Baby / Family

Dear 9 Month Old Will

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Dear Will,

Where to start?  This month was busy busy busy and so were you.  When I think about how many hours you spent on planes and in cars this month, its no wonder that we can hardly keep up with you whenever you’ve had a spare minute to just play on the ground.  You are so used to being in motion that you just can’t stop!

I write this post as you sleep after we skipped your morning nap to visit your Nai Nai’s good friend in Falls Church.  You were such a little gentleman today, even as tired as you were.  That’s been the theme lately.  We’ve been dragging you here and there and everywhere, and I feel so grateful that you remain so cheerful and flexible even as you constantly meet new faces and sleep in strange places.  Hopefully soon things will slow down for at least a few months.

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I thought you were active before when you were just learning how to scoot around, but now its become an all-consuming task to keep up with you.  You love pulling up to a stand anywhere and anywhere and you’ve begun cruising along, holding onto the coffee table in our new apartment. If there is something higher up than you can reach, you try to climb up to get to it.  We’re constantly covering up sharp corners and catching you as you try to scale cabinets, but you seem pretty unfazed by all of your tumbles.

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You love playing with the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner and, if you hear running water, you crawl as fast as you can from wherever you are in the apartment to go find it.  Diaper changes have become an absolutely ridiculous endeavor now that we don’t have a changing table for you anymore. Most of the time I put your diaper on now while you are standing up playing with something and I often have to chase you around the room to wipe your little bum.

You are still quite the little Mama’s boy.  You’ve started giving me real kisses, though you haven’t quite figured out the whole puckered-lips thing.  Instead you just sort of lunge at my face, mouth wide open to cover me in drool.  I usually need to towel off afterwards, but I’d take a million and one of those kisses Will, they are so sweet.  If I leave you with someone in the living room, its only a few seconds before you begin crawling towards the sound of my voice or wherever you saw me last.  Even so, you’ve become quite comfortable meeting new people and you love hanging out with all of your grandparents and aunties and uncles.  You love when your grandfathers pick you up high in the air and you love when your grandmother’s get down on the floor to play with you.  When Daddy gets home from work you do your “excited dance” clenching and opening your fists and shaking your legs because you are so happy to see him.

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For so many months you were such a quiet baby, never doing all of the babbling sounds that the baby books told me you should be doing.  Now that we are in the US though and around English all of the time, you seem to be making many more babbling sounds, though you still understand some Chinese.  You don’t say any real words yet but you seem to understand quite a bit more than even a few weeks ago.  When I ask if you want to “go up” you put your arms up and try to repeat after me.  When you put your head down on my chest and I ask “Where’s William?” you pop your head up and laugh.  When I say “Daddy” or “Nai Nai” you look to the correct person.  I practice a few signs with you, just for milk, more, all done, but you have no interest in mimicking me yet.  You understand when we tell you to “come” towards us but that doesn’t mean you actually listen to us and crawl over.

A few weeks ago we met one of your grandpa’s friends in Charlottesville and she gasped when she saw you and said “those eyes!”

“I know,” I told her, “they are really blue aren’t they?”

“Oh no,” she said, “I’m not talking about the color, I’m talking about that look in his eyes.  That’s a man who knows what he wants and how to get it.”

“Oh yea honey,” she said, “you are in trouble.”

Since then, I’ve heard something similar from at least 3 or four different people (always women, interestingly enough).  It’s true.  You may be only 9 months old but you are already stubborn and determined.  You cry and pout when you can’t have what you want, and you would crawl across thin air if you could to get to the things that captivate your attention.  You are not yet even 1 year old and already you sometimes act like a toddler testing his limits.

I’d worry more if you weren’t so sweet.  You smile at just about anyone who looks at you and you love flirting with any woman who crosses our path.  You wake up every morning with a big smile on your face for everyone and at night you love to snuggle as close as you can to me, tucking your feet in under my rib cage and your head in under my chin to sleep.  I always try to give you more space for safety’s sake, but I always wake up to find you curled up like a little comma around me.  You sleep much better here in America for some reason, but it will be interesting to see how you do when we get your crib back and can put you in it again.

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For now, you are sleeping in a little nest on the floor for naps and in bed between us at night.  You have a habit now of crawling a little in your sleep so, as long as we don’t have a crib, its not safe to leave you out of arms reach at night.  We’ve determined that you love squishy soft, pillow-top beds.  In Wisconsin you slept for 6 hours straight for the first time ever while sleeping on my parent’s tempurpedic mattress.  Thank goodness they don’t make those for babies, otherwise I’d be so tempted to buy one no matter how ridiculous the cost.  6 hours of sleep!  Mama hasn’t slept that many hours in a row in over a year!

You still don’t have much of an appetite but you at least like the taste of strawberries, oranges, yogurt, apples, shrimp, pulled pork, meatballs, tomato sauce, broccoli, dumplings, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and bread.  You also like to gum on lettuce leaves even though you still have no teeth.  While you like tasting all of these foods, its rare that you actually consume more than one or two miniscule bites.  You just aren’t much of an eater yet, and that’s ok.  You are a long and lean baby who is just too busy playing and exploring to stop for meals.

This month brought so many changes, so much travel, and so many new sights and sounds and people for you, my darling baby boy.  I’ve been worrying about this period of upheaval for you since before you were born, but you’ve proven to me once again that you are far more adaptable than I could have imagined. If anything, you seem to thrive on new experiences.  That is a wonderful thing.  I hope you can learn to be content sitting still at some point, but I will also be so happy if you never lose your taste for the novel and challenging and new.

You are growing up so fast now my little man.  Just remember no matter how fast you can move and how far your little legs can take you away from us, your daddy and I are always here to hold your hands and catch your falls.  No matter how big you get, you will always be our baby boy.

I love you Will!


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