The little man is nine months old now, but don’t tell him. He thinks he’s just as big as the big kids. Don’t try handing him a rattle or a baby toy. He’s way too mature for that. If the big kids are playing with cars and trucks, Zachary plays with cars and trucks. If the big kids are playing with crayons and markers, that’s what he wants to do, too. I suppose it’s to be expected with a fourth child, but it’s funny to watch. He’s getting old enough to make choices about what to do, and mobile enough to bring those choices to fruition. He’s nine months old going on two and a half, so he fits right in with the big brothers who think they’re both six like Gracie. Don’t they know that Mommy already thinks they’re growing up too fast? Why rush things?
Zach is also starting to give up on baby food, especially when he’s being fed during a mealtime for the rest of the family. If he sees “real food” on someone’s plate, he starts fussing for it. So, with the exception of foods he shouldn’t have yet, we just chop it up really small and let him dig in. He loves meat loaf, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken, and whatever vegetables he’s tried. Last night he had a few bites of chicken quesadilla and loved that, too. I remember being worried about spices with Gracie, but at some point I read an article that in other parts of the world, babies and toddlers are fed ethnic foods from the beginning, and most do really well with them. I’d like my kids to be less picky than my husband and I were growing up, so I figure letting him try some bites (and, of course, watching to make sure the spices don’t bother him) is one way to break the cycle of being food wimps.
Zachary’s nine month checkup was scheduled at the same time as Gracie’s six-year checkup. We had a ton of errands to run that day, so all six of us loaded into the van and came along. We left early, hit two stores before the appointment, saw the doctor, dropped Daddy off for a work meeting, had a picnic lunch in the van, headed to Target for new backpacks for school (and one for the 2 1/2-year-old who’s not going to school but was feeling left out), picked Daddy up, got two windows at Home Depot, then went to pick up the rented backhoe to dig enormous holes near the foundation of the house so we can put windows in the new rooms in the basement. That list is such an example of how life has changed between my first child and my fourth. I remember barely being able to get Gracie to a doctor’s appointment on time, and it was our only thing on the agenda for the entire day. I don’t know if it’s experience or necessity (probably a little of both), but when we have a day out, we make it count now!
My big boy weighed in at 25 1/2 pounds. Not quite as big as Jack was at that age (26 lbs., 3 oz.), but still plenty big for a nine-month-old baby. The doctor said he looked like he was doing well developmentally, both with his communication and his motor skills. He’s healthy as a horse, even if he’s wearing me out by being up a million times a night. I’m still waiting on those teeth to pop through, and I keep hoping that they are the reason he’s up every two hours, all night long. Zach is horrible at soothing himself; I’m the first to admit that. But he’s not a huge fan of the binkie, he doesn’t suck his thumb, and while his blankie helps him settle down and know it’s sleepy time, it can’t do it on its own. So he screams. And because he screams loud enough to wake the rest of the family, I come running. It’s not ideal, but it’s where we are right now. I’ve been letting him work on soothing himself during naps this week (when no one else is trying to sleep), and after a few minutes he usually calms down. I’m hoping that bodes well for night time after the teeth are in. Please teeth, finish coming in. I’m tired!
There’s something about hitting nine months that makes me feel like the baby stage is starting to slip away. Maybe it’s that he was in my belly for nine months, and now he’s been out for nine months. Maybe it’s that his next checkup will be at his first birthday. Maybe it’s the whole “eat big people food, play with big people toys” thing. Sometimes it makes me a little sad, but then I look at the older kids and think about how much fun it is to have conversations with them, to see their likes and dislikes, and to know their personalities and their quirks. When I think about it that way, I get excited about my baby growing up. Just keep me away from teeny tiny baby clothes, and I think I’ll be alright.