April, 2004

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Cambridge England with temps in the 70s, sun, and blue sky. We celebrated by going to a new park, Newnham, which was a big success. It was clearly the best playground we've visited in England yet. Sam especially liked watching the ducks while on H's shoulders, playing ball, and going up the very biggest ladder and down the big slide. We liked it so much we went back the next day! On Sunday Sam demonstrated his gene pool by taking very high steps on the stairs to one of the slides, like I do when climbing. :)
On Saturday we ate dinner in our mini-garden. Sam really enjoyed watching us blow bubbles outside.
Today was a very social day for Sam. We watched a couple boys ride their scooters in the morning and in the afternoon we met Joe and Caroline and Mathilde at the playground along with their moms.
This morning Sam used the knocker at 18 Cross Street; he has been admiring that door for sometime and it was bound to happen. Well, today Sam had walked on but I was still standing there when a man opened the door. I was like, "Oh, it was my son, he really likes your 18..." The man seemed to be fairly understanding happily.
Today was another day where Sam went straight through without a nap. He is now asleep on his big boy bed. He sure is getting to be all grown-up. *wistful* :)

Since Sam's last ear infection, which was probably his worst one yet, I've been giving Sam rice milk with his Cheerios. I think it might be helping! He actually seems less congested. I am trying to cut down on all dairy but it is tricky. Tofu cheese and yogurt are just NOT like milk cheese and yogurt.
Saturday we all went to Ely. Sam was not happy to be there but once we had taken a moment to adjust he got right into it. He loved the outdoor play area we found and he also really liked throwing stones in the river and looking at the boats and birds in the river (and out in the case of some ducks).
On Sunday Lauren came to visit. Sam was much less shy with Lauren this time and enjoyed watching her draw some challenging pictures (good kangaroo Lauren!).
We've been having more sleep trouble but at least tonight Sam's asleep before 11! Yay! :)

Sam had a wonderful time with his Cousins Martin and Jenny and Baby Malte! He was really sad the morning that they left. Sam was a little bit shy the first night and some of the first day that they were here but by the end of their visit he was sitting on the couch between his cousins and he was doing his very best to sign "baby" and say all of their names. It was so wonderful to see Sam enjoying spending time with other people.
The first day they were here we walked to Jesus Green playground which turned out to be not really as good of a playground as the Ravenswood one that is actually closer by. But it has an idyllic setting by the river. Sam climbed on a very high ladder. Then it was time for lunch at the pub. We were table number 17. Sam really liked playing with the plastic table number, especially dropping it through the cracks in the picnic table. It was good weather so we sat outside. Sam also got to see a swan and boats on the river.
That afternoon Sam and Malte played a bit on the floor together. I wasn't paying close attention but H. said that Sam was very tolerant of Malte taking some of his toys and banging him a bit with the pink tube toy. ;)
Other highlights of Martin, Jenny, and Malte's visit included:
  • Martin teaching Sam the names of the fingers in Swedish (he became obsessed in no time and still loves to hear and say them)
  • Cousin Jenny's reading of God Natt Alfons Åberg (mine paled in comparison afterwards, we had to hide Alfons for a few days)
  • Cousin Martin's rap interpretation of Mr. Brown Can Moo
  • Sam's first special Easter meal (he liked the beet-dyed eggs pretty well)
  • Sam's first retelling of an event. We were sitting down to our Pennsylvania Dutch Easter dinner when he started talking about "17." Turned out he was telling us about our visit to the pub!

Sam is just getting over what was probably his worst ear infection yet. Yes, despite the low-level antibiotics... and on top of the ear infection he also had a viral cold which has left him with something of a cough. Sam now hates going to the doctors with impressive passion. Luckily there are lots of interesting things to see outside the doctors' windows and there's the book "Sam the Space Shuttle" in the waiting room, those things help a bit, but still visiting the doctor is quite a harrowing experience. Sam is now "highlighted" for surgery, meaning that if there happens to be a cancellation and the doctor happens to be looking to fill that slot, we may be called. Now we just have to hope that the tubes will really work. It is very difficult to know Sam is in pain and to be able to do so little about it.
But Sam doesn't let that get to him for longer than necessary. Sam's favorite toy right now is his mini-keyboard. It has a setting where pressing any key plays a song. Sam's favorite songs right now are "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." I had to look up the words to "The Battle Hymn." It is very entertaining to hear Sam singing "Glory glory hallelujah." He gets really into it. :) He also still likes "Frere Jacques" which has turned into "Var är pappa" ("where is pappa"). H. was away last wknd and that song was played repeatedly. Sam is currently very, very fond of his pappa, so it was a tough wknd. But we are also working on some time concepts so I gave Sam a running count of how many hours were left till Pappa came home.
Sam is getting even more interested in sign language which is sort of curious to me as his spoken language is also getting more and more understandable. His latest favorite signs are "machine," "squirrel," and "X number of hours /minutes." The one problem with sign language is that sometimes Sam will do a sign and I will have serious trouble figuring out just what sign he's doing, but of course, it's the same problem with speech. In terms of speech I am still "Daddy." We do wonder how long Sam will have a "daddy" and a "pappa." ;) Sam is also working on the "s" sound. He has gotten into saying "octopus--sss--sss."
Sam's absolute favorite book right now is "My Favorite Seasons." It is a pretty goofy book, what I think Sam likes is that it rhymes. Very few of his other books do rhyme actually. Sam seems to like winter best judging from his reading of that book.
We finally found a play group that Sam generally enjoys, the Bounce-a-Round at St. Andrew's the Great on Wednesdays. Unfortunately they are on break until the end of April due to Easter. But Sam will be having an exciting wknd this coming wknd anyway as Cousins Martin, Jenny, and Malte are coming to visit. Sam also got to visit with Uncle Greger a couple wks ago.
We have started taking Sam to the store in the evenings more often as he currently really doesn't want to sleep in his stroller making big shopping difficult for me to do alone. Sam really likes the car ride there and he especially enjoys looking for the moon and stars.
Sam is now sometimes able to catch a ball thrown to him if he's sitting at the top of the stairs. His ball kicking is getting better too.
Recently Sam counted to 14 on his own. With a little help he got to twenty. When I got him started on twenty-one he went all the way up to "twenty-ten"!