September 3, 2017


Dear Johnny,

It's been two years since I wrote to you here.  We've been busy living life and growing.  You will be five this weekend and I feel I need to tell you how much we love you and how proud of you we are!  But how to put in words so many revelations, such strong emotions, and all those marvelous adventures we had in the past year alone?!  I guess I'll try, since I claim to be a writer, and also because I want you to always remember the good times we had together.  You might need it one day, when you become a parent yourself.

Johnny, you are made of love.  You were a planned, wanted, awaited, celebrated child.  You were our first, and our only one for awhile.  We poured everything we had into you, deliberately and out of pure instinct, and you became the center of our world.  Our sunshine boy! 

You are made of giggles and goofiness.  You are full of songs and pizza and crazy fantasies about ninjas and cheetahs and robots.  You have become tall, and your body is made of muscles and bony elbows and ticklish soft parts.  Only your apple cheeks are still here, the last of the baby fat still hanging to your face.  Your rosebud mouth is always talking, always laughing, and sometimes it is also pouting but never for too long.  For you are known to be moody and mopey as well as hyperactive and in perpetual motion.  

I am not kidding, Johnny.  You are an amateur contortionist and you simply. Cannot.  Sit. Still.  You are physically incapable of it.  Yes, it is annoying.  I suspect that you get all this energy from draining it out of us at night using cables and batteries attached to your back.  But it is also good, good for you!  You will need this energy when you grow up.  Trust me on that one.  And as for your moods, well, that's expected from a rock and roll star.  You LOVE rock and roll.  I did my job well in that regard, and if not else, you will break guitars on stage when the world finally gets tired of pop music.  You sing constantly, you make up songs, you listen to music loud in the car with me, and you try to play all the instruments.  It's awesome, really.

You are graduating from Pre-School this fall and are starting at Kindergarten.  You are good at math (baby math) and are very good at spelling words and sounding letters.  Johnny, you love reading books with us and you always, always want to hear another story.  It is good that we don't have a TV, because your desire to escape in fictional worlds would potentially turn your brain into mush... judging from the number of cartoons you can watch in a row.  You love martial arts and soccer, and you want to play sports, though honestly, you are too impatient with the rules of the game to be a pro.   The arts, on the other hand, now that's your element.  Running around and ball games for fun is great, but you are truly in your element when you paint and draw and create stuff.  My hopes are high, my love.  And yes, I am projecting and burdening you with high expectations.  Isn't it what parents must do?

You are an awesome big brother, Johnny.  You give Julian tough love sometimes, and often you ignore him or are slightly unfair to him (especially when sharing), but you adore him and you are sweet to him always.  That makes my heart burst.  You are a genuinely sweet person.  You like wild games and loud noises and using sticks and whacking stuff but you don't play with toy weapons and you don't get into fights.  In fact, you like picking flowers and you give me unsolicited hugs and kisses, and the way you treat Shelbycat is truly kind and gentle.  I love that about you, Johnny.  You love love.

In the past few months you lost two teeth, you grew an inch, and you became an independent big boy.  You spent time with your Bulgarian Grandparents, you visited Tassajara, and you had many awesome adventures!

You are outgoing, always the center of attention, always performing.  You are a star!  

The past five years have been incredibly eventful, strange, full of change, challenging, exciting, happy, difficult, sad at times, surprising, interesting, confusing, stressful, but ultimately - good.  Since you came into our lives, Johnny, your Dad and I turned from a couple to parents, from two people in love to people who both love you the most.

Happy Birthday!

P.S. And Julian turned three!

April 17, 2015

Almost 3!

Dear Johnny,

You are almost three years old, and you are absolutely amazing! You introduce yourself as Big Brother Johnny now, and you are ready to start preschool very soon. The baby fat is gone, and while your cheeks are still chubby, you are growing tall and strong....and fast, so fast! I can hardly manage to pick you up anymore, and in order to give you hugs and kisses I must tackle you first and pin you down. Your smile is as bright as the California sun, and your laughter is like chimes ringing in the air. 

Boy, you like to laugh. They call you "silly goofer" at daycare because you are the silliest, funniest guy. I see a great future for you on the stage, Johnny. If you don't become a lawyer - for you talk back so very smartly - you most probably will be an entertainer of sorts. You are still incredibly cute, and now you are also turning into a handsome young man. Daddy and I marvel your bright coppery hair and your golden brown eyes, and hope that you will be kind to all the girls who fall in love with you the way we do every day. 

