Wednesday, July 20, 2011

9 Months

Dear tiny,
Happy 3/4 of a year![Insert platitudes about the time having gone far too fast.]

This month has seen an even greater uptick in your sociability and extraversion. While you will still crawl around and entertain yourself for good stretches of time, as much as possible, you really like to be close to me while doing so. For instance, you used to happily play with your books while I cooked dinner. Now, the second I go over to the kitchen (or even to another part of the room), you turn and follow me. You are my little shadow, and I kind of love it.

Your appetite has increased exponentially this month. You enjoy eating most things (usually oatmeal with cinnamon & bananas for breakfast), but really prefer whatever we are eating. I suppose it's that mimicking stage - you really don't like eating by yourself, but once we start eating, you'll start right up along with us. All this is despite the fact that you still don't have one single tooth, and your doctor doesn't see any coming anytime in the near future. Easier for me!
It's a good thing you've started eating so much more food - you are one skinny child! At your 9-month checkup, we found out that while you are in the 75th percentile for length and head circumference, you're below the 5th percentile for weight. When your pediatrician, who we adore, first came into the room, she noted that you are quite low on the weight and that they'd like to see you in 6 weeks for an additional checkup to make sure you're still gaining. Then by the end of the appointment, she looked at us and said that she really thinks it's because of how ridiculously active you are. She asked if you were always like that (you'd been crawling all over the exam table and trying to grab everything in sight), and, to be honest, I thought you'd been relatively calm during the appointment. I mean, you loathe being placed on your back (you'd much rather be sitting up and crawling around and doing something), but isn't that normal? The doctor observed that some babies will just sit still and let her do the whole exam without moving. Really? This happens? In any case, this made her far less concerned because she said she thinks because of your activity level, you really just can't keep the calories on. Still, she recommended moving up to 3 full solid meals a day. This works sometimes, but not always. You just have some days where you're not very hungry at all. Oh well - I suppose babies are way better than most at knowing how much they need of what, and I figure you'll let us know what is best for you. You're obviously still gaining quite a bit in height and meeting all your milestones ahead of schedule, and you're rarely cranky, so we're not too concerned.

Although speaking of being super active, there was one time you were not, and I could not have been more grateful. We had your routine 9-month blood work done (to check for iron deficiency and lead poisoning, neither of which you have), and had to go over to a lab for it. We were originally told at the doctor's office that it would just be a finger prick, but when we got to the lab, the technician told us that it would be in a vein inside your elbow. I was pretty nervous, especially since your dad was at work, which meant that I'd have to hold you still all on my own. I asked the nice lab tech if I could give you something to distract you, and she kindly handed over one of the little vials (one of your new favorite toys). I told her I couldn't look, glanced to the side, and before I knew it, all the blood was drawn and you were still contentedly playing with your vial. Not. one. peep. For your shots, you hadn't made any noise, but had made sort of a weird face; this time, you didn't even do that. You were just perfectly calm sitting in my lap as though nothing out of the ordinary was going on at all. The lab tech commented that I was the one who deserved the sticker since I was clearly way more nervous than you.
This month marked your first camping and hiking trip (we also went to a cave, although it was not your first cave trip). We took along your pack 'n play and set it up in our 8-person tent, and you slept just great. Hooray! You also adored being in the hiking backpack and watching everything go by on the trail (including the mama bear + 5-6 cubs we saw...yeah.). We're thrilled to know that we can head out camping and that you'll do just fine.(Blurry photo shot from the hip as we were slowly backing away.)

Speaking of sleeping, your schedule has become remarkably consistent this month. You've always been an excellent sleeper (which I attribute to seminary), which is maybe a bit surprising considering how active you are (although with a mother who slept through the night the night before going into labor, and went back to sleep for several hours after her water broke, I'd probably be more surprised if you had trouble sleeping), but you've recently begun going to sleep for the night and waking up for the day within a few minutes of your regular time. While it's early, it's nice to be able to plan around a set time.
Everywhere we go, people continue to stop and comment on how happy you are. I mean, yes, I'd like to think that you are a particularly smiley and good-natured baby, but really - do people think that babies just cry nonstop all day long? They seem to think it a success just to have a child NOT crying. This, to me, is preposterous. So thanks for helping to dispel the notion that babies are just grumpy 24/7.

(You were even calm and interested by the Fourth of July fireworks, although exhausted, as evidenced by this picture. Still, it was a perfect day of flag raising, barbequeing, and over-the-top red/white/blue wearing.)

You've also started giving kisses more regularly and on demand this month (well, on demand when you're in the mood). It is pretty much my favorite thing ever. The other day, we met your grandparents at a museum and the second we saw them, you reached out to your grandpa and he, of course, delightedly took you. You immediately leaned forward and gave him a kiss on the cheek. I'm pretty sure it made his week. Perhaps I shouldn't tell him that we have a number of smears on the bottom of our full-length mirror from kisses you've given yourself...Tiny bear, I love how we grow closer every day. I love how you come over to me to ask for comfort, or how if you're really tired, you'll start crawling and just lay your head down and imploringly cry for me to come to you. I love how much you trust me, how you pull up on my skirts, and want to always be with me. I'm so grateful I always get to be with you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Comments broken?

