Dante Month 15 and 16 (5/23/2004)
This update is rather late as the satellite dish succumbed to the shifting earth of the recently ongoing “long” earthquakes and became so misaligned that the Hays family lost Internet connectivity and television completely. Mommy was about ready to launch a new career as a terrorist and bomb DirectTV, Direcway, Hughes and Earthlink for keeping her on hold for hours, giving her the runaround and occasionally treating her like a dumb blond. Once they finally believed her that something was actually wrong with the dish hardware and cycling the power really would not make a difference since that was the first thing she tried, she was passed on from department to department until almost two weeks later an installer finally arrived (2 hours late) and fixed the whole problem within a few minutes. Thankfully they didn’t have the chutzpah to try to charge her for this so she decided to abandon her terrorist activities and is now considerably less stressed.

The baby has turned into a full fledged toddler! Rambunctious and impossible to keep still, Dante begins each day by nursing, getting dressed, eating breakfast (he recently started using a spoon!), and then grabbing Mommy's keys and insisting they go somewhere. Anywhere will suffice, no matter the weather, and even better if it involves a car ride. As you can probably imagine, Mommy never really gets to catch a breath during the day and Daddy is completely sleep deprived.

The Redmond Toddler Group held its annual fundraising Carnival on March 23rd. Mommy was required to make a cake for the event. Daddy suggested an Egyptian Pyramid. Dante eagerly participated in shopping for appropriate ingredients and decorations, in licking of the bowl and in eating of all the leftover cookies and candy that didn’t make it onto the piece de resistance. Unfortunately, the concept was too advanced for toddlers, so it did not win a prize, but two very thrilled 6 and 8 year old brothers won it in the cakewalk and thanked Mommy profusely for its creation. Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Chuck joined the carnival fun and took Dante on some rides, while Daddy gave Dante his first basketball lessons. Mommy (wo)manned the bean bag toss booth for the 2 busiest hours of the carnival and was so tired that Daddy had to relieve her for the last 20 minutes of her shift so she could have some fun as well.

Dante received his first real haircut on March 28th. Half of it occurred in the bathtub, one quarter while nursing on one side, and the final quarter while nursing on the other side. No injuries were incurred, and though his really red "mop" is gone, he is still mostly strawberry blond.

March 29th, Dante discovered how to blow bubbles in the bathtub. He also invented his own water aerobics routine, which consists of him clinging to the side of the tub and marching to Mommy's "one two three four" or "raz dwa trzy cztery". Bathtime has also grown more and more into a "learning body parts" lesson to the accompaniment of "There are bubbles on your [insert appropriate body part here]" which Mommy sings to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it". Dante can point to a variety of body parts in both English and Polish. He loves sharing his amazement that everyone else around him also has the same body parts. He was most disturbed to recently discover that the Playskool and Lego People do NOT have noses and he thinks that is just plain WRONG. People who wear glasses are considered special, because they are, after all, more like Mommy. Bathtime is followed by the third and final highly enthusiastic toothbrushing of the day. Dante believes frequent and thorough toothbrushing is a vital part of life and has already completely mangled 4 tooth brushes.

More and more coordinated, Dante is developing his physical strength and manual dexterity. On April 6th, Dante discovered the joys of spinning around and around. He even seems to have a natural knack for spotting so he doesn't get too dizzy. He can now climb up slides by holding on to the sides and when he wears shorts you can see those little calves working. He inserts wooden puzzle pieces into their slots with ease, and seems to have memorized where all the pieces for all of his puzzles go. The only wooden puzzle he has left to completely master is the giant 52 piece alphabet that contains both upper and lower case letters (Mommy purchased this puzzle only because Dante was getting very irritated that he didn't know what lower case letters were). It appears Mommy will have to go in search of new puzzles at garage sales this summer.

The town of Duvall holds an annual Easter Egg Hunt, so while Daddy stayed home to burn wreckage from the winter storm, Dante and Mommy went to see what all the fuss was about. Dante quickly caught on to the concept of picking up plastic Easter Eggs and giving them to Mommy. Each egg contained a small prize in the form of candy, coins, or small toys. He picked up a modest 10 eggs and then decided the younger children should get some as well.

The last two months Dante visited with Trish, Julie/Avery/Natalie, went to the Woodland Park Zoo with Marzena/Misia, spent several afternoons with Grandpa Chuck, explored the Marymoor Dog Park with Sophia/Betty, and spent many days watching Annie’s brand new chicks and ducklings grow from tiny balls of feathers to full fledged adults. Dante has also been spotted (in his sun glasses and hat) using a spade in Mommy’s garden beds in an attempt to help her transplant the tomato starts she received from Annie since he adores tomatoes and cannot wait to once again taste some that are not store-bought!

That’s about all, folks!

- Aurika