So, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I get to gush about what a sweet and wonderful baby you are. Because, let’s face it, you won’t be a baby for very much longer.
The little bald spot that was on the back of your head from laying around all of the time has started really growing out, but the hair on the front and sides of your head is way longer…and you sweat all of the time (because you’re your father’s daughter and it is hotter than Hades here in SC in July) so your long hair is always sticking straight up and out from your head…which makes you look like you’ve got the Kate Gosselin hair cut about half the time. Wow, when you look back at this when you’re older, you’ll be like “who?” and I’ll be like “uh, nevermind…don’t ask”)
You’re crawling all over the place now faster than…well, the the speed of Mommy, and you certainly take advantage of that speed every chance you get. You get those little arms and legs moving together and there is just no stopping you. You can now get from one room to another faster than I can stand up, so barriers have been put in place to slow you down to give me enough time to catch up.
You seem very comfortable with the crawling now, and you seem totally ready to jump straight into walking. You still can’t stand unsupported yet (I swear that your tiny feet will never hold you up), but you’ve already started diving for things just out of your reach when you’re cruising along the coffee table, which leads me to believe that you will be adding steps in there sometime soon. I thought I caught you the other day going from one side of the Pack N’ Play to the other, but that may have been because of my partially obstructed view (the obstruction being your sister who was about to die if she did not a cookie that exact instant). fyi, she didn’t get one, and she is still with us today…it’s a miracle!
You basically told us where we could shove that baby food, because you would not stand for the rest of the family eating some yummy looking food without you. We have taken to smashing up whatever we’re having for dinner and feeding that to you, since the only baby food you would really tolerate was applesauce (and we didn’t want you to turn into a little apple, even though that would be super cute). You love smooshed potatoes and carrots, and you’re in love with mushed-up peas. You let us know that you would much rather have some of our meat (by the way that you try to leap from your high chair to get it), and we feel terrible to have to keep it from you. One day, little girl, you will know the majesty of bacon as do the rest of us, and you will share in the joy…until then, you will have to settle for the food that we deem to be appropriate…
…which does not include paper, much to your displeasure. You are completely in love with tiny bits of paper. Really, you and your sister are a match made in my worst nightmares. Her favorite past-time is ripping important documents up into tiny little pieces, and your favorite past-time is finding those all over the house in nooks and crannies where brooms and vacuums can’t reach, and then promptly eating them. You girls really keep me on my toes.
Speaking of eating things that you shouldn’t, I swear child, if you make it to a year old without choking on something, I am really going to feel like I’ve accomplished something big. Last week, I know I stuck my hand down your throat to fish out bits of paper towel or your sister’s toys or a big piece of lint or any other random thing that you found on the floor no less than five times. It’s not that our house is full of choking hazards…we don’t go to the store and buy tiny toys to scatter in your path or anything. But you manage to find every single thing that could obstruct your airways that exists within the walls of our home, and you always manage to get it into your mouth like two seconds before I reach you. Thankfully, I’ve always seen you and gotten to you quickly, but I’m really going to have to keep you locked up in baby prison (the play pen) with only large, fluffy, nine-month-old appropriate toys every second that I am not holding you or hovering over you until you’ve gotten out of the “mouth” stage.
And that precious little mouth…on your nine-month birthday, you had six teeth. You’re like the Jaws of nine-month-olds. Since last Saturday, another little bugger has popped through, giving you all but one of your front teeth (and a mean case of the explosive poo poos…you’re welcome, teenage Ruby).
And, unfortunately, you use those teeth quite often now. I have little bruises all over my arms and shoulders from where you explore the use of those little chompers, and you’re seriously making me consider weaning a little earlier than I had originally planned. You bite your Daddy, your sister, all of the family and friends you’re ever around…even the cat. You chew on your toys, our clothes, your sister’s toys, and even the wooden table. Your grandma has joked that we should call you “termite,” but it’s really not out of the question. You tried to gnaw on a wicker stool earlier today, and when I pulled you away, you took a small chunk of it with you.
Sometimes, when I pull you away from something that you should not have been playing with, you look up at me and give me that precious smile of yours, and it’s hard to scold you. That smile just makes me melt into a thousand tiny pieces every time. You just look like you’re completely consumed with joy when you smile…they’re not fake little grins, but big fat “I have never ever in my life been this happy and I think I might explode” smiles. Every…single…time. And you just smile so much. You’re so happy, and it’s just hard to not be happy around you.
And you have the most wonderful little laugh. You giggle like nothing in the world has ever been so funny as what is happening to you in that moment…it could be funny noises coming from Mommy, silly faces from Daddy or when the whole family “tickle attacks” you at once, lead by your big sister, of course. Your giggle is this deep, belly-laugh kind of giggle, and your little voice almost sounds raspy when you do it, like your throat doesn’t know how to handle the silliness trying to get out of you. It is more than adorable, and it makes all of us laugh right along with you every time we hear it.
You’re starting to make all kinds of new noises these days, from high-pitched-nails-on-a-chalkboard screams to the less-earsplitting sounds like babbling. You’re working on variegated babble now, busting out with some “ahh goos” and “ai ah ees” every now and then. But the sweetest thing ever? You’ve started saying “dada” and “mama.” We know you made the sounds “dada” first, but we weren’t entirely sure you knew that it meant “Daddy” until a week or so ago. Over the 4th of July weekend, you started saying “mama” a good bit, and everyone said that you were using it to call for me, but I was a bit skeptical. Once we got home, though, you were sitting in the Pack N’ Play while I was making dinner, and you looked up, reached your arms out and yelled “MAMA”…and I knew that you understood that “mama” was me.
You’ve really been going through the “stranger anxiety” lately, often refusing to go to anyone but me. You reach for me when you’re in someone else’s arms, and you’ll climb right over your Daddy to get to me. Secretly, I love it. I love when you’re only happy to be with me, and no one else…mostly because I know that it won’t last forever, and it’s something I want to enjoy as long as I can. Your sister never went through this phase, so it is a little weird sometimes when I can’t figure out what’s wrong with you and I realize that you just want me to hold you. You make me feel special every day, with your smiles and giggles and drooly kisses that are just for me, and I feel so lucky to have you in my life.
I wonder now, what our lives were like before you and your sister, and I cannot imagine what we did with ourselves. What did we do without so much love in our lives, without these perfect little girls to make our lives richer than we ever could have imagined…and what did we do with all of that sleep?
We finally moved your crib into yours and your sister’s room a couple of weeks ago. You’ve done pretty well adjusting to it all in all, but you’re still not getting the whole “bedtime” thing. Once we do get you to sleep, usually around midnight or one, you will sleep for five hours or so in your crib, but the problem is just getting you to give it up and shut your eyes. It is so amazing when you do, though, and when we get to peer into your room and see you and your sister there, each of you sleeping peacefully in your own beds, like tiny little angels. I love looking over at Kyla and saying “I’m going to go check on the girls,” and then peaking into your room to see both of you there together.
It just feels so much like you’re really sisters these days, and it is just amazing to witness the two of you becoming so close. You are getting old enough and mobile enough now to play with your big sister, and it’s hard to decide who loves it more. You just adore each other, and seeing the two of you, happy and playing together, is really just about all that I could ask for.
I love you, my sweet girl, and happy (late) birthday (again).