My Dearest Foster,
Today you are nine months old. That's nine with a capital N-I-N-E!
You think you're grown. In your mind, you're a big boy now, thank you very much, and I am to be at your every beck and call.
You're still the Happiest Baby on the Block, but you make it clear who's boss around here, and at this stage in your life, it's very rarely me.
These days when I put you on the floor to play and turn around to walk away, I immediately hear, "ma, ma, ma, ma..." Here you come crawling after me. I turn around to reassure you, but you won't have it. You're not satisfied until I pick you up.
At the same time, though, you're becoming more independent. A week or so ago I walked into your room to get you out of your crib and you were STANDING UP! Standing up and smiling. Like, hey mom! Look at me all big and stuff. I can pull to stand now. I bet you can't do this. What d'ya think?
Well, I'll tell you what I think. I LOVE that now, when I come to get you out of your crib, you stand up so that you can reach me. It's no longer me reaching down for you. It's you reaching up for me and smiling at me and being as delighted to see me as I am to see you. It's like, all of a sudden you've become Oedipus.
I'm not a very likable person sometimes (okay a lot of the time), but you really like me. All the time. You never seem to get tired of me. I mean, I get tired of myself. But you? You greet me with the sweetest smile and you cling to me as if your world would fall apart without me. You hear my voice and start to say, "ma-ma-ma-ma..." And, you laugh at all my jokes. Only I can comfort you, and I cherish being able to.
Unlike Oedipus, however, your daddy is your hero.
Every afternoon we wait for him to come home. We stand at the front door and watch. As soon as you see his truck pull up, you start to go crazy! Your hands and feet flailing in anticipation. Of course, your daddy hams it up on his way up the front walk and you grin and shriek in response. Once he's inside, it's all I can do to keep you from jumping out of my arms, so your daddy swoops you up and kisses you all over.
Foster, I don't think I see you THAT happy all day long.
Your new found independence has made mealtime easier, because now you can finger feed yourself, and you love to do it. Just the novelty of it, I think.
One day this month I made the mistake of giving you bite sized pieces of cheese to feed yourself and for the rest of that day your hands smelled like butt, I mean cheese. It was disgusting. I kept checking your diaper, frantically looking for the poop that must have escaped.
Is it in your hair? On your clothes? Between your toes? For crying out loud, what is that smell? Then finally, I sniffed your hands and realized. Oh. Cheese. Ugh. So, I wiped and wiped and wiped your little hands. All to no avail. Only a bath, with soap, got rid of the smell. (Hey, I'm a poet and didn't even know it!) (Forgive me.)
This month, your favorite word is "ba". Not "ba-ba-ba...". Just "ba". You say it every time you hear or see something, anything, everything. I'm not exaggerating. It could be a dog barking or a leaf on the ground. Anything that interests you is now "ba".
You're still an average size little fella. 50th percentile since birth. I guess that's to be expected given that your daddy and I are average size people and were skinny little kids. My dad, your Papa, used to make some joke about me not being able to get wet in the shower 'cause I was too skinny. (I can't remember how the joke went. I must have blocked it from my memory.) But, despite your average size, you've got the deltoids of a MAN. I'm not even kidding. Your deltoids are bigger than mine, and I've been working out!
Your daddy and I think you're going to take after both of your grandfathers and be a strong dude. His dad, your Grandpa, played football in college and then became an Army Ranger. And, my dad played football in high school and went on to compete in power lifting competitions. Strength is in your blood, my man.
For now, though, you're just average. Right in the center of the growth chart. (I bet if they had measured your deltoids you'd be off the charts!)
I look forward to this next month with you. You've already brought me so much joy, and from what I hear, it only gets better.
We've got your first Halloween to look forward to, and you bet I'm gonna dress you up. Don't worry, you'll be the Cutest Baby on the Block.