Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear Daniel, (nine months)

Your hair got longer and spiky!
You're already nine months old! Even though you're still not 40 weeks old yet, you're nine whole months now, and you're older than the number of weeks you spent gestating. You get bigger every day, and you're always learning new things. Some days when Papa comes home from work, I tell him all the new things you learned that day and he can't believe it.

You're getting so big now that you can sit up to nurse. I don't think I have any photos of it, but it's pretty funny to look down and see you straddling my leg and having a snack while I type and such. You also have crawled over to me, pulled up to stand, and then asked to nurse a couple of times when I was sitting in the low futon chair. I've got a couple of photos of you nursing standing up like that. Fun times.

Snack time
Speaking of asking to nurse, you have learned how to communicate a couple of your needs through signing! You have a sign for nurse, which is very close to the sign we were trying to teach you (which we made up), and you have a sign for more, which is not at all the sign we were trying to teach you (the ASL sign). You are still pretty inconsistent with being able to get your hands together at your mid-line (clapping), so the ASL sign for more (tapping closed fingertips together) isn't something you can do yet, developmentally. However, you figured out that you can tap the table once with a flat palm when you want more (solid food) and you get more food. The sign has evolved over the month from vigorous smacking with one or both hands to being a lighter tap with just one hand. It's really cool that you can communicate with us in this way now.

You gurgle and talk a lot, especially when we're trying to go to bed at night. You like to sing along with the food processor, the television, and the coffee grinder. You sing along with me if I'm in the shower and you can't see me, but if you can see me while I'm singing, you'll dance. The dancing started with you pulling on the frog on your bouncy chair (which plays music) repeatedly and bouncing up and down. Now whenever music plays or we sing, you bounce around and dance to the music.

You do this with your mouth a lot now,
especially when you're feeling shy
In the past couple of weeks, you've figured out how to crawl while using your knees under your body, instead of the lizard-like belly crawl that you were doing all the time before. You do both now, alternating between the two, since you can go faster just on your belly. This month you finally learned to grab the pacifier and stick it in your own mouth when you're feeling upset. It's quite a bit of a relief for us when you're able to do this now, as it makes you feel so much better, and you seem so content to be able to help yourself. Sometimes we look over where you were playing on your mat, and you've popped the pacifier into your mouth and laid your head down on the big floor pillow for a little rest. It's really cute.

You've developed object permanence now, so when you drop an object or it is taken out of your sight, you go looking for it. Another thing you do a lot now is to play with an object for a while, then stick it in your mouth while you crawl somewhere else to play with it again. I often look over at you and you're crawling toward me with something hanging out of your mouth like a little puppy. Your favorite item to do this with is a baby medicine dropper that has never been used for its intended purpose. It has a rubbery cap hanging from the end that you like to chew on and carry it around by while you crawl. (But you also like to carry Sophie and other toys around in your mouth, too.)

Taking Sophie for a stroll
You're able to pull up to a stand wherever you are, though you're not "cruising" around holding onto furniture at this point. You have taken a few steps several times while holding on to an upturned toy bin like a walker. The first time you did it, Papa and I were staring at you in disbelief, when Papa said, "He's taking some first steps!" and at that moment we both realized what was happening. It was delightful to see you figure out a way to walk around a little with the help of a "walker." You also like to pull yourself up on top of the box and do a sort of flying thing where your upper body is on the box and your legs are sticking out straight behind you. I'm quite impressed with your core strength!

On a different note, you've had a couple of...incidents this month. Momma had to call Poison Control for the first time (yes I say it this way on purpose; I have no illusions that it was the last time you'll eat something dangerous). The folks on the phone there were incredibly nice and extremely thorough, and most importantly, you were totally fine. There was no vomiting and you just kept looking at me as if to say, "Why are you making such a fuss? I'm trying to play, here, Momma!"

Cuddles with Papa
The second incident was that you burned your first two fingers on your right hand in a bowl of hot noodles. I was carrying you on one hip and the bowl with the other hand, and you stuck your fingers in there to experience the texture. I pulled your hand out as quickly as I could (I also said, "Hot! Ouch!"), but by that point they were burned and you were crying. It took a couple of hours for you to get calmed down, but after you had a nap, you were back to crawling around and playing like nothing ever happened. The next day your fingers were a little blistered and they're still a bit red now, but you don't even seem to notice them at this point. I felt so bad that this happened to you, but unfortunately I have to agree with what your pediatrician said when I called him: "Minor burns prevent major burns." I burned my hands when I was a bit older than you (a little over a year old, I think?) and I remember it. There's a big part of me that's hoping you won't remember this time you burned your fingers in Momma's lunch.

