We are moving

Il blog cambia casa! Il nuovo indirizzo e' http://duefratellini.blogspot.com/ .

To celebrate the new arrival, we are moving to


The page is still a work in progress, but it will be up and running soon. See you there!



Our son (name still under debate, so let's call him "Piccolino") was born yesterday night, June 23, at 9:41. I am just posting a few pictures here, a more complete account of the events might follow later on.

We succeeded in having a home birth, so Piccolino was born on our old trusted futon in our living room. The large night gown covered blob in the picture is the mom :).

Dad cuts the cord...

... and Piccolino gets his first check up. He weighs 7 lbs 8 oz (3.4 kg) and measures 20.5 in (52 cm), if I remember correctly.

There he is, warm and cozy!

And here are the two amazing midwives who helped us out during and after the birth. Piccolino is a bit hard to spot here, but he is snuggled next to his mom.


Appu con mamma e papa'

I haven't been posting for a while, but we have been really busy. There has been some major renovation going on in the house and maybe one of this days I will post some pictures of our lovely new attic. We have also made some rushed last minute arrangements for the birth, thinking somehow that Rohan/Rowan would decide to appear early, but of course here we are still waiting for him. In any case, we are ready now (right...).

There are loads of things I can say about Appu, he has really amazed us in the last month. He has his favorite cartoons now ("Kippo", and sadly "Dora"), his favorite book characters ("Gossie") and he has his preferences on almost everything. He knows what jacket he wants to wear, if he wants one at all, and so on and so forth. He loves puppets and has a lot of fun impersonating various animals. He remembers some words from his favorite books and fills in the blanks when mamma is reading to him. He can can more or less count from one to ten in both English and Italian and he recognizes the numbers when he sees them written (this is making his dad suspect that there might be a brain inside, after all... :) ).He is very very cuddly, as if he knew that these are the last days he gets to spend as the only cuddly baby in the house.

So, since I happen to have a couple of pictures of Appu with his parents - even a very rare one with the mom, self-taken of course, because who would do it otherwise - I thought this would make a nice last post pre new baby (says the mom who keeps hoping for labor to start... now!).

Isn't he so so so cute? And very tanned - sorry achamma!


Names - again - II

A significant number of people whose opinion we value has suggested the name Rohan instead of Roan (or Rowan). As a matter of fact, that was our initial idea as well, but then I proposed we modified it to Roan to make it easier on the Italians who notoriously mess up their 'h's. I didn't even know the name Roan actually existed, but since it turned out that it does (and the variant Rowan is even the name of an actor that S greatly admires) then it seemed settled. I also like that Roan/Rowan comes from the name of a tree - now I couldn't tell you which one, but something that grows in Ireland and has red berries on it.

I guess Rohan is still a possibility, but in the last decade lots of babies have received that name in honor of The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's shadow would always hang on the little one.

Anyway, I think we will put aside Niccolo', for the reasons I already mentioned. I don't think most people could pronounce it right and I wouldn't enjoy having him called Nick by all his friends. Nonna Laura seems to be very excited about the middle name Ernesto (her mother was called Ernestina, after an older half brother Ernesto who died in World War I, so lots of family history there), so we might keep that.

At first I really wanted an Italian name for this baby, but if we end up living in India I don't want one of them to always feel that he fits in less than his brother because of his strange name. I know it is not a big deal, but this is the kind of stuff that sometimes matters to kids, so why risk it.


Roan Ernesto Ashok?
Rowan Ernesto Ashok?
Rohan Ernesto Ashok?


Names - again

Please vote:

Roan Niccolo' Ashok
Roan Ernesto Ashok

or Rowan (S. claims it is pronounced exactly as Roan, but my Italian instinct to pronounce the letters I see makes me suspicious) with the same middle names.

or Niccolo' ... Ashok - and please feel free to fill the dots.

I think we are quite in favor of Roan/Rowan at the moment, but not so strongly that we won't have changed our minds by tomorrow morning of course. It does however have the advantage of being easy to write and pronounce and it cannot be shortened into some dreadful American like nickname. My favorite name Niccolo' doesn't satisfy any of these requirements, so maybe it is time to abandon that idea. Thoughts?

By the way, cheer up! Only one month to go and then this name agony will be over. :)

From "Miano"'s Camera

Un po' di foto scattate da Emiliano nel corso dell sua visita.

