My oh my, Marshall! You are nine months old!

Nine months in, and now nine months out. You have been a part of our lives for a year and a half. Sometimes you still seem so new. I have to just stop for a moment and breathe in our household of three. It’s not just your daddy and I anymore. We finally have you here with us! Other times, though, it seems like you’ve always been part of our lives. When something as fantastic as having a baby happens to you, you come out on the other side of it a different person. You’re still you, but there’s an extra something to you now too. And it’s hard to connect with the person you were before. It feels as if this is the way things have always been. You’ll understand what I mean someday.

This past month with you has gone by so fast, Marshall. I feel like I was just writing to you about your eighth month of life, but here we are again!

You have, of course, continued to grow. Your tummy is plump, your tush is round, and you seem to be able to reach higher every day. We have to squeeze you into some of your 12 month clothes!

This past month you gained FOUR new teeth. Technically, they are still coming in, but they’re mostly there. So you now have four on top and still just two hanging out on the bottom. You were pretty much your normal self while teething. You only had one day of seeming a big “off.”

You’ve been sleeping really well–especially toward the latter part of this month. You even slept through the entire night on Friday. Unfortunately for us, we were too sick to enjoy it. Hopefully you’ll decide to do that again sometime soon and we’ll all be able to get a full night’s rest.

You are still fairly resistant to solid foods, but I suppose you do okay sometimes if you’re in the right mood for it. We’ve started giving you more purees because you seem to do better with them than finger foods right now. The only foods you eat on a regular basis are applesauce, mashed bananas, baby cereals, and Cheerios. We discovered just this past week that you also like to chew on strips of zucchini, and I think you might’ve actually swallowed a bit of it. Thankfully, you’re still nursing like a champ, so you get plenty of nutrition from momma milk.

We finally got around to doing some baby-proofing of the house, so you have a pretty large safe area where you can roam. You love to chase us around the chairs, and you have quite a few favorite toys that you like to drag all over the living room. You enjoy your blocks, balls, music center, color lizard, your Lettersaurus, and your stackable rings and cups. You also love to chew on shoes and books, though we are not too keen on those preferences of yours. Lately you’ve been sharing your toys with us by holding them up to our faces and inviting us to chew on them like you do. And we don’t have the heart to tell you that we’re past the oral stage of development, so we just chew away. You are such a sweet fella. Your favorite songs right now are “Wheels on the bus” and “ABCs.” When you were near hysteria in the car the other night, both of those helped calm you down. “Mary had a little lamb” and “Row row row your boat” made you scream louder.

Your favorite activities are standing and cruising. You do it all so easily now! You pull up on everything–the couch, chairs, our legs, the safety gates, your toy box, the stairs, and even the doors and walls. You squat back down to grab your toys with ease too. Sometimes you tumble, but it doesn’t slow you down for long. You hold onto things with one hand, and you have all the basics of walking down. You just need a bit more stability and strength in your legs, and you will be off!

Peek-a-boo is so much fun for all of us. You especially love playing it with your daddy at the table after dinner. Your laugh is just incredible. And contagious. One of my favorite times of the day with you is when I am undressing you for your bath. Every other time you are on the changing table you are as fussy as can be. But as soon as I start taking your clothes off, you know what’s coming, and you start grinning. And then the tickles begin! You are so ticklish all over. Your feet and legs and armpits and tummy. You flail your arms and legs around trying to block me from being able to get to all your tickle spots. Then when daddy has your water ready, you get a naked flight to the tub. Such good times.

You are still very vocal. You make a wide variety of sounds, including some pretty high-pitched screaming, but as far as I can tell you aren’t yet connecting any particular sounds with meanings. That doesn’t mean you don’t communicate with us, though. You are getting really good at letting me know when you want milk, and you understand the word and sign for milk even though you haven’t figured out how to make it back to me yet. The other words and signs you’re learning are drink, eat, more, please, thank you, no, and all done.

One bit of bad news this month. Your buddy Red had to find another home. I know you loved him, but he and the other two kitties couldn’t learn how to play nicely with each other. You seem to have turned your attention to Rupert now, though he’s still a bit scared of you.

This past month we visited a preschool that you will likely be attending starting in January. Assuming they are able to make a space for you in the toddler room, you’ll be starting there full-time in just a little over two months. We’re on a countdown, son. I am going to miss you so much!

Okay, let’s end this thing before I start crying.

I love you, babe.

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