A Year with Storm

It has now been over a year since we first met Storm in the outside world. Time has passed so fast, but at the same time we have moved around so much that there are many distinct anchoring places for my memories, and that makes it feel like this year has lasted forever.

Storm is still a baby, but on the brink of toddlerhood. I think. This past month, he has gotten a lot better at standing up, but he still needs support to do it. But suffice it to say that he now considers the stroller without the brake engaged perfectly reasonable support for standing up. He has also started being able to walk while holding on to someone with only one hand. He doesn’t like it, though, and if we try to encourage him, he first reaches his unheld hand a bit higher up while uttering a grumbling complaint, and if that doesn’t result in that hand being held as well, he simply proceeds to sit down on his bum, rather than risk walking in such an unsafe manner. Except when utensils are involved. I think I wrote in the 11-month update about how Storm does not appreciate utensils being taken away from him. Well, we’ve learned that we can harness this principle to let him try to walk a bit more independently – we simply give him a spoon to hold in one hand, and then he’s happy to walk with only one (grand)parental support-hand. The downside of all this new mobility is that is has now become physically impossible to chance Storm’s diaper while he is lying down. He is just too squiggly. So now we let him stand up by the couch or a chair while distracting him with a book or a toy and fervently hope he doesn’t pee on anything important before the new diaper is securely positioned.

Storm has also said what I guess counts as his first words this month (apart from the several months long use of ‘beh’ to refer to lamps, which seems to have disappeared again). He now says ‘uh-oh’ or ‘ah-oh’ whenever he drops an object, particularly from his high chair. And sometimes right before he lets the object drop. Uh-oh indeed. He also produces the cutest approximation of my ‘tørre-tørre-tørre’ which I say when cleaning his hands and face after he eats.

And he recognizes the word ‘færdig’ which means done. I generally use this word to ask him if he’s done eating, and he responds by pulling on his bib in an attempt to get it off. It’s not always clear that he is actually done eating, though, so we’ll keep working on that one. Another word he understands and responds to with an action is ‘lys’ for candle. In preparation for his birthday, I’ve been trying to teach him how to blow out a candle. Because it was December and Northern Europe (and thus dark all the time), we have been lighting candles often. And now when Storm sees a candle or hears its label, he goes ‘pfff pfff’. He doesn’t seem to understand that that action is meant to produce an effect on the candle (and he has yet to succeed to blow one out), but rather treats ‘pfff pfff’ as if that was the word for candle. In any case, it’s adorable. And finally, it is with great envy that I can report that Storm frequently refers to Paulus as ‘baba’. Despite my endless attempts at teaching him ‘moar’, he has not produced any sounds remotely similar, even to my prejudiced ears…

Also this month, he became even more obsessed with the microwave oven. It sits on a low table, so that the buttons are exactly at the right height for him to press. Because I am paranoid about him standing to close to it when it is on, Paulus discovered a way to make the microwave run without any actual microwaves. So we’ve been using that trick to let Storm satisfy his need for pressing buttons. But really, all kinds of household chores remain on Storm’s list of favorite activities.


Caught in the act… of sweeping the floor… keep it up, son.

It finally got cold and frosty (and the weekend when we celebrated Storm’s birthday it even snowed). I was so anxious to experience some real winter before heading back to California, so that made me happy.

A clear frosty day in our part of town.

A not-too cold day with rain and ensuing puddles. Another thing it’s good to experience before we go back.

All across Germany, the towns are putting on spectacular Christmas markets, where people come to socialize, eat special holiday foods at little stalls, and drink Glühwein and other warm beverages. We went to visit the one in Göttingen with our friends who came all the way from central Europe to visit us for a weekend. It was so good to see them again!

Something else that helped the holiday spirit was my mom coming to visit us again, and bringing with her some of her Christmas decorations.

Christmas shopping

The four of us traveled together to Paulus,’ parents’ home for a weekend to celebrate Sinterklaas. It is so special to be able to participate in person in all these gatherings this year, and I’m realizing that I really want Storm to experience the traditions from his parents’ families. And Storm got to practice opening presents. Oh the mountains of presents there.

Presents, poems, and crafted/acted surprises.

More presents

And family of course. More of us every year…

Storm got another noisy toy. I’m sure our fellow plane travelers will appreciate its ‘meow-meow-meow’ on the 8+ hour trip back to the US.

Getting a bit tired from all the commotion.

The separation anxiety continues, but the upside of that is the amazing smilies and hugs that accompany reunification.But I’ll admit that I’m getting a bit anxious about transitioning to daycare once we’re back home in San Diego. On the other hand it’s time for Storm to start socializing with some other children; it seems that he will really enjoy that. So hopefully it will not be a (too) difficult change.

A bad picture, but a good feeling: Working late one night, I made it home just before Storm’s bedtime and got the best welcome home hug.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll leave you with some random pictures from an overall excellent month.

A wanna-be bespectacled scholar?

I wish I napped like this…

Red-nosed Rudolph

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