July 27, 2012


Dear Johnny,

Your Grandma Nadia returned to Bulgaria yesterday and you spent the entire afternoon with a puzzled expression on your face, wondering where could she possibly have gone.  Yes, it was sad to part, and although you probably won't remember much, know that we had three and a half most wonderful months together, and that soon enough we'll too fly across the pond to meet your favorite Baba again.

Till then, please be patient with Momikat*.  I am trying to find the balance between taking good care of you AND entertain you to my best ability, but I am afraid I have big shoes to fill before I become as funny and gleeful and chatty as Grandma.  

P.S. Shelby also misses Grandma, though she didn't mind taking over her room...

* The official spelling of Mommy Cat.

July 20, 2012

Babies are such a nice way to start people.

~Don Herrold

Dear Johnny,

Mommy took some photos of you in your birthday suit.  I think you really enjoyed being with your diaper off for awhile, and you didn't even pee on me or something.  Usually you wait till the diaper comes off and you fountain all over the place.  Good job, Johnny.  The things you do in art's sake...

Let The Games Begin

Dear Johnny,

You play with real toys now.  You suddenly favor your Teddy Bear and your Oball over your infant rattles.  You are in such a hurry to grow up that we can barely keep up with you.  See, when I was young, I wanted to be something.  Now I just want to be young.  My point is, Johnny, take your time.  You are 11 weeks old only once.

You also don't want to be lying down all the time anymore. That's dull, you said. That's for babies, you said. You want to sit on the couch, like the big people do. So I put you on the couch, and you do sit for awhile, but then you decide to examine your feet a little closer and you ultimately tip over on your face.  

You always fall with a smile, though.  Which is more than I can say for some adults...

Here's Johnny!

Dear Johnny,

Your most favorite thing, besides sitting up and playing with toys, is flying.  You love being held high up in the air.  You laugh out loud when this happens.  In fact, you get so excited that your face becomes all dimples and you start drooling profusely.

July 17, 2012

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.

~Leo J. Burke

Dear Johnny,

You resist sleep.  It's such an intricate task to put you to bed, that Mommy has to be very inventive to trick you even for a short nap.  All you want to do lately is to look around and play. The world is just too interesting to be missed in sleep, and you certainly aren't the baby who, just weeks ago, used to easily doze off after a few ounces of warm milk.  You are amused and contented when you sit up, but when I try lying you down, you instantly turn grumpy and you wave your arms a lot.  I tried setting up a comfy play area for you made of blankets and pillows where you'd hopefully tire yourself and slip into a gentle slumber, but this is what happened instead:

In a nutshell, Johnny, Mommy is experiencing a total and utter fail.

Funnily enough, you fall asleep INSTANTLY in your Daddy's arms.  He comes home from work, he picks you up, he holds you in this super awkward position, and mere five minutes later - poof!  You are snoring.  And he doesn't even has to sing!*

Go figure.

*Let alone dandle you and jiggle you and hum and walk around the apartment with you in his arms until his back hurts and he's ready to drop asleep himself or go insane or both.

July 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Dear Johnny,

Last weekend was your Grandma Nadia's birthday!  Daddy took her to San Francisco and they had so much fun taking photos at the Golden Gate bridge and walking around Chinatown.  Grandma came to California specially for the occasion of your birth.  She held Mommy's head when Mommy was in labor, she woke up every night to feed you when Mommy and Daddy were too tired to do so in the first few weeks, she takes care of you and plays with you and she loves you SO much.

All in all, Grandma is the best. 

For her next birthday, Johnny, we'll return the favor and visit her in Bulgaria!

John John John

Dear Johnny,  

Your Grandpa visited us yesterday and you fell gracefully asleep in his arms.  Your Daddy was so kind to then join you and to pose for Mommy without making the weasel face.  In fact, I think you all look great in this photo.

There's no surprise - you are The Johns.  You have your own club.  You are cool.

The only trouble is that Mommy has to figure out how to call you when you are together in the same room.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Dear Johnny,

This photo of you is magnificent on so many levels.  It shows your ability to stay impossibly cute even when you are upset.  You are mild-tempered*, Johnny, and we are grateful for it.

The photo was taken by your Grandma Muoi.  She, just like Mommy, is a big photography fiend, and I hope that you will be, too.  Moreover, I hope that you will take after Grandma's zeal for life and love for fun when you grow up. 

Because, come on.  You might be cute when you're grumpy, but you are AWESOME when you smile!

* Also, self-composure is a priceless survival skill in a world largely populated by idiots.

Never wear anything that panics the cat.

~P.J. O'Rourke

Dear Johnny,

You have a great sense of style.  You look awesome in your Pink Floyd onesie.  You like stripes and bold patterns, and you are not afraid to wear bright colors.  In that regard, you are just like Mommy.

On most days, however, you live in your pajamas.  

Just like Daddy.

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

Like a record baby, right round, round round...

Dear Johnny,

You have the funniest little hair swirl on the top of your head.  Every time I hold you, I cannot help but trace it with my fingers and wonder what kind of a crazy hairstyle it will generate when you grow up (and grow real hair instead of the penguin fuzz you're sporting at the moment).  This swirl, along with your dimples and your black olive eyes, makes you who you are.  

