Nine months. It’s the amount of time that you spent growing inside of me, and now you’ve spent just as long “on the outside.” My pregnancy with you feels like a distant memory. . . I can hardly remember a time before you were part of our lives. And at the same time, you are growing up entirely too quickly. It’s been an incredible month of watching you mature and change as you move beyond infancy and into being a little boy.
You have grown up so much in the past four weeks that I can hardly keep up! At the start of the month you were still mastering the art of sitting up without assistance; now you can get yourself into a seated position and even pull up to standing. We lowered your crib so that you wouldn’t topple out, and you like standing at the rails and cruising along the crib’s perimeter. You haven’t figured out how to furniture-surf outside of your crib yet, but you HAVE mastered the army crawl and it’s amazing how quickly you can get across a room. We still haven’t seen any “real” crawling, but you like to prop yourself up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth so I expect that skill will be coming soon. And your planking abilities are pretty darn impressive, even if you do get “stuck” in that position.
You’ve been working hard at your verbal skills, too. You’re pretty quiet when we’re out, but at home and in the car you are a nonstop babbler. You “sing” along to my singing and it’s so funny to hear you change pitches to try to match mine. You’ve tested out a few different syllables, but mostly it’s just “mamamamama,” and even though I know you don’t understand what it means (yet), it melts my heart to hear you “say” my name. It’s almost as cute as the way you lift your arms up to me when you want to be held, or how you grin at me when you catch my eye from across the room. I am finally able to definitively say that you know who I am, and you seem to like me. It’s the absolute best feeling in the world!
In addition to all of the physical developments, we’ve also seen a lot of changes in your personality and temperament. You have grown into a very happy baby, and unless you’re overtired or hungry (or it’s nighttime) you rarely cry. You are incredibly curious, always checking out what’s going on around you. You are also the most active baby I’ve ever seen: some part of you is ALWAYS in motion, and diaper changes and nursing sessions can feel like a wrestling match. You’ve gotten much more independent and are able to entertain yourself for very long stretches as long as you know that Mom or Dad is nearby. You laugh a lot, and it cracks me up to see the random things that bring out your little giggles!
Your playtime has certainly evolved as you’ve become more mobile. You continue to enjoy our walks, and you still like your swing, but only when you’re in a calm mood (which is rare). For the most part, you love being free to hang out on the floor, crawling around and exploring everything around you. You want to check out every nook and cranny of our house, and you are especially drawn to the cute baby you see in our mirrored closet doors. The two of you always have so much fun together. You also seek out any pillows, blankets, or hanging curtains that you can hide under or pop out from behind. As soon as I see that you are “hiding” I say “Where’s Charlie?” You giggle a bit, then shyly peek out your head, and as soon as I say “Peek-a-Boo” you erupt into a heap of laughter.
Since you like to be on the move, we didn’t think you would be content in a playpen but we set it up anyways—and discovered that you absolutely LOVE to sit in there and play with your little “pail of goodies.” You have just a few toys in there—some colorful stacking cups, a ball, and a couple of board books—but you like to take the items out of their little basket, inspect them one at a time, chew on them (because you put everything in your mouth), and move them around the playpen. Every few minutes you’ll press your face up agains the mesh to check out what’s going on in the rest of the room, then you give me a smile and go back to your private little play world. I have no idea how this keeps you occupied, but it does! Your other favorite toy right now is a toothbrush: our dentist gave it to us to introduce you to oral care and to give you something to chew on during teething, and brushing your two little teeth has become one of your happiest pastimes.
Despite all these positive changes, this month hasn’t been an entirely easy one. We kicked off the month with a five-day stint of you and me solo-ing it while your dad was in Texas helping your tia move. You could sense that things were different while he was gone, and we had a few very fussy and sleepless days. While he was away you developed a mysteriously hoarse voice; it was so sad to hear your little croaking voice, but when we took you to the doctor she could find nothing wrong. (The visit wasn’t a total waste, though, because you got your first flu shot—and took it like a champ, no tears whatsoever!) Unfortunately, a week later you developed your first cold. It was scary to watch your fever climb and it broke my heart to see you in pain; fortunately the fever subsided pretty quickly, but it took almost two weeks for the rest of your symptoms to clear up. . . enough time for us all to confirm that we do NOT like snotty noses!
