These past two and a half weeks have been all about getting to know one another. Though Alden has been generally uninterested in the whole process, she also hasn’t been unwelcoming or unwilling. Mostly she regards Kato as, say, a new loaf of bread, or a rock we have chosen to bring in from outside, that for some reason we keep reminding her to treat “gently” (which, apparently, means patting softly on the head while saying “gentle. GENTLE.“. She occasionally gives us status updates (“Baby CRYing,” and “Baby SLEEPing”) but since that’s pretty much all he does these days, she doesn’t have much to say about him.
The other day, she put on his little carrier (the infamous Snugli, which has been crucial not just on outings, but around the house – during Alden’s tenure as a wee thing, it was invaluable at book shows as well) and requested that she be allowed to carry him. Showing unusual restraint, Matthew suggested Alden hold Kato in the comfortable lounger instead.
This was the first time that she had been able to get a good look at her little brother. She noticed, for instance, that Kato has a head:
And a nose:
Just like she does!
He is human, after all! This was cause for celebration. A high five, perhaps?
Unfortunately, the little stinker left her hanging. The kid obviously has a lot to learn. We can be sure that Alden will be there, bossing him along every step of the way.
Let’s start with what this week’s auction isn’t: a portrait of Elvis Aaron Presley, King of Rock and Roll.
To be clear: this is a portrait of an Elvis impersonator, and a pretty terrible one at that. To be even clearer: this is a portrait of a terrible Elvis impersonator, not a terrible portrait of an Elvis impersonator. The portrait is at least passable, but the Elvis impersonator is unarguably awful.
As further disclaimer, this image is not rendered on velvet, though Robbi admits that it would be a lot more badass if it were.
You know you want to give this illustration to your mom for Valentines Day. She loves Elvis (and Elvis impersonators), even if she won’t admit it. So go ahead and start the bidding.
Those of you who were part of last Monday’s frenzied bidding war for Robbi’s illustration of Williamstown should know that the final countdown is upon us. In a mere five hours and 34 minutes one of you will be the lucky owner of an oddly-shaped, but nonetheless lovable, piece of Williams lore. Here it is again, in case you missed it the first time (click on the image to enlarge).
The comparing has already begun. Poor Kato. Or, maybe, poor Alden. It seems to be the way of things that once there is “the other” it’s almost impossible not to compare it to “one”. So far, there’s been a lot of “Wow, he’s so much stronger than Alden was!” or “Her head was way bigger than his is” or “I think he pees a lot more than she did” etc etc etc. Being the third child, I suffered my share of comparisons, but fortunately, people pretty quickly figured out I bore very little resemblance to my sister (way smart) or my brother (way cool). I guess when you’re just a small unfinished blob, it’s harder to convince people that you’re your own person.
One of the most common observations is that Kato looks “more Asian” than Alden. I vaguely remembered the days before Alden’s nest-head was quite so carefully cultivated, and decided to look back at some old photos from the days just after she was born. Can you believe it? It looks like these two were separated at birth! And were both Chinese! I’m sure 10 years from now when they ask who each of these is a picture of, I will have no idea.
Alden is on the left, Kato on the right.
We also noticed that Kato bears a striking resemblance to Victor Garber, the guy who played the dad on Alias (among other, more praiseworthy things).
Kato on the left, Victor Garber on the right.
I admit, we had to do a little ear readjusting for Kato’s photo.
Though I consider Mr. Garber a handsome guy, in that silver fox-y sort of way, I worry a little about the awkward stage that it looks Kato is doomed for (here is Mr. Garber in 1973):
It looks like he’ll be taking Alden’s hairstyle to the next level. And really, it’s one thing to assert your independence with a unique look, but I sure hope that he’ll pass on the red suspenders and eye makeup.
Things have been going well for the most part. Kato continues to eat and sleep. We continue to be pretty tired. Alden continues to point at him and say, “Baby,” before moving on to other, more interesting things like old grapes or crumpled bits of paper.
We’ve been resisting temptation for 10 days now, but today we broke down. Kato’s resemblance to delicious food simply got the better of Robbi and me, and we had to feast.
In our defense, look at him. One glance and all I can think of is bratwurst, fresh off the grill.
Even worse, he also smells delicious.
It’s a tough choice, whether to love your baby or eat him, coming down to whether one prefers a delicious meal or a lifetime of happy memories.
I came down on the side of eating the baby. I’m an immediate gratification kind of guy.
He was every bit as tasty as I had imagined.
I’m not sure what was better, the toes:
Or the nose.
As I continued my meal, I kept worrying that Robbi would show up and put a stop to it. After all, Kato is technically her son, too. All at once the door opened, and Robbi stormed in. But her objection was not that I was eating the baby, but that I wasn’t sharing my snack.
The woman was hungry.
I could only stand back and marvel at her appetite.
Eventually we both had stuffed ourselves and could eat no more. We felt sheepish, to be sure. We knew that what we’d done was wrong.
But when we inspected the remains of our child, it seemed that we had done no lasting harm. If we are lucky, Kato will be game for a lifetime of such meals.