And who you are Johnny, is wonderful.  Don't you ever forget it.

July 6, 2012

Sounds Like a Plan

Dear Johnny,

Mommy misses her coffee.  It's not just that I need the caffeine after getting up so many times in the wee hours to feed and change you (or because I thought you needed to be fed and changed, but you were only tossing and sniffling and mumbling in your sleep - in which cases I feed the cat instead).  I like my coffee.  I like my coffee sweet, milky, foamy, syrup flavored, hot, and strong, but I have given it up because I don't want to add more excitement to your already active night schedule.  Trouble is, one coffee leads to another, and that's the way it is.

One day, though, Mommy will have the bean brew again.  We'll stroll down to the coffee shop together.  We'll sit outside in the sun with big smiles on our faces.  I will have a cappuccino, and you, Johnny, will have a babyccino.


Скъпи Джони,

Ти все още не познаваш роднините си в България, но знай, че те са едни страхотни роднини.  Дядо ти Руми е Физик от световна класа, Дзен учител, и професионален Рок енд Рол фен.  Когато се срещнете идното лято, той ще ти покаже как да смяташ наум и да поправяш стари мебели, как да оцеляваш на Спартанска диета от вафли и кисело мляко, да пишеш красиво на ръка, да носиш само бели маратонки, и как да разпознаваш звездите на небосклона.  

Сигурна съм, че много ще си допаднете и с братовчедка ти Али.  Тя е точно 10 години по-голяма от теб, обича живота и природата, и рисува прекрасно.  С нея ще строите къщи за малки човечета, ще пищите на воля, и ще ходите на далечни екседиции за да откривате разни вълшебни места и неща.

И останалите членове на фамилията също са голяма работа, Джони.  Въобще, приготви се за купон.

Baby, Talk is Cheap


Dear Johnny,

You are a polyglot baby.  You are bilingual by birth - you speak Bulgarian with Mommy and English with Daddy.  We also hope that one day you will study French at school, you'll pick up some Cantonese from your Grandma, and maybe you'll even learn yet another foreign language during your travels in Europe.  And since you are born in the heart of the Silicon Valley, there will be no surprise if you become fluent in a few programming languages.  You see, speaking properly and having a large vocabulary is very important, but let's not underestimate the value of LoL Speak.  After all, as a Bearcat you have all the potential to be a true Kitteh Whisperer.  

By then, however, you are mastering eloquence in Baby Talk, so agoo-ewe-aye Johnny!

Picture Perfect

Dear Johnny,

You are handsome.  You are charming.  Photogenic too.  Luckily, you have your very own personal mommy-photographer to capture all of your immense awesomeness as you grow and spread it around for the world's benefit.  I work around the clock, I'm good, and I am cheap.  A single smile from you and I turn into a real paparazzo.

Or better, paparazza. 

July 5, 2012

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow

Dear Johnny,

Last Saturday was your second monthday.  You celebrated with Grandpa John and Grandma Muoi, who confirmed that now you are old enough to have sophisticated conversations with.  I could tell by your face that similarly to Grandpa, you are developing a taste for sweet homemade pies, long afternoon naps, vintage red wine, and of course, for good company.

Hit The Road, Jack

Dear Johnny,

Last weekend we took our first trip with you.  We got you a nice big car seat, packed about a ton of milk and a million diapers, and off we went to see your Grandpa John and Grandma Muoi.  They live up in the mountain, far away from everyone and everything, so you can understand Mommy's excitement about this getaway(Mommy is very, very anti-social).

You were a champ, Johnny.  You didn't cry during the long car ride (okay, you whimpered a bit at the end there, but only because we were stuck in traffic), and you loved the pit stop we made at the beach.  And when we arrived at Tassajara, you looked around with endless curiosity and pleasure.  Your feet got licked by some dogs, you were entertained by the sight of Grandma's hair rollers, and you took a nap on a lawn on top of the clouds.

I just knew you're going to be a Great Adventurer.


There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one

And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Dear Johnny,

You love music.  When Daddy sings to you, you start dancing wildly.  When Mommy sings to you, you get all quiet and big eyed.  When Grandpa sings to you, you coo and you laugh.  When we play music for you, you sing back to the speakers.  The only time you didn't like it was when Mommy tried to play the harmonica, but that's okay because she doesn't really know how to play the harmonica.  

Here are some of your favorite songs so far (in no particular order):

1. Frère Jacques
2. This Old Man
3. Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds
4. All Night Thing by Temple of the Dog
5. Daughter by Pearl Jam
6. Soft Kitty from The Big Bang Theory
7. Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
8. Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry
9. Take Five by Dave Brubeck
10. California by Joni Mitchell 
11. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
12. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons 
13. Sittin' on a Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
14. Je Veux by Zaz
15. My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone
16. What I Got by Sublime
17. Fallin' by Alicia Keys
18. Jammin' by Bob Marley & The Wailers
19. On the Road Again by Canned Heat
20. Sweet Jane by Cowboy Junkies
21. May This Be Love by Jimi Hendrix

And everything else we come up with, including humming, yodeling, and general crooning...

That's you, trying to eat a songbird.