The Babies!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In the Bath

A Letter to Patrick, Nine Months Old

Dear Patrick,

It’s been three months since I last wrote you a letter. I had intended to write you a letter each month and then missed your 7 month letter because I was crazy busy with my first anthology coming out. Then you turned 8 months old and August slipped away… So here I am, reeling at all of your developments over the past three months. Monkey, you’re growing up!

At six months old, you were just starting to sit up unassisted, didn’t have any teeth yet and were wary of solid foods. Three months later and now you are crawling, pulling yourself up, starting to cruise from one piece of furniture to the next and standing unassisted for several seconds at a time! You have at least four teeth, two top and two bottom, though I think there are at least one or two more that are starting to push through. And solid food! Oh, how you love it. Not only are you eating baby food (and will eat pretty much anything now, including the dreaded peas of three months ago), you also like finger foods—Puffs and Cheerios, bits of cheese, banana and other fruit. I’ve given you bits of whatever food we’re eating, too. So you’ve had chicken salad, spaghetti, broccoli and rice, among other goodies.

After those five months alone (with Ashleigh’s help the last three), we got quite used to having your papa home. And then… he left for Panama for a week, was gone for a field exercise for two more weeks and just returned from another two-week trip to Panama. Thankfully, you’ve become good buddies with your daddy and are happy to see him each time he returns. Hopefully it’ll be a long while before we have to go it alone again, baby! It’s good to have your father home.

Speaking of Ashleigh, she’s been with us for seven months as of next week, baby! I do believe she is your favorite person in the world, even over your dear old mom and dad. Have I mentioned how lucky we are to have her in our lives? And she knits, Monkey. A skill I lack—so hopefully she’ll keep you in knitted hats and other gear this winter!

Your circle of friends has expanded, as well. We’ve had playdates with your friends Sydney (who is 8 weeks younger) and Caitlin (who is 2 and ½ weeks older. Though, in truth, I think you prefer older women like Ashleigh). You even went to your first birthday party, to celebrate Cierra’s fourth birthday. We’ve also had a couple of cookouts and introduced you to a bunch of new people. You seem to enjoy the new faces and all the attention, which is wonderful. I’m kind of dreading the day you are frightened of meeting someone new, but perhaps your good nature will outweigh that particular baby milestone?

The little baby gear has been replaced by the older baby gear. We swapped out your Bumbo seat (which was passed on to Sydney) for a fancy Stokke highchair which lets you sit at the table with us and will grow with you. Which is nice, since you continue to be a big boy. You’ve acquired a new carseat and stroller and a bunch of new toys, as well. But the hardest thing to give up was your beloved, but struggling swing. You’re due for your nine month doctor’s appointment, so I don’t know your current weight, but you are certainly close to 25 pounds now. One day, I just decided to see if you’d nap on the couch instead of needing to be put in the swing. We’d tried off and on for a few weeks to get you to nap in your Pack and Play, but you resisted. On that particular morning, however, you simply fell asleep on the couch and napped for two hours. A week later, the swing was packed away and a week after that you were napping in your Pack and Play! (I hope you potty train this easily, baby!)

You’re now sleeping a solid 12-hours at night, with only the occasional disruption (which I blame on teething). Your napping has decreased, perhaps because you no longer have the swing to lull you or simply because your night sleep is so long, but we’re lucky if we can coax two naps out of you, usually totaling no more than 3 hours. (Some days, and it always seems to be my days alone with you, you might only nap for one hour!) While I’d like your naps to be a bit longer, I can’t complain too much. You are still a happy, smiley, good natured baby who is curious about the world around you. You’re amazing.

You’ve only had one little bout of illness, which may have been a cold but never amounted more than to a bit of hoarseness and grumpiness. It might even have been from your teething, but it came during the 4th of July weekend when you’d been around a lot of people, so I don’t know. In any case, I’m very grateful you’ve been such a healthy baby! Hopefully you inherited your health from your father. I really don’t want you to end up with my asthma and allergies.

Autumn is around the corner and it’s hard to believe we have just three months until we’ll be celebrating your first birthday! I’m not ready for my itty bitty baby to become an independent toddler, but I see signs every day of the big boy you’re going to be. You are nearly fearless—loud sounds don’t frighten you, being pushed way high (by your father) on the park swing only phases you for a moment, splashing about in the bathtub or your new pool is an adventure—and that makes your poor mother worry about the day when you can not only walk and run, but climb! Oh baby, I hope we can keep you from getting too banged up as you make your way through childhood…

It seems like you’re learning something new every week now—sometimes every day! Did I mention you can clap (though you sometimes clap at inappropriate times—like when you’re sad) and you are starting to wave bye-bye? Or that you know how to head butt (thank you, Uncle Nick) and will tilt your head forward to bump foreheads? Or that you will smack the kitchen table with authority to let us know you want more Puffs or Cheerios? Such little things, but you are learning to communicate your moods and needs.

The baby babble has begun in earnest. You started saying, “Ma-ma-ma-ma” about a month ago, though that has now given way to you trying to combine various syllables to form your own words. (And you are very serious about it!) I love your little signals to let me know what you want, but I’m looking forward to those first words, too. In time, baby, we’ll be having some awesome conversations!

Three quarters of a year, Monkey. Those first few months may have been rough because it was just you and me, but these lat few months have flown by in a blur of laughter and sunshine and baby squeals. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of you, but it’s impossible to capture on film or even in words what an incredible little creature you are. I catch my breath in wonder as I watch you grow and change right in front of me. What an amazing adventure it is, having you in my life.

Happy 9 Month Birthday, Monkey. Mama loves you so much.

Last Weekend of Summer

Patrick is 9 months old today!