Our second child arrived a week ago, on April 27, at 3540 grams (7 pounds, 13 ounces). Wanting to minimize our stay in any sort of public place, we chose to return home with our same-day delivery. Perfectly packaged, here’s Finias Tira Schleier:

Finias Tira Schleier with big eyes

It’s disconcerting not to know when everyone will get to hold and smell Finias. His brother’s eagerness to do the job — always with a gentle kiss — has been a source of comfort to us all.

Taavi holding Finias

About the name:


From Hebrew Pinchas, “bronze-skinned one”.

  • We chose an “F” name to honor Amitai’s great-aunt Fannie, a loving and beloved influence on his mother Dianne, and to carry on a bit of Rebekka’s family tradition of naming a son “Ferdinand” (as well as her father Ferdinand’s wish not to take the tradition too literally)
  • It also honors Rebekka’s maternal grandfather Pinchas (Paul) Arnovitz
  • It also honors Paul, our sweet orange cat who taught Finias’s older brother — with care, dignity, and one well-earned swipe — to be loving and gentle with those smaller than him
  • We like the derivation from Hebrew, in which P and F are neighboring sounds, so that the name can also suggest Pesach, the season of his birth and an allegory for this plague we hope will pass us all over
  • We like how Germans and Israelis and Americans will be able to pronounce it
  • Incidentally, his complexion does look more like Mama’s than Dada’s
  • Finally, it calls to mind a famous case in the medical literature (Phineas Gage) that advanced our understanding of brains as integrated parts of whole bodies and behaviors, and this understanding has been particularly important to us and Finias throughout his gestation and early life


Hebrew, “castle” or “fortress”.

  • Many villages in the Middle East have a name derived from this, and for a safe birth during this pandemic we sought refuge in the castle-like safety of Rebekka’s home village
  • We like its phonetic resemblance to “terra”, the Earth under our feet (more on this in a moment)

Finias Tira Schleier

We chose the name “Finias Tira” as it evokes Finisterre (”Land’s End”), the name of several outlying locations beyond which once stood the unknown. In this pandemic we’ve all been conscripted for a long and arduous journey toward new advances that we hope will reshape how we live. With a month to go before Finias’s arrival, seeking relative safety and calm, we dropped everything to travel to a place in the middle of nowhere — a place that feels a bit like Land’s End — precisely because of what we did know about it. His name tells the story. We wish for him safety, calm, and the courage and curiosity to discover the unknown.

About the date

  • 4/27 = 22/33
  • 4*27 is a multiple of his brother’s 6*6 (and the multiple is 3, and in a month Taavi will be three)

More nice properties observed after the fact

Taavi and I discovered, while reading David Macaulay’s Castle, that castles have finials. Their purpose is no more and no less than “to emphasize the apex of a dome”.

If you think of another reason this is a nice name, please pass it along.

More photos