You are mischievous, Johnny, and you know it. You push the limits and you are fearless, so we try to teach you to be patient and have self-control, which is a difficult task but it's worth the effort. Once you get over your tendency to dramatize (you are a sensitive little dude, Johnny) you will be able to put your feelings to a good use for your art. For I am sure that you will be making art in one form or another, one day. You are particularly fond of drawing and music. You are obsessed with musical instruments and we are giving you a trumpet for your birthday!

So, you are an awesome Big Brother. Julian adores you. He laughs at every single thing you say, and wants to do whatever you are doing. Sometimes when you are not home, I let him play with your toy trains...shhhh. You're good about sharing, though, and you always try to comfort Julian when he's fussy. 

Right now you are still a bit clumsy (okay, very, as in running-into-walls-clumsy) and you sometimes step on his fingers as he crawls or tip him over when he sits, but that will balance itself out in time (though I don't think you will ever stop being spacey, it's your nature and I love you for it), and you guys will be wonderful companions to each other. Double the trouble for us, too. 

Johnny, you are quite precautions and smart, if I do say so myself. You use big words, and you memorize facts, and you love reading books and learning new things. It's amazing to watch your face light up and your eyes grow big with wonder and understanding. You can count to 20, to 10 in Spanish, and in French too. You know how to spell some short words and you can recite the Alphabet in Spanish, something I didn't really teach you but you learned anyway. You can name all the planets in the Solar System, and you can explain how big construction machines work. You love your building blocks and your Science encyclopedia, and you watch Little Einsteins religiously. 

Of course, you also like to run amok and yell your head off and do crazy boy stuff like throwing imaginary fireballs at imaginary monsters. You are only afraid of "dinosaurs and sharks", and sometimes - to avoid going to sleep - of your bunny clock. And you do this thing, you reverse words and say them funny, turning "guitar" into "tigar" and "forgot" into "gorvot". Not to mention the famous "germanas" (pajamas). 

I truly love this age, Johnny. We can talk and understand each other, we can do fun things together, and since you are so independent, it's getting easier to get through the day without much ado about teeth brushing or not wanting broccoli for dinner. Remember that time I set up your bunny clock to alarm by mistake and you woke up to the sound of roosters crowing, we were all went scrambling, puzzled about where those crazy animal noises were coming from? Or the time you wanted your nails colored and when you arrived at daycare you yelled: "Look at my nails, guys!!!" 

It's such a treat to have you around! You love animals and constantly tell Shelby that she is your best friend. You want to help me around the house, and when you ride in the car with Daddy you remind him to hold on the wheel with both hands and to mind the "bad, cheating drivers". Oh, and you are almost completely out of the pull-ups phase, and you can go potty all by yourself, which might not seem like a big deal to you but it's a huge milestone for us. Stay ahead in the game, buddy. You got this. 

And when you tell us that you love us, it makes us the happiest people on Earth. Or Earth Ball, as you call it. There's probably more, much more I could brag about, but I must go now as it's Thursday and that's your day off and you are currently in the need of wiping your nose or something else just as urgent. 

We love you, Bearcat!!! We love you so much!

P.S.  Here are some of the funny things you said in the past six months.

"Daddy, I love you, I'm insist!"

"No, I don't need to poop because it's not 'ponsible'. (responsible? possible?!)

"Little Einsteins are asleep now."
"But where are their beds?!"

"Stepping over people is a very good idea."

"This is a story-teller."(about a kitchen strainer)

"Lines are actually train tracks. Pumpkins are actually oranges." 

"I know your name! Your name is BabaMula!!!" (failing at pronouncing Bogomila)

"I disappeared his toy!!!" 

"Murky water."

Johnny: Why did you push the door?
Me: I didn't, the draft slammed it shut. 
Johnny: The giraffe?!
Me: No, the draft...
Johnny: Oh, I see. The Girafft.

I'm playing "Hunger Strike" by Temple of the Dog to Johnny. Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder are singing "and I'm going hunreeeeeey" and we are both taken with the music until Johnny says, dead serious: "He wants some food, Mommy!!!"

"I thought it was a woman! But it was just mommy."

"No, I don't want to watch that in Spinach!" (About a cartoon in French)

"Think about it really hard. Think about it with your forehead."

"Daddy, I'm coming! I'm just going to put my slippers and I'll be in the kitchen with you to protect you from dinosaurs."

