9 Months On The Outside

It's that time again. Another month has passed and our little Billy Bear is 9 months old. God, there is really something about 9 months. It sounds punchy when I say it. It just sounds big. It's almost like the next biggest milestone before the big 1. I really genuinely cannot believe that my little 7 pound 12 oz newborn is a 9 month old little boy. It means he's as old as I was pregnant. That means we have been together for eighteen months. That is surreal. The fastest eighteen months of my life. He has a personality, he's cheeky, he's a messer, and I don't think love is a strong enough word to describe my feelings for this ray of sunshine. He is everything. 

The day we took him home from the hospital. Our real life doll. It feels like a lifetime ago. He's a real little boy now. Happy, surreal, beautiful memories. 


So what is he doing these days? (Besides being the star of a You Tube Channel.)

He's desperately trying to crawl. That's probably the biggest thing about this stage. He's at the point now where he sort of jumps on to all fours, rocks back and forth and inches his little legs forward, and just at the point where you think he's going to move his arms and make his way forward, he flops. This happens a couple of times until he eventually starts to get annoyed. It must be terribly frustrating, the poor love. It's like he knows that crawling is a thing. He's watching us move a lot faster than his backwards pushing, and yet he can't quite get there just yet. I would be very surprised if this time next month our little rascal isn't crawling around the house giving me grey hairs. The fun really starts when they start to crawl, so I've heard. AAAAGH! 

He's mad to walk. If you hold his hands and walk he walks like he's been doing it his whole life. It's adorable. The walk gives us all a great laugh because he walks as if he's wearing high heels. It's the most hilarious thing to watch. He takes big dramatic strides and points his foot really prominently. It's the look of pure joy on his face though. There is nothing like it. The second you even hint at helping him "go for a walk" he starts to laugh and smile, and makes the cutest sounds of excitement. I have a feeling he'll be an early walker, but like everything I'm probably a million percent wrong and he will do everything in his own time. Sure wasn't I certain that he would be an early teether? And that brings me to my next point quite nicely.

Teeth. Where? Billy has zero teeth. Can you believe that? It's actually no big deal and plenty of babies don't get teeth until they're closer to 1 years of age, but I still can't believe it. Every time I meet another mother or father with a baby the same age as Billy it makes me laugh so much. The conversation usually goes something like this.

Them - "how many teeth does he have?"
Me - "He actually has none yet. He's a little gummy bear. How many does your baby have?"
Them - "6 the last time we had a proper look"
Me -"SIX?????"
Them - "Please stop shouting...".

I'm looking at it as a positive thing though. It means I get more time with my little gummy baby. Holding on to the baby if you will. He'll have teeth by the time he's in secondary school! 

In terms of sleep, things have greatly improved. Not that they were terrible in the first place, but you know what I mean. As I write this he's going through a particularly bad bout of teething (I actually really and truly believe he will cut a tooth in the next week) so his sleep hasn't been great for the past two nights. But even at that, those "bad" nights are far better than they were previously. On a good night now he'll be asleep in his cot (in his own room) by 8pm. He might stir once or twice for his soother, but won't properly wake until about 1am for a feed. This is his only night feed. And it's no biggie at all. He wakes, I go in to his room and feed him lying on the bed beside his cot and he falls asleep straight after. I then transfer him to the cot and he should then sleep till 6ish. Sometimes 6.30 or 7am. Either way Peter usually brings him in to me in bed at this point. It is usually around the same time that Peter is getting up for work so myself and Billy have a little cuddle (I say cuddle, but really it's a succession of me trying to cuddle Billy while he couldn't be clearer about the fact that he wants to get up and start the day) and then I feed him in the bed before we get up. That's great going, so long may it last. As I said we still get the odd night where he also wakes at about 4am and it can take a bit of time to get him back to sleep, but we do it in turns and even those nights are manageable. It's all going in the right direction and that's great for everyone involved.

As for naps - these are a bit touch and go. For a while there he had developed this amazing habit of taking a 1.5/2 hours nap at some point in the day, and he would sometimes do this twice daily on some occasions, but lately his naps have been less settled. He'll go for a nap about two hours after we wake up (or get up), which is usually about 9.30/10am. This nap could be anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half. But more often than not he will wake prematurely and I'll have to resettle him back to sleep. It only takes a second so it's not a huge deal, but I'm hoping he'll develop a more settled nap routine where he has longer naps. I find that after a good long nap he is in great form, has loads of energy, and actually does sleep better at night. It depends on the day, but usually he will have two or three naps. Personally I'd prefer the two longer naps instead of three shorter ones. The longer naps give me time to get house work done, prepare his food, make myself look presentable and actually sit down with a cup of coffee before he wakes. We are both happier and more energised. 

                            I think prams have magical sleepy dust inside them.

He's now officially in 9-12 months clothes. Truth be told, he really should have been in this size many weeks ago. I think I was clinging on to the 6-9 month stage because it felt more... baby? There is something so grown up about 9-12 months. I think it's the mention of the "12 months". The last proper baby stage or something. I don't know, I just found the whole thing really difficult. I put it on the long finger and finally caved last weekend when I realised that it was officially cruel to dress my baby in tracksuit bottoms that appear to be shorts when he sits down. He now has a lovely new 9-12 months wardrobe, and I have the task ahead of me to sort his 6-9 month clothes. I'll keep the sentimental/special items as well as some favourites in case we have another boy in the future and the rest will be given away to friends or to charity. I find it very hard to part with any of it though. It's so emotional!

                                    

Rocking a 9-12 month outfit. This was a calm happy moment. However, just minutes before he was trying to dive off the change-table as I tried to change his nappy. I think our days with the change table are numbered now to be honest. It's just getting too dangerous and the risk of him rolling, jumping or dancing off it is too high for my liking. High being the operative word. He is also, as you can see, clinging on to the nearby piece of fruit. Namely, a mango. I don't usually store my fruit beside the nappies, but this happened to be the sunniest part of the kitchen that day and I was trying to ripen them up.

Speaking of food, the boy is a bottomless pit. He is unreal. On two occasions this week friends have said to me "he wouldn't eat all of that would he?" and then watched in awe as he did so without any bother at all. He just loves food. All of it. He's great for eating fruit and vegetables, loves meat, recently discovered raisins, and I'm still making 99% of his food. I really enjoy preparing his meals and I actually find it to be a relaxing experience. It's a bit holistic or something. 

                                                

A typical day would be something along the lines of porridge with raisins and cinnamon for breakfast, cheesy vegetable fritters with fruit and yoghurt for lunch (or something like stew, baby minestrone, pasta or baby chicken curry) and then dinner could be anything from red pepper and chickpea puree with added white fish (that's what he had yesterday), mashed potato with mashed carrots and chicken or fish, or a "makey uppy dinner" (as my mam would call them) such as today where he had baked beans (the sugar-free ones), cooked ham, grated cheese and roasted butternut squash all mixed up in a bowl. He loved it. For on the go, I make handy finger foods such as these vegetable fingers. They are packed with vegetables and combined with some light herbs, egg and flour. They freeze well and are really handy to take out of the freezer to leave defrost for the next day when you will be out and about. They work well hot or cold. 

                     

Then there is the milk. We're still breastfeeding. I'm just going to come out and say it - I am so so happy to be breastfeeding at this stage. I never in a million years thought that we would get to three months, never mind 9 months. It has been such a special experience, not to mention the easiest thing in the world and FREE. His milk feeds have drastically decreased in recent months though. He just loves his food so he fills up on that which is brilliant. He also drinks water with all of his meals. At the moment he has four breastfeeds in 24 hours. Morning (about 7am), middle of the day (somewhere between 2pm and 4pm) and then bed-time at 7.30pm. Then there is the one night-feed which is usually at about 1am. It's hard to believe that a couple of months ago he was feeding every 2.5/3 hours. It's been a really natural transition and he has completely taken the lead. It just feels very instinctive and I couldn't be happier to still be feeding my little man.

                                             

We are out and about as much as ever these days. Every Friday we do Baby Yoga and we love it. We also go swimming in Cheeverstown. It's a lovely family day out. The pool is lovely and warm and Billy has a ball. This is last weekend after his swim. His little tired eyes. He was out for the count once the engine started running in the car. 

And that's a wrap. I'm loving being home with Billy. I'm currently searching for a part time job. Three days a week would work well for us as a family. But until then I am cherishing every moment at home, and enjoying my love affair with the washing machine. We see a LOT of eachother these days. 


                                     


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