what’s in a name? dax arthur.

Naming a person is a big deal. I get varied responses when I tell people my kid’s name.

What’s that again? 

How do you spell it?

Is it short for something? 

Dax Arthur.

Just how it sounds: D-A-X.

Nope. Just Dax.

But I always get the same follow up question.

Dax! That’s unusual! Where’d you come up with that name? 

I have been meaning to blog about it, but I, uh, like, forgot? So here you go. Here’s how we came up with my kid’s unusual (I guess?) name.

DISCLAIMER: In my head, this blog post is LONG and ENLIGHTENING and really packs a WOW PUNCH but really it’s not that exciting.

Dan and I started fantasizing about baby names way before we got pregnant because I guess that’s just what you do, right? When it came down to the boy name, Dan had one request. Because his family doesn’t really have a family “name” to pass on (unless you count the four-syllable-German-splosion that is his last name), and his name is Dan and his dad’s name is Don, he wanted his son’s name to start with the letter D.

I was fine with that because I’m really indecisive and that cut down our choices significantly. #truthbomb

Dan joked about the name Demitrius Alexander because, alongside the Durrenberger surname, that kid would have the longest name ever and would never be able to fill out a Scantron. But I vehemently resisted. We went though countless baby books and could never agree on a D name for a boy. Things were looking bleak. It was looking like a Daniel Junior was in our future and I am SO not into that.

In case you didn’t know, Dan is a youth pastor. And I, for several years, volunteered in youth ministry alongside him. One day, a spunky new kid showed up to our group. When it was time for introductions, everything changed.

“I’m Dax,” he said proudly.

Dan and I shot each other a look immediately. I like to think the heavens opened up and a light shone on this little 12-year-old boy, while choirs of angels sang and God himself said, “Yea, Durrenbergers, it will come to pass that this boy will be the namesake for your future son.”

Each subsequent interaction we had with Big Dax (as we have now started to affectionately call him) was more confirmation that this kid was one with whom we’d want our baby boy to share a name. He’s an intelligent, personable, fun kid with a kind heart. However, Big Dax was actually named after a Star Trek character. Since neither Dan nor myself are trekkies, we had to dig a little bit deeper to figure out if this name was, indeed, for us.

Though there is some debate, some translations say that Dax means “leader”. This is so accurate for our little boy. Not only is he our firstborn making him, by default, the leader, but he is so particular. He likes things they way he likes him. Very brave, that one.

As for his middle name? Arthur is a family name on my side; I chose it because the cousin closest to me in age (and in relationship), Brian, also has this middle name. Brian is someone in my life for whom I hold the utmost respect. Brian is strong, smart, funny, and my best family friend. As for the meaning? It means “bear”.

I’m really proud of my kid’s name. After getting to know him in my belly and seven months outside my belly, it absolutely fits. There isn’t another name out there that would suit him better and I hope he feels the same pride I do growing up as Dax Arthur, the Leader Bear. 

trying to make it while trying to look like we’ve made it.

dax_7months

So. This happened last week.

Well. Uh. To be honest, the pictures were actually taken last night. But little Dax Arthur turned 7 months old on the 19th.

I know. I’m slacking a little bit. BUT WHATEVER, I WORK FULL TIME AND I’M A MOM OKAY? I’M SUPER BUSY, COME AT ME.

* shifty eyes *

My mom and I were talking the other day about how all of my friends, both from my childhood and my adulthood, keep popping out babies lately. Three of them came into the world in the past ten days. (Hi Joshua! Hi Parker! Hi Eleanor! You all are very cute! It’s nice to meet you! Sorry about all the rain!) A handful of friends are also pregnant right now, due to join the mommy club in the next few months. It’s quite exciting, but also sobering.

