Saturday, May 05, 2007


Finn, our son,
born 4:55 am, Tuesday, April 17th

weighed 8 lbs 7 oz (3.83 kg)
length 20.7" (52.5 cm)
head circumference 13.8" (35 cm)

Of our daughter Luthien I said she came from one place of wonder to another, slowly, with great pain, and many scientific interventions. With Finn, the story is quicker and more connected with the elements. Following building contractions for days, Kate entered active labour at about 1:00 a.m. on the 17th. After a check-in at the hospital at 3:30 a.m., a rushed ride home brought Kate (with the midwife and the doula) in at 4:30 a.m. to make noise and bear down, waiting for the big black watering trough to fill. Someone cranked the heat and I dimmed the lights (pleasant to some, but I found it rather spectral). At about 4:50 Kate slid into the tub and pushed a few times as the baby and her body led themselves to "outness" and Finn came rushing out. The midwife Ruth (not my mom) caught him in the water and placed him on Kate's breast, where, after some gurgles and squawks, he fed and we all started to breathe deeper.

Finn's eyes dark blue-grey, some dark hair, red skin and white wrinkled hands and feet. Digits long and ears close to his round head. Cry is soft, but his neck is strong. He has slept well, some 4+ hour stretches, and is latching with relish. Peeling now less red, no white, skin and hair becoming fair.

The name Finn comes from Gaelic or Old German meaning fair. In Scandinavian languages, it would refer to Laplander. The story of Finn and Hengest (a version of which has been written by Tolkien) in Beowulf and the FIght at Finnsburg has Finn as a Frisian king. Now there is also Twain's Huck Finn and the Irish hero Finn and the giant Finn who built the cathedral in Lund.

Fin is also a root word in Tolkien's mythology meaning skill in Quenyan. It is found in Finwë, his sons Curufinwë, Fingolfin, and Finarfin, and many others. They were a powerful family of Noldorin elves, and none were more skilled and beautiful than Finwe's eldest son who was named Fëanor by his mother (Sindarin for spirit of fire). Fëanor wrote alphabets, crafted three powerful gems called Silmarils, led a rebellion against the gods, and was exiled with many of the Noldor to Middle Earth, thus setting up much of the history that Tolkien described in his books.

Some of these strands have resonated with us, and may make more sense as our children grow. Perhaps our Luthien has more of the charactersitcs of a Fëanor, and maybe Finn will have more of the grace and calm of a Luthien Tinuviel than his Noldor namesake. The name Finn appeals to us for many of the same reasons that Lu does, something easy shout as you watch your child run towards the edge of ravine or what not, but their longer names speak of our hopes for our children in some ways, which are probably our dreams for ourselves. Like many of Tolkien's characters, there is much grief to balance joy, but hope also comes from strange places. For our fiery and talkative daughter, we bless her with peace and patience, and for our (so far) gentle son, we bless him with bold words and deeds.