You're (obviously, evidenced by the incidents) getting more adventurous as you get more mobile. Because of your sensory issues, you are particularly fearful of falling, so the increased mobility has come with increased fussiness at times (usually when you're standing and can't figure out how to sit down). Other times, like when you're crawling around, you can play by yourself contentedly for considerable stretches (this means about ten minutes).

My two babies, "helping" with the dishes
You have developed a particular interest in the kitchen and kitchen items this month. You are happy to sit in your high chair and play with measuring spoons and various other kitchen accouterments while Papa and I cook and/or eat dinner together. You also like to play with the items on the low shelves in our pantry cupboard, and when I open the refrigerator, you like to crawl in there to see what's up. Your favorite thing to do in the kitchen, though, is to play with the dishwasher. When one of us opens the dishwasher, you make a beeline for it, even if you can't see it from where you are playing. You like to pull the dishes and utensils out while Papa is trying to load and unload it, and you like to hold on to the bottom rack and stand up, even though it rolls away from you when you push on it. You and Eddie both really love the dishwasher. We're starting to have a lot of trouble getting the dishes done!

You had a bad GI virus this month that made you lose some weight. I was washing diapers almost every day and still using some disposables, so that will give you an idea of what kind of situation we were dealing with. You were vomiting and pooping quite often and your bum got really raw. In spite of the illness, you didn't have any lapse in energy, so it really only affected Momma and Papa. You had your nine month check-up last week, about a week after you got over the GI virus, and the pediatrician is worried [again] about your growth. You have grown, but once again, you haven't maintained the same percentile, this time for both weight and length. You are in the 17th percentile for length and the 5th percentile for weight now. I am not very concerned (because Papa is tall and thin and Momma was small at your age), but your doctor is a bit worried.

You love to play with your books.
Because of his concern, one of your activities that's been taking up more of our time during the days lately is eating solid foods. I have been feeding you solids three (or more) times per day in an effort to plump you up before your next weight check in a couple of weeks. (He actually wants to be able to see an appreciable difference in your length, too, which I think is kind of a lot to ask in just two weeks, but we'll see!) In any case, you've been eating a lot of solid food in addition to continuing to breastfeed on request.

I've been adding butter and coconut oil to all of your food to give you extra fats. The foods you've had so far (and roughly in the order you tried them) are: avocado, sweet potato/yam, white potato, bacon, carrot, chicken, peas, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, apricot, multi-grain cereal, broccoli, mango, banana, pear, rice cereal, cheddar cheese (and also butter and coconut oil, as previously mentioned, though those are more condiments than foods). I'm not sure how long I'll keep up with this foods list thing...but probably not for very much longer. In any case, now you know what your first twenty-or-so foods were!

You're very consistent with peeing in the potty after naps now. I'm starting to wonder if you're waking up because you have to pee and might want to go back to sleep again after pottying. I think I'll try offering sleep again this week after you've peed to see if you're interested in lengthening your nap times. Speaking of naps, this month you have established a fairly consistent nap and bed time schedule. You stopped taking the early morning nap and the late in the day nap, and now you take two naps in the middle of the day and go to bed around eight. You wake up once or twice during the night to nurse and cuddle back to sleep, and we're all feeling more rested lately.

As I read back over all of this, I'm realizing you've had a pretty big month (especially for it being the shortest month of the year)! I don't see you slowing down anytime soon, so I guess we'd better get on with the next one now.

I love you so much, sweet Daniel.



  1. Just beautiful; look at those eyes! This was a pleasure to read, and reminded me of my own little ones first years. (they are 6 and almost 4 years old now!! *sniff*)
    I'm sorry about his little burn. :( I like your pediatrician's advice.

  2. Thanks, Kelly. I'm really glad you enjoyed reading it! His fingers are still a bit red, but they're totally fine. Accidents happen. =/


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