Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Henry - Month 9

Happy 9 month birthday!
Dear Henry,

Happy 9 month birthday!

First, let’s take a minute and talk about math.  Math is something I hope you’re going to be super duper good at because you’re not going to have a lot of help from me on that.  For instance, last month I said something along the lines of making the most out of your 9th month when, really, it was only your 8th month.  I guess an argument could be made that I was just planning ahead to REALLY enjoy your 9th month, but the more solid argument is that my math was wrong.  Oops.

Bright eyes - scored contraband bottle (empty).

 With that out of the way, let’s talk about how awesome you are.
You are.  SOOOO.  Awesome.
You are so much fun!  (Well, except for last night when you didn’t go to sleep until 10 p.m. – that wasn’t as much fun.  But MOSTLY you are SO fun!). You are starting to mimic us and will respond to noises we make with your own noises.  I feel like we’re having conversations in ancient Swahili some days, and I think we’re all taking great pleasure out of that.  We’ve figured out what your happy noises are and what your angry noises are and sometimes it’s just a matter of the inflection you put into those noises, but rest assured, we’re sort of figuring you out.  That said, I have no idea why you wouldn’t sleep last night.  I suspect you’re playing mind games with us sometimes.

This is what trouble looks like.
 You are officially mobile.  It didn’t happen like I was afraid it was going to happen (with the “publish” of the last monthly update).  Well, not exactly.  You’ve been mobile for a while – in a way that looks like a whole lot of effort and your dad pointed out looks exactly like you’re doing “the worm” – but it took you a while to figure out what that meant.  Like, you would flail your way across the room in pursuit of a toy, but you didn’t seem to understand that you didn’t need us to coax you to do that.  Until one day you did.  That day, I looked up and saw you flapping the laptop cord gleefully all around you, just before you shoved it in your mouth.  The next day you launched yourself at the power strip under the table.  When I blocked that off with a basket of Daisy’s toys, you decided that Daisy’s toys would be just fine, thankyouverymuch.  Now some of your favorite toys are Daisy’s food dish, and the water bowls.  If we’ve sufficiently distracted you from those things, you’re perfectly content to destroy some books.  The childproofing has begun.  We expect that you will show us all the areas of the house that present previously unforeseen dangers – in short order. 

Grandma helping you into the pool - you appear to be enjoying yourself, though this won't last long!
 We did lots more camping in the past month.  You are officially an expert and have even made a couple of forays into the pool.  You can’t decide exactly how you feel about the pool.  You always start out looking somewhat pained and then after that mostly resigned.  Although a couple of times you actually started to fall asleep in the pool, so it can’t be all that bad.  Maybe it will grow on you as you get older.

Daisy - guarding you.  You - playing with garbage (your favorite)!
Your relationship with Daisy continues to grow.  She is the one thing guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.  During a recent car trip, you were fussing and loudly complaining about being stuck in your car seat for so long.  Then Daisy stood up to take in her surroundings and immediately your complaints turned into gleeful giggles and cooing.  You delight in her!  And she is so patient with you.  We set you down on the floor next to her one evening and you grabbed her tail.  She patiently watched you grab and play with her tail until you tried to stick it in your mouth. She then jumped up and ran into the other room.  We’ve talked about it, Henry, and Daisy would like you to know that she is not for eating. 

This guy LOVES the camper!
We had to say goodbye to Oliver this past month.  It means nothing to you – you only got your grubby little paws on him a couple times when he accidentally sat too close to you.  He was very tolerant of you – in a way that I never really expected him to be because he was a crabby old man.  But then, he was always good with kids.  It was always such a surprise.  He’d take my finger off getting a piece of food out of my hand, and then turn around and gently nibble it away from the nearest toddler.  In any case, I sometimes think that Daisy handled losing Oliver so well because she still has you to love on.  I realize that is humanizing Daisy, but it sure does seem like she’s crazy about you!

