Saturday, March 3, 2012

To My Darling Burke: 9 Months

Nine. Months. Old. Already. And I even got one extra day to enjoy you while you were eight months, thanks to Leap Day! If I had to choose one word to describe this month for you, love, it would be: development. Fast and furious development both physical and intellectual, social and emotional. You have done more in this one month than all the other months combined. And you have not ceased to mesmerize me with your innocent comprehension of the world you inhabit.

Let's start with the physical.

Shortly after turning 8 months old, you already knew you were done with your odd version of crawling. Before we knew it, you were pulling yourself up on everything and anything. Your crib, the couch, our clothes, and the most unreliable source, the dog. Yes, your doggie loves you and is exceedingly patient with your demands, but when you grab hold of him and try to pull up, you end up on the floor with fists full of white hair and tears streaming down your sweet little cheeks. Whether it's that you don't learn or that you're just a determined sort of fellow, I can't quite tell yet. But you try again and again. It's a good thing you have a hard noggin! Not only do you pull yourself up on your crib, but you also quite enjoy jumping. That is, until you knock your sweet little mouth full of teeth on the wrought iron railing.

You also discovered how to go from your belly to a sitting position. When playing or when in your crib, this is one of your favorite tricks. In fact, you'll go from belly to sitting, belly to sitting, belly to sitting...until you've "belly-sat" yourself in a complete circle. We think maybe you enjoy playing with your toys from different perspectives?

Toward the beginning of the month, we visited your friend, James. He had a lot of different toys than you and you were happy as could be exploring these new finds well past your 7 o'clock bedtime. I realized that we didn't really have any toys like James had to help you learn to stand and walk. So, after a trip to the consignment store, we were the proud new owners of yet another noisy, gaudy, exceedingly tacky Fisher Price toy--but, this one has come to be your favorite. It's a push toy and at first, you liked to stand behind it but had no idea what to do with your feet. So I would let it roll out from you just a little bit while your little head figured out that you needed to make your feet catch up. After just one week of this, you were fearlessly and recklessly zooming around the house, crashing into everything and anything in the way. Your doggie has started to retreat now when you come after him with your walker. By the end of the second week, you had gained so much control over your body, that you could walk with your toy more purposefully, stopping and starting and pulling yourself up when you fell. It amazed us both that you learned this so quickly. Now, this is your (nearly) sole mode of transportation. Crawling is too slow and while you haven't yet learned to turn, you know that someone will lend a hand.

Now, the intellectual.

You now love to read. We have been "reading" to you since the beginning, but it was more of an acrobatic exercise trying to keep you from squirming off our laps while making up some words to complement the pictures on the pages that we were either trying to keep out of your wet slobbery mouth or from your sticky chubby little fists that are all to eager to destroy the things that come within their grasp. I have taken to reading books while waiting for your milk belly burp since you no longer go along with the over-the-shoulder maneuver. So, early in the month, we turned to a page in what is now your favorite book and I asked you Burke, where is the cow? You looked back and forth, and back and forth (there was a big cow on one page with the other adult animals and a calf on the opposite page with the other baby animals). I asked you again, thinking you might not have heard me, not knowing whether you could even understand. Maybe I was asking in futility. But I figured I'd give it a shot. And just about when I was ready to turn the page, thinking it was far too early to expect you to answer me, you placed your pudgy fist right on top of the calf! Needless to say, I thought it was a fluke. So I asked you to do it at least 5 more times...then every day since then. Each time, you point to the calf. Amazing! In addition to the calf, you can now also point to the doggie and the kitty cat. I am so proud of you.

To be fair, you have a slight advantage on other babies in that your Grammy and Pop have a calf just roaming around, grazing in their yard. And every time you visit, you get to see the calf, pet the calf, the calf sucks on your fingers and you get to hear her say moo! You still don't say mama but when I ask you what the cow says, you excitedly say Moo! You are just so smart!

On to the social.

We've been trying to teach you to clap, play pat-a-cake, wave hello and goodbye and do "so big" for a few months now. And this month, you showed us that it hasn't been in vain. First, you started to do "so big." You especially love to do it in your high chair where you smush your face into 16 double chins and super chubby cheeks, while your pearly white teeth poke out of your big smile. Once you discovered the accolades this earned you, you became quite the ham. Doing it all the time. Living it up in the limelight. (You are your Mama's son, here). Soon, waving was incorporated into your "so big" routine. Your chubby fists would open and close while held high above your head in your "so big" pose. This praise earned us even bigger smiles from our favorite boy! Next thing we know, you're clapping one hand on top of the other in your highchair. An odd way of clapping and certainly not the one we modeled for you, but hey--you were clapping! And you were so proud of yourself! And we were so proud of you too.

The "so big"/wave stunt

Your version of clapping
You also took the leap this month (with your growing independence) into table food. You still enjoy being fed, but you will not be satisfied unless you can shove about 20 pieces of food into your mouth at one time. (I'm not sure why I bother cutting your food into such small pieces when it all ends up in your mouth at once anyway). With this increasing dependence on table food, you have turned into quite the social eater. I can now take you anywhere and not have even a slight hesitation about your behavior during a meal. As long as I keep putting food on your tray, you are a happy camper.

Friends. You have them. And you just started noticing them. Up until now, playdates were for the moms only. Pointless for you. But this month, we had a few opportunities to play with some of your buddies and you interacted quite well! Perhaps you're still not sure what they are--the don't look like your doggie, your Mama or your Daddy--but you're having fun discovering them all the same. PS--don't steal their pacifiers.

Finally, my sweet boy, you have begun using your voice, smile, and tears to show your emotions and not just letting me know you have gas or need a diaper change. You love to talk and you do it incessantly. Ooo is your favorite word at the moment, although it has varying inflections. You've become a mama's boy this month too. I'm certainly not complaining (although it does mean I get less sleep now that Daddy can't do the trick during the night). I love every snuggle, hug, sloppy snotty kiss and nuzzle I get! And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Whew! This month has been a crazy, wonderful, delightfully fun whirlwind of milestones. We have loved every moment and love you so very much.


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