I'd say she's been out as long as she's been in, but that point will come some 12 days from now...nonetheless, Chou is in fact a nine month old baby as of today. I look at her these days and realize all too quickly that she's racing towards being a toddler and a child and leaving the lazy days of infanthood behind. It's frightening and exciting all at once.
But on to what this is really supposed to be: a peek into Chou's life at this time, so I don't have to keep a baby book.
Dear Petit Chou,
These last few weeks of being 8 months have been ones of acquiring all sorts of new skills. So many in fact, that your sleeping has been all messed up. Thankfully, last night was a return to "normalcy" (maybe average is a better term), you were up only once after 9:30 and didn't truly wake until 7. I needed that, so thank you.
And just what are all these new tricks? For starters, you made a total liar out of me when I told everyone at playdate that you weren't into finger foods and didn't seem to have any sort of chewing/gnawing instinct when it came to food (causing major heart attacks for me at every feeding). And then sweet little Naya promptly handed you a rice rusk and you grabbed it, gnawed and chewed it and didn't once even gag. Right.
Of course, you learned to clap, give fives and are learning the signs for all done, more, mum, dad and thank you (all done you've nearly got down pat).
You're a mime of the highest order these days and want to do everything mummy and daddy do. You've even started drinking straight out of our mugs and glasses. We're only allowing you water, although at the donor clinic that mummy passed out at you not only drank from a straw the first time, you also sampled orange AND apple juice (you preferred orange).
Furniture cruising is a fine art for you, crawling is a messy, topsy turvy affair, but either way, you are one mobile baby. You pull yourself up on something as thin as our lamp (maybe an inch across) , and the bookshelf (of which you pull nearly everything out of), mum's computer chair, the bed, your crib, the wall, the dining room table, chairs...the list goes on. You love to destroy any and all paper and have a fascination with specks of everything on the floor.
My favorite things you do are turning the pages on your books as we read them and your bouncy, boppy dancing. You seem to love a wide variety of tunes, from the music to the Nutcracker to Beyonce, Kanye and the ABC song. Whatever gets you moving is fine with me. We dance together to Elvis's Blue Christmas too. You like to be dipped, of course. In fact most things that involve any sort of physical are your favorite: tickle fights, wrestling, pony rides on mum's knee, dancing, flying, cruising, standing, it's all your favorite. You are never idle. Ever.
Christmas should be a treat as you love to destroy all things paper. Already, the few gifts you've opened have been absolute entertainment for us and you - although really crinkly tissue paper makes you crawl up on my lap and play with it from the safety of this perch. That was funny.
As for eating, you've finally decided to like solids, but you're not a big volume eater. You love spice - you've eaten ginger chicken (your favorite), curry, spicy lentils, and prefer strong tastes; blueberries and prunes to apples or bananas. You'd also prefer if you ate everything out of my hand or off my plate. Apparently my food tastes much better than yours.
You've slimmed out and stretched taller this month, and tiny perfect curls are collecting at the back of your head, ready to grow and build into a giant white afro like I had, I'm sure. Your face has changed, becoming more of your own and less of either your dad's or mine. You've got an ever-expanding vocabulary of sounds (the latest sounds like Darth Vader). You certainly know what Stop and NO mean, but it doesn't mean you listen. But your gummy smile (still no teeth!) lights up a room, the grocery store, our WW meetings, or anywhere else we go.
I love the sleepy moments of you curled in close, suckling away, your hand twisted in your curls, opening and closing as you nurse. As much as I'd love a full night's sleep some day, this middle of the night or early morning snuggle and feed is probably my favorite, when the whole world is quiet and you're mostly asleep and I simply stare and marvel at the perfectness that is your rounded cheek, your pudgy hand, your long lashes. I try to memorize the size and shape of you at this age, knowing that all too soon you'll be on your own more, too busy for me. But I don't wish you to stay just this way, that would be selfish. You love to explore and learn new things, and I love watching your face light up as you learn each new skill.