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May 27, 2008

Alden's New Name

I've already covered the legendary origins of Alden's name elsewhere on these pages, but today I'm happy to report that she has been given her Japanese name by Grandma Seiko. The "L" sound in "Alden" is particularly challenging for Japanese-speaking folks (it might come out sounding something like "ah-rue-den"), and so Seiko has coined "A-chan" (prounounced "aah-chan," with the stress on the first syllable) as a Japanese-friendly alternative. I happen to like the sound of it quite a bit, and any of you who would like may use it in addressing or referring to the child.

In other news, Robbi drove across the bay with Alden a week or so ago to spend the afternoon with Emily who was at the time on doctor-mandated bed rest during her last week of pregnancy. Emily practiced basic baby-care mom tasks like changing Alden and comforting her quietly.

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When Christian came home from work, he practiced basic baby-care dad tasks like riling up the baby and teaching her how to yell.

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Aware of the importance of Alden's 1/4 Japanese identity, Christian and Emily searched high and low for apparel that would adequately communicate Alden's complex mixture of pride at being partially Japanese and wistful regret at not being somewhat more so.

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Here's a closer look at A-chan in her new duds.

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Thanks guys!


Posted by bogenamp at 08:49 PM

May 24, 2008

Sisters

Today is Tea Party in Chestertown, the commemoration of a supposed revolt in the vein of the better-publicized Boston-based incident. What this means for those of us who live here is that the streets are teeming with hordes of funnel cake enthusiasts and that Iggy is banned from the public byways.

There are parades, of course. And we spent our requisite five minutes on the curb partaking of the hubub.

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I'm not much for parades. I shrouded my child from seeing such unsightly spectacle as the dancing plush crab.

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Robbi has enough enthusiasm for parades to cover the entire family. She is incorrigible.

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After the parade had come and gone, we came back inside. The family hijinks that ensued are worth sharing, I think.

First Alden sneaked up on Iggy.

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To which Iggy objected, not without cause, I would argue.

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It got dicey for a while as they wrestled.

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But as the minutes passed...

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...they settled into a comfortable equilibrium as Iggy realized that compromise is better to the harassment of a curious baby.

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In other news, my sister Lindsay gave birth to my nephew, Orin Alexander Zawicki yesterday late morning. He weighed in at 7 pounds and some ounces. I can't remember now. He has a lot of hair and seems like a jovial little fellow. Photos will be posted as soon as they are sent my way.

Welcome Orin. The world is abundant these days.

Posted by bogenamp at 04:25 PM

May 23, 2008

Iris Zoe Vainieri

Robbi and I could hardly sleep last night anticipating this morning's trip across the bay to pay our first visit to Christian and Emily's new arrival, Iris Zoe. The fact that Alden was screaming like a lunatic for much of the night also contributed to our sleeplessness. Robbi decided to eat a large quantity of chocolate last night, and we are wondering if the caffeine contained therein might have contributed to our child's frenetic midnight thrashings about.

But I am drifting from the point at hand. First thing this morning, we drove across the Bay Bridge, through the city of Baltimore, to Towson, where Iris, with some help from Emily, made her way into the world just yesterday.

Here she is:

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Robbi and I had to visit separately, as Alden, along with all other non-sibling children under 12, was expressly banned from entering the postpartum wing, for reasons of curtailing transmission of the creeping ick with which most babies are stricken.

Robbi visited first, and made a positive impression on Iris.

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I visited second.

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Iris did not much care for my company.

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The new parents were beaming in spite of the recent trials.

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Here's my old pal, Christian, with his little girl.

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I'm happy thinking that some day Alden and Iris will play together. Who could have scripted such a thing?


Posted by bogenamp at 03:42 PM

May 22, 2008

It's a Girl!!! - Part 2

While I know that I have been a bum blogger of late, I am happy to break the silence with wonderful news. At 9:21 this morning, Iris Zoe Vainieri was born into this wide world, weighing in at 6lbs., 8oz.

