the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Little Fat-face

Haven't posted in quite a while. In the interim, I've moved to Givatayim (part of the Tel Aviv area known as the Disgustingly Humid Belt) and had a baby girl (Rimonit Penina).

Bath time with RPKW.

Herewith, some FAQs:

Okay, so now we know her name. But what are you actually going to call her?

I don't really get this question, but it's a very common one, so I will attempt to answer it. Umm, we were kind of thinking we'd try calling her by her name. And no, not the whole double-barrelled thing, just Rimonit. What people seem to mean by this question is, 'How will you shorten her name so that it bears no semblance to the original but takes half a second less to say?' All I can tell you is that the only name-related nickname I've tried so far is Rimoniti. For those of you gasping in wonder at the thought that such a nickname is even longer than the original, let me point out that a three-syllable appellation (with an optional fourth syllable add-on) is really not that long! My name, for instance, has three syllables, and both Warren and I have four-syllabled sisters named Daniella - but despite such a terrible setback imposed so early in life, we've somehow all managed to pull through so far.

What do you mean by 'name-related nickname'? What other nicknames do you have?

The kid gets stuck with a new nickname almost as often as she goes out to her favorite 24-hour diner. Which leads me to a couple of eating-related nicknames for the squirt: Insatiable Munchkin (alternate form: Munching Munchkin) and Little Fat-face. Warren likes Thing-a-Ling, among others - a throwback to her fetal days, when she was just Thing (and particularly suited, in a bad haiku sort of way, to her being carried around in a sling). Warren's mother, who managed to time her arrival in Israel to coincide with the day of the birth, tends to go for Bubbaloo. (Don't ask me, she's South African.)

What are her vital stats?

She weighed 3.26 kilos at birth, which comes to somewhere around 7 pounds. (A month later, she is now more than 4 kilos. I don't remember how much more, but I did write it down somewhere.) She was born at 1:57 P.M. (that's 13:57 Israel time) on Monday, September 3, chaf Elul, via natural birth. There's probably other random bits of data I'm supposed to have memorized, but I'm not sure what that might be. And before you ask, I have no idea how many inches long she was - why exactly do you need to know??

Wait a second, is Rimonit actually a name?

Yeah, well, if it wasn't before, then it is now.

What does it mean?

It's a feminized form of 'rimon,' which means 'pomegranate.'

Okay, but why Rimonit?

Mostly because I was walking back from work one day several months ago and thinking that it was too bad we couldn't name the kid something Rosh Hashana-related, since we knew Thing would be born around then and that would at least narrow the sobriquet search. My inner dialogue went something like this: 'I mean, what are we gonna call it? Shofar? Or how about Tekia if it's a girl, Shevarim if it's a boy?' (Yes, I have sarcastic inner dialogue, and yes, we really didn't know what we were having until it popped out.) Then my mind kind of drifted to the Shivat Haminim (Seven Species), whereupon the sarcasm returned, in the form of: 'Yeah, Chita (Wheat), that would be a great name. It would go over really well in English too. Nothing like having a kid known to the world as Cheetah.' But then I went through the list and came upon Rimon and turned it into Rimonit and just kinda decided that that would be a really cool name. Bonus points for pomegranates being a fruit traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashana, to symbolize that we ask for our merits to be as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate. I suggested the name to Warren shortly thereafter, making sure to intersperse it in unrelated conversations to get his mind used to the idea. The ploy worked: The name grew on Warren. And if you are not one of those with the good taste to love the name Rimonit at first hear, then it will surely grow on you too. (Anyway, it's better than Napoleon Alexander, which was Warren's father's first choice for the boy he was sure we would have.)

Well, since you clearly haven't named her after some relative called Rimonit, then who was Penina?

My great-grandmother Babi Penina, aka Babi Pepi - my mother's mother's mother.

Okay, now how about her last name. Er, what is her last name exactly?

Let's start at the beginning: Both Warren and I have the same names post-wedding as we did pre-wedding, meaning that I'm still a Kordova and he's still a Wienburg. We decided that for simplicity's sake, Rimonit would have only one last name, which would be Wienburg. However, I also wanted her to be a Kordova kid, so we decided to make Kordova her middle name, making the kid Rimonit Penina Kordova Wienburg (or as Warren occasionally refers to her in emails, RPKW). Unfortunately, Israeli birth certificates do not ask about middle names, so we were forced to list Kordova as her third first name and remain stalwart in our hope that she not grow up too confused.

UPDATE: We have since received her birth certificate in the mail and surprise, surprise, the Kordova is missing. A tangle with the bureaucratic powers that be awaits. (Yippee!)