Our friend Emiliano has left yesterday and we already miss him a lot. Here are a few pictures of Appu taken by him during his visit.

The first ones were taken on the sidewalk in front of the house. We have been all trying to teach Appu to pedal, but he doesn't reach the pedals very easily, so he prefers to propel himself with his feet or be pushed - "push!" is one of his new words.

Sul marciapiede davanti a casa. Appena esce Appu si lancia verso il triciclo, ma non ha ancora imparato a pedalare, nonostante gli sforzi congiunti di Miano e dei genitori.

Appu with Papi on the couch is a classic, but always nice.

This one instead is from our day trip to Toronto. Mommy drove the car on a scary highway for the first time and we spent the day with Emiliano's friend Gaetano and his family. In the picture we have little Clara and Rajiv very seriously examining their books.

Questa e' una foto della gita a Toronto di lunedi' scorso. Abbiamo passato la giornata con un amico e la sua famiglia. Qui vedete la piccola Clara con il piccolo Rajiv, molto seri e concentrati sulla lettura.

Here we are back in Waterloo, at the children section of the local library. It is a great place for kids and there are lots of toys and activities, with cozy cushions to "read" and relax (as if a two year old knew what that means...).

Questa invece e' la biblioteca di Waterloo, nell'area dedicata ai bimbi.

In the next picture it is Papi again, and someone is ready for bed...

... but not tired enough that he can't produce a smile for the camera...

The last two pictures are from dinner a couple of evenings ago. Rajiv and his dad disappeared from the restaurant for a few minutes and came back with a new friend. We called him "Pingu", but Appu seems to prefer the name "Picu". It was love at first sight. Unfortuntely Appu had a bad cold last week and Pingu seems to have got the worst of it, but thankfully he claims to be machine washable, so he might go for a swim one of these days. It is the first toy that Appu has picked himself, by the way, and mommy is so proud of her big (but sssmalll, if you know what I mean) kid!

Nelle ultime foto fa la sua prima apparizione pubblica un nuovo amico, il pinguino "Pingu" (o "Picu", come dice Appu). Rajiv lo ha scelto personalmente e lo porta quasi dappertutto.


Tutto il compleanno minuto per minuto

(A Truckload Of) Pictures from Appu'a birthday!

The day starts slowly, with breakfast on the couch, a soft blanket and a favorite video.

La giornata comincia lentamente, con colazione sul divano, una morbida coperta e uno dei video preferiti.

But soon enough little Rajiv is ready for action!

Ma presto il piccolo Rajiv e' pronto a fare sul serio!

This week Emiliano is staying with us, so we wait for him before opening the gifts.

Questa settimana Emiliano e' nostro ospite, quindi lo aspettiamo per aprire i regali.

Dad shows Appu how to use his new harmonica. Little success so far, but we are working on it...

Papa' fa vedere ad Appu come usare la sua nuova armonica. Con scarso successo, per ora, ma ci stiamo lavorando...

Buy wait, what is that in the bigger box? CARRRR!?! Let's open it right away!

Ma aspetta, che cosa c'e' nella scatola piu' grande? CARRRR! Macchinine! Apriamola subito!

It is hard work, but our chief engineer doen't give up.

Time to get dressed, holding the CARRR very tight of course.

E' ora di vestirsi, senza mollare la macchinina un secondo, naturalmente.

It's cold outside, so we head for the most obvious indoor playground we can think of. It's going to be lunch at McDonald's.

Oggi fa freddo fuori, quindi optiamo per un parco giochi al coperto, cioe' McDonald's.

Healthy food first...

Prima si mangia...

... and then weee!

... e poi si va sullo "scivo".

Mom got a workout too, climbing up with Appu to the highest slide and protecting him from the exuberance of the bigger kids. Then it was time to go home and nap.

We don't have photos of the afternoon, but it involved some time playing at home and a short visit to the bookstore to browse and play with the train table. Our friend Chanda brought us a pie in the evening, but Appu seemed disgusted by it, so the parents and "Miano" had to sacrifice themselves and eat it all. :)

Dopo il parco giochi, dove la mamma si e' fatta onore difendendo Rajiv dagli attacchi dei bimbi piu' grandi lungo la scalata verso lo scivolo alto, siamo andati ha dormire. La giornata e' poi proseguita con giochi in casa e una breve visita in libreria per far giocare Appu con i trenini su un bellissimo tavolo con i binari. La torta c'e' stata, portata dalla nostra amica Chanda, ma Appu l'ha rifiutata categoricamente e cosi' abbiamo dovuto fare questo sacrificio e mangiarcela tutta noi.

