Month 9

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January 30, 2014 by 8junebugs

Dear Grayson —

The months are speeding up on us, buddy. People are starting to ask what we want to do for your 1st birthday, and I’m like, “What? Wait. What?” (“People” = Auntie Bean, mostly. She wants to make sure she doesn’t schedule anything for Jack that might conflict because she wants to celebrate with us! You will learn that this just like Auntie Bean.)


Honestly? I’m excited about you turning 1 soon, but I don’t have daydreams about you diving headlong into a cake. Cake is not breastmilk, which means your reaction to it may be anticlimactic. It may not even be YouTube-worthy. (Daddy says, “You should tell him that YouTube is a web 2.0 video site.” Mommy says, “Web 2-dot-phbphbhtttt!”)* Then again, there are a few more months between now and then, and you do change your mind about things from time to time.

I do have daydreams, though. This month, it’s dawned on me in a much more real way that you’re a person who’s going to be part of my story for the rest of my life. You’ll have your own story, but you’ll also always be an epic part of mine. Someday, probably sooner than I think, you’re going to hug me and call me Mommy. You’re going to bake cookies with me. You’re going to sing with me and argue with me and ask me for help and hide out in your room. You’re going to grow up and not be a baby, but still be…here. With us. With me. Always.

It’s sort of jarring, at 36, when my story already feels so well established and bullet pointed and coordinated across platforms (one might say), to realize that I’ve just invited a choose-your-own-adventure plot shift into the narrative. Someone asked me, a while ago, what I was most proud of, and I realized I am now a parent and “My son” would be a totally appropriate answer. I don’t think I’m ready for that answer yet, though. Right now you are still so small and so brand new that putting you on a Pride Pedestal seems like a lot of pressure.

I’m still pretty proud of you, though. You can ask the other mamas who use the pumping room at my office. “How’s your little one?” they ask. “Mobile,” I say. “Also fast. How’s yours?”

Your progress both terrifies and absolutely delights me.

You are on the go this month, little guy. You are a speed demon on all fours and never miss an opportunity to cruise the furniture or our legs…or a wall. You are beating the hell out of your poor knees and have sustained several impressive knocks to the head from falling down or just dropping your head on the linoleum. When you’re on a mission to get to Over THERE, you callously toss anything in your way off to the side. You’ve had a few terrifying moments of standing on your own, but I don’t want to talk about those right now. I swear we can actually see you working out the mechanics of walking in your head (your “I’m workin’ this out” face is very easy to recognize).

I knew a few months ago that the time would come when I would call you Racin’ Grayson, and that time is here.


Now that it’s here, though, it seems like a dumb nickname. Oh, well. (“SpeedGrayson” is another contender.)

Pulling up to stand in your crib is now basically a reflex. It’s just what you do, if you find yourself awake in your crib. You don’t have to be fully awake — just a little bit awake will do. This has made for some rough nights, but I think we’re settling back into a somewhat reasonable pattern. I’m not crazy about you waking up at or before 5:30, but once you’re up, you’re up. (Ferber has some advice about changing this, but we haven’t tried it yet.)

You’ve started to hate your crib again, which is heartbreaking. I know it’s nicer to sleep cuddled with us, buddy. I’m looking forward to a time when it’s safer for you to sleep with us again, at least from time to time. You just move around too much during the night to safely stay in our bed, even with a rail. Daddy thinks it would be nice to nap together the way you used to, too, but…it’s weird. You’re reliant enough on your routine that sleeping somewhere else doesn’t work well, but you would prefer not to be set in your crib. And we can’t sleep in the glider, much as we wish we could.

Alas. You’re at a separation anxiety peak, kiddo. All we can do is love you through it.

You’re pretty much down to one nap a day most days. On a good day, that nap is two hours or more. On the other days, we’re lucky to get 90 minutes out of you before you’re up and out and playing Magellan across the top floor of the house. You’re getting the right amount of sleep for your age, but you really don’t want to do it during the day if you can help it.

Oh! Hey! You also hate your changing table right now. You scream and twist and roll and sit up and try to stand and get at the stuff on your dresser and OH MY GOD, CHILD, YOU NEED TO STOP. We’re supposed to have a little more time before we have to learn to change a diaper on the run.

I’ve got to tell you, Grayson — sometimes it feels like we already have a toddler who just can’t walk yet. I said that to your doctor at your check-up (after you outsmarted her attempts to distract you from grabbing her stethoscope instead of the toys attached to it), and she nodded sagely and said that’s pretty common for active 9-month-olds.

And then you peed on her. True story. But she opened up your diaper, so…you know. She knew the risks.

Rodney has responded to your current level of mobility with tired wariness and impatience in equal measure. He’s much more reachable, which he finds disruptive and a little annoying, but he also gets frustrated when you are clearly willing to play with him but don’t understand how Tug of War works. Still, he is the FUNNIEST and can make you giggle in a way no one else has managed. We get close sometimes, but he can get you going every time.

I think he might miss the days when he could safely hang out by your playmat, out of reach but still watchful.

In addition to squealing your head off when you’re happy and whining like WHOA when you’re not, you’re working on consonants again. “Mamama” is back in rotation, at least this week, as well as “fffffff,” “nth, nth, nth,” “bababa/puhpuh,”and “nuhnuhnuh.” I’ve heard what sounded like “dadada” once through the monitor, but Daddy thinks I’m making that up. Sometimes, your babble just comes out as a loudly sweet “eeeay, eeeay, eeeay,” and you seem utterly delighted with your ability to make different sounds.

New words you “know”: breakfast, coffee, bonk, come here/come get me, puzzle, Grayson/baby, blanky, giraffe, monkey (you’ve known this one for a while), snuggle (= sleepsack), and Yoda.

Yes. Yoda. If I say, “Where’s Yoda? Can you get Yoda?” this happens:

…and then you set him down and move on to something else. You don’t have a favorite toy or lovey, although you do like the routine of snuggling a blanky at bedtime.

I’m pretty sure you understand “no”; you certainly know when you’re doing something we’re about to stop you from doing (making a beeline for the back stairs, FOR INSTANCE). You’ll crawl a few feet, look behind you, make eye contact with one of us, grin, and take off at babywarp…then pause and repeat until we chase after you.

Earlier this week, you stayed up a little late and watched the beginning of your first State of the Union address, delivered by President Obama. You’re late to the party, but it makes us happy that you won’t ever know a United States that hasn’t had a black president. I hope it will seem like a very small thing when you’re old enough to notice, but it’s really, really not. (With any luck and a lot of work, you won’t know a United States that hasn’t had a woman as president, either.)

I have some qualms about the world you’re going to grow up in, Grayson — kind of a lot of them. Right now, today, it seems sort of important to let you know that there’s still a lot of debate in this country about what kind of society, what kind of culture we want to be, whether we want to be the kind of nation that eases the everyday burdens of its citizens or adds to them. It’s not obvious who will win, even though it seems obvious who should win. Let’s keep it simple for now, since you’ll probably read this before you get into a proper civics or economics class: A rising tide lifts all boats.


*I have no idea when you’ll read this, kiddo, but let’s just say that Mommy works in web and “2.0”seems like a million years ago already.


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