Kate and I have been discussing possible names for FutureBaby when he or she ceases to be a baby in potentia and becomes an ActualBaby. We’ve also talked a bit about the issue of FutureBaby’s Internet identification– specifically, whether I should refer to him or her by name in the eventual blog posts (and oh, yes, there will be blog posts…), or adopt some sort of pseudonym to preserve a tiny bit of privacy in this Google age.

At the moment, we’re leaning toward adopting a pseudonym for blog-reference purposes. Which raises the important question that I will throw open to you, oh wise and worldly readers:

How should I refer to FutureBaby on the blog in future years?

It’s a tough question…

There are various methods used by blogging parents, none of which seem quite satisfactory. The Brad DeLong method of referring to children by age (“The Nine-Year-Old,” etc.) suffers from linkrot– as time passes, it’s no longer immediately clear which child is being referred to. The Dean Dad method of giving gender only (“The Boy,” “The Girl”) is fine as long as you have no more than one of each, but a same-gender FutureSibling (should one come along) would throw things into chaos.

Clearly, some sort of FutureBaby-specific identifier is called for, but the question is, what? My chosen blog title doesn’t really lend itself to blog-related nicknames like Jim Henley’s “Offering Boy” or “The Littlest Offering”– “The Principles Kid” doesn’t really have much of a ring, and “Uncertain Child” is just cruel. We could probably go with just initials, but that would run the risk of having our child mistaken for a high-energy physics experiment. I suppose there’s always “Bilal,” but what if FutureBaby is female?

(Inside joke. Don’t worry about it.)

Anyway, suggestions are welcome in the comments. Surely there’s some physics/ blogs/ book-related nickname that I’m missing that one of you will spot…

(I’m out of town for the day, and will not have web access. Kate has the keys to the blog, and she’s empowered to delete anything she finds insulting, so keep it clean.)

Comments

  1. #1 perry
    May 13, 2008

    has to be a fermion, all kids are unique…….

  2. #2 Eric Lund
    May 13, 2008

    A couple of physics-related choices that would only work if FutureBaby is female: “Daughter Nuclide” or “Daughter Payload” (the latter is from rocket/satellite science).

    Or you could go with the Icelandic style “Joe Chadsson”/”Jane Chadsdottir”.

  3. #3 JT
    May 13, 2008

    Just roll with it, it will become obvious. Start with ‘The Baby’ and we’ll all know who you’re talking about :)

  4. #4 cisko
    May 13, 2008

    Jon Carroll (SF Chronicle columnist) answered this question for his granddaughter. But when you’re name is “Carroll,” there’s an obvious choice for the pseudonym for the little girl in your life.

    A straight pseudonym is probably a good approach. Cute names work well for little nonverbal bundles of joy, but as they become people it gets to be a little twee.

    You can anagram “Chad Kate” into “Caked Hat” or “Tack Head”. I advise against this approach.

  5. #5 Stephen
    May 13, 2008

    FuturePhysicist::Larval_stage, or Larva for short.

  6. #6 Evan Berkowitz
    May 13, 2008

    How about Glider?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life

    As a side point, have you registered {all currently considered baby names}.orzel@gmail.com?

    It’s never too soon to claim those addresses, I think. Two years ago I tried to register evanberkowitz.com, and found, to my dismay, someone else named Evan Berkowitz already registered it!

  7. #7 Dennis
    May 13, 2008

    My vote is for PresentBaby. After PresentBaby is no longer a baby, you could then switch to PastBaby, or the Toddler formerly known as PresentBaby.

  8. #8 Garret
    May 13, 2008

    Invoke the spirit of Ted Geisel and use “Thing One”–the scheme is gender neutral, expands to accommodate later kids, and is pretty well recognized as a child identifier (preventing confusion amongst future new blog readers).

  9. #9 Rajesh
    May 13, 2008

    Rigney, or Little Rigney….

  10. #10 Uncle Al
    May 13, 2008

    Schism. Spatiotemporally pertinent and awards you a 12-year advance on the inevitable. Its confreres won’t be spray painting it on walls with proper spelling.

    (One presumes RealBaby would be composed of silicone elastomer.)

  11. #11 emeris
    May 13, 2008

    numerical indexing:
    CurrentChild1, CurrentChild2, etc

  12. #12 Pam
    May 13, 2008

    FutureTeen(ager) should be good for a dozen years or so.

    How ’bout Steelypip? Or just “pip”? It references an identifier you & Kate have already adopted, and can be serialized if such becomes necessary (Pip 1, Pip 2,…).

    Although I kinda like “Principles Kid”, myself.

  13. #13 Colin M
    May 13, 2008

    Progeny #1.