We conclude with a very boring video of Appu moving a track back and forth on his new road set. Only redeeming features of the video are a short but remarkable singing performance by Emiliano and a guest appearance of Appu's granparents on Skype.

Concludiamo con un video girato la mattina subito dopo l'apertura dei regali. Appu gioca con il suo cicuito nuovo e i nonni gli fanno gli auguri tramite Skype.


Get ready:

The terrible twos start...


Happy birthday little "terrible" Appu!

Buon compleanno piccolo Rajiv!


Let's try again:

Rowan Niccolo' Ashok?


Birthday alert

Il compleanno del piccolo Rajiv si avvicina! Speravamo di festeggiare con un picnic nel parco, ma sembra che Domenica sara' l'unico giorno freddo della settimana. Sob...

Little Rajiv's second birthday is rapidly approaching and is finding the mom completely unprepared. A new cool toy has been wrapped and set aside (as if we didn't get him new toys all the time, anyway: I doubt that he will notice the difference), but no other preparation has been made. I am really bad at this and I confess I was hoping that the nice weather we have been enjoying recently would allow us to celebrate Appu with a nice picnic in the park, which is probably what our little one would enjoy the most.
However, please take a look at the weather forecast:

See that temperature dip? Right on Appu's birthday date? Sob...


How does it sound?

Niccolo' Ashok

Note that Niccolo' is pronounced with the stress on the last 'o', like you would in a French word for example. Clear as mud? Well, the pronunciation issue is one of the things that worry us about the name.

But mostly, we are not sure if the name goes well with the last name. Opinions?

Another point is: will the brothers find a way to feel treated unevenly over this? Like: why didn't I get an Indian name too, or vice versa. More opinions?

As an Indian alternative we have considered Nikhil, which has the "nic" sound that the mom likes, but I don't feel so good in giving again a name that has no Italian history. Anyway, thoughts about Nikhil?

Ok, I think you have enough homework for now. More later. :)


It's a boy!

Or so it seems... the ultrasound technician said it was quite clear. (This should disprove once and for all the flat belly/ pointy belly theory.)

Of course now we are having second thoughts about the name, so suggestions are welcome and we will keep you updated on our indecisions.

E il responso dell'ecografia e'... e' un maschio! Un piccolo fratellino per il piccolo Appu. Siamo di nuovo indecisi sul nome, quindi suggerite pure.



This was belly #1, the first and original, 2007. Six months and a half along.

Pancione #1, 2007, sei mesi e mezzo di gravidanza.

This is belly #2, as of today morning. Seven months and one week. Let's forget how huge I am and instead focus on the joy of being finally able to wear spring clothes. Even here, winter eventually comes to an end!

Pancione #2, questa mattina, sette mesi e una settimana di gravidanza.


Tough life

Il piccolo principe si era appena svegliato dal suo riposino pomeridiano, un po' di cattivo umore e probabilmente affamato (non sia mai!). Con prontezza abbiamo messo in atto le misure di emergenza: comoda postazione sul divano con coperta a portata di mano, video preferito con la mucca, orsacchiotti giganti (entrambi soprannominati PA-PI per qualche strana ragione), pasta col pesto avanzata e riscaldata ma non troppo (qui trovare l'equilibrio giusto e' un'arte). Aggiungiamo poi un servizio fotografico completo e la possibilita' di fare varie smorfie e rivederle sullo schermo. Vita dura eh, piccolo Appu?

Our little prince had just woken up from his afternoon nap and he was dangerously cranky and hungry from having almost skipped his lunch. Emergency measures were immediately taken: comfortable seat on the couch with blanket at hand, favorite farm-themed video (COW!), giant teddy bears (PA-PI!), left-over pasta with pesto (PAS!) reheated but not too much (otherwise it's OT and then one has to spit it out, right?) . Add mom taking pictures, giving the chance to try different poses and grins. Tough life, don't you think?

peanut progress

pregnancy week by week