Nine Months

Dear AG –

You’re nine months today. NINE MONTHS.

The other day I pointed out to your dad that you were more than half-way through all of the Wonder Weeks growth spurts and how crazy is THAT? He looked at me sort of funny and nodded his head in agreement, if I remember correctly.

He doesn’t get as ruffled by those sort of things like I do. Of course, as he said yesterday, I also hiccup with a whole lot of drama, too, so sometimes we’re just two very similar people operating from two very different planes.

We’ve had so much fun this month. You’re still crawling like mad, but it’s clear you’re getting awfully eager to find a more efficient way of travel. We’re amazed by this trick you’ve figured out – when you’re crawling around on the hardwood, you crawl on your feet. When you’re back on carpeted surfaces, you crawl using your knees. It’s little improvisations such as this one that leave us in awe of how hard you work to figure things out.

Your Papa said the other day that you are not at all a passive baby, that you always have an agenda. This is as true of a description of you as I have heard. “It’ll be tough to put one over on her,” he said. I would guess that most grandparents (parents, relatives, moderately interested parties) laud babies in this particular fashion; it implies the baby is smart, self-sufficient and instinctively ready for whatever the world might throw at her, given the time and practice. I’ll say this: With you IT’S TOTALLY TRUE.


Really and truly, you’re a smart cookie. You seem to enjoy figuring things out for yourself and my God are you ever determined. I’m not kidding. Part of it may be that we don’t do a whole lot of coddling when it comes to the side effects of your need for exploration – as I told you today after you bumped your noggin for the umpteenth time, this is the price one pays for living so boldly. You’re gonna take a nasty tumble now and again, but we get right back up. You seem to catch on quickly to this concept and don’t let it stand in your way.

(That said, I’m probably a bit of a sucker. I have a few second rule that I have to maintain but if your face turns red and your eyes narrow to slits, I pick you up for a hug. Truth be told, you still seem to shake it off pretty quickly after that. But if you ask me, that’s what I’m here for. It’s sometimes easier to be brave and get back out there if you know Mom is just a snuggle away should things get hairy.)

Your latest trick is, no joke, getting down from the chair. This is something only your dad would do, because I am a big whopping stereotype and would never sit you on the glider on your own. You flip your little body so that you’re facing the back of the chair and then immediately begin to scoot and shimmy down until your feet touch the floor. From there, you’re standing straight up, bouncing up and down, just as you prefer. It sometimes takes you a few tries – this morning your one foot got tangled up under your opposite thigh and you worked so hard to get it unstuck before you made your way down. Watching you figure this sort of thing out is sort of awesome.

It’s pretty true: watching your kid discover the world opens things up wide for you. Just the same, it would be easier on the ol’ ticker if you didn’t end up with so many bruises as a result. Oy.

We’re making our way into new foods. At this point, if you could live only on banana, apples and puffs, you’d be a happy gal. We’re coming down the home stretch, we believe, on purees and brown rice cereals, because you’re just not interested in being fed. We’ve figured out the best way to get you some veggies and rice are to feed those to you first, and then bring out the fruit and puffs. Food isn’t a hill we’re looking to die on, but we’d love to use up the pouches we’ve bought while we transition you to more sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cheese and other things. None of this is particularly surprising given your independent personality.

Maybe the biggest development is what a flirt you’ve become. Seriously. FLIRT. CHARMER. You do this thing where you look at someone, flash them an explosive smile and tilt your head to the side. You can do this with a mouth full of food and IT’S STILL CUTE. I don’t know where you get it – your dad, I’m guessing – but holy smokes is it ever a heart-melter. And boy howdy, do you know it. When you’ve got an audience? WATCH OUT. Head tilts, face smiles, giggles erupt.

You are a stitch.

We’re about to have a tough few weeks. Your nanny is gone for the entire month, and it means your grandparents are stepping in to help. This was probably the most humbling thing for me to do, to ask for help from them. I’ve always felt that you’re my responsibility, and never felt comfortable looking to our families to act as child-care providers. The occasional date night, sure, but regular babysitters? No way. This might have something to do with years of watching others I know take advantage of their relatives.

But, true to form, your grandparents were only too happy to help, to get to spend extra time with you. Your Papa reminded me that it takes a village, and that it’s our job to show you how families really operate – they support each other and help each other.

Sometimes your Mama is a little prideful. Don’t be that way.

We’ve finally got you on a regular nap schedule. Every day, you go down for a nap at 9 a.m., and another at 2 p.m., and both are usually about 1.5-2-hours long. You’re sleeping through the night, with the help of a nightlight and some white noise. Probably the funniest development of your naps and bedtimes are when you wake up from them – now that you’ve got four teeth (two on top, two on the bottom, all in the front) your favorite thing to do is to stand up and gnaw on the crib railings.

Your Daddy joked that those teeth marks looks like they’re tick marks made by a prisoner in a jail cell, counting down the days until she’s let out. We know you don’t actually feel that way, but it’s still sort of funny.

I walked into Babies R Us, thinking I could just jerry-rig a bumper onto the railing. When I asked if they sold bumpers separate from entire sheet sets, and explained what I needed it for, the woman walked me across that massive store and pointed me into the direction of actual crib railings. Seriously, I had no idea they sold such things and honestly, I thought that after almost a year as a mom, I knew about these things by now. I still have a lot to learn.

I’ve had a lot of moments this month where I felt like I was falling behind, failing you. This is a pretty common feeling a lot of moms have, I know, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I suspect I need to settle in and learn to make some peace with this feeling; it’s an amazing gift, being your Mom, and a huge responsibility at that. If I’m not worrying that I’m screwing up your introductory to textured foods (something that has, no joke, kept me on edge a few days these past couple of weeks), I’m worrying that you’re going to eventually comprehend what’s happening when, as I did on Thanksgiving, I respond to fear like a complete jackass and yell at your father instead of dealing with my feelings and not taking it out on the nearest available loved one at close range.

I really, really don’t want you to grow up in a house like that, with a parent who screams and yells instead of being more self-aware. You deserve better, and so does your Dad.

But then there are days like today when we have the whole day to spend together. We do what you seem to love more than anything and that’s roll around on the floor together. There is nothing, it seems, that you enjoy more than pummeling into my body as it lies completely flat, waiting for that second when I scoop you into my arms, smooch on your belly and send you soaring in the air, only to come swooping down onto my side for a bunch of snuggles and giggles.

It is in these moments, when the peals of your laughter hang in the air, that I know that I’m doing alright. This is a good life. You are so much the reason for that.