Last night I snuck into Ben’s room after he fell asleep so I could scoop him up and snuggle him when he wasn’t trying to wiggle off my lap. I think that pretty much describes what 9 months is like: active, wiggly, exploring, but still my baby for a little while longer.
At Ben’s 9 month check up today, he weighed in at 18 lbs 15 oz and was 28 inches long (25th percentile for both). His head is 18 inches (50th percentile). His growth has slowed down a bit but he is well within normal range. The doctor gave us the go ahead to add cheese, yogurt, and meat in Ben’s diet (already there Doc!) and said he’s pretty much perfect. Yup! We think so too!
Ben tries new foods almost every day now. He adores puffs and Cheerios and will eat them by the (adult-sized) handful if we let him. We’ve graduated to carrying a small container of puffs in the diaper bag for emergencies. Ben is starting to figure out the pointer finger/thumb small motor pinch to eat finger foods so he has tried black beans (squished a little to make them easier to chew), small pieces of cheddar cheese, noodles, and cubed and sautéed veggies. The only thing we’ve tried that didn’t go very well was peas but I think they were just a little tough for him to chew. He inhales graham or mum mum crackers quickly now instead of squishing them all over his face, which is a nice change. I try to feed him either two full, small jars of fruit and veggies or a “meal” type baby food with some finger food or fruit on the side. Ben’s favorite meal foods are the sweet potato turkey or chicken and rice varieties. He eats best if B feeds him but that’s usually not an option, even for dinner since B works late most nights.
Ben sits like a pro and has started to reach for things from seated or on his tummy and gets frustrated when he can’t get to them. I’ve seen him army crawl only once but he has an odd combination of rolling, redirecting and scooting that he uses to get around. He fully extends his arms now when he’s on his belly but hasn’t figured out that he can move forward if he coordinates his arms and legs. I’m ok with letting him wait though since he already gets around the living room pretty well. I’d like to enjoy this stage a bit longer before he figures out how to crawl into other rooms of the house!
Most days our living room looks like a tornado went through; Ben pulls all of his toys out and spreads them all over. He’s even been known to roll over to the Bumbo and pull out the tray to play with as well! I often wonder what he’s thinking when he picks out which toys to play with. He is pretty happy playing by himself most of the time but loves to wrestle and bounce on our laps whenever we give him the chance. B installed Ben’s swing on our playset outside and that’s one activity that never fails to put a smile on Ben’s face. He giggles and giggles when we push him in it. Ben is also really ticklish and it’s not too hard to get him laughing by tickling him around his ribs.
Along with sitting up came a bunch of changes to what gear we’re using. We switched out his infant car seat to a convertible, rear facing seat (the Cosco Apt 40RF) and like it a lot. It’s a bummer not to have a place to hang toys from so on long car trips we keep a few small toys stored in the pockets of this seat protector to hand him when he gets whiney. I keep the same toys in the diaper bag to hand him while grocery shopping because now he sits in the cart! One of the grocery stores near us got brand new carts earlier this year so we tend to go there just to have the easy to use seat belt and the shallower cart. We also had to switch out the stroller since we had been using the frame that goes with an infant car seat. We picked out the Joovy Kooper in candy apple green (I can’t find it sold anywhere so maybe Joovy isn’t making it anymore?) and we’d recommend it even though there were a few things we’d change if we could. The worst part about the transition was we went from a stroller with a parent organizer tray on the handle and a giant storage basket (not kidding, the basket area on the Jeep Car Sear Carrier is humongous!) to a soft, zippered pocket on the back of the stroller, no good cup holders and an itty-bitty basket under the seat. There really isn’t much that can be done about the basket size but I knew there had to be a solution for my storage needs. I found the Skip Hop Grab & Go organizer and love it so far! It fits much more than I expected and I love the convenience of two cup holders and the zip-off purse-to-go pouch. Having it has made our trips to the library, farmer’s market, post office, antique store, coffee shop, and garage sales much easier for me.
Ben has been swaddle blanket free for the last month with no relapses. At this point, he’d probably just get mad that he couldn’t move if we tried to use it. It takes him 10 minutes or less to fall asleep for naps and at night now. Whenever he goes to bed, we change his diaper, put on pants or a sleep sack during the day (it’s cold in his room until late afternoon), read between 2 and 5 books while he snuggles his burp cloth and pacifier, and then off to bed. The only difference between naps and bedtime is that he nurses before bed at night. He has gotten really good at sleeping until 7 or very close to it. There have even been mornings where I’ve woken up before him! I’ve only had to give him toys to play with once in the last few weeks (yesterday morning) and even then, he fell asleep with all of his toys around him. So cute! Ben figured out that if he rolls all the way to one side of his bed and pushes himself up with his arms, he can see across the hallway and into our bedroom. I can always tell when he sees me because he starts squealing!
One of my favorite times of the day is Ben’s post-nap nurse and snuggle. He nurses really well without being distracted right after he wakes up and is always in such a good mood after he eats. We usually sit together in his room for 10 minutes or so after he is done eating to snuggle, talk, tickle, and look outside at the trees through the windows. He loves to give me wonderful, slobbery, baby kisses after naps. Those tongue-out kisses make my heart melt a little.
I’ve put off changing the rise in his BumGenius diapers for the last month but I think it’s starting to be unavoidable. The diapers are just too tight across the tops of his thighs and are pretty low rise across his hips. Diaper changes are pretty routine at this point; we’ve even gotten used to dealing with the poop. I do miss the days when diaper changes didn’t feel like wrestling a wild animal into submission. Apparently it only gets worse! We keep an easy to wash plastic teether toy on the changing table to distract him during changes. I’m working on phasing out his 6 month clothes at the same time as pulling out his 12 month clothes. He’s already too big for his 9 month sleepers and one piece rompers and definitely can hold up 12 month shorts with his fluffy cloth diapered rear end. Most of his summer clothes that I had in storage are 12 month so it’s good that he’s getting closer to being able to wear them. Apparently I forgot about 12 month pjs though because I found only one pair in the box and nothing with long sleeves. I’m hoping to make it to the closest kid’s consignment shop before he completely outgrows his 9 month sleepers.