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Dear Coraline: Month 9

*This was originally to be posted Thursday, June 23, 2011, the day you turned 9 months old, but thanks to a massive storm, power outage, an even worse storm, and other various disasters since then, it’s been delayed until now.

Dear Coraline,

As of 1AM this morning, you turned nine months old. The first day of this month (day 242) you had to go to the doctor, three days after you developed your first-ever fever. It turns out you had an ear infection, another not-so-fun first. You never let on that your ears were bothering you, so it’s a good thing the fever and your general misery tipped us off. You’d lost a bit of weight due to being sick and were down to about 17 1/2 pounds as of that doctor visit. Fortunately, you are now back to being hale and hearty and are rapidly gaining weight, including starting to outgrow a lot of your size nine months clothes (although you’re still in size 3 diapers). Your poppa agrees that we need to go shopping for some new clothes for you, which I love doing since baby clothes are adorable. Size 9-12 months, here we come!

Standing in cribYou’ve become a little nut this month, all personality and chattiness and ever-increasing mobility. You finally pulled up on your knees in your crib (day 243), prompting your poppa to hurry up and move your crib mattress from the middle to the lowest position, which worked out since on day 245 he caught you pulling all the way up to standing in your crib. I got lucky and saw you pull up to a standing position the very next day using your giraffe in your play yard. You spent all evening on day 249 pulling up using me and your poppa for leverage, making for a fun night for all of us. You’re quite fond of your downstairs play yard (which I like calling “the pen”) since you’ve got a lot of fun toys in there and are free to roam around however you want. As your mobility has increased, though, we’ve let you play free-range outside your play yard more often, which you love. You now take off crawling at warp speed in the blink of an eye, pulling up on the coffee table, couch, your play yard walls, even your exersaucer — whatever you can get your hands on. You’ve also developed a fascination with the fireplace, which we now have covered with bumpers for safety. And you made our day when you finally started to noticeably dance (day 265) to some of your toys’ music.

Standing tallYou sprouted tooth #7, the second left incisor on the bottom (day 242), and tooth #8, the second bottom right incisor (day 250), and enjoyed your first tooth brushing session on day 252. You are continuing to develop your palate, trying new foods more and more often. You’ve now tried squash (day 247); peas, which you LOVE (day 254); peaches, which you didn’t love (day 252); and even teething biscuits, which were a hit (day 255). However, it was on day 257 that you almost made your poppa’s heart burst with pride: You saw him eating broccoli and wanted to try it, and you LOVED it.

Mmm ... broccoliYour newfound mobility led to a very sweet moment on day 252, when you spotted our dog Caleb (still your favorite) on the floor nearby. You started crawling toward him and he started crawling toward you, and you giggled and smiled as he kissed you once you met up. That was also the same day you first cruised hand-over-hand around your play yard. We bought you a baby pool, but it was too cold the day we tried it out (day 255). You looked absolutely adorable in your bathing suit, though, and Caleb went nuts over your matching sun hat, kissing you until your hat flew off your head and you tipped over.

In search of a baby poolYou seem to have bypassed a lot of the social anxiety we’d been warned about. You study people very closely before deciding they’re worthy of a smile and have been very brave when new people have wanted to hold you. You did, however, leap into my arms at your ear infection recheck appointment when your doctor reached for you. You didn’t cry after seeing your abuelo for the first time in two weeks after he got back from Puerto Rico; we’d all expected at least a few tears, but you smiled as soon as you heard his voice. You’ve enjoyed visits here at our house with your other grandparents, too, and do really well with them both. Your poppa and I were particularly proud of how well you did during a sad occasion, the viewing of our friend’s father (day 270); you didn’t make a peep or fuss at all while we were there. One of your most significant social milestones came when we met up with a couple of my friends from high school and their babies (day 261). You liked Michelle’s daughter, Prisha, but you went absolutely NUTS over Neeta’s son, Armaan. I had to keep pulling you off him, you were being so aggressive going after him. I will say your poppa wasn’t too thrilled hearing about you chasing a boy at your tender age. I mean, just look at poor Armaan’s expression, then look at yours. Crazy, right?

When Arman Met Coraline
When Arman Met Coraline …

You enjoyed hanging out with your honorary grandparents’ grandsons Thomas and Matthew (day 268), particularly Thomas, who is 9 years old. That was the same day we went to a neighborhood association cookout and you met tons of new people all at once. You also saw some familiar faces, like our neighbors who have babysat you, which made you happy. You received tons of compliments and comments about your hair from just about everyone there. Oh, sweetie. Your hair. It’s taken on a life of its own. Most days it’s curly and cute as can be. Other days it looks like you scalped Little Orphan Annie and dyed her red hair brown. Either way, if I got a dollar for every time someone has commented on your curly hair, we’d have about half your college tuition by now. It’s insane the amount of attention your hair gets — insane.

Give me a head with hairPerhaps one of your best days this month fell, appropriately enough, on Father’s Day (day 269). We treated your poppa to brunch at Tomato Head and then enjoyed a walk around downtown. You were happy as a clam, snug and face-forward in the Baby Bjorn on your poppa’s chest, swinging your feet, flapping your arms, and smiling at everyone we encountered. I know that day meant a lot to your poppa, and you made it extra special for him. Later that day you enjoyed your first bottle full of water; the sippy cup is still a work in progress. That was also the day I got the biggest laugh I’ve ever gotten from you. I would creep up to you in your exersaucer and you would just die laughing. We were laughing so hard, in fact, I was almost crying. It was awesome, especially since you typically laugh more for your poppa.

Hanging out with PoppaYour ninth month ended on a literal dark note when a massive storm hit — the first time your poppa went out of town since you were born, no less — and we lost power (day 271). I don’t think you even noticed, to be honest. The storm was just starting when you went to sleep for the night, so you didn’t get to see me wielding a flashlight and lighting candles all over the house. I was just happy it turned out you didn’t need your nightlight or sound machine to continue sleeping happily. Small graces and all, especially since we still don’t have power. Yesterday, you started rolling your tongue and sticking it out the side of your mouth in concentration, which is too cute for words. I’ll do my best to capture that on film.

All in all, you continue to amaze me and your poppa with pretty much everything you do. You’re smart, sweet, and funny. You’re getting more affectionate, which is something I’ve been waiting for. You reach up for us to pick you up and bury your face in our shoulders or against our chests. You “kiss” us by either sucking on our noses or biting our lips. You grin from ear to ear when we walk in your grandparents’ house after work each night. You enjoy snuggling with us in our bed on weekend mornings. It’s the little moments like that and tiny gestures that make every single second spent with you the most meaningful ones. I look forward to a lot more of them in month 10.

Cutielove,

Mommy

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