Dear Sam,

It’s been a while since I (Dad) have written your monthly newsletter. I’ve been fortunate that your mom has been willing to take up the challenge during the time that I was out in California without you guys, and during your transition out here. But I’m back (and with a new interface on the blog) and do I get a great month to write about.

Sam sits in a box

Ship me
to Mom-mom

Tonight, the night of your 14 month birthday, we’re leaving you with a baby sitter for the first time in your life. Up until now, you’ve always been under the care of your parents or grand parents. We’re a little nervous about it but also looking forward to it. Originally we were going to go to the office Christmas party in the city, but we decided that was too far away and for too long a time for this first venture. So instead your mom and I are just going out to dinner — just the two of us — for the first time in just over 14 months!

Sam in the bathroom

Sam gets ready
for walking

Of course your biggest accomplishment this month came just a few days ago when you suddenly decided to stand up unsupported and then toddle forward. You did this on the same day that you first fussed at my departure to work. I was touched, but it made it a tough day at work! You still do most of your walking behind either a blue milk crate or a cardboard box with which you transport things from one place to another in the house. Today, for example, you put all three of your crib-plushies (“Emma”, “Molly” and “Pop”) in the cardboard box which you pushed into the living room where you unloaded the stuffed animals, pushed them around some then set off behind the box again. A little bit later, you pushed the milk crate near the front door where you loaded it up with our shoes and set off for the kitchen.

Sam with plushies.

Sam and her
Teddy Bears

The other big accomplishment for this month began at the beginning of the month. Mom reported (over in MonsterFool) on our initial progress in using the Ferber Method to try to help the whole family with night time sleep, and what a difference it has made. You don’t always sleep through the night without crying, but I think we may have had to go in to check on you only once or twice during the month. Of course, it’s with no small amount of irony that I write this while you’re in the early stages of refusing a nap. Mom put you down for your nap after reading you stories, and singing to you, and I hear you chatting away in the crib. Still, the Ferber has made an amazing difference in our lives. (And for those who consider us monsters when reading that we Ferberized, know that Ferber is not “Cry It Out (CIO)” and he takes pains both to distance himself from the CIO abandon-your-baby thing as well as explain the science of sleep in his revised addition book. I encourage you to actually read it before condemning another Ferberizer.) I think as a direct result of your improved night-time sleep, you are now down to a single midday nap. This has the unfortunate consequence of creating a fussy Sammy just before bed in the evenings, but as we get cranky without enough sleep, we can totally relate.

Sam dining

"Successes" in eating

If walking has begun this month, and sleeping has greatly improved, eating is not far behind. You now, for the most part, actually consume the food that you manage to put in your mouth yourself. Near the end of last month and early part of this month, you desperately wanted to feed yourself. But the food that was solid enough for you to feed yourself was generally too solid for you to chew/gum and swallow, so you’d spit it back out. Recall that at this point, you have a total of 6 teeth — 4 on top and 2 below — none of which are molars. This month, that changed. You and I share guacamole fairly frequently. We also enjoy whole peas together; another taste that your mom doesn’t share. You’ve also dined on stuffing, black beans, hummus and potato cake (though not all in the same meal!). You even eat the “twigs” from Mom’s Kashi cereal in the morning.

Sam and a cat named Bonnie

Sam likes cats

As far as this month’s adventures, you and Mom went to your first play group. She reports that mostly the two of you just sat there and watched, taking it all in and trying to figure out what your roles are in this new environment. We also had Thanksgiving in Alameda with a couple of co-workers of mine. Your main pleasure in that was watching the turtles that the host couple had and playing with their cat who was much friendlier to you than our cat, Camus, ever was.

Sam in her (was dad's) Clan Cameron tartan hat.

Sam in her Cameron hat

Finally, in the “above and beyond” cuteness category, you know what socks and shoes are and sometimes try to put them on your own feet (to no great effect) when you come across them. You also try to comb your own hair after your bath — an action that consists mainly of holding the comb on or near your head. You respond to requests of “Give [mommy|daddy] a kiss” by leaning into one of us while making a “mmmm” humming sound. You’ve given me a “kiss” on the nose with your mouth wide open too. That was a little disconcerting (and a little gross, but in a cute, baby way.)

Sam reading Maupassant

Sam already
‘reads’ French

You still love books and they give you a great way to expand and practice your vocabulary. You often point out and speak balls, bears, cars, cats and dogs. You will point to clocks and lights when prompted. One of my favorite ways to distract you when you’re in a fuss for some reason is to ask you about various facial features. You successfully and with much delight find your ears and nose when asked. You also do pretty well with tongue and teeth, but I can’t tell for sure that there is a distinction for you — they may just both map to “stuff inside your mouth.” In writing up notes for this newsletter, Mom identified 16 different words that you speak, ranging from people (Ba ee[baby], Day ee[daddy], Ma ma [mom]) to favorite objects like Gak (cat) and Beah (bear) and, of course, to “No” — a word I predict we’ll hear more and more of for a while.

It’s been another month of amazing progress, and a pleasure to share it with you.

Love,

Dad