I realized that I haven't really been great about recording what life with Eli has been like lately. This is mostly due to how much and how rapidly he is changing. It surely keeps me on my toes. It feels like every week he is a new child, and every growth spurt means finding a new rhythm all over again. I'm recording this mostly for my own records, so if the nitty gritty of our day to day is boring to you then skip this one. ;)
Elias is now 9 months old and seems to be turning from baby to boy before my eyes. Each day he blossoming with more personality. He has developed a sweet sense of humor and a joy with the world that leaves me both misty-eyed and rolling with laughter on the regular.
Another big change is that he has gone from rolling to crawling to pulling up and cruising the furniture in a very short time. Now, he loves to pass the time walking up and down the driveway and around the house with his push walker. With a tentative yet proud look etched on his face and a determined foot in front of the other, he's exploring the world in an entirely new way.
With new mobility comes the new responsibility for us as parents to teach him what is good, acceptable, and safe to touch or not touch. We had a number of people scoff at us for trying to communicate with an 8/9 month old child, insisting that he was too young to understand. But we have seen it work with a number of our friends and their children, so we were persistent and consistent.
We would show him that ball is yes. Dog food bowl, no. Power strip, danger! He's shown great restraint and obedience already with "no touch, crawl to mama/dada". Elias can be making a beeline towards the shiny trash can and will stop in his tracks and turn around if we say "no touch!" We make efforts to keep the dangerous items out of reach, but are focusing on teaching him to choose to avoid objects rather than relocating or redirecting him. This avoids the constant "game" of crawling towards something to get mama's attention. But when in doubt, baby gates come in handy.
Since verbal skills tend to come long after comprehension and the desire to communicate, we have decided to try out baby sign language. Eli is successfully signing "more" for food and can do high-fives and wave as well. We are working on please, all done, thank you, and milk.
Meal times have gone from exciting to frustrating to very enjoyable and sweet. Initially, Elias was excited by the novelty of food and was all about the purees. I have made my own baby food to save on cost and know what is in each thing, but mostly because I enjoyed cooking for him. (By cooking, I really mean throwing things in the steamer then blending them, but close enough.)
By the time he was signing well and really getting good at eating his food from a spoon, he was ready to move on to more finger foods. Initially things became a bit more challenging. I'm so glad we didn't start off with the whole finger foods/baby led weaning method because it's so much harder to control and teach self control at that point. For about 2-3 days, there was a good deal of mess but he quickly got the hang of it. Now, he is able to sit contentedly and pick foods out of his jar or plate and eat without throwing/smashing/screaming when we go out. It's such a blessing! He now basically eats everything we eat and is putting his two teeth to good use.
Each day he is learning new sounds. He can say mama, dada, daddy, hanana (Hannah is his nanny), baba, yaya, nana, and an assortment of raspberries and squawks. His new favorite game is to place his hand on my mouth and mine on his and move both back and forth so we make a bah-bah-bah sound in succession. He giggles like crazy every time. Other new favorites are playing with his cars and trains, swinging, going down the slide BY HIMSELF oh goodness big boy, and "walking the dog".
When it comes to his Dada, Eli is his biggest fan. After one weekend where we got an exceptionally generous amount of time with Jon, Eli became ob.sessed. Now he goes about the house calling for Dada in the mornings and checking repeatedly under the comforter on Jon's side of the bed. He gets so sad when he realizes that Jon is at work and loses his mind with glee when Jon comes home in the evenings. He's a darling little mini-Jon and I melt every time I watch them together.
As far as day-to-day life goes, this is a typical day for Eli now:
Wake up around 7-7:30
Nurse, diaper, get dressed for the day
Open the in the house blinds and say hello to the world/birds outside/cars/Mac
Breakfast and jazz music together
Playtime until diaper change and nap at 9am
Wakes at 10-10:15, nurses and diaper change
Playtime with Hannah (MTW) or I play with him
Lunch time at 11:30-12
More play time or a walk until diaper change and nap at 2pm
Wakes up at 4-4:15, nurses and diaper change
Playtime and helping mama cook (aka playing on the floor near me)
Dinner with us at 6:15
Playtime until bath at 7-7:15
Pj's, story time, prayers, nurse and bed by 7:30pm.
Hopefully I can update more regularly, but if not, it's because I'm too busy soaking up every precious moment I can with this little guy.