This revelation comes about a year away from my ten-year high school reunion. This is a bit scary. When did we all get here? When did we all become parents? Just yesterday we were (read: I was) waking up at 5:30 in the morning, even though school started two hours later, to flat iron our (my) unruly hair and apply copious amounts of makeup in order to look like we were (I was) the sole human(s) that weren’t affected by the awkwardness of adolescence. Just yesterday we were (I was) worried about whether or not our (my) skirts were short/long enough to make us (me) look older than we were (I was) but not too old. Just yesterday we were (I was) throwing shaving cream at each other in the senior class parking lot, pausing from all the fun to catch our (my) reflections in the side-view mirrors of random vehicles to ensure we (I) still looked “pretty”.  But today, we are (I am) leaving the house covered in pureed sweet potatoes and spit-up, furiously wiping ourselves (myself) down in the car on the way to work, scrambling to find babysitters so we can take our (my) husband(s) on a dang date.

How did we (I) get here?

Blah. I don’t know. But what I do know is that, based on the conversations I keep having and on the Facebook statuses I keep reading, one thing remains the same.

We’re all still trying to make it. But we’re all trying to make it look like we’ve already made it.

Last week, the Durrenbergers were in a funk. After letting Dan and I get used to long stretches of uninterrupted sleep at night, Dax was up several times wanting to nurse which, despite how cute he is, irritated us. Our exhaustion led to crankiness all over and it was like every word that shot out of Dan’s mouth was poison to my soul and every glance I gave him lit up all his insecurities.

All unintentional, of course. (Side note: Dax is officially cutting a tooth. I get it now.)

It was just a week. One, measly week in the almost five years of our relationship. But even still, it was enough to make me question everything.

Am I a good wife? 

Am I a good mother?

If I were either of those things, life wouldn’t be so hard right now.

All of a sudden I am reliving the days where I woke up at ZERO DARK THIRTY to literally burn my kinky hair into stick-straight submission before high school (shout out to all the flat irons that were manufactured before keeping your hair un-damaged was a legitimate concern). Just like back in my awkward teenage days, I just want to have it all together. But, more so than that, I just want to look like I have it all together.

I remember when I was still on maternity leave, a girl at church remarked about how put-together I looked. She was astonished that a new mom like myself could just effortlessly waltz into church on a Sunday, my newborn baby snugly sound asleep against my chest in my Maya Wrap, with the curls on my head falling into perfect place with just the right amount of makeup on to communicate, “Yeah, I made it here. And still look good. But whatever, I guess motherhood is just so easy. I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. We’re all sleeping great. And I just don’t have to try.”

The secret? I TRIED REALLY FREAKING HARD, OKAY? BECAUSE I AM INSANE SOMETIMES. I wasn’t back at work yet so if my kid fell asleep (notice I said IF) the first thing I’d do was curl my hair and put on makeup. Yes, even before I showered or took a nap of my own. Because  I wanted so badly to look like I’d made it already, despite the fact that my baby was only a few weeks old and only enjoyed two things — screaming and nursing. Not sleeping. Or like, smiling.

Just like on those days when I’d stroll into my first period class like, “What? This? Yeah, my hair is so gorgeously straight, just by nature. Nah, I don’t do anything really. I mean I have a flat iron but, whatever.”

That was almost ten years ago. Am I really no different?

I’d like to believe there are other people out there. Women who are planning their weddings and trying to effortlessly please everyone on the guest list. Dads who work two jobs to provide for their families and by the time they get home they have a strung-out wife and a crying baby to answer to. Girls who show up to their high school every day praying that the outfit they chose that morning doesn’t bring about the bullying accusations of thinner girls.

I’d like to believe there are more people than just me in this boat.

In the event that I’m right in assuming that so many of us are actually walking shells, imposters even, of our true selves, I’d like to challenge us all to just let ourselves be. 

Just. Be.

What does that look like for me to just be? At the moment, it means hitting the snooze button a few extra times in the morning instead of waking up at the first (way too early) alarm to style my unruly hair. It means not cringing at the thought of someone randomly coming over to my always-messy house before I get the chance to deep-clean it. It means not stressing over the fact that my baby ate non-organic bananas one time. It means taking Dax’s 7-month pictures when he’s actually 7 months and one week old. It means giving myself a freaking break.

