6 Mar 2008

Monthly Newsletter — Month 29

Posted by AC

Dear Sam,
I’m not sure where to start for this month. I suppose all months are continuations of the previous, but that seems especially true this month. Probably because it took me getting half way through this month before finally abdicating last month’s newsletter to your mother. Regardless, this month was full of growth and change for you. Mom indicates that you’ve been “speaking in paragraphs” for some time now. I’m not really sure how or when that happened, but you do string together related sentences. This past weekend you had the following to say, “It’s windy out. Wind is good for kites. Sammy has a kite!” And, yes, we went and flew your kite that day, though to only moderate success.
You are still cutely transparent that way. Another typical conversation will go:

Sam: What’s that on your plate, Daddy?
Dad: Daddy just poured some ketchup on his plate.
Sam: What do I want to try?

Your still love stories. You’ve added to your repertoire of books that you can “read” to yourself simply by having memorized what Mom and I have read to you. I assume you have the text memorized and associated with the picture on each page, but you’ve also memorized stories and songs you’ve only heard verbally as well, like Salsa Cat, or Twinkle (see attached). You’ve started making up stories as well, which is fascinating. They are still quite simple, but they are indications of an amazingly fertile imagination. You’ve narrated a butterfly coming to our house, and sitting on my head. You even narrate some of your own actions. For example, you’ve been heard to shout, “I want some more soy milk, shouted Sammy!”
Your narration and creativity isn’t limited to reading and stories either. It infuses your play. You still play “Cars and things that go under bridges”, but this month, it migrated to “Cars and things that go to the mechanic.” In our personal news, someone crawled under our car parked on the street in front of our house during the night. They cut apart our exhaust system stealing our catalytic converter presumably for the salvage value of the metals contained therein. Fortunately, the cuts were clean, so it was “only” a $300 repair bill instead of a couple-thousand-dollar bill. Because I imagine the value of the dollar will have changed significantly by the time you consume these newsletters with any interest, I will add that I make a little over $50/hr gross before government taxation. So, with a few minutes work, a thief wiped out the productivity of pretty much a full day’s work for me all for what couldn’t be more than a few dollars of value from the metal contained in a part of our car. That’s a longer digression from your newsletter than I’d intended, but may still be of value to you in setting the context and times in which this is being written. So, anyway, you play “Cars and things that go to the mechanic” now. And every one of your toy cars will go to “the mechanic” and get its catalytic converter replaced because it’s “noisy.”
One of the milestones of particular note this month for you is symbolic play. Meaning you are able to use something as a symbol representing something other than itself. You’ve actually been doing this for a while, but took it to new heights this month. In playing “Cars and things that go to the mechanic” you’ve had a range of mechanics. Sometimes, another car is the mechanic. Sometimes a collection of blocks is the mechanic. At least for a day or so this month, one of those mesh bags that clementines or onions comes in was the mechanic. This play is also similar to what you do with “Doctor Sally” which is also probably more than a month old at this point. For Christmas, we got you a Little People pirate ship. As we had to answer the question “What’s her name?” for each of your (male) pirates, we named them “Sally Fourth” and “Jacques the Fifth” (Fifth of Jack). Sally’s beard is kind of cute.1 Anyway, a great deal of doctor play ensued with “Doctor Sally”. Every other doll or litle-person, or stuffed animal has visited Doctor Sally. It is always discovered that Sally’s interlocutor has “A very bad ear confection” — a phrase so cute that I repeat it instead of correcting it. Fortunately, they “take medicine” once (make a slurping sound) and they are all better.
This has also been a month of potty improvement. Last month, we put up a calendar of sorts with spaces for 6 months on which you could put a sticker each time you used the potty. During January, you accumulated 39 stickers. In February, you nearly covered the whole rest of the calendar. In part this is because we ran out of smaller stickers, but mostly this is because you made marked improvement in potty usage. Not enough for us to switch you out of diapers, you still like the convenience of being able to go in your pants (who wouldn’t!) but you’ve gotten remarkably better. You’ve even asked to use the potty (or toilet) at other people’s houses — even my office in the city when you came to visit. You asked Mom, “Do they have potties here?”
Besides that trip to my office for Valentines day this month (thank you, it was a treat), we got out other places too. I have to say, whatever the faults of the bay area, I love that we could do as many things as we did comfortably during February. We went hiking. We went biking. We went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. We played frisbee and soccer at least to the extent a young-2-year-old can play either of those. You learned (with varying degrees of success) games like “Cement Showers” and “Red Light, Green Light” and you had several reprisals of an old favorite “Ring Around the Rosie”. You will “climb” the small, dead tree in our front yard which consists mainly of throwing a leg over a (very) low branch and bouncing up and down some. You translated something we did together with your stuffed animals (having them “ski” down the back of them sofa) into your own actions, much to mom’s chagrin. You have taken more steps (up) with alternating feet, though your default is still one step at a time.
You’ve gotten a lot better at interacting with other children. You even have a new playmate that you met through the Homegrown Kids homeschooling network. The proximity of your mom or myself during such interactions is still of more-than-average importance, but you tolerate other kids in your space so much better than you did recently, and it’s been a treat to see. The same can be said for your interaction with your occasional babysitter. You tolerate her, but still aren’t really comfortable. Babysitter or not, you also continue to demonstrate willfulness, defiance and recalcitrance aplenty; just part of being two. Even with that, I’d have a hard time saying you’re in the “Terrible Twos.” You are still, on balance, a pleasure to be around. You’re bright and engaging and quite the conversationalist so long as you can follow what’s going on. That’s one of the things that makes dinners just a little frustrating. I’ll be trying to catch you guys up on my day, but there are words and concepts that simply come too fast for you, so a constant refrain around the dinner table is

Dad: It looks like we’re going to have to kill project X and start down the road of project Y.
Sam: Daddy? What you talking about, Daddy?
Dad (to Sam): I’m talking about my day at work, honey.
Dad (to Sam and Mom): I hope we can complete…
Sam: Mommy? What you talking about Mommy?
Mom: I’m /trying/ to talk to Daddy about his day at work.
Sam: Daddy, how was your day?
Dad: (a little exasperated) Pretty good, Sam.
Sam: (relieved to understand the exchange) Pretty good!

I can’t let this month close without talking about clothing. You love wearing it. The more the better. You’ve been known to walk around wearing a couple different pairs of pajamas, a jacket on upside down (and/or backwards), and rain boots. You have worn one of my t-shirts as a (more-than) floor-length dress. You dress and undress your dolls and stuffed animals. Sometimes with pretend clothes, sometimes with doll clothes, sometimes even with clothes you wore as an infant. You even help Mom with the laundry. Helping at this point mainly means just matching socks because “folding” clothes for you means crumpling them into a ball of sorts and then placing (sometimes quite vigorously) said ball somewhere.
And so, here we are, at (or recently past) yet another month of amazing development. Here’s to more “pretty good” days with you, my dear.


  1. In relating this story to Mom, I discovered that she thinks of Sally as short for Salvatore. I however, still just think of her as the bearded lady pirate.Return to body

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