Dear Baby Genius,
This week, you turned nine months old. You have been out in the world about as long as you lived in my belly, and everyone you meet is so glad you are here. Nine months seems to be a really special age for you. You’re figuring so many things out, and if I turn my back for even a second, Mama says to me, “Did you see what Baby Genius just did?!” And each time it’s something equally amazing. For example, yesterday, you were eating dinner with Mama while I cooked in the kitchen, and out of the blue, you figured out how to clap! You have been watching us clap for awhile now, and you have even enjoyed making our hands clap, but yesterday, you figured out that you could do it on your own. It was so cute.
Early this month, we had a big family gathering at our house for Mother’s Day, and on that day, you sprouted your first tooth. It was a long time coming, but it finally showed up. Only a week and a half later, a second showed up right next to it.
You have taken to biting with those teeth, and that’s not fun for anyone involved, but you’re slowly learning how not to use them. There is something sort of strangely cute about receiving a bite from you and finding two tiny tooth marks on my skin. That said, I won’t be sad to see this stage go.
You have spent a lot of this month figuring out how to move from one place to another. First, you would roll where you wanted to go. Then, for a week or so, you decided that you were happy to sit in one place again. But then you found new motivation, realizing that if you could be mobile, you could finally reach the things we have kept out of your grasp. One day, the remote for the television was on the floor, and you started scooting on your belly toward it. I picked up on this and started building you block towers, which you positively cannot resist knocking over. With that, you were even more interested, and you started working on an almost-army crawl. Yesterday, I had a container of jicama from which I was eating. You spied this on the floor next to me, and actually got up on your hands and knees and crawled a foot or so before falling on your belly and army crawling the rest of the way. You’ve never had jicama, but you seemed to know you would like it (and you really did!). I know it’s really a matter of days now until you are going to be wildly mobile, and I’m so excited for you. You’re also already starting to pull yourself up to a standing position, especially from my lap. That won’t take you much longer either.
Your increased movement comes along with an increased appetite for all sorts of foods. You love leeks mixed in with green veggies; you enjoy quinoa with garlic, oatmeal with cinnamon, and you’re happy to try bits of nearly any fruit or vegetable you encounter. I love what a good eater you are. You seem to taste each new food with a sense of adventure, and that makes Mama and I feel adventurous in the foods we give you. Of course, you still love nursing as well, although you’re a bit of an acrobat these days, making nursing a much less passive activity than it once was, but we’ll keep it up as long as it seems right.
Baby Genius, you’re developing quite an aesthetic sense too. You love to watch curtains billowing in the wind. You love it when we walk you around the house looking at the art on the walls. You even have a favorite piece–a photo of some vibrant leaves. You love to touch things that are hanging from the ceiling, and your elephants still are some of your favorites of those, but we also recently bought you a string of bells that you really love to ring. It’s simply awesome to watch you take in the world around you, to see you admiring beauty, to watch you perk your ears up when a pleasing sound comes your way or grin when you hear a familiar tune. There will be a great deal more beauty for you to experience throughout your life, son, and I look forward to seeing you discover it.
You had the opportunity this month to see two of the things in the world that I find most beautiful: the redwood forest and the Humboldt coast. You stared in awe up at the 200+ foot trees, and you loved touching the cool, rough bark. In fact, you were quite upset when I took you away from one tree, and then pleased as can be to find there was another just steps away. I actually saw you stare in awe, your mouth agape, and I knew how you felt. Those trees are incredible. On your visit to the beach, you rode in the Ergo down a very steep hill, while Uncle N. helped me navigate some crazy stairs and mud. We made it, though, and you giggled the whole way. Once we got there, you saw the ocean, and promptly fell asleep. It was still a lovely time, and you were such a great boy that whole trip. You met a lot of new people, experienced a lot of new places, and all the while, you were cheerful and playful and curious as always. The five-hour ride in the car was another story, but no one likes a trip quite that long, so who can blame you?
Your vocal skills have really taken a leap this month too, baby boy. Just before Mother’s Day, Mama heard you say “Mama.” You had been repeating those sounds “mamamama” for some time, but suddenly, you were saying “Mama” whenever you needed something from me or Mama. It was so special, son. You have a lot of other sounds you’re suddenly using now. I have heard you say “kkkkkkkk” to the kitties, and you say “nenenenene” when you’re not happy with something. You like the “d” sound too, and you use it for all variations of babbles. It’s quite fun to listen to you jabber away, and it won’t be long before you are saying real words, I’m sure.
Your gesturing has certainly increased as well. For a few months now, you have reached your arms up to indicate you want to be picked up, but this month you started waving and also doing a sort of backwards wave that indicated you wanted things to come to you. Now you point (with your whole hand) toward things that you like, which is especially helpful at mealtime. Your nonverbal skills are really great, and while we’re working with you on learning some signs, we’re all pretty happy with the way you make your desires known already.
You continue to enjoy blowing raspberries, and you now love to blow them on me and Mama. In fact, you have been known to blow on my belly just like we blow on yours. It’s quite funny. You also like to “get” us, which means that you open your mouth wide and move your head back and forth while making a growling noise. We have done this to you as a way of tickling you, and now you do it right back. This is some of the most fun I’ve ever had, thanks to you. The other funny thing you started doing this month was blowing–just puckering your lips and blowing air out, almost as though you wanted to whistle. Neither Mama nor I are really whistlers, so we don’t know where you picked this up, but it’s cute nonetheless.
While you love to play with us, you’re also starting to enjoy playing by yourself. Your new favorite thing to do is to sit in your room next to your bookshelves and pull ever book that you can reach down around you. You then admire your books until we are so ridiculous as to return them to their places on the shelves, at which point you remove them again. You love your books, and you’re even starting to sit still for a few moments while we read to you.
One of the greatest things about you, aside from your wonderfully mellow demeanor, your love of fun, and your curious nature, is just how adorable you are. We’re completely biased, but we can’t seem to get enough of your cute mug. We are stopped all the time when we are out by people wanting to admire you. Your eyes are the real stunners, and few people can avoid commenting on how special they are. You’re a gorgeous little boy.
So there you have it–you’re really growing up! You’re three quarters of the way through your first year, and you’re blowing us away with how amazing you continue to be. It feels a bit like you’re constantly on the verge. What a cool place to be–what a cool thing to observe. Keep it up, son. We’ll be here every step of the way, adoring ever second.
All my love,
Baby Genius, you seem to have wanted to show off your skills after reading your letter, so here is the video of your latest efforts: