Baby Bureaucracy

Filling out the Ontario Government’s Statement of Live Birth, I come upon the following passage:

A child may be given his or her mother’s surname, or father’s surname, or a combination of both, or, if applicable, a name based on ethnic, religious or cultural heritage. (See box 21 for the last option). Parents may be required to provide proof that the custom exists and is recognized.


Why, yes Mr. Government Official. We named our daughter Fanbar Moonbat based on the longstanding cultural tradition of being writers and artists with their screws loose.

You’ve heard of us before, surely? We’re the guys that try to swim the Bosphorus to liberate Greece, send ears to our lovers, or actually believe that people understand James Joyce. We’ve named our children Moonbeam, Moonunit, Five, Kal-el and Apple. Need proof that we exist? Well, why not come out to see some of our cultural festivals, like the salon, or various poetry readings? Hear us groan as we launch into verse, and bash Bush with every lyric.

That last bit should prove to you that we’re just as normal as everybody else.

C’mon, how much worse is this than the Caitlyns, the Carrolynes, and the Brittknees that are populating this world? And a name like Fanbar Moonbat is designed to give our daughter mental and physical toughness as she defends herself on the playground. Do you have a problem with that?

(ahem) Vivian. Katherine. Bow.

So, when you are born, your parents have to fill out a Statement of Live Birth, which gets sent to the local city hall for registration. The city then forwards the record to the province, at which time I can apply for a Birth Certificate. I was also handed the paperwork for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, which his yet another reason I love my country, but which is six pages long, which is yet another reason my country so frustrates me sometimes. Because Erin is a landed immigrant, that results in an entire second form that has to be filled out and signed.

And it’s only the beginning, I’m sure.

Mother and daughter are home from the hospital. Erin is recovering well from the c-section, but is still moving kind of slow (which is to be expected). Vivian is feeding well, and I’ve changed four diapers so far. Surprisingly, diaper changing is not nearly as hard and icky as I’d expected.

Paternity: The Secret Fraternity

Although we’ve signed up for a cotton diaper service, we’re using disposables until Vivian’s remaining cord drops off. I picked up a package of newborn size at a nearby drugstore.

Cashier: New Dad?
Me: Yeah
Cashier: When?
Me: Three days ago.
Cashier: Boy or girl?
Me: Girl
Cashier: Got a name, yet?
Me: Yeah. Vivian
Cashier: That’s really cool. Don’t think me too weird, but I’m a really big Gone with the Wind fan.
Me: That’s nice
Cashier: You’ll love fatherhood. My three kids are such delights.
Me: Thanks!
Cashier: That’ll be $5.45!
Me: Thanks again. (I leave the store).

I’ve had a few conversations like this, usually started when I’m caught carrying something for the baby. Well, I guess it’s sort of obvious what I was buying newborn diapers for, but I didn’t realize it was like a secret handshake or something, bringing me into some secret club like the Freemasons. So when do I wear a funny hat?

Yet More Photographs


Gus considers the new arrival. No problems so far.



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