Dear Sam,

It’s been a quarter of a year since I last wrote your newsletter! Thank goodness Mom stepped up to the plate. She also saved my butt this month as I have a “notes” email from her containing what could be considered “talking points” for this newsletter. Two thing really stand out for me in particular this month though:

1) Jumping and Skipping. You really enjoy both of them. You also enjoy requesting them of me. I don’t know if you request them of Mom, and if you do, if she obliges you. And yes, this means I was skipping around REI this

weekend at your request. You get a real kick out of my “big one” where I jump up, touch the ceiling tucking my legs under. You get so enthralled that you stop jumping with me, and just stand there saying “again big one”. Sometimes you say “Sammy, big one” and then charge at me, and I lift you skyward so that you can touch the ceiling too. It’s not a very high ceiling.

and 2) self sufficiency. That’s not exactly the right phrase, but I’m not sure what is. Maybe self-reliance? Your mom and I love that we’re in the phase of life with you where kissing a boo-boo makes it better. But, you don’t let us do it very often. In fact, when you fall and hurt a knee or something, we offer “Daddy kiss it and make it better?” to which you reply “Sammy do it!” You know that you have to hold a parent’s hand to cross the street, but on the sidewalk, you sometimes seek the safety and comfort of having someone hold your hand, and sometimes, that someone is you. You’ll grab your left thumb with your right hand (or vice versa) and say “Sammy hold Sammy’s hand.”

The beginning of this month found us in San Diego where I was working as a Network/System administrator for the Guerilla Studio portion of the conference. (Our good friend, Rebecca, was in charge of the Guerilla Studio this year.) This was an extended stay, not just away from home, but in a hotel room. Sorry, a motel room. You took it in good humor for the most part, especially as you were pretty sick at the beginning. Though you weren’t without a few “Sammy go home, now” suggestions. You had favorite activities even there. You liked talking about “other peoples rooms”, and you simply loved the “crazy balloons” that festooned the top of the immediately adjacent self storage area. There was a moderately convenient Whole Foods that had kid-sized shopping carts which you also enjoyed quite a bit. Thank goodness for the metal flagpole that runs up from such carts which gave me some navigation control otherwise, there would have been several bruised shins and dented products for sale! You also went to the San Diego zoo which you apparently enjoyed immensely (Dad was working as he does, sometimes, so he missed out on that.)

Of course, there was also SIGGRAPH itself. You didn’t make it to the expo area, despite my thoughts about using you as a “stuff” magnet. You did, however, go to the “Emerging Technologies” section but you were extremely disappointed at all the things we wouldn’t let you touch. There were a few things for you there including a light game that other attendees used to drive a turtle toward you to your delight, and some furniture that changed color as you sat on it. There was also the Guerilla Studio itself. You did get to play there. You wandered through the soundscape (and wound up on their website as a result.) You drew another masterpiece of wavy lines in the drawing circle, you made the “delay lama” sing in the audio section. You even played with an oversized inflatable monkey while Dad took in a lecture. You were even stopped outside the studio by a student artist who wanted to draw you, as she didn’t get the opportunity to do life drawing of toddlers much in college.

While SIGGRAPH was your biggest adventure of the month, it wasn’t your only one. You had a visitor in the form of your great-aunt Maureen. Whether it was her similarities to Mom-mom, or just a more accepting phase you are in, you took to her quite quickly. You pronounced her name as something more like ‘Eereen’, but we all understood it well enough. We all went into the city together, and you got to enjoy another trip to “Daddy Office” where you really groove on the molded plastic rocking chairs. Mommy carried you up the Filbert stairs to Coit tower in the ergo getting her exercise for the day.

You made a couple of trips to “Baby Trina” (Katrina)’s house and you two play well together now. Mom reports that one of your favorite activities there is to ride a large plastic bus that Katrina pushes around. You also gave Katrina a yellow duckie for her mom’s birthday. Your mom brought up a couple of your own duckies so you wouldn’t feel left out, and you still mention that ‘Baby Trina wanted Sammy’s quack quack.’

You also talk about other things that happened longer ago than before. You talk about the black car from the San Diego trip. When we mentioned your trailer recently, you talked about the park and “Girls play with Sammy’s Hair”. It took us a while to recall that indeed, on our last bike trip, we went to a playground where near the end some of the other girls played with your hair. You liked the attention for a while, but then started signing “all done.” The other girls didn’t take the hint, so I came and got you under the pretense (and shortly thereafter actuality) of it being time to go home.

Your language has improved similarly. Sentences are now quite common, and you are rarely at a loss for words. When talking to someone, if you run out of relevant things to say, which still happens quickly as you still aren’t really a conversationalist, you’ll start going over things from your memory or pointing out things in the environment. One of our favorite so far is your description to your mom’s good friend Candace (aka “Aunt Skip”): “Daddy has a motorcycle and Mommy has a bicycle and Sammy has a trailer!” And while you like to talk, you aren’t always as keen on other people talking. While sometimes, you’ll take my (locked) phone and “dial” someone and give me the phone to talk to them — “talka grammaire!”(Talk to Grand-mère) You’ve been known to tell Mom “Mommy all done talking on the phone now!” Even when dinner conversation bores you, you’ll say “Daddy all done talking to Mommy now!”

Your counting has kept pace too. You can make it all the way to ten now, and sometimes you do so with great excitement. Well, all the way to ten but for six. You seem to have it out for 6. You’re starting to pick up that it should be there, but because I usually correctly only after you’ve skipped it, I don’t think you’re clear yet on whether it comes after 5 or after 7. Your teens exist but are much more scattered, even the occasional twentyteen has shown up. You get bored with the ABC song pretty quickly as it always goes the way you expect it to. However, you put even less effort into generating it currently than you did last month. This month it seems to mainly be “A.B.C.D.F.G…X.Y.Z AGAIN!”

You seem to do more imaginative play, mainly centered around your PlayMobil people and your dolls. Though wit me, you mainly pretend to either feed me vitamins or you pass me imaginary wipes during changing time. You’ve been to your first peer’s birthday party. Your friend Meri turned 2 this month. Your main excitement at the party was the bubble machine they had going. You still talk about the “big brushes” from the street cleaning truck and you love trips to the pet store (mainly watching the mice and the birds.) And of course, Mom’s already talked about your reading transition with our nite-nite book “Time for Bed”.

We continue working with you to try to encourage “Please” and “What is that?” Seeing you say “please” is so cute. You still have the remnants of the sign, so you’ll put your hand on your chest, look up with your big eyes and say “peeease.” It’s no wonder it gets you what you want almost every time you use it. And your mom and I are so tired of hearing “Geh?” that we now wait more or less patiently for you to correct yourself into “What is that?” though you run it all together as a single word.

Wow, one month away from two years old. Again big one?!? Peeeease!

Love,

Daddy