Friday, April 10, 2009

What's in a name?

Given the number of questions we have received about Kai’s name, I thought I’d write up a little something explaining where it came from.

Pronounced: “Kai”. (sorry….couldn’t resist)
Think of it like the “-ky” in “Sky”.

The first time Brian mentioned that as a potential name, I assumed it was in honor of Kai Ryssdal, the host of NPR's Market Place and the object of a serious man-crush of Brian's.

That might indeed have been where the idea of the name came from, but Brian said he much preferred it as a girl’s name instead. A little bit of research showed that not only was it also a girl’s name, but that it was much more commonly used that way.

It has multiple meanings across several cultures and languages but the one that spoke to us the most was that Kai means ‘Sea’ or ‘Ocean’ in Hawaiian and Japanese. The ocean, especially the Oregon Coast, is a special place for us and we have celebrated a number of special moments and milestones there in our 9 years together.

And as it turns out, the ocean connotation also works particularly well with her middle name....


Pronounced: “NEE – DUH”

Nida is not a name per se, but rather the name of a place. Nida is a small village in Lithuania located on the Curonian Spit, a tiny stretch of land 98 km long and only 3 km wide between a lagoon and the Baltic Sea.

Nida was one of our favorite places during our around the world trip. Some of that was because of the place itself: forests surrounded by huge dunes on one side and rough coastline on the other, gingerbread houses, fishing boats, etc.

But it was an extremely meaningful place to us because it was the place on our journey where we first exhaled and let go of a lot of the type A-ness that we carried and thought about how we'd like to live the rest of our lives and the type of people we'd rather try to be.

And we thought that that discovery and wakening was a neat moment to pass on to her.

(see here for a slide show of pics from Nida and here and here for Nida blog entries)

NICKNAMES (so far)

(less applicable now that we found out she at the 100th percentile for height for her age)

Fuss-budget/Fidget/Squirmy McSquirm
Usually used when she’s fussy/squirmy/crying etc

Cuz she’s a really small ocean

Cuz she breaks out of any swaddle we put her in and refuses to have her arms shackled at all.

Just cuz (ed. this JUST might be because Becca is a Joss Whedon fan. Just sayin')



Old Man Grimes said...

If someone hears her full name spoken out loud, they may think she has a Native American name. Kai Nida sounds like Kah-Nee-Ta if you say it fast.


ml said...

Thanks for the glimpse into the special meanings behind her name- she has a lot to live up to! Beautiful name.

Re: Houdini- our Lucy shared that nickname. I highly recommend the Miracle Blanket (which Curtis nicknamed the straightjacket) for swaddling. At least for the next three months...then, all bets are off!

Victor Soares said...

I love the name. Remind me to show you my swaddle technique some day.

Gina - Peke Moe said...

i love her name. Here in NZ it is also the maori word for food. It's a beautiful name. My boys are called Reef and Tyde and have very long maori middle names.
another option for your little swaddle houdini might be a Peke Moe sleep sack -
all the best :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful photo! Thanks for the name background. I love the study of names and their backgrounds When Kai Nida does great things, perhaps Nida will become a popular name. Florence Nightingale's parents named her that because they lived in and loved Florence when she was born. She made her mark and thus many girl babies were named Florence. (Her sister, Parthenope, remained obscure, so no Victorians named kids after that little Greek town.)

elpelso said...

thanks for the explanation... really like the name and the meanings behind it... good luck with parenthood, I'm sure you'll do fine...

as for swaddling... she's been cooped up for 9 months, why do you think she struggles to break free ? :-D