Because despite what I think, I haven’t made it yet. And I might never make it. But I’d rather spend my days just living than trying to look like I’m living a certain way.

Ya feel me, homies?

things i love thursday! (february 21, 2013)

I’m sorry for the lack of a TILT post last week. My life is like a Noxema commercial, y’all. I was too busy blogging about how to avoid buggin’ on Valentine’s Day.

CLEARLY I AM STILL ON A CLUELESS KICK AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

Anyway. Here’s a love letter I sent myself. Sort of.

dax_happy_collage

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Um. Is that picture not the cutest? I know, right? Don’t you wish you could hug him through the screen?
  • My best friend got engaged and asked me to be her matron of honor! So fun!
  • Imagine Dragons. I’ve been so into them lately. I am so mad at everyone who failed to inform me of them before now.
  • Catching up with good friends over lunch, even if the service was a bit slow. More time for chit-chat, I guess.
  • My breastfeeding support groups. Feeding a person with your body can be hard, y’all.
  • Mentorships over email.
  • Mexican food.
  • Dos Equis + lime. Holy delicious.
  • Beer in general, as always.
  • “Nipple” cookies.
  • Hating on the face-eating Krazy Kat Lady. (She has recently evolved to become even more evil.)
  • Candy. Lots and lots of candy.
  • My sweet Valentine’s Day date with my hubs.
  • Friends who agree to babysit last minute.
  • Being in a Harlem Shake video. Oh Lawd.
  • Champagne and Spider-Man valentines!
  • THIS. EVERY YEAR.
  • Nighttime snuggles with my little boy.
  • Bridal showers.
  • Getting a new breast pump from the government. Shout out, Obamacare! Who’s your boo?
  • Watching episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu+.
  • See also: America’s Next Top Model. WHY DID NONE OF YOU CRAZIES TELL ME THAT AN FSU GIRL IS ON THIS CYCLE? I’ve only seen the first episode but I’m already betting homegirl doesn’t last long. #liptattoo
  • Getting to hang out with my mom this weekend.
  • Apples to Apples and In a Pickle. I LOVE WORD GAMES! Squeeeee!
  • Catching up with my favorite students.
  • New babies! Hi Joshua!
  • Putting off the chores in lieu of vegging on the couch with my man.
  • Making musical revelations over text message.
  • Five Guys.
  • Sushi.
  • A year after we got robbed, we finally bought me a MacBook! YAY! It’s used and five years old but, apart from a dead battery and CD drive it works and it’s new to me! It is shipping out this week. Holla!
  • My friends.
  • My family, both biological and not.
  • You.

What do you love this week?

failure: lies vs. truth.

Most of you know that my son is pastor’s kid (or a PK to those in the circle, WHADDUP CHURCH FOLK? HOLLA AT A GIIIIRL.). Whenever we’re at church, my kid is rarely in my arms. There is usually a line of eager baby-holders behind my kid so long it rivals those at communion tables. And I am usually pretty quick to hand him over because hello he’s adorable and I happen to find peace in the fact that he doesn’t cry when people in my community who didn’t have anything to do with him coming to exist love on him.

But this weekend, someone remarked on this phenomenon in such a way that lit up all the bulbs on my insecurity light board.

“Every time I see Dax, he’s with another woman. He’s going to grow up not knowing who his mother is.”

As offensive as that was, I assumed the person was joking because oh my word who actually says crap like that? Plus, I must say, this person is very dear to me and I know that my son and I are very dear to this person. So I chuckled to myself and made some incomprehensible comeback like, “Haha, yeah, he’s cute, people hold him, chunks, the face, he smells good, hahahahahaha snort.”

But it didn’t end there. The rest of the night, the person took it upon themselves to come to me and report whenever Dax was handed off.

“See? He’s with X person now. And now, he’s with Y person!”

Mmmmmkay. I thought. I get you. He’s a hot little potato right now. Okay. He’s the village bike or whatever.