Uh, so evidently it says that comments were disabled on the 8 month post. Which is odd since I didn't disable them. Maybe there's some administrator troll of whom I'm unaware? In any case, feel free to leave comments here if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

(Belated) 8 Months

(Also, picture overload. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Dear tiny,
I know I say this every month, but this one really has been the most fun of all. Your little personality has developed so much, and you are so animated and happy.
I've been able to be with you 99.9% of the time this month, which thrills us both. I'm happy to report that stay-at-home-mommyhood has been great for both of us. I have to admit - I was curious as to how we would handle it, and if I'd feel like I was going stir-crazy. Quite the opposite - it has been so much fun to play and read books and sing with you all day.It also helps that for as social as you are, you are also very independent. This means that I often have solid 30-45 minute stretches to get things done, in addition to your naps. For this, I am enormously grateful, and it gives me great confidence in starting the perfect part-time, from-home job opportunity I have next week. Your good behavior is, of course, excepting the couple of hours before bedtime, at which point you become clingy beyond belief, and only mommy will do. This means that it is near impossible to actually get dinner ready at a reasonable hour, as I have not yet learned to prepare it ahead of time like any rational person. Oh well - I guess we're both learning.
You continue to get into anything and everything you shouldn't. You've gained increased confidence (for better or for worse) in pulling to stand and have started dancing and cruising around a bit while on your feet. You love exploring and finding new things, crevices, nooks and crannies. You have a true gift for finding whatever little tiny something the vacuum cleaner left behind, and immediately sticking it in your mouth. You especially love playing with anything dangerous or messy (of course). Some favorites include shoes (I've tried building a pillow wall or sticking the exersucer in your way, but you've started just crawling through...) and any sort of power cord. You are also speedy - you often grab things faster than we realize you can. Just this morning, I was feeding you some oatmeal and you were trying to grab the spoon while I, of course, was trying to get the oatmeal in your mouth. You can just take a guess at who won that round.Speaking of the vacuum cleaner, you've somehow developed an inexplicable fear of it. You'd think that this would simply indicate a strong startle reflex, or anxiety with loud noises. Not so - you still have trouble sleeping without your sound machine (bless that thing), and you were just fascinated by the Fourth of July fireworks. However, you are absolutely terrified of the vacuum cleaner. Once, it was coming in your general direction (although you were a solid 5 feet away) and you started frantically clawing your way to the other side of the room, utter panic in your eyes. You started sobbing not only when I turned it on, but also when it was just standing in the middle of the room and I put you down to get something in the kitchen. Things got a little better after I left it in the room for the whole afternoon, in hopes that you'd make friends, and tried to distract you by reading books (current favorite: "Gossie Plays Hide and Seek"). You were finally able to focus on the goslings, but you did regularly crane your neck to glance suspiciously at the Dyson. I was proud when you crawled in its direction to grab a toy and accidentally brushed against it, but thought it a true success when you actually reached out to grab its yellow top. Way to conquer those fears!
Your love of water has also grown this month. We've been fortunate to have many opportunities to go to the pool and spraygrounds with your grandma as well as with our fun friends, which you always love. We also took a wonderful family vacation down to Charleston, Savannah, and Myrtle Beach this month. You had so much fun going in fountains and playing in the waves. You weren't too sure about them at first, but after realizing they weren't going to eat you, you couldn't get enough of them and wouldn't stop squawking and flapping your arms in delight at them.Your preferences have also become much more clear this month. It is so fun to watch you develop your own little interests and make tiny choices and decisions. Some current favorites: books, spoons, straws (all of which you like to put in your little collection under the exersaucer - I fear we have a little hoarder in the making), and having "wiggle room" - you hate being held or having to sit still for too long (the picture below is from when Daddy won a cool award and you were tired of being in one place so I let you crawl around a bit. They gave out those stickers, which I conspicuously put on you, and the kind photographer graciously snapped a few shots and sent them our way). You've developed a strong preference for daddy for playing around, and love sitting and reading books with him. You've also developed an equally strong preference for me whenever you are in need of some cuddles, want comfort, or are just tired. I love how attached you've become to me this month. The clinginess is sometimes hard when I need to do something and no one else will do, but in all honesty, I love it - I love how you are my little buddy and best little friend, and that I am yours.You continue to forgive and love so easily. You really have a remarkable way of dissipating tension and restoring peace to any situation; it's near impossible to be upset in the face of your gummy grin (still not one tooth to be found). I have to admit - I was changing your diaper on our low-to-the-ground guest bed a few days ago and realized that the diapers were in the living room since we'd just returned from camping (during which you were a total pro). I stupidly thought I could run and grab one before you would move, but, of course, in those 5 seconds, you rolled right off the bed. I felt just terrible. You'd think you would be totally mad at me, but instead, you cried out and gave me a sweet little smile when I picked you up and comforted you. I need to learn to forgive that quickly.Your interest in food has continued to develop this month. You've definitely developed a preference for savory over sweet and love trying things that we are eating - some recent favorites include homemade lasagna, guacamole, potato salad, rice with an Indian curry soup, watermelon, and pickles! It is so fun to see you experiment with new foods. You almost always wrinkle your nose when you first taste something, perhaps just because it is SO new to you, but regardless, you are almost always up for subsequent bites. I really hope your adventuresome eating continues.Tiny, being your mommy just feels so natural. Is it easy? Heck no. Does that mean I know what I'm doing? Certainly not. All that means is that having you in my life seems so natural, so perfect, so right. Whether at home or out, I love having you as my little sidekick. Truly, I can't imagine my life without you. I love you, my little,

Daily Africa: Shark Diving

Durban, South Africa. Dan shark diving.