  14. #14 Aaron Bergman
    May 13, 2008

    Steelytot

    For a while, at least.

  15. #15 cheem
    May 13, 2008

    Just refer to it as The Child. When a second comes along, refer to it as The Eldest, the next one as The Second.

  16. #16 Captain Button
    May 13, 2008

    Maybe swipe a concept from the astronomers and use “KID 2008F” or “KID 2008M”. Then you’d be good as long as you don’t have two kids of the same gender in the same year.

  17. #17 Kate Nepveu
    May 13, 2008

    as long as you don’t have two kids of the same gender in the same year

    Considering FB’s due date, I think we’re safe there!

    Pam, I kinda like some variant on the Steelypips, though I’m not sure about “Pip” what with _Great Expectations_ and all.

    Garret, “Thing One” also has promise.

    But keep the suggestions coming!

  18. #18 chezjake
    May 13, 2008

    I kind of like the Pip 1, Pip 2… idea. Or that might be varied with Pippin or Pippa as the case may be.

  19. #19 Jamie Bowden
    May 13, 2008

    Little ‘Can.

  20. #20 Chris Koeberle
    May 13, 2008

    I vote for picking a language you wouldn’t otherwise use, and pseudonymming cardinally with http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml Just pick a language you wouldn’t otherwise use, so there will be no confusion. Lakota is promising: Wanji, Nupa, Yamni, Topa, Zaptan.

  21. #21 Scott Spiegelberg
    May 13, 2008

    #1 Son or #1 Daughter in the style of Charlie Chan. Or with Pam’s suggestion, the first child could be either Steely or Pip as you feel appropriate, and a second child would be the other. If you have three then you are crazy, but could shift to Uncertain or U.P. or Yoop for that one. And if you have a fourth child, you will have far greater concerns than what pseudonym to give it. (Speaking as a fourth child.)

  22. #22 DrugMonkey
    May 13, 2008

    Garret at #8, the Thing 1 and Thing 2 schema is already in use by acmegirl, in case one cares about originality.

  23. #23 Brian
    May 13, 2008

    I like the sound of “futureteen” although steelytot (later steelykid, steelytween, steelyteen) also has promise.

  24. #24 CCPhysicist
    May 13, 2008

    FB can be short for Future Baby *or* First Born.

    Its even gender neutral if you want that distinction.

  25. #25 Cosma
    May 13, 2008

    I second the Thing 1/Thing 2 suggestion. Normally I would suggest indexing from zero, but “Thing 0″ does not sound quite so affectionate somehow.

  26. #26 Pam
    May 13, 2008

    Kate @17:

    Well, “Pip” is a good basis to work off of… “MiniPip”? “Kidpip”? “Pipling”? “Pip-ette”? (Note: do not use that last one.) Or just keep the “Steely” part in… “Steelypip 2.0″?

  27. #27 Wilson Fowlie
    May 13, 2008

    In reference to both comment #2 (somehow combining ‘Chad’ and ‘Kate’) and also remembering your What’s in a Name? post of a few weeks ago, the pseudonym “Chaka” occurred to me.

    The problem, of course, would be having “Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan everybody Chaka Khan” running through your head every time you type it.

    Also, that tends to obscure the fact that you’re referring to your offspring. I was thinking “MiniChad” or “MiniKate”, if you don’t mind disclosing the baby’s sex.

  28. #28 DavidS
    May 13, 2008

    PresentBaby, followed by PastBaby, seems quite logical. If you are really worried about linkrot, you could go with ExFutureBaby.

  29. #29 Romeo Vitelli
    May 13, 2008

    It’s kind of a hangup when you don’t know the gender. Assuminig it’s a girl who looks like her mother, there’s always “RepliKate”. I’m stuck for a good name for a mini-Chad
    though.

  30. #30 Kate Nepveu
    May 13, 2008

    CCPhysicist @ #24: sticking with “FB” does have simplicity on its side.

    Wilson Fowlie @ #27: “MiniChad” or “MiniKate”

    As I hope that we will not treat FutureBaby as a mini-version of ourselves, this seems to send the wrong message.

  31. #31 Kate Nepveu
    May 13, 2008

    Chris Koeberle @ #20: picking a language you wouldn’t otherwise use, and pseudonymming cardinally with http://www.zompist.com/numbers.shtml

    What a great toy!

    If I’m reading it and related pages right, the relevant form of “one” in Korean would be “hana”, and in Polish “jeden”–which may be almost too name-like, causing strangers to wonder if we’ve taken a creative-spelling approach to a couple of popular names. OTOH, FB2, if necessary, would be “tul” or “dwa,” which is less promising.

    Still, fun link–thanks.

