Thursday, May 07, 2009

Nine Months Old!


Dear Valerie,

You are nine months old, now! Most moms would probably make some kind of comment at this point about "being out as long as you were in", but that wouldn't be true in your case. You were born early, so you've already been "out" three weeks longer than you were "in", and that particular milestone passed unnoticed before I thought to do the math.


Maybe it's just in contrast to last month's lousiness, but this month was really fun. You didn't hit any major, obvious milestones (like cutting new teeth or saying your first words), but you blossomed so much that it's hard to think of you as a baby anymore. You've become a little person. You don't quite say words yet, but you are very communicative. You babble conversationally, and sometimes, it really sounds like you're speaking. If the adults are having a conversation that doesn't include you, you will voice your opinion on the subject, loudly if necessary. You occasionally repeat sounds that we make, especially musical ones. Sometimes you even match our pitch. You love music. If the TV is on, you will turn and give it your full attention during (and ONLY during) the opening credits. Once the music is over, you will go back to whatever you were doing before. The best part about this is that the opening credits to The Office or Doctor Who are just as entertaining to you as the opening credits to Elmo's World, so we can escape annoying children's programming for a little longer at least.

You also love percussion, and will drum on any remotely drum-like surface that you can get your hands on. Board books are great for this. Your favorite toys are the ones with rattles inside, and you shake them with surprisingly good rhythm. This is nothing new, however; when I was pregnant with you I played the drums in church, and you used to kick me rhythmically when I was done.

Perhaps the most exciting development this month has been your capacity for independent play. Once you outgrew your swing, that was pretty much the end of me being able to put you down and keep you happy for long enough to do a load of dishes. I would try and put you down with some toys to buy a few moments to, say, run to the bathroom, but it would only last for two or three minutes at most. But this month, that all changed. You can sit on the floor surrounded by toys and keep yourself amused for a half hour or more. You actually want me to put you down sometimes.


I think your newfound contentedness on the floor has everything to do with your rapidly developing mobility. Whether it is a cause or an effect, I don't know for sure. Maybe you're more content on the floor because you can wiggle your way over to new and exciting contraband, or maybe you started wiggling your way around the room because you were spending more time on the floor, where pieces of paper and extension cords were enticing you to come and put them in your mouth. Either way, you definitely don't stay where I put you anymore. You still don't exactly crawl, but you can squirm around in circles, roll across the room, and wriggle over to whatever you are trying to reach. Usually, when you try to crawl, you just move backwards, but recently, you've actually made some forward progress, commando-style, on your belly. You haven't quite grasped the "hands and knees" thing yet, but you will push down on your toes until your bum is high in the air. It doesn't get you anywhere, but it's awfully cute.


We took you to Virginia for a wedding this month, and it really couldn't have gone better. You slept in a different bed, met lots of different people, stayed out late with mommy and daddy while they socialized, ate Ethiopian food, met a sheep, and wooed everyone with your general good-baby-ness. I was so proud of you. I know sometimes I hear other moms talk about their babies who take two naps a day and go to bed at 8:00 pm every night, and sometimes I almost wish my baby was like that. But then I think about times like our trip to Virginia, and I take back my almost-wish. I honestly can't imagine having to rush home to get you to bed on time. When you're tired, you'll just fall asleep, wherever, whenever, and you'll sleep till you're not tired anymore. So what if I can't count on that hour in the afternoon every day to do the laundry. I'm not very good at living on too tight of a schedule, anyhow; we like to fly by the seat of our pants in this family. I'm so grateful that you do, too.


I had many more things that I wanted to talk about in this letter, but I feel like this letter is already on its way to being too long. I was going to talk about all the things you do with your feet - how you rattle your plastic links with your toes, how you will use your feet to brace a book that you want to look at, and how you can even get your big toe into your mouth if the mood strikes you.


I was going to talk about how you passed the 20 pound mark this month, and how you're still in the 95th percentile for height. I was going to talk about how much you love to feed yourself finger foods, and how you can polish off an entire avocado in one sitting. I was going to talk about how much you hate to poop in your diaper, so we bought you a potty to poop in, and you actually use it (with a little help, of course). But if I said all the things I wanted to say, you'll be ten months old before this letter is finished. So let me just say, Valerie, I love you; thanks for a really good month.




Jessie V. said...

Impressive avacado consumption! I can't do that :-)

Love the pictures!!

jd said...

I miss holding her and seeing all these developments! but I'm really glad for Skype and the telephone and a car that travels to PA when I want to go!!!

Anonymous said...

Jule Ann,
This letter is so beautiful!! It's great to read about Valerie's growth and development. It just keeps getting better every day too, with all their new little tricks and everything they learn to do.
Lil was one of those babies who would nap twice a day and be in bed by 8, but it really tied me down because she won't fall asleep anywhere but her bed. She's been like that from day 1 and it's not going to change any time soon! I guess you can't have it all, eh?
You sound like a wonderful mother and it's so awesome to see!