Hello my 8 month old boy! My Big Chompers. My Poop Machine.
I recently reviewed your newborn pictures and discovered something alarming. You were not that cute. You had baby acne and baby-patterned baldness. You didn’t know how to smile. This raises serious questions about my own objectivity since I distinctly remember wondering how my newborn got so adorable. I also remember your father commenting at 5 weeks the he was afraid you had peaked for cuteness. In retrospect, this is insane. So while I want to report that, at 8 months, you are the cutest and always getting cuter, I cannot honestly assess the situation. To my eyes you are dangerously good looking, but in reality you might be a troll.Your nanny, Kenesha, says you are "very advanced at eating." I'm sure that's code for, "a little piglet." You love food. You devour sweet potatoes, grilled zucchini, bagels, blueberry pancakes, cherry tomatoes, cheese and avocado toast. In most cases you take the Cookie Monster approach to eating -- fistfuls of noms head toward your mouth, 10% consumed, 90% turned into directionless projectiles. Sometimes it seems that all we’ve done this month is eat and bathe.
We’ve been taking the baby led weaning approach to food (a poor name for “give your baby food and let them eat it” -- we are by no means weaning you off of breast milk) and I cannot recommend it highly enough. However, I am no longer able to quietly snack around you -- as soon as you spot anyone eating, you unleash a chorus of whines until all food is shared. What a little communist. On one occasion you dive bombed your dad’s hamburger. Another time you stared so hard at a stranger on the subway as he munched on peanuts that I felt I had to apologize for the death glares being sent his way.
You are now capable of sitting in a highchair at restaurants which has opened up scads of brunch options for your dad and I (no longer restricted to the occasional NYC venue big enough to house your stroller). Your happy to accompany us for the small fee of a croissant here, a fried potato there.
You’re not talking yet but, perhaps in preparation, your mouth has become very active (even when not eating). You’ve learned to smack your lips to produce a satisfying popping noise. You move your little mouth around like a ventriloquist dummy -- all motion and no sound. You bababa and dadada. No mamamas yet, which I hear is to be expected.
You’ve become a screamer -- gleefully screeching like a little baby car alarm. I constantly have to reassure others that you’re not upset, just loud. I worry that our neighbors are unamused.
When I come home from work you attack me with opened mouthed drool-y kisses. Your lips banging against my cheek, head shaking back and forth, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” you shout.
All of the kisses are for mom but the guffaws are all for dad. That dude cracks you up without even trying. In the morning while you’re nursing in bed you crane your head back to gaze at him and giggle till the milk dribbles out of the corner of your mouth.
You are full of motion. You, "throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care." You flap your arms about in glee. Your little fists playing open/shut them on repeat. Drool streaming down your chin and soaking the front of your shirt. You absolutely Do. Not. Care.
You like to hold the outsides of my palms while I clap. You LOVE when I grab your palms and help you clap. Everything is worthy of celebration.
You’re showing your first real interest in books beyond tasting the corners just in case books turn out to suddenly be edible. You reach out while we are reading to grab at the pictures and slap your palm at the characters faces. Your favorite book, by far, is Carry Me. Your dad and I joke that you view the 10 pages with pictures of babies being carried in different ways (in a pack, on your back, etc.) as more bible than story. A convenient list of suggestions for ways your parents might consider executing the sacrament of carrying. You reach your own arms up out of the jumperoo or your crib -- jazz hands screaming, “Carry me! Carry me! Carry ME!”
My constant lesson is to focus on appreciating you as the baby you are today rather than panicking that you won't ever be this little ever again. It’s difficult at times. I don’t quite understand moms who want their baby to meet his milestones early. Being an advanced crawler doesn’t seem worth rushing through babyhood. I am much more worried about not having time to savor your babiness than I am concerned about having a gifted child. As much as I loved you as a newborn I am consumed with you as a chubby bundle of baby. I want to eat you. I cannot kiss you enough. I whisper in your ear as you nurse, "You're my baby. Mama loves you. Mama loves Casper."