Dante Month 19 and 20 (9/12/2004)
Imagine trying to write a blog with a 20 month old toddler running around you with a train, building structures with blocks on top of your desk and keyboard, applying stickers onto your fingers, dancing and demanding to be danced with, pretending to use the crayons on the paper when in reality the hardwood floors are being used as a canvas, jumping on kitties any time they show their furry faces in the room in an attempt to hug them, requesting that the lights be turned off and then on and then off and then on again...

So I'll have to keep this one short.

As of a few days ago, Dante has a complete set of 20 teeth. 20 months : 20 teeth... Whoever called them "two year molars" was apparently mistaken. They grew in rather painfully, all at once, resulting in several sleepless nights for the whole family.

The summer was intense. Hot but short. As the rain threatens to take over the weather once again, tears threaten to pour from my eyes marking the end of yet another chapter in Dante's life... his first summer as an actual little person (rather than a baby).

Each day was filled with new fun activities, outings, and learning experiences. Mommy found the Cottage Lake Pool while doing searches online. It is an outdoor pool about 20 minutes away from home. Dante ended up taking four weeks of swimming lessons (four days a week) during which he learned how to kick and scoop with Mommy's hand barely holding him up under his belly. He can blow excellent bubbles even with his mouth closed, having started a few months earlier in the bathtub, and he loves jumping into the pool into Mommy or Daddy's arms. Once comfortable in a pool, it is very difficult to get Dante out again. Daddy left work early a few times to come swim with Mommy and Dante, as the lessons were at 6:30 pm. We supplemented pool water with swimming in Lake Washington with Misia, Marzena and Anya, the kiddie pool with slide (which Mommy got for free off the Micronews) in our driveway, and the kiddie pool at Annie's.

Daddy took two weeks off and we spent our time alternating between having fun and getting stuff done. We went to the Microsoft Company Picnic and to Remlinger Farms again, and managed to get about 50 items off of our to-do list.

Aside from general growth and development as you would expect, Dante's biggest leaps and bounds have been in acquiring language. And much to Daddy's distress, Dante seems to be learning three languages. He "selectively" understands everything in both English and Polish. He can say quite a few words in English, a few in Polish, and a whole boatload in sign language. He knows over 50 signs and keeps acquiring new ones, which is occasionally frustrating for Mommy and Daddy, who have to watch the signing DVDs in order to catch up! He even makes up his own compound signs; for instance he refers to yogurt as "candy" "milk". We highly recommend the three volume set Signing Time and the two volume set Baby See'n Sign if you are interested in learning ASL with your baby.

Unfortunately, Dante seems to be reaching the age where his favorite (spoken) word is "No!"

Dante's pronounciation is still rather shaky, but he can sing the alphabet song (one letter at a time, following Mommy) very slowly with about 80% of the letters being intelligible. His recognition of letters and numbers on signs and everywhere around him is almost flawless and quite remarkable. He can also add 1 + 1 = 2 with his fingers, knows when to "take one" and frequently negotiates "two please" or "one more". He is also fascinated with opposites (on/off, hot/cold, dark/light, up/down, in/out) and has finally become truly enamoured with animals and with the Old McDante song, to which he always sings "E-I-E-I-O". Not too bad for a 20 month old, eh?

Ok, looks like my time is up since His Royal Highness is demanding attention. I told you it would be short this time. That's all folks! See you in a couple months!