I have no picture of the child, as I was not invited to the birthing, but one will be posted as soon as I am able to pay a visit.

Here are the proud parents:

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Note that the baby in question is NOT Iris Zoe, but a model hired to help create the illusion of parenthood.

Much more to come. Welcome Iris! We can't wait to teach you all of our bad habits.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:24 PM

May 15, 2008

Basically Just a Cute Photo of a Baby in a Hat

Today was going to be a day of industry, a day of progress on a number of fronts. We had a babysitter lined up (neighbor and baby-whisperer extraordinaire Dr. Donald McColl), and we had a large empty van with which to complete our errands. Since Chestertown is so tiny and lacking in major retail opportunities, we often drive to Dover, Delaware to conduct our commerce. And so we drove. About an hour, it was. We pulled up in the parking lot of the Home Depot, got out of the van, beaming with lusty enthusiasm to tackle the first item on our day's lengthy TO-DO list, and realized that neither one of us had brought a credit card. Robbi had $40 cash in her back pocket--a kind of miracle. But not nearly enough to make an honest showing at the bold schemes we had hatched. And so we drove home in the silence of the shamed.

Robbi, being far more resilient than I, decided to return to Dover. I was left to tend to the baby while nursing my wounded pride. I strapped her into the Snugli and walked about town, visiting many friends, including Tom and Sarah and Bookplate. While there, I took this photo, that is really the central justification for chronicling this story.

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I love that hat, that big floppy hat.

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Later, hours later, after Robbi's return, we both realized that we were desperately hungry and headed to the store in the wrong frame of mind to make rational decisions. We bought a lot of rich, filling, comforting foods. At the time it seemed like a good idea.

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Alden was disgusted with the whole affair, judging us with her eyes, scornful of our apparent lust for processed meals.

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I like to think she'll be the type to buy healthy ingredients and cook from scratch. I like to think she'll avoid the trap of high-fat, calorie-rich stupor that so frequently afflicts her parents, but then she has never tasted macaroni and cheese from the deli counter, or slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, or those frozen Pillsbury biscuits that rise like magic to buttery freshness in just over 15 minutes.

Her menu to date has been frightfully limited. In just over two months we'll be able to introduce her to a thin gruel, apparently, not something that will likely do much to redeem our diets in her mind.


Posted by bogenamp at 09:55 PM

May 14, 2008

USA Today, Canada tomorrow?

Well, something has finally happened in our lives that has nothing do with our child. And just in time. She is on the brink of becoming remarkably conceited.

Still beaming from our recent mention in Pop Candy, the USA Today blog of hipster Whitney Matheson, our feelings of fulfillment were even more pronounced upon receiving a copy of Canadian hipster/literary magazine Broken Pencil in the mail yesterday.

Here is the cover.

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Note that the ultra-hip semi-Asian chick on the cover is not Robbi.

And here is the article on page 9 (click on the thumbnail to get a larger, almost readable version).

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"Product of the Month?!" Who knew? Idiots'Books has been noticed in the great land of our northern neighbors.

For those of you who only read this blog to see pictures of babies, here is Alden aloft.

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What might seem like good old fashioned fun and games is actually a very useful way to rid her tiny abdomen of gas, thus improving her mood and creating delightful baby-sized burping sounds.

As for you fine people at Broken Pencil (especially Norah), thanks for the notice.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:24 PM

May 12, 2008

Helping

The weather is terrible here tonight. Which is to say wonderful if, like me, you are a fan of rain and tumult in the skies. Perhaps as a result of the overcast, the wireless signal is weak and spotty. And so I will resist my usual inclination to the verbose and share but one image.

Robbi has been asked to pitch some illustrations to a potentially exciting project. The project itself is not "potentially" exciting, but in all ways exciting. The "potential" (or lack thereof) part of the equation comes from the fact that landing the project is something of a long shot, and Robbi is never one to count any chickens.

