I'm incredibly proud to announce that our baby is here!  At 3:00 am on Thursday 8 August, weighing 3.68 kg (8lb 1oz), measuring 51 cm, Ava Strid Anderson was born by emergency Caesar after 39 long weeks and a few sleepless nights of painful contractions. 

Both mother and baby are doing great, and we couldn't have done it without our superstar team of Dr Maria Theresa G Henson, Dr Gerry de Jesus, Dr Vina Cabahug, and our legendary support staff of Grandma Strid & Grandma Anderson (and of course, late arrival Grandpa Anderson). 

So far, Ava has been feeding well, and sleeping better.  She is the most amazing little girl and will be out & about to make some public appearances very soon!

GQ, in their fantastically cool way, have weighed in on the baby naming game, and I couldn't agree with them more.

Simple, effective, and timeless rules that every new parent should consider.

P.S.  I am now forever grateful that I was never "Krystougher"
You know those people who are just the worst....  Well, think we've found a new leader - these people:http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/us-couple-ask-starbucks-customers-to-vote-for-either-jackson-or-logan-for-their-baby-boy/story-fnet085v-1226670513988

In a decision that might shape the course of their child's life, two soon-to-be-parents are asking strangers to decide on the name of their baby.  Seriously?  To be fair, they've chosen some solid names to pick from, so I'm not too surprised that they're stuck, but really, Starbucks customers?  Do they think a complete lack of taste in coffee makes for a boost of baby-naming prowess?  
Bruce is still a little unsure
Our past weekend was an interesting one.  We were fortunate to be able to spend time on Saturday night with our ever-developing circle of parent friends, meeting some new arrivals in Manila with their own new arrival, as well as consulting some of the old hands at the baby game.  While most of my time was spent talking about the rugby, I'm sure Meg got a few good snippets of information, along with how to light a BBQ (all the boys were either playing sport, or being treated at hospital after playing sport).  
We did, however, learn how one couple's birth plan got thrown into disarray when they fell ill, which got us thinking that we need to develop a birth plan...  

Sunday morning was spent brunching, and again, debating potential names.  While we are still no closer to a decision, we have narrowed the field a little.  When I say a little, I mean that we re-ruled out several of the names that we had already ruled out, and some variations on their spelling.  I also started to consider the initials our little son or daughter will have.  Some weren't so good (I.R.A, N.V.A, M.M.A - a lot of fighting acronyms seem to end in A), but some weren't too bad.  I figured if he or she made it to the Olympics, and somehow the initials ended up U.S.A, all the Americans would be chanting for them.  Of course, finding names that we like starting with U isn't easy - and neither is rearing an Olympian, I suppose - but it'd be worth it.

Our breakfast turned into a shopping trip (she always gets me with that), so now we are almost kitted out with the basics (special thanks to some friends from the rugby club for their second-hand bed).  Bruce seems to be getting increasingly worried that all this new stuff is not for him.  He's becoming increasingly sooky, especially at night.  It's like he's trying to reaffirm his place as our first priority, which is super cute, but hopefully he'll accept the new person who will take up most of our time in a few months.  

For now though, we're preparing for my parents to arrive, hopefully bringing all the stuff that Meg has ordered online.  Hopefully it'll mean less shopping trips for this guy for a few more weeks!!

Earlier this week, Bruce & I printed out a list of the top 1000 boys and girls names from a few years back.  I figured that with 1000 each, the fact that it was a few years old wouldn't matter so much.  
Now the name debate in our house comes up often, and I dare say that it will continue to come up, right up until the baby arrives.  However, with Megan away, I decided to seek some independent inspiration from this list.  
What I ended up with was not promising...  Of the thousand names each, I found only a small handful that I liked.  I was a little worried when I looked back and saw that I had eliminated over 980 boys names and 990 girls names, but I took heart from the fact that among the fallen were names like "Justus", "Jamarion", and "Jayvon" (boys), and "Princess", "Miracle", and "Aurora" (girls).  Honourable mention goes to "Heaven", Haeven", and "Nevaeh".  Genius...

Now in a cunning move, I've thrown out the copy of the list with my scribblings on it, and reprinted it so that when Megan comes home, she'll be able to go through it herself.  If any of our selections correlate, it'll be a miracle!  We'll just have to wait, results will be out next week.
Yesterday evening, I was fortunate enough to have dinner out with the mother of my child following the rugby, and were joined by some old boys of the club who gave us some interesting insights...
One particularly, a Frenchman, gave us an intriguing sounding board.  There are all the usual tips about selecting names, but these guys' unique world view made for some great conversation.  
One of the girls names we have been discussing, Ava, was met with a look of disdain from our Frenchman... 
Frenchman: You mean like Eva Braun?
Meg: Who?
Frenchman: Hitler's girlfriend.  Well, mistress, actually.  You want to name your child after Hitler's mistress?
Chris: No, Ava, like Ava Gardner.
Meg: Who?

While we haven't totally scratched Ava from our list of potentials yet, it did get us thinking about what names sound like to foreigners.  What else did these people have to offer?
I don't remember how it came up, but the name Jade was discussed, with our Frenchman beautifully enunciating it in the classic style that only the French can...  I think in IPA it would look something like this: ʒədɛ.  In our harsh Australian accents, however, the name Jade comes out incredibly different. And if you've ever heard a Frenchman taking the piss out of the Aussie accent & trying to pronounce "Jade", you'd know juts how different - and hilarious - it sounds.  
So we started thinking about French names, and as we both speak French, it wasn't a far cry of the imagination that a French name was worth considering.  Our mate dropped another few classic French names, like Gaelle and Solenne, which sounded so effortlessly cool when coming from him.  I have to admit how disappointed I was with my thick Aussie twang, which murdered the classiness of these two names.
We also discussed faddish trends with names, and apparently, they apply to the French just as much as anywhere.  "If you meet a Frenchman who is named Eric, you will know that he is born in the '70s.  If you call your child Jacques, he will be born in the 1990s".  There goes the name Jack...  

Our little one will be born here in the Philippines, but will be raised as an Australian, and thus will have an Australian name.  Now we thought this would be a fairly straighforward task; we just have to make sure it doesn't sound too absurd in any other language.

This is a debate that my lady & I have often.  What to call our developing child.  The fact that we debate about it slightly amuses me, as I know full well that I have absolutely no say in the matter at all.  Several friends that I have spoken to about the issue have said the same thing.  The best solution I've heard is for the mother to write down 5-10 names, and the father gets to select the one he likes best.  All other attempts seem to have been met with any combination of the following: "it's in MY belly"; "you don't even know the sex yet"; "my ex was named that"; "your ex was named that"; or my favourite reaction - stark, deathly silence, backed up with an icy, heart-piercing glare that makes every organism in the room want to die slowly and alone...

One of the latest 'trends' that we've observed in the more & more absurd game of child naming is the merging of two names (because apparently, people can be that indecisive now) to form one ridiculous title, like 'Staniel', or 'Audlissa'.
Yes, apparently, this is now a thing.
If my child ends up going to school with a kid that's unfortunate to have parents this inane, I'm going to make sure they get made fun of.  It's not my fault.  It's their parents' fault.

For reference:
But it doesn't have to be this bad, does it?  I often get chastised for being boring, for wanting names like Daniel & Ava, but really, is that such a sin, when in a few years' time, he or she will be going to school surrounded by other kids named Atticus and Thelonius?  (Well done, hipsters, that's your legacy)

The good folks at www.bubhub.com.au have put together a good system, though.  It seems quite logical & balanced, without too much room for making too much of a mess of things.  Check it out here:

Right now, though, it's time for me to get out of here.  It's Friday night!!