Today you are eight months old. As far as I can tell, this is the start of the most awesome age yet. You've always been pretty much the most adorable thing ever, but somehow in the last month you've taken on a whole new dimension of cuteness. You laugh hysterically, you smile, you're incredibly social, and every time I look at you I just want to grab you and squeeze you and cover you with kisses.
I know I've said this before, but this past month really has felt like one long developmental explosion. You are just doing so many new things and it feels like it's just one after the next. All of a sudden this month, truly overnight, you went from just making a couple consonant sounds (ba and ma) to making pretty much all of them. We hear everything from you: ka, ga, da, la, na, ta, pa, though you will still only imitate us when we say "ba."
Speaking of language, this month you had a breakthrough that your dad and I found very exciting: we discovered that you will do things when we ask you to, even if we don't demonstrate. So not only did you learn to clap this month, but just a couple days later you had learned what "clap your hands" meant. AND you do this in two languages. So if I say "clap your hands" or your dad says "klatschen die Hände," you look at us, smile, and deliberately clap your hands. And when I say "kiss" you yell "AHHH!" and then open your mouth and slam your face against my cheek, usually with your tongue out. It's delightful. But beyond the cuteness, it is awesome to see that you a) understand that sounds can mean something and b) understand the concept that two different sounds can mean the same thing.
You are also concentrating really hard on mobility recently. You have become a highly proficient roller. You can lie on your stomach and rotate to face in any direction, and then roll exactly where you want to go at a very high speed. So you will roll toward the dog, the vacuum cleaner, any electrical cord you can see, and so on. Whenever you're on the floor your dad and I get plenty of exercise chasing after you. And now you're also working on getting up on your knees. When you're sitting up you rock forward, attempting to get on your knees, but this hasn't been a successful strategy for you as more often than not you end up landing on your face. Just in the last couple days you have learned that if you rock back and upward while on your belly, you'll wind up on your knees. You can only do it sometimes, and only for a few seconds at a time, but we can see that it's coming. And in the meantime all these attempts at getting up on your knees have resulted in what appears to be inadvertent backward scooting. There is no such thing as getting you to stay in one place anymore.
Maybe because of all this moving, your weight gain FINALLY seems to be tapering off, though you are still off the charts. We weighed you this morning and you came in at 27 pounds, 5 ounces, which is almost exactly a pound (actually just 14 ounces) more than you weighed last month. Considering that up til now you had gained 2.5 pounds every single month since birth, this is quite a change--and it gives me hope that your cloth diapers may actually fit until you are potty trained. You also appear to be about 31 inches long, which means you're still growing close to an inch a month--which might explain why your round baby belly, while still quite prominent, appears to be just a smidge thinner than before. You have just started fitting into your 18-24 month clothing, and we've had to retire most of the 12-18 month stuff.
You're also eating more and more solid foods. You still get your main nutrition from formula, but you eat three solid meals a day, and you're getting good at self-feeding. In addition to cereal, yogurt, and pureed fruits and veggies, you will happily self-feed fruit and puffs. Strawberries are a big favorite, and I am somewhat convinced that it's because they aren't slippery so you can actually get a good grip on them. It also seems like you are already asserting your independence--when we try to feed you something that's not on a spoon, you will close your mouth and turn away, but when we set it on your high chair tray and leave it alone, you will happily grab it and stuff it in your mouth yourself. You also love water and will happily take a sippy cup, though you haven't quite figured out the mechanics of tilting it yourself yet. And you are holding your own bottle more and more often.
You've also started with the separation anxiety this month. Especially in the evenings, if one of us walks out of the room, you start screaming immediately. You can be happily sitting and playing and looking the other way, but if you hear a rustle of movement your head snaps up right away and the second one of us heads toward the door, the yelling begins. You were doing the same thing at night, and after a couple miserable nights of us breaking our backs bending over your crib and rubbing your back for ages until you fell asleep, we finally ended up doing a bit of cry-it-out, where we visited you in your room every few minutes to reassure you that we were still there, without picking you up or staying for long. We did this for 25 minutes the first night and after that you seemed to pretty much get the picture. You still often fuss for a minute or two when we leave the room at night, but then you peacefully roll on your side and put yourself to sleep.
You continue to be absolutely obsessed with the dog, and she's not sure what she thinks of you. Sometimes she lets you pet her and she definitely likes to hover around your high chair during mealtimes--but other times when you start rolling toward her she gets up abruptly and walks out of the room to avoid you. I always feel kind of sad for you when this happens--you get so excited and smiley when you see her and then she gives you the cold shoulder--but it doesn't seem to bother you at all.
The dog isn't the only thing that makes you happy. Your dad and I are rewarded by grins, shrieking or babbling, and happy arm-waving whenever you catch sight of us. You like some strangers but not others for reasons that are clear to nobody but you. Pretty much everything amuses you, from rollicking games of peekaboo to us tearing paper in front of you.
You are very happy almost all the time, and you continue to be laid back and have no problem going with the flow. And I swear, you get cuter every day. You are just so smiley and engaged and hilarious, and we love watching you figure out the world a little more every day. And you make us smile more every day too.
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