Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baby Opal Eight and Nine Month Letter

Sweetest Doodle Noodle!

I had the idea to combine your monthly letter into two months this time around (not sure why, probably because we were away so much in June) and now that I sit down to write, I feel like I’ve got a veritable novella ahead of me!
Two adult months converts to at least a year in baby-time.

And these happened to be especially charged months because they contain a baby who is learning to crawl!

You are just a few days from nine months old, at this point.

And a simple descriptive snapshot of this morning depicts just how far you’ve come. You played on your own on the floor, fully entertained while I made us breakfast, putting blocks into and taking them out of a large plastic bowl. Occasionally, you’d shake your hands in the air to exhibit pride, or an idea, or a thought, or just calling for a witness, but you were totally content on your own.

You can work the floor beautifully now: reaching, getting up on all-fours and then scooting and sitting back, twisting while sitting, scootching and even frog-hopping a little, but the pieces have not yet combined to make for a forward-crawling baby. At the beginning of June, you were not even able to roll from back to front and now look at you! Your floor-skills have exploded in a six-week span of time! I have no doubt that by next month’s letter, I will be describing a baby who is speeding around the living room like an adolescent puppy! But for now, I savor the ability to be able to sit on the floor and play while staying relatively put. Though I’m sure the next phase will have it’s own certain charm as they all do.

There’s been a recent development with napping and bedtime. You now have longer gaps between naps, somewhere around three hours when it used to be two. You also go to bed closer to 7pm, when it used to be 6pm, much to daddy’s pleasure! He is so happy to be able to spend more time with you after work. We even have time to take the dog for a walk (if the temperature isn’t too ghastly hot) and go for an evening swing at the park. It feels like these extra awake-hours allow for many more possibilities.

The way you play and relate to other babies has matured so much even in the last few months. Back in May at a play-date, I remember you and your baby-friends all playing individually in the same space, occasionally reaching for the same toy or rolling onto one another. Yesterday at the park, you and Zane continuously reached for each other, wanted what the other one had, talked, and totally interacted with one another. You had us in stitches with your dramatic dynamic, it was very sibling-esque. And in the pool a few days ago, I could tell you were loving having other babies, and some bigger kids, splashing around you. Social time is so much fun for you. You love to be where the action is.

You threw your first tantrum last week. Full-blown and impressive. Yet, you still managed to maintain incredible adorability, with your too-big diapers and the pants overtop pulled almost to your armpits. You were way too scrumptious to take seriously. But this is a good example of how very expressive you are about your likes and dislikes. And often, as expected, your “likes” consist of things that are not on the allowed-toy list. Some examples of favorites: the phone, car keys, tube of sunblock, papers.

You have a tooth! Late in June when we were in Vermont for a wedding, a little toofer peeked its way through on the bottom right (your right). You are a teething fool, drooling and often snotty, sometimes having diarrhea, gnawing on everything and anything like a little beaver. We use the homeopathic teething tablets and they seem to help.

You were a first class traveler in the month of June! We flew to Hilton Head early in the month to meet the wonderful Campbell clan: Ama, Papa, Uncle Chris and Cousin Stella.

The flight was lengthy and a bit arduous, but fully worth it for the fun that was had in-between. It was just so difficult for you to sit still on our laps for that many hours, understandably! You also weren’t too interested in napping or eating while on the plane, so our arsenal of distractions and comfort-tricks were slim. I found that lay-overs helped, we could at least squeeze a feeding and a nap-in-the-sling in then. But you were incredibly interactional with the people on the plane and in the airport.

At the beach, you got to play in the ocean for the very first time and boy, did we have fun! You pawed at the sand and giggled as the waves lapped at your chubby little knees and thighs. You squealed as daddy and I lifted you over the waves while they crashed beneath you. You loved making drip-castles with your cousin Stella and spending time in the shade playing with your Ama. You also had a blast floating around in the swimming pool in your fancy little baby boat. Back at the condo, you loved dancing and clapping to the music Uncle Chris and Papa played for you. You enjoyed being with family so so much.