But given the excitement generated by the mere potential, Robbi was at her drawing table tonight, looking for inspiration. Alden insisted on getting into the mix. While her tiny, fumbling infant hands are not yet capable of producing credible illustration, her critical skills are already well honed. Perhaps she is bound to be an art director. In any case, I thought I'd share a photo of my girls at work.

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Oh, the potential.

Posted by bogenamp at 12:59 AM

May 07, 2008

Art Shots

The following entry reveals why each of us needs a competent photographer to follow us around and document our lives. Christian's cousin Anthony is a more than competent photographer with a really nice camera and a tendency to document the lives of those around him. Anthony was a guest at Christian and Emily's baby bowling shower a few weeks back, and so a tiny slice of our lives was beautifully photographed. Not surprisingly, Alden captured the lion's share of Anthony's attention. It was, after all, a baby shower, and the baby being honored had yet to emerge.

And so our baby had to do in a pinch.

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She spent a long time hanging out with Anthony's wife Kelly.

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She had a nap. While she slept, her fingers were photographed.

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I earnestly hope that no one photographs my fingers while I sleep.

This shot is for Alden's various grandparents to look at and feel misty.

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After Alden slept, she shrieked. She is a baby. It is her wont.

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And lastly, here is our pal Christian, the proud papa to be. Emily is due to undergo a dramatic transformation in about two weeks now. Rest assured you will be informed when the big day comes.

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Posted by bogenamp at 12:29 AM

May 04, 2008

Cause and Effect

We passed a rather nice milestone a few days ago. I finally got a chance to feed the baby.

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We were cautioned by doctors, midwives, and lactation consultants alike not to give a bottle to the baby too early on, lest she succumb to the dread malady of "nipple confusion." The estimates for when she would be able to keep the various nipples in her life straight varied wildly, but the most consistent time frame seemed to be four-to-six weeks. So at five weeks we decided to give it a try. Alden was not confused, I think, but perhaps overwhelmed by the bottle. There was a lot of leaking of milk all over the place. There was a lot of desperate gulping of air. There was ensuing abdominal pressure, baby angst, truly heroic belches, and, in the end, a milk-coated, ill-fed, grouchy, gassy baby.

What does one do with a baby in this state? Throw it in the tub, of course.

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I took Alden into the big tub and found that she is a natural swimmer. She was able to float comfortably on her back and really seemed to like it in there. And then, all of a sudden, she started shrieking inconsolably. And family fun bath time was over.

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It was nothing that the Pooh Bear jammies couldn't fix, apparently.

To make me feel better in the wake of the botched bottle feed and the sad bath, Robbi cooked up a batch of strawberry shortcake.

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For those of you who don't know, the strawberry shortcake is, in the Behr home, a cross between art form and feat of endurance. The helpings are large and the ingredients are not on anyone's list of low-calorie snacks.

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On a proper Behr shortcake, one gets both ice cream and whipped cream.

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There's really nothing moderate about it.

Oh, and in Behr terms, the shortcake is not dessert, but the meal itself.

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Though it still tastes like dessert.

Eventually we went to bed, bracing ourselves for the sleepus interruptus that had been our bittersweet plight each night for the past five weeks. Only...it didn't happen. 7:00am rolled around and we learned, to our mutual delight, that neither of us had been woken by the baby and her endless needs. We felt like celebrating. So Robbi did. The only way she knows how.

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I swear I'll start writing (at least occasionally) about something other than baby antics soon. As soon as something other than baby antics happens to me.

Posted by bogenamp at 11:19 PM

May 01, 2008

Sense of Perspective

You know you're a baby when the flowers are bigger than your head.

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These great big pink suckers grow right outside the door to the barn. I'm supposed to remember what they are called. Robbi reminds me constantly, but it just doesn't seem to stick. We brought Alden over to give the flowers a sniff and noticed that they outclassed her in size.

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Though certainly not in volume.

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The child makes a noise that belies her tiny stature.

Though already one can say that she used to be much smaller.

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Posted by bogenamp at 11:14 PM