At least a few years, until he gets wise enough to protest, or too heavy to lift.
For now, he will be constantly undermined by his undeniable edibility.
Well, my work with Corey Doctorow’s novel Makers is finally done. The final illustration posted on the Friday before Kato arrived, and I’m sorry to say I was too distracted in the wake of giving birth to truly appreciate (and celebrate) the end of the very long and taxing process (in fact, the creative delivery was much longer and more taxing than the human delivery, though the recovery time was much quicker).
Yesterday, the final version of the online Tile Game went live – click on “Play the Full Game” in the graphic below if you would like to see all 81 tiles together in all their glory. Our friends over at Malloc Media put together this Flash version, and I have to say, it’s more than a little addictive once you start shuffling and rotating everything around. Have at it:
In related news, we’ve been scrambling to put together a print version of the game – a deck of 81 cards that can be mixed and matched as you please. Subscribers will be receiving these at some point in the spring (we hope) and we’ll also be taking them along to the various shows we attend. Oh, and I guess we’ll sell them here, too, of course. The cards are being printed and packaged in China, which is why we needed to get them out the door this far in advance – plus, I was hoping to have them out of my hands before Kato arrived. And that is what I was doing frantically at 1:20am last Monday after contractions started… prepping the files and sending them. Matthew can’t be trusted with that sort of thing.
And, apparently, neither can I, since I have had to redo them 3 times now. BUT – the latest revisions seem to be the last (fingers crossed…) and I’ve sent them off and a great weight has lifted from my shoulders. I can now focus my full attention on being a milk machine. Eww.
Today we celebrated the one-week anniversary of Kato’s arrival.
To mark the occasion, we took him to see the middle school art show at the Kohl Gallery at Washington College.
Alden works there part time as a sanitation engineer for gallery director Donald McColl, a kindly fellow who seems perfectly willing to overlook Maryland’s stringent child labor laws.
When we got home, Alden showed her enthusiasm for Kato’s big anniversary by building him a tower.
She followed this up by piling blankets on his head. Apparently, this is the very best way to commemorate the first week of life.
As if to prove her fearsome strength, Robbi celebrated Kato’s big day by attending a yoga class this evening. I did not take a picture of her in her yoga getup, because this is a family blog with standards of decency to maintain.
For my part, I think there is no better way to mark a festive occasion than to wear a jaunty red cap.
As evidence, here is the first photo (of many, I am sure) in which I will try to convince you that Kato is smiling, even though he’s surely not, since babies this small don’t smile. They do, however, get gassy, which seems to produce similar facial contortions and is the likely explanation for the non-smile/wince seen here.
Or we can tell ourselves that he’s just pleased as punch to be wearing that jaunty red hat on his one-week birthday. Yes, on second thought, I’m fairly sure that’s what’s going through his mind.
The new auction has begun. Click on the thumbnail to have a closer look.
Some of you may recognize this line of buildings as the heart of Williams College, a small, little-known institution of higher learning in the hinterlands of northwestern Massachusetts.
This townscape was among a series of illustrations commissioned for the Fall 2008 issue of the Williams alumni magazine and is the first piece of published work that Robbi has ever offered up for sale. Apparently, she’s too weary from giving birth to draw something new this week. If you would like to join me thinking this a fairly lame excuse, please feel free to do so in a comment.
Note that since Robbi never intended to sell this illustration, it was painted on a piece of paper that is not exactly square. The upper left corner is not really a corner at all, but more of a gentle slope. Still, the piece could be nicely framed if that is what you’re in to.
Kato is already proving to be a problem child. For example, he refused to get out of bed this morning.
When he finally deigned to join the family around 2:00 this afternoon, Alden came by for inspection. There was a fleeting moment of sisterly interest.
But Kato was soon eclipsed by the iPod.
After being tended to and fed, Kato wanted to work on his tan.
We get nice light in this room.
Which is, incidentally, Robbi’s childhood bedroom.
A package arrived in the mail today from Uncle Alex and Aunt Megan.
With Kato’s permission, I opened it.
He was clearly very excited, but decided to play it cool.
He could hardly contain his glee upon receiving his Ohio State hoodie (Aunt Megan is a Buckeye).
He got so excited about his his My First Buckeyes Tee that he literally peed himself.
I had to give him a talking to.
We discussed the importance of keeping one’s enthusiasm in check.
Eventually, he thanked me for my wisdom.
And then we had a hug.
I got a good whiff of him during the hug and realized that it was time for a bath. So we stripped him down to his birthday suit.
He seemed neither opposed to nor terribly enthusiastic about his sudden nakedness.
He wasn’t fond of the exfoliating scrub.
But seemed to enjoy the complimentary hair wash quite a bit.
The post-spa towel treatment was not to his liking.
And lying diapered yet otherwise undressed on the bed was perhaps his least favorite part of the day.
But once we got his clothes back on and he had a chance to warm up, he regained his composure. He decided it was time to take his first round of headshots. Apparently, he’s going for the “brooding rebel” look, one his father has never been able to cultivate.
Kato’s fourth day of life was a good one, all told. We’re wondering what adventures tomorrow will bring.