Dante Month 8 (9/10/2003)
This month began with yet another wedding. It was great to see Dante interacting with everyone in his usual smiling fashion. He was intrigued by the other little kids there, especially Brianna, who both gave him his first baby hug and then proceeded to give him his first female slap in the face when he decided to hug her back!

We went to Flowing Lake for Mommy's birthday. Unfortunately, we didn't bring the digital camera, so we don't have any pictures from the excursion until I develop some real film (what a concept!). Dante loved "swimming" in the lake and sitting on the shore, splashing in the water with his feet and hands.

Brent and Carmen visited us from Spain. Dante instantly took to them and we spent an entire day watching Dante, or as we refer to it: "Baby TV", and catching up on things. Steve and Elizabeth were finally able to visit as well. Elizabeth is expecting at the end of November so we had a lot of fun "preparing" them for what they were in for. Their visit gave us an opportunity to purge the house of things Dante had already outgrown.

The rest of the month was spent on crawling everywhere, pulling up, standing, and cruising from toy to toy. We quickly had to rethink our strategy for the catwalk and managed to find some fencing material that is strong and wasn't too expensive or difficult to put up. And most importantly, it doesn't look like chicken wire! We also installed a gate at the top of the stairs so that Dante has free reign of the entire second floor. He especially delights in moving wooden rings from a wooden sorter/stacker from the library to the office and back. He refuses to be penned up in the play pen or in the exersaucer and wants constantly varying activities, so we have temporarily given up in trying to keep things organized and the floor is now completely covered with a myriad of toys.

Tooth number 8 showed up on August 7th and since then we have been teething free.

Dante seems to understand his name now, and is also quite familiar with the word "kitty". Upon seeing a cat and being told to "get the kitty", he sprint-crawls across the floor to try a kitty-tackle. Unfortunately, it seems that his overenthusiasm has finally frightened the already traumatized Pandora into disappearing and becoming a truly wild cat. Sabrina, on the other hand, has taken a liking to her new source of petting, even if it does occasionally involve having a handful of her very long fur coat grasped and pulled out. The word "no" has finally appeared in our vocabulary as the age of simple distractions has passed. Dante both understands and obeys (for now) though he is visibly angry that there are any limits imposed upon him at all.

- Aurika