Me: Sweetie, which country do we live in?
Johnny: (thinks).... Earth?
Me: Yeah, that's about right but where on Earth exactly?
Johnny: You tell me!
Me: We live in America. Can you say that?
Johnny: (says it)
Me: And do you know which country is Mommy from?
Johnny: Sofia!
Me: Bulgaria. Can you say that?
Johnny: (says it). And who brought you here?
Me: Wow, good question. Daddy brought me here. 
Johnny: Why? 
John: To start a family and have you guys. 
Me: And do you know my real name?
Johnny: (tentatively) Bobby. Mommy Bobby. 
Me: Yeah, but my full name is Bogomila. Can you say that?
Johnny: No. 
Me: Okay, try this. Bo-go-Mila!
Johnny: Bo-go-FILLA!!!
Me: Close enough....

"Old McDonald had a farm, eeei-eeei oh, and on his farm he had a unicorn, eeei-eeei oh, and on his farm he had a ghost, eeei-eeei oh! And a blah blah here, there, everywhere." 
~ Johnny, 2 yrs 9 mos. 

"I don't feel good. I can't touch my baby...." (while sick)

"It's okay, it's warm in the living room! There's a roof. You don't need a hat!"

Me to Julian: Where's Johnny?
Johnny: In not anywhere!

"Rats are mean. They say mean things to us and make us mean too!"

"I hate of this cough."

(typing on my phone) 


6:55 am. 
Johnny opens his door and I can hear him sniffling and shuffling in the hallway outside my bedroom. 
Me: "Go back to bed, Johnny! You can't get up if the bunny isn't up (on the kids clock)!"
Johnny: shuffle shuffle sniff sniff.
Me: "I'll count to thee. One...two...."
Johnny: "But Mommy, I was scared!"
Me: "Oh fine, you can come here."
Johnny: (cautiously) "What did you say?" (He's not allowed in our bed before 7am)
Me: "It's okay. It's almost 7....Gosh, you are big! When did you become so long!!!" 
Johnny: (smugly) "And look at me, I'm so CUTE!"
Me: "You sure are. Do girls at daycare like you?"
Johnny: "No. A...wanted to take my helicopter toy."
Me: "And what did you say to her?"
Johnny: "Nothing! I was eating my Cheerios..." 
Me: "Okay, stop fidgeting....I'm still sleepy...."
Johnny: "Let's play a game! 'H'!
Me: "'H' is for Horsie."
Johnny: "I know one! 'H' is for Umbrella Bird!!!
Me: "It's way too early for this...."
Johnny: "Look! The BEBEH! (John enters with Julian in his arms) I want to hold him! No, not like this, sideways!"
Me: "Great, that was nice, now time for teeth brushing and put your sweater on!"
Johnny: "NO teeth brushing! NO sweater!"
John: "Listen to Mommy or I'll put you in timeout."
Johnny: "NO timeout!"
Me: "Guys, let's take it down a notch. It's the weekend...go have breakfast with Daddy downstairs."
Johnny: "You can come TRUE, Daddy!" (gives way to his Dad)
John: "Do you want to draw while you eat breakfast?"
Johnny: ", thanks. Not today."
And it is now 7:03. 

Me: I'm going to eat you!
Johnny: No, you can't; I'm full of blood!

"I brought you flowers. Be careful with them because they are purple."

(monologue) "Can I sleep in the car? No, I can't sleep in the car, I'll sleep in my bed. Cars are for driving only, but I can't drive, I don't have my license. My license is in my race box."

"You know what? Fish cannot close their eyes."

"I can jump really high. But I'm not a rabbit!"

Me: It's almost Christmas! 
Johnny: but there's no snow! There's snow in Sofia. 

"It's okay, rubby ducky. I love you!"

"No, I don't have a backbone."

Me: "Johnny, it's time to get out of the tub!"
Johnny: "No!"
Me: "Why not? You are clean already."
Johnny: "But my penis likes to swim!"
Fair enough....

"We don't want to get into an accident. It's scawy and dangerwous and break-y."

"My daddy's car is not special."

Johnny: I'm Mister Doctor Mao. 
Me: Are you, now?
Johnny: No, I'm John Pfeiffer. 

"I'm not gonna hug you like a crazy person, I'll hug you like a boy."

"There's no more penguin for you, Daddy!"

"This doesn't belong here. Put it back!" (OCD...)

Me: Why am I angry, Johnny?
Johnny: Because I love you!

"Are you happy to hear that? Are you?"

"This kitty is thinking about pie, and that kitty is looking at the pie." 

"Excuse me, pick it up and move it over there, because there's more space in there."

"No. Actually yes."

"It's okay. Nothing's wrong. Don't worry about it."

