June 29, 2012


Dear Johnny,

You are strong.  You dealt with 72 hours of labor so much better than Mommy, and you didn't even mind the 3 hours of pushing at the end.  When you finally came out, you were in a great mood, no problem.  You hardly needed any tummy-time, and you kept your neck straight and your head steady from the very start.  You have mighty muscles and almost no baby fat.  When we hold you lying down, you want to sit up.  When you sit, you want to stand on your legs.  And when you stand on your legs, you put them in front of one another, like you want to walk.

What's astounding, Johnny, is how gentle you are at the same time.  You are fine.  

The girls won't even know what hit them.

It's Dangerous To Go Alone! Take a Friend.

Dear Johnny,

You don't yet have many friends, but the ones you already have are good friends.  Take your Grandma for instance.  She would hold your bottle for you, she would take you out for walks, and she would play with you even though you have a big stinky diaper.  Shelby too is your friend.  She gently sniffs your head when you are asleep, meows at you when you cry, and respectfully keeps her distance when you kick your legs and wave your hands in the air.  Not all of your friends are organic, however.  Owl is made of fabric and can't move on his own, but you don't discriminate, and love him equally strong just the same.  

That's very kind of you, Johnny.

The Many Names of You

Dear Johnny,

We call you Bearcat, because your Mommy is Big Rock Cat, and Daddy is a California Honey Bear.

We call you The Milk Monster, because as a newborn you used to get awful mad when you were hungry.

We call you Koala Baby, because of the way you fall asleep on Daddy's shoulder.

We call you Snug-a-Bug, because you like to be cozy and tucked in.

We call you Dragon Baby, because you were born in the year of the Dragon.  Also, you make funny dragon-like noises sometimes.

We call you Little Old Man, because your hair is sparse and when you wrinkle your brow you look like one.

We call you many names in Bulgarian too.  Ти си Рижко, Чочко, Джончо, Млекожаден, Фин МлеченГугличка, и най-вече БУЖУНЧЕ.  It seems that your sweetest names are all in Bulgarian.

Your real name, however, is John Anthony Pfeiffer V.  

You may wonder why we gave you such a long and serious name.  Mommy and Daddy might be a pair of adventurous, pleasantly eccentric, counter culture parents, but we are also all about tradition when it comes to family.  You see, your Great-Great-Grandfather was Johann Anton Pfeiffer.  He came to this country from Germany, or perhaps from Austria, and named his firstborn son after him.  That became John Anthony Pfeiffer here in America.  Your Great-Grandfather too decided to call his firstborn son John Anthony Pfeiffer junior.  Then, in turn, your Grandpa called your Daddy John Anthony Pfeiffer IV.  

And now here you are, Johnny V.

In a family of so many Pfeiffers you are the only baby John, because you carry the name forward.  It's a big deal.  You might say that you are a prince of sorts.  Still, you might decide one day that your name is a bit too common or plain.  If that happens, consider this: we might have called you Ario Journey Felix Cree, or something similarly cruel, but we didn't because we love you way too much.

That is you, trying to figure out the family tree.
P.S. We're still working on your Native American name.

June 28, 2012

Birth is Mirth

Dear Johnny,

I always used to think people exaggerate when they say that the day their child was born was the happiest in their lives.  I believed that there must be something else that makes us most contented -  like winning the Pulitzer Prize or flying in space*, and I hate to admit it, but people are right and I was wrong.  On  your birthday, baby, I experienced the greatest joy imaginable.  It was big, and good, and right, and I don't even remember how hard and scary it was anymore. 

* I don't mind experiencing those delightful things too, though. 

Dreaming of Bearcats

Dear Johnny,

Mommy is really into this thing called writing, so she kept a journal during her entire pregnancy and wrote down all sorts of things in it - hopes that you'll be healthy, pretty, and smart; ideas about your nursery design, which books to read to you, or how to name you; and plans to teach you to speak Bulgarian, to be kind to animals, and to flirt with girls.  Surely, one day you'll be able to read this diary and feel very, very embarrassed.

And baby, as expectations go, you didn't simply exceed them.  You blew us away.

Pregnant and dreamy Mommycat.

A Bump in the Road

Dear Johnny,

You had a lot of fun in Mommy's belly.  You danced and you kicked and you hiccuped and you waved at us during ultrasounds and you flipped upside-down and you generally made me feel wonderful while messing up my body.  Pregnancy was great, but I think we can both agree that we're glad it is over. 

It All Started With A Big Bang

Dear Johnny,

You are a result of our love, but it so happens that you are also the sum of our genes - in your cute little body exists a sophisticated mix of Bulgarian, Irish, Austrian, and Chinese DNA. On the day you were conceived, however, Mommy and Daddy had them some big juicy cheeseburgers at the local diner, so one thing is certain: you are a 100%  All-American Bearcat.