on the move

Nine months.

A school year.

A full-term pregnancy.

Eddie’s age when I finally reached out for help with my postpartum depression.

Nine months.

Tomorrow, dear Charlie, you will be nine months old.

Three quarters of a year.

Officially on the “outside” longer than on the “inside”.

I’m trying not to be emotional about this month, but my little son, this 9-month thing strikes me so strangely in my heart and in my mind.

Today I held you before bed and watched as you got so silly with sleepiness.  Each time I asked you if you want to go “night night” you shook your head and grinned.

You are so SO happy.

You are so SO amazingly gracious and loving and stubborn and cute and smart and chatty and all of the things.

I try to soak every second of it in becauseI just don’t remember this time of Eddie’s life.

He was just as old as you are when I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression.  It still shocks me how little I can recall from that time.

I don’t want that to happen again.

You are growing and changing so fast, Charlie.  It’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to absorb every little change because just when I think I have you re-memorized, you change and grow a bit more.

You have yet to meet a food you won’t eat.  Seriously, you like it all, and you sort of want to eat all the things when you are hungry.  However, no matter how much you had for dinner, you NEED at least a small bottle before you can fall asleep.  Confession? I love that. Because 9 times out of 10 it’s me who gets to give you that bottle.  It’s my guaranteed Charlie Time each day.

At Thanksgiving we let you taste potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and turkey. You liked all of them and would have very much preferred more than just the tiny taste of each.  But you ate the baby food we fed you anyway.  And sucked down a bottle of formula like a champ.  Like I said, you don’t turn down food.

Unless your gums hurt.

Like when four teeth tried to break through at the same time…two of which were your two front teeth.

Your poor little gums were swollen to the max and were giving you fits.

You had a high fever, the barfs, the poops…and then POP.  Four teeth and you were a little dream again.

You are “talking” more and more.  It’s like you have figured out that there are other ways of communicating your needs rather than crying and you are exploring them all.

It also tickles you when we repeat back to you what you just “said.”  It’s like you have made a giant discovery that you control the sounds coming out of your mouth.

We have been signing to your words like “more” and “please” and “thank you” like we did with Eddie.  And just like Eddie, you are picking them up, but adapting them.

Eddie did the more sign correctly, but you hold your hands together above your head.  It’s like you’re doing “So Big”.  But you only do it in your high chair when you run out of food.  It’s hilarious.

And you’re quickly learning that you have a super smile and that it gets you everywhere right now.

Want to be picked up? Flash that smile.  Given a toy? The smirk comes out.  Attention paid to you?  A grunt and then a smile.

You’re suave, bud.

Your love for your brother just gets stronger as you grow…as does his love for you.

You can be a crabby mess, but when Eddie shows up?  You grin and start making “eh eh eh” sounds.

You want what Eddie has.  You are not at all interested in most stuffed animals, but when Eddie has Lamby? You do your best to strong-arm your way into his lap and grab Lamby away.  If Eddie is playing with a toy, you want to do it too.

This month, upon putting up the Christmas tree, you figured out how to crawl.  Like a moth to a flame, I tell ya.

Eddie very fashionably put a million ornaments in stylish “clumps” near the bottom.  Once he saw you beeline to them, he put them higher before I even asked.  He is smart like that, your brother.  Always looking out for you.

Even when we ask him to lay off.  He is still known to yell out, “NO SHA-WEE!” about everything.

But back to this crawling you do.

It’s funny.

You are teaching me over and over that just because I’ve had a baby your age, doesn’t mean I know anything about babies.  Unlike your brother who got up on all fours after being able to pull up from sitting to his knees and then rocked a bit and then took off at the ripe age of 8 months, you have laid on your tummy and flapped your arms and legs hoping to “take off”.  You have used rolling as your mode of transportation.

But once that tree was up, rolling was just not good enough.

You reached out your arms and pulled that little, flapping body along the floor.  This past weekend you realized you could also push with your feet and knees.

So you army crawl.

And you pull things down. Or out.

Then you roll to your back, hold what you want with your feet, and play.

Like a darn cat.

You show zero signs of trying to sit up on your own from the crawling position.

You have no desire to pull up to your knees.

You are always just content with what you can do…until you aren’t.

Then you learn what you need to be content again.  Quickly and efficiently.

That is an awesome trait, my son.

Despite my telling everyone what a happy, content baby you are, you always look so serious to others.

It takes you a while to warm up to new situations and new people…even when those people are not technically new. And so you are told, “you’re such a serious one,” all the time.

But you are not…not really.  Not once people get to know you.

Not when you are busy exploring the world that just got so much bigger to you.

I watched this week as you discovered you can now go anywhere. It’s not just the tree.  No way, that is old news.  You can get to the kitchen now and pull down all the things on the fridge.

You can take a bite of the rug (ew. something we are constantly battling with you over).

You can head down the hall to the bathroom so you can see your brother when he is in the tub.

You can book down towards our bedroom when you know daddy went that way.

I could clearly write forever about you.

{and because I don’t have a baby book even purchased let alone started for you, I sort of feel obliged to.}

But I will just tell you this:

I never expected to be so in love with you.

I thought my heart was full with your brother, but having you here with us…in our family…has changed my heart.  It has grown.

And the love I have for Eddie has changed.

The love I have for you is different.

All that love is so much…just so much.  That sometimes? I can’t believe it’s real.

That you are real.

That you are my baby.

That smile slays me.

And makes me cry.

And laugh.

And jump for joy.

But mostly? It makes me fall on my knees in thanksgiving.

Because you are a gift, Bird.

One of the three best gifts I have ever been blessed with.

xxoo
Mommy

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About Katie Sluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Sweet, sweet letter. Sweet, sweet Charlie. Happy 9 months!

    Oh, I HATE teething. I do love the crawling. Though it means my little trouble maker is now officially, the Trouble Maker. Help.

  2. Oh I am gonna cry too. These posts make me remember my kids as babies. Those feelings.

    I love the 9mo stage…. it’s so funny and full of firsts.

    Enjoy it my friend, just like you are because before you know it they will all be in school and those night time bottles will be a distant ache in your arms.

  3. I could read this and look at that face all day.

  4. Gulp. Where the heck did time go? My mom posted a pic of my boy when he was little and I look at him today and can’t believe he’ll be 12 in a few short weeks! I love seeing pictures of Charlie… he is just too cute and growing so quickly. Love his big smile!!! :)

  5. Oh, happy “longer on the outside” day, Bird!

    I was an adventurous eater, my mom loves to tell me that — but it sounds like Charlie is bordering on epic.

    And teething blows.

    And crawling . . . well, I miss the potted plant stage, but it sure is neat watching them grow up & move, isn’t it? At least, it is when life isn’t happening too quickly.

  6. Your heart and soul is right where it should be.
    Full.
    Blessed.
    Happy 9 months Bird. You have a wonderful Momma.

  7. I loved reading your post. So incredible how you described how much you love your little one. Thanks for being so honest and sharing this with the rest of us Moms.

    I was really touched, almost cried cause I’m at work and really miss my little Josh

  8. what a cutie! almost to a YEAR!!

  9. What a cutie. Such a love bug. Adorable photos. All nine months of them. :)