  32. #32 capella
    May 13, 2008

    Well, your dog is the Queen of Niskayuna, and there are conventions about royal naming. If the dog is a parent-figure to the child, that would make your offspring the Prince or Princess of Niskayuna. If the Queen is more of a sibling, which is likely to become the case as your offspring grows up a bit, that would make the new addition the Duke or Duchess of Niskayuna. This is all very sensible because in the early months the Prince or Duchess or whatever will probably seem a bit like an irrational monarch.

  33. #33 Kate Nepveu
    May 13, 2008

    And capella gets special recognition for making me laugh.

  34. #34 Adrienne
    May 13, 2008

    I like the Pips idea, either just as “Pip1″, “Pip2″, or as “Steelypip1″, “Steelypip2″, etc. Or even, combining with the royalty idea, “HRH Pip1″, “HRH Pip2″, etc. Or…..Duke Pip/Duchess Pip?

  35. #35 Jamie Bowden
    May 13, 2008

    Kate: The Korean for one, ‘hana’, isn’t pronounced like Hannah, but I can see where people might get confused when reading it as text.

    I’m partial to ‘Can Two.

  36. #36 Devin L. Ganger
    May 13, 2008

    Pick a suitable name from science as an appropriate pseudonym.

  37. #37 Anne
    May 13, 2008

    Seeing as how “Pig” has stuck as a pseudonym for our child, I think it best if you don’t take Mike’s advice on nicknames, if he leaves any after me.

    My favorite so far is the “Pip” variation suggestion.

  38. #38 wolfgang
    May 13, 2008

    How about Mini-Me ?

  39. #39 Hank Roberts
    May 13, 2008

    You could post the kid’s public key,
    or, shorter,
    Get the kid registered for an iName

  40. #40 jbp
    May 13, 2008

    future baby for now could be known as Cletus the Fetus. And once it is an actual present tense baby….(Baby) Phyzzick might be a good name.

  41. #41 KKairos
    May 13, 2008

    CurrentBaby.

  42. #42 Grad
    May 13, 2008

    Spawn, or the spawn.

  43. #43 Cherish
    May 13, 2008

    Darn, Wolfgang. You beat me to the punch.

    Actually, I was hoping you’d stick with FutureBaby. It gave me a sort of sci-fi image of a toddler in silvery Superman-like outfit (pudgy belly and chubby little legs stomping around the house, barely able to keep from tripping over the cape).

    And if he/she manages to figure out how to run the VCR before they’re 2 (which my younger one managed), you really will wonder if he/she has some sort of superpowers that won’t become readily apparent until they are older. :-)

    Have fun with your decision!

  44. #44 Cherish
    May 13, 2008

    Darn, I quit too soon.

    Another idea would be quarks: Strange, Charmed, etc.

  45. #45 Pseudonym
    May 13, 2008

    Obviously, Pseudonym is already taken.

    We referred to our offspring using the Geisel system (Thing 1 and Thing 2).

    But… surely you already have a nickname? It’s not just FutureBaby, is it?

  46. #46 Loren Petrich
    May 13, 2008

    You could use Possummomma’s solution; she called her kids Possums #1, #2, #3, and #4, or more recently, P1, P2, P3, and P4.

  47. #47 jrolsma
    May 14, 2008

    I vote for “Eldest” or “#1 son/daughter” as Charlie Chan did.

    For my part, the little one was “kidlet” then “munchkin”. Now that she’s nine, she’s the super-munchkin.

    You could also go with the parenting site convention of DD for “dear daughter” or DS for “dear son”.

  48. #48 RF
    May 14, 2008

    Going along with the royalty theme suggested above, as well as a blog tie-in, what about the Uncertain Princess (or Prince, as the case may be)?

  49. #49 Kate Nepveu
    May 14, 2008

    Hey, FutureBaby is a perfectly good nickname!

  50. #50 Kate Nepveu
    May 14, 2008

    (for the moment, anyway, since we don’t have an actual name yet either)

  51. #51 Mary Kay
    May 14, 2008

    Rats, capella beat me to it. I still think that’s the best idea, but I don’t see anything wrong with Principles Boy/Girl if you want to tie it to the blog. Or you could try a favorite character from fiction. (our cat Dominic was named for Dominic Flandry) For reasons that no doubt reveal terrible things about my character, I like the term kidlet. You can always add numbers to it.

    MKK

  52. #52 Ray
    May 15, 2008

    Stick with Future…
    FutureKid, FutureTeen, FutureBoy, FutureGirl, they’re all good.

  53. #53 mollishka
    May 19, 2008

    Steelykid!

  54. #54 Clay B
    May 26, 2008

    Oil Drop, because of your old (or is it still current?) Oil Can nickname and the Milliken Oil Drop Experiment.