Super Eight

Maddi turns both 35 weeks and eight months old today. I know I say this every month, but it’s hard to believe she’s this old. There are still days when I wake up assuming as I always have that I’m footloose and fancy-free, and then remember, “Wow, I have a kid.”

And what a kid she is! This month, Maddi got her first two teeth and is thisclose, I think, to cutting two top incisors. She’s pushing up on all fours and crawling a few shaky steps at a time. She’s also got a very handy new skill — getting back into a sitting position from crawling (or at least trying to crawl). She simply tucks her leg in toward the other and pushes back onto her bottom. Maddi can also pull into a standing position from sitting if she’s got something good to hold onto, such as Mommy’s hands or a Rubbermaid bin. Thankfully, she’s a cautious baby and has not expressed any interest in cruising. Between that and her two-steps-at-a-time crawling, we are probably the only parents of an eight-month-old who haven’t had to babyproof yet.

This month, Maddi began eating all kinds of fun foods: chicken, peas, pears and bananas. She loved chicken and bananas, liked peas, but was not so fond of homemade pears. (Gerber pears apparently passed the taste test, though.) She also had a touch of flu for a few days, which necessitated the early and not-on-schedule introduction of garlic, which went over about as well as the homemade pears. And here we thought we’d never find a food this baby wouldn’t open her mouth for!

In terms of cognitive ability, Maddi figured out this month that when we hide one of her omnipresent Roll-Arounds balls underneath a blanket, it’s still there. She knows what to expect when we cover our faces, and she knows that in her little book, “Where is Baby’s Belly Button?”, the belly button is under Baby’s shirt. The past few days, she’s even taken to covering her face with a blanket and then yanking it down with a gummy grin.

Her vocabulary is expanding as well. While she started babbling in November, it didn’t really pick up until the last week or so of December, when she began to say “ba-ba-ba-ba” while rolling on the floor and “Mama” in the crib and “Dada” in the car. We’re pretty sure “ba-ba-ba-ba” doesn’t mean a thing, and “Mama” and “Dada” are up for debate. But she’s definitely said “cat” a few times and mispronounced it a few dozen. She also understands quite a bit of what we say.

If we ask if she wants food, she flaps and starts yelling “Mmm, mmm, mmm!” If I ask, “Where’s Daddy?” or say, “Look, a cat!” her eyes shoot toward the doorway. If I ask, “Do you want Mama?” nine times out of 10 the little one puts out her chubby arms to be picked up. “Wave bye-bye” is another one she definitely knows, although she often reminds us she’s not too keen on performing like a little circus monkey. Other commands she obeys every time — she figured out several months ago that “No biting” means babies who bite get cut off from their food supply. And this past week, when I say “No pulling hair,” she’s actually begun loosening her grip on my ‘do or the cats’ fur before I have time to start prying the strands from her mitts. And for the past two nights, while drawing her bath, I’ve been able to stave off in advance her usual pleas for me to return to the room by telling Maddi, “Mommy will be right back; it’s time for your bath!”

Last but not least, Maddi has gone from two naps most days to one, which is not as bad as it sounds. When she was a twice-daily napper, each of those naps lasted 30 to 45 minutes — just enough time for me to use the bathroom, eat and run a brush through my hair. Now, our little one often enjoys an hour to 90 minutes of napping at a stretch, meaning I can luxuriate in usable spare time at least once before 8 (provided she takes her nap).

Who knows what the next month will hold? Maddi’s working very hard on all her skills and I’m nearly positive those new teeth are almost here.

On those rare days when I wake up feeling well-rested rather than to the sound of crying, and forget for a groggy minute that I’m an indentured servant to a tiny bald slavedriver, it’s mindblowing to think we’ve had her for eight long months. After all, it doesn’t feel like I’ve done a thing since May. But when we look at how big our daughter’s gotten and how many milestones she’s passed, it’s hard to believe it’s been only eight months. If only adults experienced life as fully as babies do!

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