December 26, 2012

The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.*

~ from Mad Magazine

Dear Johnny,

Unlike your fellow American peoples, you have never been into a store of any kind until this very day.  This is almost as astounding as the fact that we do not own or watch TV, and I want you to be proud of it.  I always do the grocery shopping in the evenings or weekends, when Daddy's at home on baby duty, and I don't bring you with me because a) I cringe at the sight of mothers dragging their newborns along the frozen meals aisle, and b) because I want to avoid you getting cranky at the checkout and cry your head off to the bemusement of others shoppers, or worse - in the car on the way home, where I have to deal with it.  You see, baby, your Mommy's is European and non-consumerist, which automatically rules out the possibility of going to the mall and buying stuff for fun.

Today, however, we did just that.  All three of us went to an outlet store and got Daddy a pair of khakis and some socks for you.  At first you were in a sort of a stupor from all the lights and stuff in there, and you seemed to stare suspiciously at everyone,  making them uncomfortable.  Soon enough though you relaxed and became your good old self - giggling and trying to touch everything.  Also, you are getting terribly big!  You hardly fit in the shopping cart... You did great, baby.  It was a fun day.

* That, and the size of their poo, Johnny.  That's Daddy's contribution to this letter :)

Baby's First Christmas

Dear Johnny,

'Tis was your first Christmas. There was noise and astounding amounts of food and people and presents, but I think the best part was you seeing your Mommy and Daddy making absolute and utter fools of themselves.

We love you, baby. Happy Holidays!

December 12, 2012

Baby Talk

Dear Johnny,

You speak now.  It's Baby Bulgarian language, so not many people can understand you yet, but I do, baby.  And I love the things you have to say!

Johnny and the Elusive Lolcat

Dear Johnny,

You chase the cat.  Sometimes you even catch her...but not today.  Keep trying, baby.  Cats are awesome.  

Enough said:

December 11, 2012

Baby - the gift that keeps on giving.

Dear Johnny,

In our family we love Christmas so much, that it arrives not on December 25th, but the moment we turn the calendar on the last day of November.  From then on, we immediately begin singing carols, exchanging gifts, and decorate to our heart's content.  You haven't received your present just yet (we are kind of puzzled about that one as we are unsure if you even understand the concept of Christmas) but Daddy gave Mommy hers, and you  wholly approve of it.

The Audio-Technica headphones are awesome, baby, but nothing can compare to the gift you gave us.  Yesterday you began saying two syllable words, such as GA-GA and DE-DE!  

Well done, Johnny.  I'm sure you did this thanks to your advanced baby brain, but all the Vivaldi we played to you couldn't have hurt either :)

Our whole life is solving puzzles.

~ Erno Rubik

Dear Johnny,

Here you are, seven and a half months old, playing your life away.  I love watching you figuring things out, learning how things work, finding properties and functionalities in everything you touch.  You have big boy toys now - balls and rings and cubes and even a spinning top.  You carry them around, you whack them together, you take them out and put them back in, and although you can't yet stack them, you are exceptionally good in establishing their edibility.  

November 28, 2012

There And Back Again

Dear Johnny,

You are not a tourist, you are a traveler.  New sights galvanize you and new experiences bring about the best of your character.  You shine your brightest under stress, my baby, and that makes me proud.  

This past weekend we did a pilgrimage to Mommy's favorite Monterey County, and on the way there we stopped at a petting zoo.  You spent the entire time smiling and waving your arms and kicking your legs like a cute little lobster (your Grandpa's words, not mine).  Your first Thanksgiving was eventful - you met some cousins of yours, you were hugged and carried around by many different people, you played surrounded by fluffy down pillows in a fancy hotel, you walked around the city at dark, you explored the woods of Tassajara, and you rode in the back of the car up and down dirt roads, but you hardly got cranky and you didn't complain.  

You are a champ, Johnny.  May all of your journeys be as enlightening and fun!

Please click to see large!

November 10, 2012

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

~Elizabeth Stone

Dear Johnny,

I wanted to write you a long and profound letter about how it feels, and what it means, to be your Mommy, but in the last week or so I had to give up writing altogether,  put all of my creative projects on indefinite hold, and practically cancel my entire life, because I was too busy being flabbergasted by watching you do this:

Just to make sure we are clear on the facts - you are six months ten days old, and you already climb on the furniture.  Listen, baby.  I am not worried about myself anymore.  I'll adapt to this new and fast development of things, and somehow I'll pick up again.  Now, you on the other hand... you have a serious problem.  Because, at that rate, Cambridge might not suffice.   

