Monday, July 14, 2008

Anna Dumpling, Age Nine Months

Oh Anna Kathryn of my heart. You are nine months old today.

Your black eye shines back at me, not managing to shadow the intense sparkle of your blue eyes. Your brother Ben figured out that he could pick you up yesterday, and shortly after, you learned you could take a nosedive to the floor and land on your face.

And you smile, "a grin with limbs," still, finding joy in small things like a long lost pea or a plastic bag, finding ecstasy in fireworks and brother hugs. Your voice is deep and husky, and your chuckle and laugh doesn't quite escape your chest, though it rumbles and shakes your body with mirth.

Daddy loves how your personality is shining through. Ever the Mama's girl, you are stubborn and determined to get what you want, and now that you can crawl, you don't let anything get in your way. Put you in a room full of people, and you'll be smiling and gurgling at everyone, but only if you are being held by one of three people — Mama, Daddy or Nana. No one else will do.

Developmentally, we are starting to notice waves when you see people. You've mastered the commando crawl, and on certain surfaces, you do a modified monkey walk, one knee and one foot. No teeth yet, but that doesn't stop me from serving you peas, corn niblets, carrots, raisins, green beans, graham crackers, etc. You rake it all into your mouth eagerly, and you pulverize them with your gums.

You still don't sleep through the night, but for the most part, you are willing to get shushed back to sleep only every two hours, requiring only one night feeding now. You sleep in the big white crib in the dining room now, so when you nap during the day, I try to keep Ben in our bedroom with a movie, because if he sees you in the crib, he wants to join you and entertain you.

You two are so incredibly cool together. He's generally willing to let you maul him with your pinching fingers and your slobbery mouth. He in turn loves to coo at you and find ticklish patches of bare skin. He brings you his toys and balloons, though he sometimes pulls them away quickly to assert his dominance. Never mind, you love him completely, enthralled by his activities and exploits.

I'm coming to the end of my little sojourn into part-time employment this summer, and I'll always remember how much fun we had on Friday mornings when your Daddy would drop you off at work for a few minutes, and I'd steal you away to the lactation room. I'd nurse you in privacy, feeling like I was the luckiest woman in the building, luxuriating in your soft skin and warm body pressed against mine, while everyone else in the world was relegated to that cold, sterile "adult" world with spreadsheets and campaigns. Afterward, we'd walk back to my cubicle to call your Daddy, and you'd right away grab for any stray papers I had left within reach.

If I would let you be in a room alone with your favorite toys, I'd come back to see you wrapped up in Mardi Gras beads, tissues pulled one by one from the box and strewn across the floor, soggy bits of paper that you had chewed and spat out, balloons wet with your saliva, books with your favorite pages ripped out, and laptop cords snaking a path through the whole glorious mess.