This month has seen plenty of fun moments too, though. We’ve taken trips to Disneyland and had some fun family adventures around town, and you’ve gotten to spend some solo time with both sets of grandparents, something I know you all have enjoyed! You outgrew your infant tub and have been loving your “big boy baths;” you are a huge water fan and love to splash and play. I took you to your first kiddie play gym (probably where you caught your cold. . .) and you had so much fun singing, dancing, climbing around the mats and chasing the other babies. You really like being around other kids, and you get to have your “friend time” every Thursday morning in the church nursery while Mommy is in Bible study. The time apart isn’t easy for me, but you seem totally unfazed by my leaving and I’ve gotten back great reports from your teachers.
Our exploration of solid foods is going well. We’re slowly introducing you to new foods, and though you don’t always like them, you’re almost always willing to give them a try. We’ve tried lots of different vegetables (zucchini and corn are your favorites), as well as beans, corn tortillas, and rice. Your very favorite thing to eat is puffs. We were reluctant to give them to you at first (they don’t exactly fit with our “whole foods” approach) but we thought they might help to jumpstart your self-feeding skills. It worked like a charm: you quickly figured out how to pick up and eat those enticing little pieces of cereal, and the skill transferred to other foods. Now you are an enthusiastic eater, able to pick up and eat almost anything we give you. But puffs are your primary love and sometimes you get so excited about feeding them to yourself that you put several in your mouth at once; you look up to us for more, not realizing you have several already in your mouth. Your puff love is so great that you figured out how to pull yourself forward in your stroller so that you can reach them at the edge of the tray; now that’s dedication!
You’re still getting most of your calories from breastmilk, although breastfeeding has looked a bit differently lately. The frequency hasn’t changed—you still like to eat every 2-3 hours—but unless you’re tired or upset (and need to nurse for comfort), your nursing sessions have grown pretty short. You are very efficient eater, able to drain a boob in about two minutes flat, and rather than continuing to suck contentedly when you’ve finished, you immediately roll to your belly, push up to your knees, and start up with your mountaineer interpretation. You seem to think that I am both your food source AND your jungle gym!
The never-ending quest for a consistent sleep routine is still lacking a happy ending. You always fall asleep in the car, but getting you to sleep at any other time is a challenge. Your daytime sleep has improved: your naps are inconsistent in both frequency and length, but you DO nap most days—often more than two hours at a time, and sometimes even twice per day! We try to get you down for your naps as soon as the infamous eye rubbing begins, and generally we have success when following those sleep cues. But you hate being put down at nighttime. Your theoretical bedtime is at 7:00, but it can take up to an hour of nursing, rocking, and back-rubbing to get you to sleep, and you’re usually awake again within thirty minutes. Sometimes when you wake up you’ll occupy yourself in your crib, but you usually let us know when you’re awake, and we come in to your room to find you sitting in the corner, crying and waiting for us to “rescue” you. We’ve had a few multi-hour sleep stretches lately, but usually you are awake at least every three hours, if not more. I used to be able to bring you to bed with me so I could try to catch some sleep while you nursed, but your affinity for engaging in nighttime crawling training has you spending less time in our bed and more time in your crib. I miss the nighttime cuddles just as much as I miss those easier nights.
You continue to be quite the compliment magnet wherever we go. Not a day goes by when somebody doesn’t comment on your gorgeous eyes or your easy-going temperament. On our off days it’s easy to forget how blessed I am, but you truly are an easy baby and a delight to be around. I often marvel at your utter perfection; how is it that I birthed such a remarkable little human?! And whenever I contemplate my love for you (which is often), I am literally brought to tears. You are the light of my life, my dear, sweet Charleston. Thank you for being YOU!
Weight: 16 pounds (according to our scale at home)
Length: 26 inches
Clothing Size: 3-6 months
Tooth Status: Two bottom teeth. No signs of the top ones coming in yet.
Eye Color: We’ve got a fully brown-eyed baby!
Likes: Eating puffs, “brushing” your teeth, playing in your playpen, crawling EVERYWHERE, hanging upside down, riding on Daddy’s shoulders, playing peek-a-boo, going for walks in the stroller, looking at yourself in the mirror, chewing on EVERYTHING, sleeping on your tummy (you refuse to sleep on your back), watching and chasing Sunnybird.
Dislikes: Having your face wiped, diaper/outfit changes, going to bed at night, being hot, getting water in your eyes during bath time, having your picture taken.
Milestone Events: Going to the church nursery, bathing in the real bathtub, first cold.
New Skills: Pulling to sitting and standing, “cruising” along the furniture, army crawling.