Annie was born on a sunny Tuesday morning in October, at exactly 39 weeks. Yesterday, on another sunny Tuesday, she turned exactly 39 weeks — nine months — old. She’s been on the outside as long as she was on the inside.
Yesterday felt surprisingly monumental and meaningful to me. I lost track of Annie’s age in weeks once we hit 12 (why were the weeks so easy to count during pregnancy, but so impossible to stay on top of once Annie existed in real life?), but I always had that date on my calendar so I would remember it. It seemed a lifetime away, though.
I think it feels special to me because it’s so rare to get to know someone for his or her entire life. We say we’ve known our childhood friends “our whole lives,” or that we’ve been in each others’ lives “forever.” But that’s rarely actually the case.
That’s part of what feels so special about getting to be Annie’s mom. I was the first person on the planet to know Annie existed, and I’ve had the privilege of being with her every day and night of her life so far. (Maybe I need to get out more, though?) I feel so lucky every single day to get to watch this girl grow, explore, and attempt the kinds of mildly terrifying adventures of a nine-month-old. It’s a massive responsibility, and one that I have grown to love so much. It’s still crazy that I have a child. That I’m a mom. That I am to Annie what my mom is to me.
And a note: Knowing your child from birth does not define parenthood. Not at all. There are so many wonderful ways to become a parent. In no way is “being the first” or “knowing you forever” a requirement. These were just some feelings I was feeling yesterday.
So much has changed over the past nine months. I think part of why I struggled during the first few months of Annie’s life was because I was trying to fit a newborn into the life I already had. I expected to do the same things at the same times in the same way, just…with a baby. I didn’t give myself space, freedom, and permission to create and embrace a new normal. I tried to force things to look and feel a certain way without starting from scratch. In hindsight, I wish I had shifted my perspective and considered how I could fit into Annie’s new world, instead of trying to squeeze her into mine.
Nine months, though. What a sweet spot.
Annie is so much fun right now. She’s always had a big personality, but lately it’s all laughs and giggles and squeaks and the occasional “word.” She says lots of “da da da” and “ba ba ba” and “ah-goo” and other noises only other babies understand. She gets excited to mimic and repeat sounds back to Brian and me. If we say “El-lie,” we can see her trying really hard to say it. And she usually comes pretty close!
Much like Tinker Bell, Annie craves applause in order to thrive. She loves clapping her hands, and especially loves when we clap our hands and say, “Yay!” She also randomly started throwing her hands up in the air when we ask, “How big is Annie?” How does she know she is “so big?!” (She’s not, though. She’s still a bit of a peanut for her age, and just moved up to size 3 diapers this week. But she’s happy and healthy and, as the pediatrician always says, “on her own little curve.”) She loves people, especially other babies, and her best friends are Ellie and the Roomba vacuum. She gets very excited when the vacuum turns on, and will sit and watch it, completely transfixed, for as long as we’ll let her.
Last month, Annie transitioned over to formula. (I was exclusively pumping for her, which I stopped doing when she was around 5.5 months old. The freezer stash I had saved got her to eight months.) She had reflux when she was on breast milk and never seemed to love it, but girlfriend loves her formula! I am so happy she loves it and that feeding her is no longer a struggle!
We started giving Annie solid foods at six months, but now she is really eating, not just playing with her food. She gets four bottles of formula throughout the day, and eats solids at breakfast and dinner, and sometimes gets a midday snack. She loves her morning “smoothie” (usually some combination of fruits and veggies, which she eats using this cool spoon), loves string cheese (and she usually hands a few strings off to Ellie, so everybody wins), and loves hummus. Hummus is her favorite food. Mealtime is very messy, as everyone warned us it would be. She also loves these peanut butter packets.
Annie is a great sleeper, which is really wonderful. She usually goes to bed around 7 PM and will sleep until 6:30 AM. She’s still on three naps per day, but she’ll probably transition to two fairly soon. (But I don’t like change!)
Annie had her first swim lesson, which she hated — she loves the water but was terrified of the instructor. Poor guy! He tried so hard to be her friend, but she was just not having it! She loves the swings, and she went on the slide with me for the first time earlier this week. She is constantly on the move, army crawling, trying to stand, and easily going from being on her stomach to sitting up. It’s crazy when I get her from her crib in the morning and she’s just sitting there on her butt, waiting and smiling.
She loves music and dancing, and isn’t content to just sit anymore. She wants to stand, wants to jump, wants to go. She also loves being around other babies and kids, which is so cute. She reaches out to touch them and laugh and look on in awe. Since she’s not in daycare yet, it’s fun to get her around other kids as much as possible.
Oh, and still no teeth! My mom jokes that I’ve insisted Annie is teething since she was like a month old. (If she is ever even remotely fussy, I say, “She’s probably teething.”) But no signs of anything really poking through just yet!
Annie’s dislikes include being on her changing table — changing her diaper is an adventure, because she just wants to roll over, constantly — and having her face wiped when she’s done eating. I am the worst, I know. Mean Mommy.
These are a few of Annie’s favorite things right now:
- This book. There’s no chill way to say it: Annie completely loses her shit when she sees this book. No matter where it is, no matter what other books are around, she always picks this one and just gasps at it in awe and adoration. I love that. I need to get it on video one of these days. (She also loves Baby Giraffe, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, and Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball.)
- These soft blocks. I build pyramids and towers, she knocks them down. And then wants applause.
- This caterpillar. We call it her “worm,” but it has lots of fun textures and sounds and she’s enjoying it these days.
- This toy, which is fun for when she’s playing on the floor, but also slides perfectly into the bar across her stroller, so she can play with it on the go — and I don’t have to worry about her throwing on the ground every two seconds!
- Her Jumperoo. We don’t spend as much time in it lately, but she still loves this thing. It’s a great place to put her when I’m getting meals ready or need to switch the laundry or something. Now that she’s mobile, leaving her unattended for even a second feels risky!
- For teething and chewing, Annie really likes these (which I keep in the fridge or freezer and then attach to her stroller with a pacifier clip) and this teether.
I say this every month, but I really do want to freeze time right where we are. It’s so much fun — but I know we’ve got some really good stuff up ahead!
Thank you for being a part of our extended family. I always swore I would stop blogging and sharing once I had kids but here we are. Still kind of blogging. Still over-sharing. And more grateful than ever for all the kind people in this world who have supported me and my family throughout all of it.