Liam at 9 months:
- 28 inches
- Size: at the gap between 6-9 month and 9-12 month clothes, so he’s wearing a lot of too-short pants until we can bump him up to the bigger size.
- Teeth: Sharp! Two on the bottom front.
- Favorite foods: meatballs, sweet potatoes, and Puffs.
- Favorite toys: “My Pal Scout” puppy, and spoons. Metal kitchen teaspoons. Best things ever.
Liam’s done an awful lot in the two months since my last update post.
Our daycare provider had a baby and took some well-deserved maternity leave, so we had to come up with a six-week backup plan for Liam. Dave’s parents and my mom were total superheroes, swooping in to help us out. Liam definitely enjoyed the extra time with his grandparents, and I know they loved all that quality time with their grandson. The cost of a daycare center for those few weeks would have been astronomical, and we’re just so incredibly grateful that we had access to this wonderful alternative. It was a huge job for them to take on, and we know how lucky we are.
His sleep got progressively worse between 6 and 9 months. First we blamed a cold, then teething, but the real problem was that we’d gotten into a routine of rocking him to sleep every night. Rocking time was sweet and wonderful bonding time, but not a good strategy for teaching him to fall asleep on his own. Eventually, we could only get him into his crib by rocking him all the way to sleep and then inching across the room and putting him down sloooooowly so we wouldn’t wake him. We got really good at it. We could creep silently through the dark like a goddamned panther. But then he started waking every 2 hours during the night needing to be rocked back to sleep. It could take up to an hour of rocking-crib-scream-rocking-crib-scream repetition before he’d finally settle back to sleep. We were all miserable. So we tried sleep training. And it sucked. We used a version of “letting him cry it out” where we sat by his crib until he settled down to asleep. It took almost two hours the first night, with Dave sitting by the crib reassuring him but not picking him up or rocking him. It was so hard to hear him screaming for attention, and it must have been so confusing to the poor little guy, but we just couldn’t keep doing what we’d been doing. The second night was better, and the next one even better. Over the course of a couple of weeks we moved further and further from the crib. Finally, we got to where we could say “night-night” and put him down and leave the room completely. He still fusses a bit – some nights are harder than others – but he’s gotten very good at calming himself down and falling asleep without us. But I don’t think we could have gotten there without his WubbaNub. He used to wake up a few times a night and flap around trying to find his pacifier. Switching the small pacifier for his Wubba at bedtime has made a huge difference. It’s so much bigger and easier for him to find. We bought two more Wubbas as backups.
New development: he’s waving at everyone. Mommy, Daddy, the cats, his reflection, even the ceiling fan. He’s working on clapping but so far can only do a “gimme five” thing, slapping someone else’s hand over and over. He’s delighted when I hold his hands and make them clap, but when I let them go he flails them up and down instead of towards each other. He’s really all about his hands these days. Wiggling fingers and bending wrists, trying to pick crumbs off the floor and freckles off my arms. He will sit with quiet focus for a full minute trying to get polka dots off my socks. The upside of all this hand-work is that he’s very good at feeding himself now. He’s mastered Cheerios and is getting better at softer and squishier things, although some of those still just get smashed into the highchair tray. Because smashing things is fun.
Still no crawling, but the rolling has gotten faster and more determined. He’ll barrel roll across the floor until he hits an obstacle, at which point he’ll whine as he spins in place trying to get through the immovable object. Or he’ll lie there and kick it to teach it a lesson about getting in his way. He especially loves kicking the filing cabinet.
He still can’t get himself from a lying to a sitting position, and hasn’t tried to pull up from sitting to standing. But while he’s stalled on crawling, he’s getting better on his feet. He can easily bear his weight on his legs and just needs some help with balance. We’ve started showing him how to play with some of the stand-up toys to encourage him, and he can stand there leaning on the play table for a solid couple of minutes with only the slightest support from one of us keeping him from tipping over.
Still talking. SO MUCH TALKING. No real words yet, just chatter, but he really enjoys “talking” to us and the cats. He’s got ba, da, ga, wuh, mmmmuh, tststs, and fff nailed down pretty well by now. He’s fascinated when I show him “bzzzz,” reaching out to feel my lips, so maybe he’s aiming for that one next. He’s paying so much more attention these days when we name things and talk directly to him, so I think the wheels are starting to turn in there. My money’s on “book” or “Animal” for first words, because we say them a lot and they’re sounds he can handle. He did say Ah-MUH once when Animal was around, but I think it was coincidence.
This baby has been the best baby for taking out on adventures. We go out every weekend, whether it’s to breakfast or Home Depot or to visit friends, and he’s such a wonderful easygoing traveler. He loves restaurants (and waving and flirting with our servers) and loves watching people from shopping carts. He sleeps well in the car, and chats with us or stares intently out the window while he’s awake. He hates having the sun in his eyes, and that’s the biggest problem in the car. None of the window shades we’ve tried does a good enough job, and if the sun’s sneaking past it into his face he gets frustrated, flappy, and loud. I’m still looking for the right shade, but I’ll have no problem pinning a big thin blanket over the backseat to make him a sun tent if that’s what I need to do.
Mom came to visit, and we played out in the snow. Auntie Michelle came to visit and we went to DC to see the Air & Space Museum. And lots of other friends came to visit in between. He’s such a friendly kid and loves to see everyone. But I can’t hand him over to anyone right now, because he’s starting to show some social anxiety. He’ll dive and scramble and whine while trying get back to me. It’s age-appropriate but it’s tough to not be able to give my arms a break at parties. And I can tell it makes people feel bad when he bursts into tears as soon as he’s in their lap. He’ll grow out of it soon, I hope.
The thought hadn’t occurred to me until recently that as he’s learning all these new things, there are other things that are being left behind. And not just the teeny tiny PJs that no longer fit. So many adorable things that he’s not doing anymore. He doesn’t bounce his head off my chest like a dippy-bird when he’s hungry. I miss that. Waking up after naps, he used to have the cutest whole-body arched-back stretch, with his little legs folding up fetus-style and his arms reaching way above his head. Now he just flaps around and rubs his eyes. I think those curly legs are gone for good. He’s not a tiny baby anymore.