Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nine months old

Dear Annika,

On Saturday, you turned nine months old. Three quarters of a year! (Plus three days. Sorry about that.)

If last month was the month of gradual skill-building, this month was the month of the breakthroughs. The biggest is that shortly after you turned eight months, you started to crawl. You were cautious at first, and often switched between two knees and one knee and one foot, but by now, a few weeks later, you have it down, and go zooming by on hands and knees, invariably on your way to grab something you shouldn't be touching. Baby-proofing is a lot tougher this time around, because the house is full of your brother's choking hazard toys, and of course those are your very favorite. Well, it's a close call with the dog's water dish, but either way, we spend a lot of time chasing after you and moving you away from things, only to have you crawl right back over three seconds later.

Also on the gross motor front, you have figured out standing this month, and you are SO proud of yourself. It's adorable. You pull yourself to standing on anything and everything--your crib, your baby jail, furniture, and most recently, the cover of the grill (which was lying on the patio). You've learned to sit back down from standing without falling, so that's very convenient, and you've also gained enough motor control that you can now bend over to pick up a toy and then stand back up, holding it delightedly. I wouldn't say you're cruising just yet, but you are surprisingly migratory on your feet somehow--some combination of moving your hands along things while shuffling your feet and suddenly you're in a whole new place.

Also this month you've started clapping your hands upon request, and you are so incredibly pleased with yourself when you do it--you get a huge grin on your face and usually end up squawking with delight, like you just can't contain yourself over how cool it is that you! Can clap! And it makes everyone! So happy! You also love peekaboo and pat-a-cake, and are occasionally doing "so big" on request, though not yet consistently. You also love to nod your head yes, though you aren't doing it with meaning--you just find it to be a hilarious game. You also love it when people wave hello or bye-bye to you, and I've found you opening and closing your hand experimentally like you're trying to figure out what the deal is. You are extremely chatty, and vocalize with all sorts of different consonant sounds, and have a great time experimenting with different tones. You still love toys, and have started clapping them together for fun. You've also learned to offer/show us things in your hand, and will hold out your toy or food proudly for us to inspect, then pull it back so we don't take it away.

You continue to eat anything and everything. We still haven't found anything that you don't like. The other day you ate an entire bowl (kid-size, but still) of pulled pork, and the sheer delight radiating off you was a wonder to behold. You kept pausing in your eating to give us a huge pleased smile, all with strings of meat hanging out, and occasionally hold out a piece of the meat for us to see. I think pulled pork may be your new favorite food. You still have just the two teeth, on the bottom, but I'm assuming, since your teething schedule started off pretty close to your brother's, that your top middle teeth will pop through at some point in the not too distant future.

You remain large, but comparatively reasonable when we think about how big your brother was at this age (he was six pounds heavier and an inch taller). You are fully in size 12-18 month clothes by now. Your nine-month well visit got pushed back to the end of the week, but my amateur home measurements have you at 22 pounds (94th percentile) and 30 inches (99th percentile). That's a gain of only a couple ounces over the past month, which makes sense since you became mobile this month. You've also tapered off on your formula intake a little bit, and usually eat between 28-32 ounces per day. You continue to sleep well, with one long nap during the day and 10.5-12 hours overnight.

You are still just the most delightful, happy, squeezable little baby. You are just so HAPPY all the time, and light up delightedly over every little thing. You are so pleased with yourself and your circumstances, and you never radiate more happiness than when your brother is in the room with you. The two of you play together so well by now, and you have such high tolerance for shenanigans with him, and love when he roughhouses with you, even while we stand by cringing. You shriek with laughter whenever he's near.

Generally speaking, you're just really cheerful almost all of the time, and your face and particularly your eyes just give off a vibe of infectious delight and pleasure. You are just so GREAT, I want to eat you. Don't worry, I won't. But I do an awful lot of squeezing. We are so lucky to have you in our family, in all your squishy, squeezable, lovable glory.