The straw that broke the insecure mommy’s back, though, came later. My friend was holding Dax while I was standing there talking to her. When this person saw this, they jaunted over and bowed down to look my six-month-old baby in the eye and say, “See, Dax? Your mom is RIGHT THERE and still won’t hold you.”

It was about that time that I pryed Dax out of my sweet friend’s arms and bid the place adieu.

“Okay, y’all. That’s enough. That’s quite enough for me thanks. See you next week if I haven’t been turned in to DCF yet for neglect! lolololol”

Again, I must reiterate, I really adore this person and they adore my family. They are very nice. And probably not menacing in the least. But sometimes, people say things that are unintentionally hurtful.

Since then, I’ve been a walking wreck, questioning every move I make as a mom. And, because it’s just the way I am wired, it’s making me question my abilities everywhere else, too.

Am I sucking as a wife? A writer? A human being in general? Probably. No one has said such things but I bet it’s only a matter of time before someone barges into my house, looks my husband in the eye and says, “See, Dan? Your wife is RIGHT THERE and she’s not, like, cooking you dinner right this second or having some crazy monkey sex with you or WHATEVER I DON’T EVEN KNOW SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES, SO YOU BETTER REGULATE SONNNN.”

Ugh.

The past few nights I’ve been lamenting these fears to my poor husband (husband (n): the dude who is contractually obligated to lie next to me each night and listen to me complain about nonsense) and, while he’s been sweetly encouraging in the touchy-feely sense — “Lindsay, you are such a great wife because EXAMPLE and you’re such a great mom because EXAMPLE and blah blah blah” — he’s also been super helpful in the logistical sense.

“What you need to do,” he suggested last night as I lie awash in a sea of my own tears LOL HYPERBOLE IS THE BEST, “is write down all the things you think you’re failing at right now. Then, take a good, hard look at each of them and figure out why you think you’re failing. What about those thoughts are true? What about them are lies? Once you know what’s true and what’s a lie, you’ll feel better and know how to tackle them.”

Well. I guess that’s why I married him. That and the crazy monkey sex.

I’ve found that 99% of the crap I’m worried about is based on lies. Whether it’s a lie someone told me at church — this person may be right about seeing Dax with lots of women during the day but there’s only one woman he clings to in the middle of the night and early in the morning when he really wants to be comforted and feel safe — or a lie I’ve told myself a thousand times — you suck at everything because you’re not like someone else — it’s just a matter of bringing myself back to center to focus on the truth.

I’m a good mom because:

  • my kid is alive and, like, not sick. Or alone. Or afraid of other people. 
  • I change his diaper when he poops in it. That’s gotta get me some points.
  • basically that’s it.

I’m a good wife because:

  • I try to love my husband the way that makes sense to him.
  • when I don’t quite hit the mark, I try again the next day.
  • basically that’s it.

Everything else? Everything else is a lie. And lies are stupid.

While we’re on the topic of lies being stupid — blondes don’t have more fun, okay? They just have more blonde. I would know.

things i love thursday! (february 7, 2013)

My life is great. My friends are awesome. My family is baller. Ergo, my week ruled.

hufflepopple

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Hours-long text conversations that are comprised entirely of Clueless quotes.
  • Also, text message conversations solely written in ERMAHGERD speak.
  • ERMAHGERD TERXT MERSERGERS.
  • Spontaneous lunch dates.
  • Morning cuddles.
  • Watching my baby boy laugh.
  • Spending the day emailing girlfriends back and forth all about Harry Potter.
  • New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Parenthood marathons.
  • Bath time!
  • Not having to do the chores for a whole month! (Sorry babe!)
  • #Hufflepopple
  • Celebrating birthdays.
  • Chili. Lots and lots of chili.
  • Eating a grilled cheese sandwich. Nevermind the absolute HELL we had to go through with Dax after that but. Seriously. Grilled cheese. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? #longlost
  • Chocolate.
  • Dax’s pediatrician.
  • Geeking out over new music.
  • Finding out that Dax is ticklish!
  • Popsicles!
  • Coffee.
  • No but seriously. Coffee.
  • Coffee in my reusable Starbucks cup. Discount, YA HEARD?
  • Trying figure out Vine. (Follow me? I only have two followers because I’m a n00b.)
  • Mangoes.
  • THIS <— Being a writer, as told by The Oatmeal.
  • I PUT ON PANTS YESTERDAY.

