Top 10

Maddi turned 10 months old today, meaning Chris and I have but a scant two months left to enjoy our little girl’s first year of life (and plan a birthday party befitting our wee one).

Maddi has had quite a busy month, adding four new foods to her diet, sprouting two more teeth, expanding her vocabulary almost exponentially, perfecting climbing and commencing cruising, and becoming more independent and assertive by the day. She’s grown 10 ounces and three-fourths of an inch, putting her just a few ounces shy of 20 pounds and just over an inch short of 30. At seven months, Maddi was in the 75th percentile for weight and the 50th for height, but she’s burned a lot of baby fat crawling and those numbers have flipflopped. Last month our little princess became longer than she is wide, at 50th for weight and 60th-ish for height, and this month saw the gap widen.

Now one would think that it is normal for babies to fall into different percentiles when they begin crawling, climbing and cruising, but consider this: most babies at her age are at the very least crawling, which would be reflected accordingly in the percentiles. But I have an explanation for this, backed up by the employees at the gym’s day care and the mothers of Maddi’s victims little friends in playgroup: Maddi is a very. Active. Baby. Oh yes! Turn your head for a second and she is not only across the room, but has climbed up the bookshelf and overturned several bins of toys.

While the other babies at the gym sit around contentedly playing with toys and munching on snacks, Maddi will grab a handful of Cheerios, crawl off, and eat them while she’s climbing the furniture and cruising from chair to chair. The general consensus is that she is a sweet and wonderful baby who just happens to be part tasmanian devil. She’s never content to sit and watch anything. Maddi must be an active participant. It’s go, go, go, 24/7 for this one. In fact, there are days when she’s up at 6 a.m. and doesn’t get any sleep until 8:30 at night or later. More days than a person might imagine, really. And since she won’t tolerate a playpen or activity center for more than a few minutes, most of these 14-odd hours are spent racing around the house and climbing various items of furniture. Is it any wonder why she’s thinned out so much?

Not that she’s not eating. This month, Maddi began dining on squash, egg yolk, cheese and beef (hmm, all together like that, it sounds like a pretty yummy quiche!). In addition to her beloved Cheerios and diced bananas, things she gets to occasionally eat by herself include bits of mozzarella, peas, small chunks of soft bread and, this past Sunday, little pieces of a pancake at Nana’s. So far, the hands-down favorite is cheese. No surprise there, since Chris and I certainly eat enough of it. Luckily, unlike last month’s rice and broccoli incidents, we got through this month’s introductions without any allergies to or hatred of the new food.

Our wee one’s new incisors are all the better to eat with. The sound of crunching Cheerios now resounds through our kitchen, and Maddi has discovered the joy of biting (and the agony of being scolded in gleeful mid-chomp). She now eats Cheerios about five at a time and gobbles up cheese as quickly as she gets it. As we suspected, once the long-suffering gums finally gave out, her teeth came in and looked enormous overnight. I still do a double-take every time I see our darling daughter’s no-longer-gummy grin.

Last month, I could list about four words Maddi said regularly. This month, in addition to “cat,” “Mama,” “Dada” and “more,” we have “kittycat,” “hi,” “ball,” “book,” “up,” “dog,” and her personal favorite, “no,” for a grand total of 11 words our wee one uses consistently, plus one instance of “bye-bye” and the ASL sign for milk. She’s put two words together on multiple occasions, saying things such as “Hi, kittycat,” “Hi, Dada,” and “Hi, Mama,” more times than I can count, screaming “No, no, Mama,” virtually every time I try to suction her nose or wipe her bottom, and uttering the phrases “Mama book” and “Bye-bye, Dada” once each. One of these days, her words may even be intelligible by someone other than crazy Mommy.

Intellectually, other than all her various words, she’s working hard at figuring out the world. She knows, for the most part, how to open the baby gate, if only she were tall enough. I attribute this mainly to my hubris in saying she’d take at least six months to work out how the gate is operated. Her knowledge of things that open and close is not limited to the gate. If the door to her room is almost shut, but not latched, Maddi will grasp the edge with her fingers, pull it out a few inches, and then swing it open and scramble out into the hallway. If the door happens to be latched, she will actually pull herself up and reach for the handle, apparently hoping each time that she has grown the required 6 inches or so needed to actually grasp and turn said handle. If she is being carried and happens to be near a door handle, she will actually attempt to operate it.

Maddi began this month to make kissing noises to call the cats to her, although it hasn’t worked yet because she’s still having trouble with the concept of “If you hit them and pull their fur, they won’t want to play with you anymore.” She also knows how to spin the turntable on her Roll-Arounds turtle without using the lever — which, I suppose, is so very two months ago. She simply gives the floor of the turtle toy a flip of her finger (very coordinated, we think, for a wee thing) and off it goes. Our daughter has figured out how to unsnap and remove her bib when she’s finished with her meal — and understands that it stays on while she’s eating. Unfortunately, she’s also figured out how to remove her clothing and has been caught more than once in her crib with either her upper body or lower body completely out of her unsnapped jammies. Clearly, somebody got her daddy’s personal thermostat!

It’s been a busy month, all right — not just for Maddi, but for everyone who watches her.

And here’s a shot of our 10-month-old tornado!

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