THE PARENTS: Kristen Scudder, 32, and Monet Talesara, 32, of Roxborough

THE CHILD: Arlyn Scudder Talesara, born Oct. 8, 2021

THEIR PARENTING PHILOSOPHY (SO FAR): “We’re not taking her to restaurants because she has no immunity yet,” Monet says, “but we started hiking with her after a few days. We’re excited for her to be part of the lives that we love.”

First there was the coffee story. Then the pickle story. And both anecdotes, they say, demonstrate something significant about their relationship.

On their first real date — if you don’t count the dinner party at which Monet startled Kristen by asking for her number across a crowded table as the meal came to an end — they went to a Turkish restaurant, where they lingered over tiny cups of ferociously strong coffee, a beverage Monet usually avoided.

“I don’t know if I didn’t sleep that night because the date was great, or because I wasn’t used to caffeine,” he says.

On their second date, he packed a picnic that included tiny cocktail pickles. Kristen ate a handful of them, confessing only later that the thought and smell of pickles usually made her gag.

Monet’s conclusion: “We both enjoyed being with the other person so much that we were hiding our likes or preferences in order to share what the other person was really excited about.”

The attraction went beyond coffee and pickles: Monet, who surrounds himself with a wide circle of friends and is apt to fill a room with talk, came to cherish Kristen’s quieter, more deliberative style.

In turn, “Monet makes me feel more comfortable; he brings out the chatty side of me,” Kristen says. “He’s not afraid to be 100% himself all the time.”

They met in Houston, six months out of college, two young adults starting their first jobs and figuring the city would be a short-lived stop. They stayed five years. “We both had roommates; we had no responsibilities,” Monet recalls. “We spent a lot of time with our friend groups. We were still going out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”

After a few years of dating, Monet began talking about permanence. Kristen wasn’t ready. But in the meantime, he was fired, then admitted to graduate school in Chicago; in-between, he decided to travel the world for six months — doing farm work in Portugal, laboring at a horse ranch in Switzerland — without consulting Kristen about his plan.

“It was a really hard time for both of us,” she recalls. “When he started thinking about moving to Chicago, I realized I was ready and willing and wanting to be with someone … and this was it, this is the person I wanted to be there for.”

For an entire school year they journeyed back and forth — Chicago to Houston — every two weeks. The long-distance stretch led to two realizations: First, when you travel that much, you don’t actually live anywhere. Second, they were ready to get engaged.

That happened on a cliff near Big Bend National Park, at sunrise, on a March 2016 camping trip. Afterward, they drove two hours for cell service strong enough to call their parents and grandmothers with the news.

They married the following summer, in Leesburg, Va.; both cherish not the first dance but the last — all the guests waiting for them outside, just the two of them on the dance floor, swaying to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.

Monet had made it clear early on — ”I put all the cards on the table really fast” — that he wanted children. As for Kristen, “I thought I’d have kids in my late 20s. But in my actual late 20s, I thought: No, I’m not ready.”

The year of their wedding also included a honeymoon to Italy, Greece, and Morocco, a move to Philly, graduate school for Kristen and a new job for Monet. At some point — it wasn’t a moment, but a gradual understanding — both realized they were ready to shift their focus.

They found out they were pregnant the same week they adopted a hound mix, Hank. The dog “was a starting point,” Kristen says. “If you get a dog, you have to come home and make sure the dog is fed and walked and taken care of.”

She recalls the pregnancy as a smooth ride. “I felt confident in a way I didn’t necessarily expect to,” even though the pandemic meant she needed a COVID-19 test before delivery and had to give birth while wearing a mask.

Monet recalls a newfound interest in other people’s children: “I remember sitting on the patio, and [a friend’s baby] was getting fussy, and I said, ‘Oh, I’ll take him.’ That was definitely a change.”

Despite the online classes they took, Kristen felt nervous about labor and delivery. Monet channeled his anxiety into tasks. “I kept saying, ‘We don’t have a crib yet. What if the baby comes tomorrow?’ I got into planning and management mode.”

The birth, when it happened, came quickly: some minor contractions during Kristen’s work meetings, a predawn drive to Lankenau Medical Center, a daughter in their arms by 3 p.m.

“People have described that moment, but I couldn’t quite internalize it,” Monet says. “That moment, when the baby came out, was the most present I have ever felt. Time quite literally stopped.”

And it continued to slow once they got home, partly because the couple woke up together for every nighttime feeding. “We’d be up at 3 a.m., just talking about the baby, about our life, about how tired we were, about what we wanted to eat,” he says. “About a month in, we realized that one of us needed to sleep.”

Kristen describes the birth as “a little bit of a blur” and the time in the hospital as “surreal” — so disorienting that when she heard a local newscast, she thought, “Oh, they’re giving us Philadelphia news.”

But she remembers clearly the day they brought Arlyn home, to the nursery splashed with abstract blobs of green, peach, tangerine, and blue. Yes, that was their house. Yes, those were her parents, there to care for the dog and to help out in the postpartum weeks.

“Bringing her home was like coming back to our real life, but our life had totally changed,” she says.