9 months of wonder / by Christina Rosalie

Dear 9 month old Bean, You have now spent as long outside in this big world as you did inside my stomach. It's a pretty cool place here isn't it? You have learned so much about your world since you arrived. Every morning now, you wake up, pat our faces and crawl over us to the window sill by our bed. You love to look outside:at the people passing by to work or school, at the garbage truck coming to pick up the jars and cans from the blue recycling bins, at the squirrels whirling up and down the trunk of the tree. You stand up on the bed with your hands on the glass, watching all the action and cooing. Then you play with the alarm clock: carefully fingering all the buttons with your thumb and forefinger.

You seem so big to me now, it is sometimes strange to look at you and realize you are still so small--I must seem SO TALL to you, way up above, when you crawl up to me and reach your arms out, asking to be picked up and hugged. You have started calling out "mama" and "dada" with unmistakable purpose and consistency now--and each time you do, we become jello.

This month you turned into a rascal: crawling away from us at top speed when you know you're headed to off-limits territory like the kitchen or bathroom. Giggling when you hear us calling after you, and squealing when you hear us come up behind you to scoop you up. You love to play wild and silly games now--tossing your body backwards while we're holding you in our arms, so you can see the world upside down, or playing airplane with daddy. And you love, love, love to pull daddy's CDs off the entertainment center--throwing them one by one with a crash onto the floor.

It seems you have also discovered that certain things do not belong in your mouth: and you spend all of your time trying to put them into your mouth. The pages of magazines especially catch your eye, and you shove ripped shreds into your mouth furiously when you see us swooping in to stop you. Invariably, you giggle and attempt to squirm away as we try to fish the pieces back out of your mouth. Why, my lad, is this so funny? It's PAPER.

Incidentally, though your intake of paper seems to have increased, your overall food intake this month has decreased---although you're willing to try just about any food we offer you. It seems, that because you have developed a finely tuned pincer grasp, you are obsessed with using it to feed yourself. Unless the food we're offering comes in a finger food version, you're just not interested.

Your FIRST TOOTH has cut it's way through your gums (much to everyone's night time dismay for several nights in a row!) last week, and you're now very interested in using it to gnaw on everything. It's still just a thin bumpy white line on your gum, but baby it's SHARP. You have been lovely about not bighting my boob, but you have not applied this same courtesy to my chin or fingers.

This month you got sick and my heart turned all to liquid watching you with a fever. Your eyes grew large and dark, and you just wanted to be held. When we finally gave you Tylenol, to relieve both the teething pain and the fever, you perked up, but broke out in a rash of red spots that made us very worried.

When you got better you tackled the task of standing unassisted with new gusto. You've started LETTING GO, trying to balance all on your own: and took your first wild, free fall steps towards Jess the other day when she was here visiting, her arms reaching out wide for you. It makes me gasp every single time.

At your nine month check up the doctor said that when you can stand for thirty seconds or so at a time, you'll start taking your first real steps OUT INTO THE ROOM, away from me. I have no idea what my heart will do when this happens.

I love you so much, my little one!

Love, Mama