Later in the month we flew to Vermont for the wedding of wonderful Mitchell’s daughter, Chandali. Five hours in the plane straight to 3 hours in the car made for a long travel day! But it also made us realize that we could all handle stress pretty darn well. Wouldn’t want to do it often, but these kind of discomforts are a good reminder of your adaptability and resiliency.(And they make us all appreciate the comforts of our normal routine!) But, as with Hilton Head, the epic journey was well worth it for what awaited us on the other end. We got to see family and dear friends we rarely get to see. You got to meet Sadie and Dechen, who are close to your age, and loved watching Lungta, Satori and Drahla run around. I also think you enjoyed getting all dressed up and having somewhere to go. You absolutely gobbled up with attention.

Other bits and pieces:

~You love to dance with mom around the room to anything with rhythm and a good groove.

~You love the tags on toys often more than the toys themselves.

~Tons of drool so you often wear a bib around the house to keep from drenching your shirt.

~When music comes on, you dance in your seat, bang the drum, clap and often look for something to shake. Me thinks I see a percussionist in our midst.

~You are great in the water. Love to kick and tolerate floating on your back. You absolutely loved hanging out with Eva and Zane in the baby pool at the rec. center. You splashed and squealed and played with water toys. Oh boy!

~Bath time is currently a new beast. You climb over and out of your baby tub with little effort and reach for the shampoo bottles that sit on the edge of the big tub. You hate lying back to wash your hair, only want to sit up. You love bath toys and splashing, and bath time is now also playtime, which is wonderful, we just need some new equipment.

~This brings us to the concept of baby-safety. We are right in the cross-roads at this point, learning as we go along. Some plug-covers and table-edge-bumpers. We removed the coffee table entirely from the living room. But we still have LOTS more to do.

~You are very adept with the Da sound. You can engage in an entire conversation using this one sound in a variety of volumes and cadences with hand-gestures. It really is a sight to behold. You also do the sound “bif”, usually when you are tired, and you do the “p” sound very well.

You seem to understand SO MUCH of what we are saying, especially the phrases we repeat: say bye bye! (you say, dada! And wave), say hi doggie! (you say hi dada! And wave at the dog.) say all done! (you say, dada! And do the sign language for ‘all done’ the best you can.) where’s daddy? (you say dada! Dada! Dada!)

I have no doubt that you understand a vast amount more than we realize.

~All the bumpers are now on the crib. I found you one night a few weeks ago, having rotated your body 180 degrees, scooted all the way to the other end, having drug your big gorilla with you the entire length of the crib. I also find you sleeping on your belly often, which is such a big-girl thing to do. Xo.

~You lean back into daddy and I when we read you your books now. You seem to really relax and enjoy them.

~You are eating well, three meals a day. You seem to be getting bored with the simple foods I’m feeding you and I look forward to getting more creative with recipes and things. You still prefer the sweet stuff, fruits and such. You like oats and sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon, green beans and peas, but fruit is your favorite, hands down.

~You love giving high fives and playing peek-a-boo and mommy/daddy’s-gonna-get you!

~Now, when we Skype Ama and Papa and Chris and Stella, you recognize them immediately and seem to play up the “Opal show” in order to persuade them to come out of the screen and play.

~For only the second time ever, you laughed WITH me as opposed to as a result of me trying to get you to laugh. While sitting in your high chair one morning, you made a funny noise and gesture that cracked me up, so I began to laugh and you began to laugh right along with me! So there we were, Mama and Opal just cracking up, hysterical.

And last on the list,

~You now like to be “tucked in” at night with a little massage and a song after we read her books.

What a crazy-amazing little person you are!

You boggle my mind with your ability and willingness to spread basic goodness and make people smile, no matter where you are. You are a determined little genius with your intensive body-on-the-floor studies. I see you growing stronger, more confident and more agile as a direct result continuously trying new things, even when you fall flat on your cute little face. Ask any adult to attempt a fraction of what you do every day and many would scoff at the idea of stepping out of their comfort zones like that.

Way to go, little mama. You continue to light up every single nook and corner.

Your daddy and I are mad about you.

Xoxo, Mommy.

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