivery — or the jokes Cassie was cracking between pushes.

The stats: 7 pounds, 10 ounces; 20 inches, and enough brown hair to comb. He scored a 10-out-of-10 on a post-birth assessment and, aside from a swollen face suggesting he had gone a round or two in a boxing ring, he was beautiful.

And now Jeanne and I are in awe. Both of our children — Paul, 35, who lives near us in Las Vegas, and Cassie, 30, who lives in Antwerp, Belgium — are themselves parents of beautiful babies.

In other words: it’s payback time.  Heh heh heh.

Not that we’re  not filled with warm joy for our Sarah and Paul...children. For PauKieran opiningl and Sarah (right), who married January 8, 2000, their Kieran is nothing short of a miracle baby, and he glows like the angel he is.  For Cassie and her Kurt, who became engaged in July 2009 while traveling with us through Europe in an RV and who are getting married Dec. 31, the baby making wasn’t nearly as challenging.

Each couple has adapted to parenting quickly, easily and with confidence. And that pleases us immensely. Our grandchildren are in the best possible hands.

But for Cassie and Kurt, dealing with the bureaucracy was a bit of another matter today. It had to do with naming the baby.

Grant, three days oldCassie had considered naming the boy “Green,” being raised as a steward of the environment, conscious of the welfare of the planet we all share.  We were fine with that, but suggested — as did others — that Green  might encounter some playground teasing.  So Cassie and Kurt settled on “Grant,” which means “great.” And  to pay tribute to Cassie’s family name, Grant’s middle name would be Gorman.

On Thursday, Cassie and Kurt headed to the Belgian government office that deals with people data — from passports to immigration to deaths and births. And they were told in no uncertain terms that  “Gorman” wasn’t permitted as part of Grant’s name. The reason: Gorman is the mother’s name, and a parent’s name can’t be contained in the child’s name.

The parents came home and we pow-wowed.  We suggested she try to win the Belgian government approval to have “Green” be Grant’s middle name. That would preserve the aliteration, and Cassie’s desire that her son have a name that reflected a certain consciousness about the world.Father and son

Cassie and Kurt drove back to the government office. Yes, the woman said, “Green” was alright.  So let us introduce to you Grant Green Geldhof.

But the whole episode does raise the question: Your child’s name has to be approved by the government?  Indeed. And here is the back story:

In 1810 Napoleon had annexed the area that is now Holland, and a year later he decreed, among other things, that all citizens’ names be recorded. Well, not all Dutch used last names, which Napoleon demanded, so tens of thousands of them made up last names that were vulgar or funny, partly to protest the new bureaucracy.

Among the new last names: Suikerbuik (Sugar belly),  Spring in ‘t Veld (Jump in the Field), Uiekruier (Onion-crier), Naaktgeboren (Born naked), Poepjes (Little sh*t),  Schooier (Beggar, bum, tramp), Scheefnek (Crooked-neck),  Piest ([he] urinates),  Zeldenthuis (Hardly ever at home), Rotmensen (Rotten people)– and De Keizer (The Emperor) —ostensibly to mock Napoleon himself.

Today, the government wants to halt such craziness, and must sign off on names just as a Department of Motor Vehicles back in the States must approve a personalized license plate.

Clearly this particular bureaucrat on Thursday saw the value of  Green.Bring it on, buster!

A baby will be born today.

September 26th, 2010 Comments off

Maybe the trick was to walk around IKEA for two or three hours last night. Cassie is at the hospital, in labor.

Cassie woke up at 5 a.m. Sunday (8 p.m. Saturday, Las Vegas time) with contractions four minutes apart.  Kurt was asleep but, for some reason, had set his alarm for 6 a.m. today and awoke to discover his wife was quietly enduring contractions. He called us and by 6:45 we were at the hospital.

Unlike my experience at U.S. hospitals, this one was amazingly quiet — and still very dark — when I walked into the lobby after parking the car. Not a single person was in sight and the hallways were pitch dark on the first floor as I walked to the elevator to the third floor.

That’s where Cassie is — in the labor room now with Kurt and Jeanne and I’m sitting in a hallway chair on the other side of some swinging doors in the maternity wing. I hear a fussy baby down the hallway and breakfast trays are now being delivered….

But I am still in touch with what is going on in the labor room. Kurt used Cassie’s iPhone to Skype call me and, on my laptop, I was able to hear the monitoring machine’s loopy Whoosh Whooosh Whoosh of the baby’s heartbeat. I can hear Cassie and Jeanne talking, and now we’ve hung up to save their cell phone battery for later.

And then I heard our first grandson, Kieran, giggling.  This, because Paul and Sarah posted a wonderful little video on Vimeo of their beautiful boy, smiling and giggling up a storm and cooing like a perfect baby.

So I’m hear to tell you,  technology is terrific.  Sitting in a hallway, hearing my daughter in labor while watching a fresh video of Kieran.  Sweet.

Update: It’s beCassiie and Kurt, waiting to find out whether the contractions mean she is in labor, receives a Skype video-chat call from best-en a couple of hours now, and the time has passed with help from new-mom Sarah, who was Skyping us with advice, and then a Skype phone call from Cassie’s best friend, Meghan Trojnar, herself a doctor (pediatrics) in the Bay Area.

We got Meghan to call back on my laptop and for some 30-45 minutes she  video-chatted with Cassie's best friend, Meghan Trojnar, a pediatrician, coaches Cassie via a Skype video-chat from the Bay Area.Cassie, who had come out to the hallway for a change of scenery while waiting to see if these were pre-labor contractions or the real thing.  Meghan coached Cassie on her breathing and gave her steady encouragement, and threw in a few sex jokes along the way…

When Cassie was re-examined by the nurses, she was declared to be in authentic labor, and on some chart that gauges the intensity of contractions, she is measuring 7 on a scale that goes to 8.

She has now had an epidural, and Jeanne just came out to tell me how proud she is of Cassie, for how well she is dong.

There is speculation how long labor will last.  Nurses say she ought to deliver in seven hours based on their rule-of-thumb of the cervix opening 1 cm per hour and she’s at 3 cmKieran.

So stay tuned. Another baby is joining the world today, a Gorman-Geldhof baby to join the Taylor-Gorman baby that was born three months ago.

God bless them and their parents on this marvelous day.