Sage: Nine Months

How is it possible that you’re nine months old?

This past month has been pretty astonishing in terms of your development. You’ve mastered sitting up on your own — when you start to wobble, you usually are able to put a hand down to steady yourself before you fall over (unless your hands are full with toys).

You’re pulling yourself up to standing, usually without help. You get a bit scared when you lose your balance and fall, and it’s been a bit tough for me to just gloss over the few scrapes and bruises you’ve gotten in the process. You’re a tough little baby, and you’re more bothered by the fact that you can’t do what you want to do than you are the little injuries that come along with it. Just yesterday, in fact, you pulled yourself up by the edge of the couch and “walked” sideways along it to get to a remote control you saw sitting on a cushion. (You like things with buttons.)

Not everything has been a great development. For some reason, you’ve stopped cooperating me when I’m changing your diaper. You scream and cry and try to roll away, and it takes twice as long for us to finish the process. About the only time you cooperate is the rare moment when you’ve just been fed but you’re not going to bed.

You’ve started getting really, really cranky if you’re particularly tired or hungry, and you don’t seem to have a transition period. You’re just happy as can be one moment and then a raging ball of baby-scream the next.

Most of the time, though, you’re still an incredibly happy baby. Lots of people have commented on this, and also how beautiful you are. I know I’m biased, but you really are an exceptionally good-looking little girl.

You’re crawling everywhere, and you are fast. Sometimes we spend half an hour sitting and letting you play, and probably every minute or two one of us will be getting up to get you away from something you shouldn’t be touching. You like power cords, and you occasionally try to take one of the dog’s bones (not a good idea).

You wave! Not all the time — if you’re too interested in meeting a new person or too overwhelmed by new surroundings, you won’t do anything, but often if someone waves at you, you wave back, flapping your whole entire arm and smiling from ear to ear. You’re naturally enthusiastic about things. If, for example, you see from across the living room that I have taken your little plastic cups and stacked them into a tower, you will squeal with delight and pant as you speed-crawl over to it to knock it down.

You have your first tooth finally peeking through — lower left side front. Now, when you grab my finger and chomp on it, it hurts a little bit more. I think you might have another one trying to peek through on top, but I haven’t seen it yet.

And you’re discovering that certain syllables get reactions from us, although you haven’t quite figured out how to assign those syllables to the right things consistently. Just last week, your mom put you on the phone so I could say good night, and you said, clearly, “Hi dada.” I was over the moon! The next day you said it to a toy block. (Sigh.) You’ve noticed that “dada” and “mama” get pretty good reactions, and you use them fairly indiscriminately. Yesterday, you started saying “behbeh” when I kept repeating things about “the baby in the mirror” (one of your best friends).

Probably the most exciting thing isn’t even what you’re doing — but it’s that you are right on the verge of starting real communication with us. (Any time now, you’ll start telling us “no.”)

This has been kind of a rough month for me in other areas. Work has been very difficult, and I’ve been putting in a lot of overtime so that I’m not home as much as I would like, and it’s been stressful on both me and your mother. I’m really hoping that will change soon.

So my advice for you this month: don’t ever assume that things are going to stay the same. No matter how comfortable you are, something can happen to shake it up — and, the beauty of this is that no matter how uncomfortable you are, things can and do get better. The best way to handle change is simply to adapt, and remember that there is nothing truly permanent in this world.

And, as I always tell you: be who you are. If you’re one of the blessed people who gets to do a job that you truly love, make sure that you don’t let the job take over until you realize that you no longer love it. Fight for the right to be you.

I love you so much, Sage! Your mother and I both do. I can’t wait to see what new things you do this month!

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