But hey, you can be the President one day.  And if that don't quite cut it either, there's always the Space, baby.

October 30, 2012

Baby Star

Dear Johnny,

You are 6 months old today!  I can't believe it, but here we are - happy and healthy and smart and impossibly cute.  I love you, baby.  I love you more than I could ever hope to say in words.  So here's a picture - this is how I see you, and it is the most wonderful thing.

October 29, 2012

To infinity and beyond!

Dear Johnny,

In the span of merely one week you went from turning over to sitting to crawling.  Boom!  Just like that.  Now you are unstoppable.  The good news is that we can play all sorts of fun games, such as Fetch, Chase the Cat, and Destroy Mommy's Bookshelf.  The bad news is that I can't leave you alone for even a minute, because when I do, I usually hear a loud thump! followed by suspicious silence and then even a louder cry.  You are so happy that you can crawl, and you don't even care about the red marks the furniture leaves on your sweet little fuzzy rounded head.  Mommy and Daddy will be very busy baby-proofing the house this weekend - gone are the days when we could just drop things on the floor and leave them there.  Still, being tidy is a very small price to pay for watching you maneuver around like the stealth baby bug that you are.  Congratulations, Johnny!  

Now get to work and learn how to walk.

(please watch in HD for your viewing pleasure)

October 25, 2012

Go Barry O!

Dear Johnny,

I caught you reading the Rolling Stone magazine today.  Well chosen material, baby, well chosen.  Your President, Mr. Barry O is on the cover of the latest issue, and you seem to be liking him a lot, judging by the passion you put in nibbling and drooling all over the pages.  Once again, you have a great taste.  You see, Barry is a good guy.  He's an awesome Dad, he can sing, and he has all of his marbles together, unlike many other guys in this country.  So, it is safe to say, Johnny, that we support him in this years' Presidential Election.

Trouble is, neither you nor I can vote just yet... But we'll get there.  You just wait and see.

P.S. You are almost 6 months old, Johnny! And you can sit all on your own now.  

October 24, 2012

Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious.*

~William Feather

Dear Johnny,

Every time you wake up the world begins anew.  You don't know the meaning of boredom, weariness, and melancholy.  You open your eyes, you smile, and everything is bright and different and interesting again.  I love how non-self-conscious you are, and how you simply go for what you like and want.  I am so happy for you, my baby.  

* but awesome, too. 

October 18, 2012

If we would listen to our kids, we'd discover that they are largely self-explanatory.

~Robert Brault

Dear Johnny,

As you grow up, you'll discover that everyone is such a specialist.  One time my neighbor, who has 4 kids, told me that she never let her first baby cry it out, but with the others she "just let them fuss".  Mommy thought about that long and hard, and came to the conclusion that it is a big stinky pile of poo-poo.  You see, Johnny, I believe that a bored baby is a cranky baby, and a cranky baby easily becomes a chronically unhappy baby.  I like to keep you occupied and certain of my undivided attention because I want you to be confident and stimulated both emotionally and intellectually.  I find a way to play with you, or to encourage you to play on your own, no matter how busy I might be.  I come up with creative activities (they are usually very simple, but effective - like blowing bubbles, smelling the spice rack, listening to music while learning to crawl) and I manage to do everything I need to do around them.  I want to be a successful writer, to be in shape, and to have fun, yet at this point of my life I find it of utmost importance that you are well taken of.  So I write while you sleep, I work out and shower while you are in your high-chair, and if I need some Mommy time, I wait till Daddy comes home and I take a break.  This whole "let them fuss" method is just an excuse for lazy thinking, Johnny.  It's easy to blame the baby for not having time, but I don't do that.  And it pays off.  

The moral of the story, I guess, is this: do you know how we managed to raise such a wonderful, alert, calm, and healthy baby so far?  By NOT LISTENING TO ANY STUPID ADVICE PEOPLE GIVE US.

You mean to tell me you don't really have my nose?!  Spoons don't sound like planes? The baby in the mirror is actually me?! Mommy, you are in trouble.

October 16, 2012

I has a happy!

Dear Johnny,

We live in an imperfect world.  There are so many wrongs out there, sad things and people and places, things you don't even suspect about.  I will do anything in my power to protect you from those things, but I am aware that no matter how hard I try, sooner than later you will be exposed to the bad side of life, and the best I can do is to raise you to be strong and smart and good, so that you can deal easily with it.

