Wow. Nine months have passed since we greeted Kai, and that just sounds so old. When Kai was still brand new, I used to meet 8-, 9-, and 10-month olds who just looked so big to me. And now he's one of them. One of them who, according to his pediatrician, continues to be pretty big. At today's visit, he weighed in at almost 22 lbs (still 75th percentile) and we discovered that he is 29.5 inches tall - up to the 90th percentile. Our theory, based on his large hands and feet at birth, that he will take after my very tall, very lean Grandpa John persists based on this new data.
These days Kai loves sounds of all sort. Especially sounds he can make by banging, scratching, waving, rubbing, or otherwise manipulating multiple objects together. Pots, pans, spoons and yogurt container lids are way more exciting than any of his toys. Except books. He LOVES books. And he'll pull all of his books off the low shelves until he finds his favorites - Sheep in a Jeep, How Do I Love You, and Where is Baby's Belly Button being chief among them. He's even turning pages successfully at times now (at other times, his version of page turning looks more like grabbing the book by a single page and dangling it high in the air while singing to it). His absolute favorite book we reserve for bedtime - Love is a Handful of Honey - Kai LIGHTS up when he sees it and we love having this evening ritual together as a family.
We've been reluctant to think it true, but the more time passes, the more it seems he may actually know what it means when he says "mama" and "dada," which he's been doing for a while now. I finally decided to believe it today when I left the room for a moment and he frantically began moving toward my new location while intensely calling out, "mama!! mama!!!" He also waved at our pediatrician repeatedly during today's visit, and she told me we could "count" that as well. As posted previously, Kai also clearly makes the sign for nurse - both when he's hungry and also when he just wants me for whatever reason. Mommy = milk apparently, even when milk is not wanted. It's so funny how gradual the assignment of meaning seems to be with gestures and words, though. The signing was clear and obvious when it began, but the waving and the words - well, those were a much slower process. Things he did or said frequently that have become more discriminating with time. He's amazing. A wonder to watch unfolding before our always amazed eyes.
Kai's also loving food of all kinds these days. He usually just has some of our dinner - as long as it's in small enough pieces, he does fine and doesn't need it milled or pureed. He adored the lentil vegetable soup I made for dinner tonight. His pincer grasp is getting pretty reliable, so he is also getting good at feeding himself. Which can make for some messy meals.
I think that's most of what I have to report tonight. I'm a little sad and wistful that his time out of the womb will, from now on, be longer than the time he was with me so closely. It seems every day brings out new actions and experiences of his growing independence, which is exciting and also something I quietly grieve, so grateful for what now feels like the immense freedom and wisdom in deciding to be physically there for so much of his first year. I continue to love him more deeply than I ever knew was possible, even when he shrieks with horror because I've removed some tiny something from his hands that he picked up and really wanted to put in his mouth. He's such a miracle.
And...for the grandparents, and our friends who've been demanding more photos...here are a few. We're working on the video, but it takes ages to upload and with two tiny startup service businesses, well, time is a precious commodity these days, and when available, spent mostly with Kai.
These are from earlier today at the park. It was chilly, so Kai was nicely bundled in his very bright fleecey pants and oddly kind of matching sweater. He sits very well and happily on his own and has for some time, but suddenly at the park, he decided that it would be a fun game to lean against my hand and fall backward whenever I started to remove it - he would laugh and laugh. Which made me laugh and laugh. So we just kept going up and down for several minutes. Bob recorded it - that's one of the videos we want to get up sometime soon!