9 Month Birthday

Nine months later. They say it goes fast. They say a lot of things. I can’t believe still that we survived colic without putting our head through a freaking wall. Even my dogs look road-tested now. Jax needed very little help in that department, but Tux looks like a bloated member of Poison and has this weird melancholy that hangs over him like he’s witnessed a handful of murders and had a five-year battle with chemical dependency. And he’s been working on hacking up a piece of rawhide that’s been logged somewhere behind his tongue and before his esophagus for well over two months now. As if I didn’t have enough annoyances in my life, the hourly sound of a beagle trying to dislodge something from his throat right smack in the middle of the living room is enough to fray every last nerve in your body. Keep your haz-mat suit handy because one of these days, he’s gonna give birth to that thing and it ain’t gonna be pretty. Jax just turns over one trash can and stands over it frozen in time with this miserable “I’ve been a bad boy” look in his eyes and you remember that Jax not only witnessed a handful of murders, but probably committed a few. My trust of that dog becomes less and less every hour. He’s staring at me as I type this. It’s creepy. He has the look of a killer. Like I owe him something. I thought beagles were lovable family pets. This dude’s a freaking sociopath.

Am I a crummy dad if I said that the last months felt like two years? Maybe it’s because, for a while, I was logging every dirty diaper on Raising Elle or maybe it was the marathon that I thought was a good idea training for while Ellison was on the come up. Not sure. One thing is true, though: Ellison’s growing up like a weed.

Remember the second month? Well, let me remind you.

That baby could pack a freaking punch. If you didn’t watch your throat, in a colicky fit, she could jab you in the jugular and have you seeing stars. I’ve never seen a ten-pound sack of flour move and fight like she did. She was a prize fighter even back at that tender age. Mama and I were reminiscing to that two-month mark the other day. Frightening days. If you’re here now with your kiddo, lemme go ahead and take this moment to assure you that it does go away. Go here for encouragement.

Then, she started turning into a little doll. One that we could dress up without her dissolving into some sort of furious rage. You could pose her and get her to smile on queue. She started packing on some of that awesome baby fat that made her so pinchable. This is our five-month snapshot.

Four months later, now, Ellison’s intent, quick-footed, sticky-fingered, lively and, best of all, precious as a lady bug. New problem is getting her to stay put long enough to get a picture. Here was the best we could scrap together this month.So what did we learn this month about nine month-old Ellison?

Let’s first look at where she should be developmentally:

Gets into a sitting position…The pediatrician did a test of Ellison’s ability to nail this during our Friday visit. She put Ellison on her belly. Ellison curled her legs and arms under her and she started tearing away in a crawl that would’ve made Earnhardt proud. The answer is, yes, she can get into a sitting position.

Pays attention to speech…Yeah. She doesn’t speak it yet, but she hears it and, in fact, sometimes responds to “stop” and “no.”

Explores objects…You don’t know the half. Will put it this way, anything not nailed down or glued down with some sort of high-strength adhesive is game for becoming a chew toy or missile.

Is shy with strangers…and family that she hasn’t seen in a while. Don’t be offended. When I shave she’s a little shy with me too until I start making farting noises…or just start farting.

Crawls forward on belly…We graduated from belly to hands and knees over one Nana visit. I think there was some coaching going on. More on crawling later.

Bangs two cubes together…This instead of clapping which she’s supposed to have down by now. She’ll bang anything together. One day I’m gonna sub in cymbals so we can get started on that music career.

Finds hidden objects easily…Depends on what you’re hiding and where. I asked her what happened to Lebron in the 4th quarter and she stared at me blankly.

Hands-and-knees position…Now preferred. And mobile in this position.

Let’s objects go voluntarily…We’re now playing the “thank you” in exchange for toys game. Not sure if that’s voluntarily since we’re rewarding her vocally, but she’ll hand you her favorite toy in the pile. Good sign.

Uses simple gestures…Hi, bye, up and keep the funk alive.Thought I saw “get off my back bumper” the other day, but turns out it was an accidental finger flick.

Finger-feeds herself…You betcha. And not always food.

Starts to walk…Been here for about a month now. She pulls up on anything that feels semi-sturdy. We’ve hand to put cinder blocks and rocks in a few things just to weigh them down. Her walk looks like my friend who sometimes has too much to drink and walks like he’s always in a perpetual state of falling down.

Says “dada” or “mama”…Pretty convinced that we’re hearing “mama.” No “dada” yet.

Fearful in some situations…Rarely. I mean, she’s almost fearless. There’s times where she has some uneasiness, but not really fearful yet.

Helps you dress her…More undress. A little disconcerting. You want your girl to be excited more about putting on her clothes rather than taking them off. She does a “naked dance” when getting ready for a bath. It’s cute, but that’s the only naked dance I want Ellison doing in her lifetime. She’ll put her arms through the sleeves, but still kicks so wildly that it’s difficult to get pants on sometimes. She’s cooperative with getting her diaper changed, but then again, who wouldn’t be? I mean, it’s either cooperate or where a pillow topped with feces against your butt for another two hours.

Ellison weighs 20 pounds and measured in at 28 inches which is good for about 75th percentile on both. I noticed that the pediatrician said the head was around 50-75th percentile and it dawned on me that she was rounding off to quarters and I thought that a 25% margin was a little generous. Could she not tell me if we were around 73% or 52%? Seems like she’s proportionate, though. I’m calling her a shooting guard right now.

Nine down. Approximately 891 to go.





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