"This is a dangerous thing that clips hair."

"Be nice to me. Make sure you tell me when you need to go potty. Don't say bad words, say good words." 

March 2, 2015

A Letter to Kittybear

Dear Julian,

Your big brother Johnny got to have an entire blog, but you only get a post in it - this is not because we love you less (we love you so much words are insufficient to describe it), but because we are now just too busy.  Busy being with you and taking care of you and admiring every move and sound you make.  That, and you know, with boring parental stuff.

But you are here, and you deserve at least one nice little post you can read one day and feel good about yourself.  You have every reason to - you are AMAZING!!!!  You are almost 7 months old, and you are the cutest, coolest, most intelligent baby ever.

Julian, your brother Johnny is totally obsessed with Daddy, but you are Mamma's boy.  You are a spitting image of me when I was your age, and you have this very serious, wise face for which we call you Mister Baby...until you smile, and then the whole world lights up - for which we call you The Fountain of Happiness.  Your laughter is the sweetest thing I've ever heard in my life.  Unlike your brother (who's still a regular Grumpy Cat), you go to sleep and wake up smiling and happy.  This is such a relief, Julian!  Thank you.  Motherhood is tough enough without having to deal with babies who are cranky for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.  (It's okay, Johnny, we love you even when you whine.)

So, Julian, you do this great thing when you look at me and I talk to you lovingly - you slow-blink at me with a dreamy smile, and it makes my heart flutter.  You, however, are quick to start crying the minute you see a stranger approach you.  We need to get out more...

You are very dexterous.  Comparing siblings is unhealthy, they say, but it happens - you are impossible to compare to other babies, anyways (yes, you are that special).  Your brother Johnny is a genius kid, and he's stunningly handsome and he will have a great future in entertainment...but he's clumsy.  Gosh, he literally trips in his own feet while just standing there!  You are slower to start sitting and walking, but you are so much more handy than him...and that gives us some sort of balance.  We don't mind having one kid in the arts, and one in the crafts!  For we might love you differently, but we love you equally.

You have two teeth already, Julian, and you are currently growing two more.  This is an exhausting exercise, and a very drooly one, too.  You like to sleep on your tummy, but even though you can roll around like a champ, you simply refuse to sit.  You eat crackers and solids like a fiend, and for some reason you don't like to drink water.  You play with your cups, instead, spilling it anywhere but in your mouth.

You adore Johnny, baby.  Your big brother is the funniest thing you've ever seen, and you follow him around, staring worshipingly at him, and you want to grab him and chew on him as a token of your love.  You also grab at Shelby, and you giggle when she gives you kisses.  And when you have a toy in your hand, you can throw it really far when you are done with it.  

Your head is very round and very fuzzy.  I also call you Piglet and your Grandma calls you Смешко and Лъжльо, because you are tricksy and sometimes you just want a bottle but won't fall asleep after you've finished it.  You have this secret devilish look you employ when you realize you have tricked us all.  You are also a Milk Thief, as you reach for your bottle in the crib at night and drink it by yourself, when you are supposed to be sleeping.  You are addicted to strings.  Strings, according to you, are just the BEST TOYS.

And sometimes when you "talk" it sounds like "I'm a bebbeh!" and "I love you!".  

That's right.  You are.  The best bebbeh ever.

There's more, Julian, and I am sure I will write to you again by the time you turn 1.  In the meantime, I am enjoying your pudgy baby arms and legs, your sweet smell, your innocent eyes, your cute smile, your funny sounds and the rest of your amazing self.  You will grow awfully fast...I know that now.  But you are mine now, and everything is quite alright.



August 21, 2014

Inflinitrillion of Love, Times Two

Dear Johnny,

Last week you became a Big Brother to baby Julian!!!  It was such an amazing adventure for you, and you behaved like a champ the entire time.  I am sure it was worth the wait, and hope that soon enough your Little Brother will also prove to be your best friend.  You deserve good company, Johnny, and someone to look up to you.  Just imagine all the fun things you will be able to teach Julian!  (No, I didn't mean chasing after the cat or running in circles until you get dizzy even though you know running is forbidden in the house.  I mean the other, less wild fun things.)

So far you guys are getting along splendidly, and you make us so very proud.  Therefore you were deserving of a new Big Boy bike, and Julian - of kisses on the little baby feet.  Mommy and Daddy cannot wait to see you grow together, learn, and go places.

But for now Johnny, we like to have you just where you are - at home, right next to us.  We love you, kids!  We love you endlessly!

April 10, 2014

A Year In Review: The Wonderful Twos!

