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Dec 12, 2009

23 months going on 24.... and so much fun

Daniel is turning 23 months on Monday. Wow! Almost 2 years! This year for sure went by fast, and thinking back, we witnessed major developments in the last 12 months. From my standpoint, the developments are very positive!

I went back to look at pictures we took earlier this year, and I couldn't believe how much Daniel has changed physically during the year. Back in January, he was still a chubby little boy with a cute baby smile. Now he is a real kid, slimmer (fortunately), and his look says that is really starting to process what's going on and having his own mind.

A year ago

A month ago

Speaking of own mind, he has started a few tantrums here and there, but so far, the frequency and length is limited. And, in my mind, this is completely compensated by all the positive that comes with this age.

Take for instance talking. A year ago, Daniel was only saying a few words, and not even giving them the right meaning.
Today, I heard Daniel say his first 2 official sentences, including subject and verb, and all words at the right spot: Daniel faehrt camion (Daniel drives truck); Daniel likes music. OK, he mixed up some languages, but this is expected at this stage of development. In general, Daniel's vocabulary in all 3 languages is still growing very well. Sometimes, I even feel that he manages to remember French words many days after I taught them to him... once. What a memory!
By now, Daniel can frequently produce 3-4 word sentences. They don't always include the right words in the right order, and they still require him to make a huge effort (he sounds breathless after saying the sentence). But they definitely allow him to communicate with us very clearly. It's very interesting to see what he is noticing, the relationships he is building in his mind and the stories he is making up. So fascinating!

Also, Daniel started singing entire songs, such as the ABC song (yes, he knows the alphabet, although I doubt he can do much with it at this point) and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. So cute. He definitely likes music, and he tells us about it!

On a more logistical note, we are now able to take Daniel to nice restaurants for dinner without fearing the worst about his behavior or having to leave the table mid-way. Lately, Daniel has been able to 1) eat somewhat cleanly by himself (even with a fork!) and 2) entertain himself happily most of the time. This is also great progress! (although we still continue to bring books with us for now, just in case!)

Another development I love to watch is on the emotional front. Daniel has really started to develop empathy and to understand what other people are feeling. Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn into him being open to share his toys or being cooperative when brushing teeth. But lately, I have found quite a lot of success in telling him that Mama is sad when he isn't nice. In most cases, he will try to react to the information and improve.

Also, it's been interesting to observe Daniel respond to stories in movies or books. We recently watched "Up", which we didn't expect Daniel to be into. However, he watched through the end and has been asking to watch it over and over again ever since. He seems to understand the story, and he is particularly fond of the moment when the house flies away at the end, after the characters have spent the entire movie trying to protect it. Daniel always seems to feel so sad when this happens!
In one of Daniel's many train books, there is an image with a little girl saying good-bye to her mom who is leaving in the train, while the girl is staying with her dad. Daniel regularly hugs me when seeing the picture, as if to say that he doesn't want his own mom to leave. So cute!

Based on this, I have a hard time believing what the common wisdom says: that 2-year olds are unbearable? Granted, we are not at 2 years exactly. But so far, it seems that things are moving into a positive direction, not backwards! I hope things don't change on us come January!

In January, Daniel will be moving up to junior pre-school and reconnecting with his older friends who moved up in September. It will be great for him to have older role models and to be encouraged to keep up with them. His teacher in his current class has recognized that Daniel is slowly getting bored, so it will be great to see how he does with more stimulation.
In the meantime, he will be spending 2 weeks with our families in Germany and France, respectively. So it should also be an interesting learning experience as well. I can't wait to see what Daniel will have learned by the time he turns 2!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, he really does look different now! Still adorable, though!