Well, we know Dana belongs in our family, because she's a traveller. She's totally mastered walking. Actually, she's starting to run around now. She loves backpacking, and she learned to bicycle. She's a trooper in the car and on the plane. She's been everywhere with us. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and The Netherlands!
It started with an innocent enough trip to NY/NJ. We had a wonderful visit with our cousins Michael & Susan and their kids Allison, Lauren & Zach. Needless to say, with kids as friendly them, Dana loved them all instantly. There were so many giggles, everyone was exhausted by the end. We had beautiful weather, and I was pleased to find myself the center of attention. (Of course, Dana thought she was the center!) We then went to visit my brother and his family.
Going to New Jersey wasn't that hard. Dana was happy as a clam in the car, so we decided to take her with us to our big annual conference. This year it was in The Hague in The Netherlands. So I got a Visa for her (since she still has her Kazakhstan passport), packed her 18 cubic meters of luggage, strapped her into the baby backpack, and the three of us headed for the airport. Dana was pretty happy in the plane. In fact, she was so interested in everything around her, she didn't want to miss out. So rather than sleep, she happily played in our laps all night long. We took several walks through the length of the plane so Dana could visit with everyone. She did finally go to sleep for an hour, so we considered ourselves lucky!
We got to the hotel, and first things first - Dana wants to eat. We had brought this magic folding portable highchair with us, so Dana got started on some cheerios. Notice the clean carpet under Dana. This was before Dana ate...
The next step was to unpack. Fortunately, we had a helper which made that somewhat easier. We've noticed that now that Dana helps us, we are able to do things very efficiently. That is, efficiently compared to working blindfolded with our hands tied behind our backs.
The conference had childcare onsite organized for conference attendees. This was actually something that Allison had helped organize in previous years, so it finally came in handy. One afternoon, I stopped by the childcare area and found Dana very well taken care of. She was sleeping like a baby.
The conference went very well. We managed to enjoy the days there, and were comfortable having Dana very close by. And of course, we loved showing her off to all of our friends and colleagues.
We made it back home uneventfully. Dana has been learning all kinds of new things. She pretty much has taken over feeding herself, and is eagerly mastering the complexities of the spoon. This was before we learned the trick of using two spoons - one for us and one for her. Dana is just amazing. She is very independent, she sleeps well, and is learning incredibly fast. She has completely given up on crawling, and is excellent at going up and down stairs.
And the most exciting part is that Dana is learning to talk! She's been say 'umm' for food and 'uma' for mom for some time. Now, she also says 'ba' for cat (and other animals) and 'up'. 'Up' started by meaning up, but has grown to mean up and out - or down - or really, "I want to be anyplace except where I am right now!" Now, why 'up' is more important to her than 'dad', I don't know. But I'm patiently waiting for her to learn my name...
Finally the weather cleared up, and we started to teach Dana to bike! Well, sit in the back of our bike anyway. We've been going on up to 1 hour rides, and she loves it. She happily looks at the scenery, and says "weee" whenever we go downhill. We got a bike seat that easily switches between bikes, so when I'm taking care of her in the afternoon, we'll often bike down to the neighborhood park and play for a while. Dana loves the swings and the slides. She loves speed.
In this shot, Dana is awake - but about ten minutes later, she was slumped over - bumps and all - fast asleep. The only difficulty about biking with Dana was convincing her to wear her helmet. It took a few tries, but we showed her how much fun for us it is to wear - and we let her play with it inside for a week, and now she's happy with it.
We went on one more trip, to the Bederson family country house in Windsor, Massachusetts. Allison went to visit Hampshire College on Friday, so Friday night, Dana and daddy flew up. Our flight was delayed a couple of hours, so Dana made friends with the flight crew. She's been growing attached to this blankie.
We finally made it up to Windsor - a tiny town in the Berkshires. We live at the end of a dead-end road in the middle of a forest. It is nice and quiet. We started by showing Dana the grounds. She happily sat for long rides in this cart.
Dana continues to be a good eater. Mommy was helping her with a snack one afternoon. That is one of about five major meals every day. Dana eats everything, and amazingly enough never throws her food! However, she does regularly push, drop, and wipe it onto the floor.
Dana loves to read - especially animal books. We enjoyed a nice evening - Daddy, Dana, blankie, and a bear book. Life doesn't get much better!
The weekend was a bit cloudy, but we did get some sun, and Dana got to enjoy her first swim in a pool! Well, walk is more like it. Dana doesn't really sit in water - she just walks around in circles, and occasionally splashes.
It was a treat to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandpa - we all got special care, and mommy and daddy really appreciated a bit of time off! Grandma and Dana found a nice game of putting stones in a cup here.
Dana is our little love child. She gets more adorable and lovable with each day.
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All text and photos Copyright (c) 2000 Ben Bederson