What do YOU love this week? Be grateful — it’s easy, I promise. Life can suck sometimes but at the same time, it is so forgiving with each new sunrise.

top five ways to keep your kid asleep.

Last week I wrote about all the secrets to waking your kid up from a nap. But I couldn’t do that in good faith without also sharing with you the ways I help my kid stay asleep. Sleep training be darned! Here are the real ways to turn your babe into a professional DreamWeaver.

dax_epic_nap

TOP FIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KID ASLEEP:

  1. Have an appointment you can’t miss. I know you haven’t seen the dentist since your last baby tooth fell out, but your kid is sleeping so very soundly in his crib and you don’t want to wake him up just for that, now, do you? Your cavities can wait. Unless your teeth fall out on their own first, in which case you don’t have to worry about dental bills!
  2. Rock your baby to sleep in such a way that, when they’re finally asleep, you’re really uncomfortable. Don’t you dare sit down. You know the second you do, your baby will wake up. You better figure out how to hold twenty pounds absolutely still while standing, possibly leaning awkwardly, in the middle of your baby’s nursery.
  3. Be very hungry, but also grocery-less. If you’re waiting for your kid to wake up from his nap before you venture out into the world to finally feed yourself for the first time in 24 hours, get cozy on that couch, Mama. This is the once-in-a-blue-moon time that your baby will take a two-, possibly three-hour nap. Good news, though. You can probably take your own nap in this instance, if your hunger pangs aren’t too much to bear.
  4. On a road trip, have to pee. If you’ve ever been on a road trip with an infant, you know the drill. If they’re awake, they’re screaming outbursts of displeasure at the thought of being in their car seat that long. But the second their tired little eyelids FINALLY close, your bladder will be the one ready to burst. Dare you stop to pee and risk waking your child? Nah. Just wait until they inevitably wake up LOLOLOLOLOL THEY WON’T.
  5. Let your kid fall asleep at a time during the day that is sure to screw with their sleep schedule. Starting a nap at 6pm? Sure. Why not! They probably won’t wake up ready to start their day at 2AM. Probably.

That’s all I’ve got.

How do you keep your kid asleep?

things i love thursday! (january 31, 2013)

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s the last day of the first month of 2013. We are 1/12 done with this year already. Wrap your brain around THAT mess. Anyhooooo…

Look! He’s so cute!

dax_bath_collage

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • The #overcomethelie Twitter party last night. We had so many participants spreading the truth about self-love. It was amazing! We ended the night trending at #4. Incredible.
  • Lionhart. I’ve been doing volunteer work for this organization for a while now and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the things happening there. It’s amazing. Check it out here and spread the courage around!
  • Amazing and encouraging lunch meetings with friends and mentors.
  • Talking music, art, and the like.
  • Expanding my culinary expertise by way of pureeing my son’s baby food myself. (See also: humility.)
  • Watching good friends play live music.
  • Dax’s new “go-to” face. Not sure why he’s really into chewing on his bottom lip right now but it’s tres adorbs.
  • Reading lots and lots of books.
  • Tickle fights and laughter with my husband.
  • “Sesame Street” on Netflix. (YEAH I KNOW American Pediatrics Association, no screen time until Dax is two but can’t we please make an exception for Elmo?!)
  • Also football? I mean the SUPER BOWL is this weekend, you guys…
  • Emails from good friends with the phrase “TMI” in the subject line.
  • New babies! ACK!
  • Pretending to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • Ministry over coffee — both from me and TO me.
  • Nerding out over fonts.
  • My best friend.
  • My family.
  • My town.

What do YOU love this week?