Today, you're nine months old. In a span of time that encompasses a school year, you've gone from being a wrinkled, fussy newborn to a jolly, inquisitive and tremendously responsive almost-toddler. Your daddy and I are simply amazed at the leaps and bounds in your development, especially recently.
Over the last month, you've learned (in the same day) how to pull up to stand by furniture and how to climb stairs (which you do with alarming rapidity). You're now saying several "words" with regularity. They include da-da (which you've been saying for quite some time), ba-ba, khhhhh (a Persian staple syllable, you little polyglot), ha, hoo, t-t-t (one of my personal favorites) and your latest (my REAL favorite), ma-ma. You've managed to produce three more teeth, and on close inspection of a number of your toys and your crib, we can see tiny scratches everywhere along anything that's within your grasp for too long. Your crib rail looks like we're keeping a baby beaver there. And the latest new "thing" you've got going on is that, when asked, you'll give me or your daddy a kiss. It's open-mouthed, and very sloppy, but it melts our hearts every time. Today your daddy was so delighted that he must have asked for six or seven in a row, which you patiently provided. (Now's the time to ask for a pony, if you want one.)
But the single most incredible change in you is less easily encapsulated by an action or a milestone. You really seem to understand more of what we say to you now, and your unintelligible babbling sounds more and more like a direct attempt at conversation. When your daddy's napping with his back to you, you clamor over to him gleefully, climb up to peer over his shoulder, twist his ear in your hand and shout, "Eh?" repeatedly until he acknowledges you with a smile and a kiss, which makes you enormously pleased with yourself. If you look up at us and say, "Ha," we answer "Hey!" To which you then respond with another, "Ha," and we reply with "Hey," until eventually someone gets tired of the monotonous exchange (it's usually you -- we'd be happy to keep "hey"-ing you for hours). The day's not far off when we can simply ask you what you want for dinner or where you want to go on a Saturday afternoon, and you'll tell us. And that simple fact makes our eyes blur with amazement and gratitude and pride.
As our internet friends know, we recently went on a trip to Wisconsin to visit some family and friends. It was your first real outing in cool weather, and you acquitted yourself nobly. Stroller rides made you tremendously happy, the cool breezes tickled your funny bone, and the colorful leaves captivated you. Although the trip was a bit of a strain for a number of reasons (almost all of them travel-related), I can't regret for one second the fact that we went. Since you were born in the wintertime, and have now been through spring and summer, autumn is your last "new" season, and you're handling it really well. Fall looks good on you.
It's hard to imagine that you've now been in our home and our arms for as long as you were carried within me. In fact, it's hard to imagine any time at all that took place before you came into our lives. My memories of the world "pre-boy" seem faded, as if you brought vividness to our days with your arrival.
It's 8:30 now and you've been in bed for an hour or so. I miss you. I always do. I miss your tiny new self, the one I held for the first time nine months ago today. But your chubby current self is every bit as charming, even though now that you're more active, it's tougher to hold onto you in my arms. The skin of my neck and chest is covered in tiny scratches from your sharp nails (which feel like itty bitty knives no matter how frequently I pin you down to trim them). I don't really mind, though. Because you and I both know you already hold my heart in your hands anyway.
I love you.
Be a good boy.