And Johnny, I have a complete trust in you.  You seem well equipped from the very start - laughter is one of the best ways to persevere in a crazy world like ours:

October 14, 2012

Been Kissed

Dear Johnny,

You are clearly Mommy's boy.  You and I, we have glorious times together.  We listen to rock'n'roll.  We watch nature documentaries on dolphins.  We browse the internet for funny comics about cats, art, and life in general (and more cats).  We walk around the suburbia and we ambush old ladies with our cuteness, forcing them to entertain us by stopping and admiring us.  We eat fruits and we speak in tongues and we wrestle on the couch and we make funny faces.  Ah, Johnny - your babyhood is Mommy's favorite early 30's.

October 5, 2012

Here's Bearcat!

Dear Johnny,

The first time I saw you in your new fuzzy hat I had a laughing fit.  You are cuteness incarnated, and I think you should wear this hat at all times.

October 4, 2012

The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.

~Jules Reynard

Dear Johnny,

You and Shelby have become best buddies.  For month she kept her respectful distance - I believe you were just too loud for her - but recently I look at you and there's Shelby too, never more than a few feet away.  She likes to sniff the food I'm giving you, she plops down on the floor near where you play, and she meows in response to your sweet baby blabber.

Ever since we got your new high-chair, Johnny, Shelby is always sitting next to you.  I suspect she might be a bit jealous, but perhaps she thinks she's a baby too, which is even a bigger problem.

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.

~ Woody Allen

Dear Johnny,

You are one happy baby.  You smile the days away, and you make laughing your full-time profession.  You get giggly when Daddy nibbles on your back.  You find it particularly funny when Mommy throws your teddybear in the air and it does somersaults.  Folding and unfolding my tripod just makes you roar with laughter.  

However, when I try to take a picture of you beaming, you instantly turn very solemn and serious:

Every baby needs a lap.

~Henry Robin

Dear Johnny,

You are almost crawling.  I say "almost" because despite of your best efforts (and believe me, you are trying - crawling makes you sound like a mini-steam engine), you only manage to go backwards.  You also can almost sit straight on your own now, but only for a few seconds before you faceplant.  This keeps Mommy very, very busy as I am trying to keep you from tumbling down from the furniture all the time.

And because I still haven't had the opportunity to take a photograph that illustrates your newly-found logistic methods, here's a random picture of you with a turban on:

September 30, 2012

If you were to open up a baby's head - and I am not for a moment suggesting that you should - you would find nothing but an enormous drool gland.

~Dave Barry

Dear Johnny,

Happy Fifth Monthday!  For the occasion you grew a pair of little white teeth.  They popped out simultaneously today, and they are very, very sharp.  The days of cute nibbling on fruits and stuffed toys and Mommy fingers is over.  Now you can chew right through them.

We celebrated your brand new teeth and your monthday by attempting to finally take some family portraits, but I have to say Johnny, they didn't turn out so great.  Daddy felt too awkward because Mommy kept telling him to be natural.  Mommy looked fat (and that is totally your fault).  Shelby slept under the bed and missed the whole thing, and you, baby, refused to even look at the camera.

All things considered, though, it was a good day, so let's keep them coming - the months AND the teeth!

September 26, 2012

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.*

Dear Johnny,

You are an avid reader.  Your entire face lights up when I produce a book, and you passionately kick and laugh and try to eat the pages as I turn them over for you.  We are still lingering on the picture books, but soon enough we'll go on all sorts of amazing journeys, following the adventures of the inhabitants of Middle Earth, the predicaments of a high-school drop out who dislikes phonies, the quest for finding a great white whale; the struggle of one nation for independence, and of one family for a better life on the other side of a country; we'll witness time transcending love and fantastic tales set in space; and we'll even invent our own stories, inspired by our own wonderful adventures.

* Groucho Marx

September 23, 2012

Dadiness is Happiness

Dear Johnny,

Today Daddy turned 33.  For his birthday Mommy got the new iPhone 5, you got to ride a big black dog, and Daddy got to witness it all while sipping on a glass of organic red wine from a limited California vintage that Grandpa brought for the occasion.  Grandma took photos, and later we went for a walk around the neighborhood.   

You like birthdays, Johnny.  We should have these more often.

Mommy's photos from the event here.