Daddy time snuggles.
 Know who else is crazy about you?  Your dad.  And you’re pretty crazy about him too.  One of your favorite things to do is swap his arms for my arms and then turn around and beam at him.  We play a game in the bathtub – after you’re all scrubbed up and are playing in the water, your dad will start peeking at you in the mirror.  No matter how tired you are, your whole face lights up and you shriek and wiggle like crazy at the unexpected delight of seeing his face in the mirror.  Even after you’ve figured the game out and you sit for long seconds staring at the mirror just waiting for him to appear, the sight of him just fills you up with giggles and shrieks.  Between Daisy and your daddy, you sort of hit the playmate jackpot.

Bath time hair = also epic
I find that these days I am more troubled by what I hear in the news.  I cry more often.  It could be that I’m just WATCHING the news more than I used to, but it’s also probably because my stake in the world has changed significantly.  I still believe that there are mostly good people out there and I want you to believe that too.  I also don’t want to be the kind of mom that raises you to fear everything and everyone, even though that’s sometimes exactly how I feel.  The other day I was driving to pick you up from daycare and found a bunch of kids jumping around waving pieces of paper and shrieking at passing cars.  They were having a lemonade stand.  I pulled over and paid my $.50 (they were having a BOGO sale on the lemonade, apparently.  I was impressed with my ability to sniff out the clearance lemonade stand – but I passed.  There was just one of me.  One lemonade was plenty) and they were so excited and happy.  And I decided that I wanted you to be the kind of kid to get all excited and shrieky about a lemonade stand.  And more importantly I wanted you to grow into an adult who would pull over to buy a $.50 cup of lemonade from a bunch of shrieky, excited little kids. 

Hair.  HAIR.
This past month there was also a lot of hubbub about some music artists who did some scandalous thing on some music awards show (I’d give you the details, but by the time you read this these people will probably be irrelevant and you’ll have no idea who they are.  I mean, I hope.)  I’ve been kicking that around in my brain – how I would want to address this with you if you were old enough to know what I’m talking about.  I mean, there’s an argument in there for keeping your daughters off the pole, and there’s an argument in there for raising your sons to respect women but I’m not sure that’s what I want you to take away from this.  I mean – OBVIOUSLY I want you to respect women.  But I feel like that’s in the day to day of raising you, of being your mama.  If I do my job right, that’s just how you’ll wind up.  It’s also your dad’s job to show you how much he respects me, and other women.  WE are your first and best role models.  So – I guess what I would want to tell you to take away from all of that is that you shouldn’t take things you see on TV (or in video games, or in movies) too seriously.  You will see a thousand shows in your lifetime wherein someone kills someone else – but it’s never ever ever (EVER.  EVER.) going to be okay for you to do that.  That’s not real life. It’s not how real people behave – it’s just a show that they’re putting on.  They’re playing pretend. So please don’t take your life lessons and your view of the world from what you see in mainstream media and hoo boy, if you get everything you know about women from what you hear in pop song lyrics?  We are both in big trouble.. 

Anyway, enough about big world stuff.  Back to how cute you are.

My heart.
 You’re starting to look so much like a real boy.  Not as much like a baby.  Your body is getting SO long, and your face is more expressive.  Your hair is still epic (and I’m not using that word lightly.  Your hair actually defies gravity.), but even that is a little easier to tame these days.  You’re becoming more independent and you need us less every day.  You can feed yourself.  You can move around on your own.  There’s a certain sadness in watching the little squish of a baby we brought home from the hospital 9 months ago disappear, but there’s a tremendous amount of pride we take in the little boy you’re becoming.  Each tiny milestone is cause for celebration.  Eat it up, because someday we will not think it’s that big of a deal that you can pick up a tiny puff with your two fingers, but right now?  Right now it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done.  Until you do the next thing that is the most amazing thing you’ve ever done, and I sometimes wonder if you aren’t just the most amazing baby in the entire world because it’s not possible that there’s a baby any more amazing than you.  I will probably always feel this way, because I am your mama and that’s what mama’s do.  So please remember that when you are 16 and I am hollering at you about something that will seem incredibly important at the time.  You are amazing.  You are the most amazing baby in the world.  I will always feel that way.

Love and kisses all over,