Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, plays field hockey Friday during… (Arthur Edwards / Pool/Associated…)
It’s the news that launched a thousand headlines Monday across the pond: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting!
Thank goodness -- the British monarchy will endure. A future king or queen (as The Times reported, “The royal act of succession was changed last October to admit the eldest child whether son or daughter, rather than the eldest son to inherit the throne”) is on the way.
Heck, they’re so modern now, the news was announced on Buckingham Palace’s website.
As you might expect, this being a royal baby and all, even normal things take on added significance. For example:
Confirmation came from the royal household after Kate Middleton, Queen Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law, was admitted to King Edward VII hospital in central London suffering from acute morning sickness. The announcement said Kate was likely to remain in the hospital for several days, but that her illness was not serious.
Yep, that’s right, moms of the world -- “acute morning sickness” put her in the hospital. Somewhere, my late mother -- who on the day I was born went to the grocery store, cooked, cleaned the house and got everything ready for my sister and two brothers, then drove herself to the hospital and had me -- is chuckling.
Sure, my own wife battled morning sickness. But there were no hospital visits. However, I did, on occasion, excuse her from certain chores -- though for her own good, I made sure she got to work, and of course the clothes had to be washed, and there was the grocery shopping (hey, I’m lost in a market), and, well, like my mom always said, “Hard work never killed anyone.”
Still, I’m not going to question Kate’s toughness. After all, she played field hockey -- in high-heeled boots, no less -- during a trip to her old school just last Friday. I guess it was an afternoon match.
Although the couple probably won’t have to deal with some issues we commoners face -- working mother or not? Can we afford good schools? How do we find a good nanny? -- they do have some mundane chores ahead. Like picking a name.
Now, a colleague at the paper who’s British tells me that the most popular boy’s name in Britain these days is Mohammed. And nothing against the name, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be of much help.
Fortunately, I can offer some more practical advice.
Last month, my colleague Salvador Rodriguez wrote about a new baby name report by BabyCenter, a pregnancy and parenting information website.
The name "Apple" was used for at least six girls in 2012, twice as many as in 2011. "Mac," meanwhile, was used for at least 49 boys, up from 25 a year ago. And at least 17 girls were named "Siri" this year, up from 11 last year.
"The smartphone may just be the best parenting tool since diapers, and some moms and dads are paying homage to industry leader Apple in their choice of baby names," the baby name report says.
You have to admit, there’s a certain modern, uh, ring to “Prince Mac” or “Princess Siri.” (But “Prince Apple”? I suspect that would be too much, even for Steve Jobs.)
As for normal names, if the royal baby’s a boy, the Top 10 choices are Aiden, Jackson, Ethan, Liam, Mason, Noah, Lucas, Jacob, Jayden and Jack. And for girls, the Top 10 are Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Lily, Zoe, Chloe, Mia and Madison.
Or Will and Kate could just follow my rule: Give your kid a leg up in school by giving him or her a short, simple name.
Trust me, when first grade comes and they have to learn to write their name, “Ben” is a whole lot better than “Jackson” or “Jayden.”