Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Tale of Why My Son is Named After a Bag of Cement

Here he is impersonating a bag of cement, 12 hours old.
Let me preface this by saying that Mike and my marriage is marked primarily by our intellectual compatibility. We have been best friends for sixteen years and we have spent most of that time in long, caffeine fueled conversations about the nature of everything. We can talk any subject to death with delight, or, if we get off on the wrong foot, we can fight like two badgers protecting the same hole.

So when Mike and I discovered that my youngest son was on the way, there was some consternation over what we should name him.

My older two children, from my former marriage, have nice Celtic names, which had been chosen on the rationale that, since they would automatically carry their father's last name, and hence his ethnic brand, mine should be stamped on the first half of their moniker. The decisions on these, retrospectively, were easy ones.

I will say that if I had known what was coming, I could easily have saved some time by skipping the part where we picked names for girls. Apparently, I can only bear male children and only male children with ADD. But that's another story.

The situation with Mike and me was different. Mike is half Native American, and his last name is Adams, which is a testament to the loving memory of his adopted father, but not in any way to his native heritage. Somehow his being Indian trumped my being Welsh in the same way that paper covers rock or rock crushes scissors, and he won the ethnicity match without much debate. Our child would have an Indian name.

Fine. I'm O.K. with that. More than O.K., in fact.

But then things started to get a little  freaky. Mike wanted our child to have not just a Native name but a Lil'Wat name. The Lil'Wat are the Salish-speaking British Columbian tribe from which my husband's family hails.Their language is known as "Ucwalmicwts." I can't say it, either.

Mike started presenting me with choices.

Mike: "I like Ken'Knep."

Me: "What? We can't have a son called Ken'Knep! He will be tormented!"

Mike: "It will be totally unremarkable. Just look at all the unusual names kids have nowadays."

Me: "Mike, there may be some unusual names, but I promise you that there are no kids named Ken'Knep. And what the Hell do you know about what it would be like? You are named Mike Adams."

Mike: "All my life I have resented having such a boring name."

Me: "Right."

Various items of discussion were completely unpronounceable to me, but totally fine with Mike. Having grown up with a name that was butchered frequently, I am sensitive on this subject, but Mike was like a child in a candy store full of delightfully unusual signatures, totally unperturbed by thoughts of elementary school victim-hood or years of teacher garbling. These concerns to him were trifling.

So it went on and on like this, with both of us becoming more entrenched, irritated and tired, until finally it was suggested that our son be named "Mixalh" after an uncle. The pronunciation was best approximated as "MEE-koll" and it meant, very sweetly, "bear".

Mike: "Fine, but it's going to remind me of a bag of cement unless we do away with the 'x'."

Apparently, prominent in my husband's work at this time, which was carpentry, were the presence of large bags of cement marked "Mix-All".

So, it was decided.

We threw in two middle names, one for Mike and one for me, because that's just how we roll, and on May 16, 2005 was born Mikalh Justin Katigwa Adams, or, to be slightly more clear

{Lil'Wat Bear Who is Not a Bag of Cement} {To Be Set Free} {Justin from the Rats of NIMH} Adams.

Because this is what happens when stubborn people are allowed to breed.


  1. Ha! You were right in choosing someone just as stubborn as you. I mean that as a compliment, as I too could be considered stubborn. I'll be back to read more.

    1. It does keep things interesting, especially surrounding major purchases. Thanks for the comment. :)

  2. Love it! Thank you for making me smile. :)

    1. Thanks for the comment. By the way, your blog is great. Nice, bright look to it and the Breakfast for Dinner piece was great. I serve that once a week, and it makes me feel I am getting away with something.

  3. This is such a great story. My husband and I don't fight much, but the baby names thing is still a hot button and we are done having kids. When I was pregnant with my son, Agamemnon and Chester were his two oh-so-hilarious contributions to the discussion. You don't mess with people's names.

  4. Hi there - I'm here via the Leap Blog thing going on over at We Band of Mothers - I've been reading back a bit. Despite not having a child named after a bag of cement, and only being able to produce girls, we do appear to have at least one thing in common; social networking totally freaks me out, but I'd love it if people read my stuff. It's always nice to find someone you can identify with who also makes you snort your drink out your nose.

    1. I just read your crap on the desk blog ( It is hilarious! ...and sadly familiar. I currently have have my son's cell phone, a tiny koala bear and several Legos and this is pretty neat for me...;)

  5. The subject of baby naming has never been the same for me since I saw that Nicholas Cage/Julia Sweeney skit on Saturday Night Live years ago. Have you seen it?

  6. Hilarious! I'm all about name meanings...when I was fourteen, I wanted a boy named Dante Caolan ("Lasting" "Light"), but hubs put the kibosh on that one. Sigh.

    Maybe I'll get my way for our next kiddo ;)


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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License