Monday, July 27, 2009

Nine Months

Dear Peeper:

You are nine months (thirty-nine weeks) old today.

Lots of people with nine-month-olds are talking about the whole "You've been out as long as you were in" thing, but we actually hit that point several weeks ago (at 33 weeks 1 day), although I somehow missed noting the milestone when it happened.

I just looked back at what I wrote a month ago, and once again, I am amazed at how much you've changed in just a few weeks.

You are now just absolutely sitting up, with no problems. (Yes, you do still occasionally topple over, but it's pretty rare now.)

You still could not give two poops about crawling, and are still usually pretty pissed off when you find yourself on your tummy - but you are all over the pre-walking.

You don't pull yourself up yet, but once we stand you up next to something, you hold on and stay up and sometimes take a step or two along it.

You're more likely to keep your feet pretty much in place and switch your hands around, or hold on with one hand and turn around to grab us, or something like that, but your feet move a bit, and you're definitely working on figuring out how to get places.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if you were cruising by the time I write my next monthly letter.

(Note to self: Baby proof.)

And if you're holding on to a person, instead of an inanimate object, then look out, because we're headed to the other end of the house!

As soon as you're up and have a hold on us, you take off running - really, you are just going zoom zoom zoom - moving your little feet as fast as you can, leaning forward, and pulling us along.

Did you learn that from your big brother Galoot?

It's very exciting, of course, but oh our aching backs!

If we're on the carpet, I'll walk behind you on my knees sometimes, but that's no good once we get to the kitchen, or even the uncushioned carpet in the doggies' room.

We're seriously considering buying some of these to make things a little easier!

Your fine motor skills have really progressed a lot in the past few weeks, too, and you are thiiiiiis close to having your pincer grasp worked out.

You are at that point that I've noticed before with other jumps in manual dexterity - you know, in your mind, what you want to do, but your fingers aren't quite able to follow the instructions yet.

You approach a tiny piece of food (or a fluff of dog hair) with your thumb and forefinger, but then you can't quite get them to meet up right on the food.

You usually end up scooping it up with your thumb and the middle of the fore- and middle fingers, and then you do this back-and-forth thing from hand to hand, right in front of your mouth, trying to get it into a true pincer grasp, between your thumb and the tip of your forefinger, while also trying to scoop it into your mouth.

It's pretty much a crap shoot whether it ends up in your mouth or your lap, but it doesn't generally upset you too much.

We've been using some baby signs with you, and although you're not signing back at us yet, you are watching our hands, and I think you might be starting to catch on a bit.

So far, the signs that we've been introducing are:

Mama/Mommy, goody (nurse), eat/food, cup/drink (water in your sippy cup), diaper, all done, more, bath, cat, dog, hello, bye-bye

You are using some gestures of your own, though, like reaching toward people, and holding up your hands to be picked up.

When you are eating, and want something from my plate, you look at me and my food, and "thumb" your place mat, over in my direction.

I'm pretty sure that's what you mean, because it looks very intentional and very specific, and you don't stop until I've given you some of my food (or, shhhh, a cracker that's sitting beside my plate, if I'm eating something you can't have).

When you are finished eating, you start thumbing at the buckle of your highchair seat belt. I don't think that's so much a gesture, as you actually trying to unbuckle it, but it works.

I think we're going to try to start "molding" these gestures more toward the "real" signs for "please" and "all done," because that seems more appropriate.

Especially the "I want your food, Mama" thing. It just seems like it will be much nicer, when you are two, if you ask/sign "Please, Mama?" versus "Put that food right here, woman!"

(That said, when you bang your sippy cup on the place mat, Mommy tells you, "Say, 'More ale, wench!'")

Your actual verbal skills don't really seem to have changed a whole lot in the past few weeks.

You are very social, and smile and squeal and, I suppose, babble, alot, but the sounds you make are quite random, and mostly of the squealy variety. You've not yet started saying or imitating repetitive sounds, like "mama" or "lala" or "gaga" or, hell, I'd even settle for a "dada" at this point.

I'm going to ask about this when we see the doctor in a couple of days, because some things that I read suggest that most kids are doing that by now.

Last week you started taking swimming lessons at the YMCA, which is the first really organized activity that you've been involved in. You tolerated it pretty well, and I'm hoping that you'll like it even more now that we've got you a wetsuit that's supposed to keep you warmer. (Photos coming after tonight's class!)

During your baths, I've been lying you down in the water to rinse you off, and singing the "I'm a little pancake, flat, flat, flat / I'm a little pancake, on my back" song from class (for back "floating"), and you just love that.

I'm also singing some of the splashy songs when you're splashing in the tub of your own accord, and I'm hoping that will translate back to the pool.

Mommy, Eena and Papa are going to come watch us swim tonight, so you'll have your own paparazzi there this time!

You are still just charming the heck out of people everytime we take you in public. I had thought you might get less attention from strangers once you weren't soooo tiny, but nope. We still can't walk through Target or the grocery store or a restaurant - or PrideFest - without someone stopping to talk to you. They usually get a big ol' grin from you and of course, that just makes it all the more fun.

And speaking of big ol' grins. I think you save the biggest for Mommy when she comes home from work.

You're not quite at the point of recognizing the sound of the door opening, or the dogs getting excited, but I think you might recognize her voice or you sort of understand when I tell you, "Mommy's home!" because you start getting interested at that point, but then, when you actually see her, oh, there just aren't words to describe the look on your face.

I told her once, "You know, I never get that reception." She reminded me that, "Well, you have to go away, for her to miss you!"

Oh, yeah.


I guess I will be happy to do without the "welcome home" grin for a while longer, because I really have no desire to be any farther away from you than, say, the other end of the house.

Yes, our days alone together get long, and yes, I am thrilled for you to spend some time with Mommy when she gets home from work - whether I'm soaking in a hot bath, or just playing on the interwebs, it's nice for her to be responsible for you for a little while, instead of me - but that's enough for me.

That's all the break I want, or need, right now. I don't want to "get away" for a little while, or for someone to "take you off my hands."

I don't know what to do with my hands, if you're not in them.

I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not with you.

And I don't particularly want to know.

There will be plenty of time for that later.

You are growing up so fast. On the one hand, I am so proud of you, of everything you've learned already, of everything you're trying so hard to learn, of everything that you've accomplished and overcome.

But, it seems like just yesterday that you were brand new, so I know that it will only seem like a few moments until you are walking, talking, and going off on your own.

So, I will cherish these moments while I can. While you still need me to hold your hand, and you still need me to hold you.

Because I sure do need it.

Happy 3/4 birthday, Big Girl!



  1. Hey, I need a panda to take a pic for Kiddo #1's 25th(!!!) birthday today! (Maybe in honor of being a quarter of a century old I should give him a bloganym other than Kiddo #1... Hmmm, I'll have to think on that.)

    We went to lunch at FavoriteMexicanRestaurant (where else?) and when they brought out his free ice cream and sang to him, they brought out a sombrero for him to wear. I'll have Frappa send you a pic. :D (Maybe I should start calling him Senor Numero Uno.)

  2. I'm sitting here, a blubbering mess because you said something SO perfect.

    And I quote:
    "I don't know what to do with my hands, if you're not in them.

    I don't know what to do with myself if I'm not with you.

    And I don't particularly want to know.

    There will be plenty of time for that later."

    It's so true. Even now, with Deion turning 16 in a little over a month, I still have a hard time when he's gone from me for any length of time. I love reliving his babyhood through your blog about Peeper. Thank you. You don't know what it means to me (and probably the rest of your readers) to watch her grow up right before our eyes. I love you three so much.


What say you?