Dear Johnny,

It's been a year since I last wrote to you here.  Lots happened during this time!  To honor your upcoming Second Birthday, I will try to recap our amazing adventures together and give you the highlights of the past twelve months so that when you grow up and are able to read this, you'd be absolutely embarrassed by how much your Daddy and I were obsessed with you...but also maybe a bit proud.  I hope you actually feel good about the whole thing.  Two years since your birth, I do.  It feels awesome to exist in the same world as you, my love.

Anyway, back to the story.  First and foremost, you have grown.  Boy, have you!  Remember how we thought you were the most gorgeous baby in the whole Universe?  Well, you are now more handsome than ever, and I am still smitten with you beyond words with your big earnest eyes, with your rosebud lips, your gold hair and your sweet smile that shines like a sun on your face, enlightening everything it shines upon.  I know, ew.  It's so sugary and so true.

You grew strong, too.  At 24 months you wear clothes for 3 year olds, you are taller than most of your peers, and you run and climb and bounce balls, and your energy knows no limits, and you are fearless.  One thing, though - you are a bit on the clumsy side.  I didn't know that it was possible for someone to trip in their own they stand still...but you have proved that it is.  Many times.  Or you'd start walking backwards and bump into the wall.  Real silly stuff like that!  You are simply too eager, Johnny, and often your limbs cannot keep with your mind.  

But while we still have to work on coordinating your motor skills (and getting your impulse control...under control), your mind have no trouble keeping up.  It seems that you are gifted after all, just like we wished and hoped before you were born, and joked about during the first months of your life.  You are quite ahead in the developmental charts, Johnny, and we are scared shitless of this fact but still utterly proud.  

At two you are bilingual going on trilingual (French), can count on your own to twelve in English and to ten in Bulgarian.  You know the alphabet and all the words that start with each letter.  When we read a book for goodnight you tell the stories back to us, and you make long and complex sentences, and you can explain difficult concepts with a striking clarity and confidence.  You recognize shapes and can name colors, and you are able to play-pretend the way much older kids do.  Also, you speak of yourself in third person, which is hilarious.

It's the WOW effect, Johnny.  Watching you do stuff is mesmerizing.

While there are things that I am very critical about in your behaviour (duh, because I'm the Great Expectations kind of Mommy), I am very fond of your personality.  You have your own tastes and preferences and choices, and your own habits and ideas and desires.  Music is still one of your greatest pleasures.  You are obsessed with trains and trucks and firemen and construction work.  Technology presents no mystery to you, but you also make a good use of plain old sticks.  It's what I've always said, Johnny - you give a boy a warning and a permission, and a stick becomes the best toy ever.

And you are good, Johnny.  So very good.  You are just one genuinely happy boy.  Your heart is big and you love Shelby and you love us, and you love your Beah and your toys, and you love My Gym and Daycare, and you love playing basketball and drawing and your laptop, and you love my belly bump and you gently touch it and sweetly talk to it.  

For yes, Johnny, you are about to become a Big Brother this August, and it looks like you can hardly wait!  This will be so much fun for you (for us, not as much fun as tiring - at least in the beginning, but I'm sure we'll join the festivities soon enough), and you deserve a friend to keep you company, and a peer to show off to, and guide him on the road you've already walked so well (and yes, it is a little brother you are going to have!).

So it turns out that in the past year we all grew a lot, Johnny.  Daddy and I are not just better parents now, but also better people because we constantly push ourselves to improve who we are, so that you can have the best example and the most diverse inspiration possible.  We can't give you the world, but we can surely teach you how to claim it, if you want it, baby.  There will be no limits for you, never forget this.

I will write again to share images and stories from your upcoming birthday party, but until then - WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! Always, always.

 Some of our adventures included visiting Seattle in May and going back to Bulgaria in June - respectively your first jet flight, and your first trans-Atlantic trip ever; we petted horses and puppies; we walked on the beach of the Pacific Ocean; we spent time with Grampa and Grandma up in the Mountain; we moved to a new house in a new town; we had your other Grandma over for the Holidays; we played with water and dirt and sand and autumn leaves and with cameras and with other kids; we took naps and we stayed up all night; we blew bubbles and built towers; we discovered the Moon and our own body parts; we made messes and we cleaned them up; we tasted new foods and decided we only like mac & cheese (and Yo Baby yogurt) and we will eat it forever;  we cried and we giggled and we hung in there and we hung out and we had a blast, Johnny.  What a year!

Here's to an infinitrilion more.