Nine Months: Stella

Stella turned nine months old yesterday. Which means that as of 1:31pm HST, she will have been out of my body as long as she was in it. It’s a bittersweet day is what I’m trying to say. On one hand, nine months is amazing, personality-wise; on the other, my baby so old!

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This month she got her second tooth. Two lone bottom teeth, working their way through whatever fruit I put within her reach. Well, pretty much anything within reach goes into her mouth: paper, skin, dog toys, dog fur. But food-wise, fruit is her favorite. She gnaws through a strawberry with those two little teeth without thinking twice about it. Wes’ coworker has a mango tree so we’ve been lucky enough to have fresh mangoes for the past few weeks and she’s been enjoying those as well. She’s come around to avocados, but carrots still get left behind. 

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The day after my mom left last month, Stella started crawling. First just a crawl here and there, but within days she was all over the living room. I’d set her down in front of her toys and go into the kitchen or bathroom and come back seconds later to find her standing up at the coffee table or trying to escape through the dog door. A baby jail might be in our future just so I can be sure she’s not embarking on some potentially disastrous adventure.
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She finds entertainment in all things movement. A few days ago she discovered the door stop at the front door and now she hightails it down the hallway just to flip it back and forth. In the evenings when we let Tsunami run around with the neighbor dogs she gets so excited watching them chase each other. Her arms flail and she squeals in delight and it is obvious that she can’t wait to be able to run around with them.

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Yes, she loves dogs, which is awesome but also a little bit frightening because she doesn’t understand that not all dogs are Tsunami. Some dogs don’t enjoy getting their ears pulled or being climbed on, which she does to Tsunami daily. Tsunami is the great family dog we were hoping for when we chose her breed. The biggest problem is that she doesn’t always realize how close she is to people, and Stella is no exception. Sometimes Tsunami will stand over Stella, or Stella will crawl under Tsunami and when the dog wants to leave, Stella gets knocked down. This is becoming less of a problem, though, as Stella gains more control of her body.

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Up until last week, Stella was taking two naps a day. But Friday came around and she couldn’t quite make up her mind on whether she wanted to sleep or stay awake and cry out of exhaustion. We’re transitioning to one nap a day and, let me tell you, it’s not a fun transition. I’m slowly figuring out when she wants to take a nap and when she just wants a quick snuggle and rest before heading back out to play.
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And speaking of sleep, now that she can pull herself up, bed time is not as easy as it has been. She now realizes that if she isn’t ready for bed she can stand up and scream and cry and, eventually, we’ll come back in to lay her down. At which point she’ll cry and stand up and the whole process starts over again. It seems like her bedtime can be pushed back a little bit unti she’s actually tired because then she just falls right asleep. Yes, I do realize how lucky we are.

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At her 9-month wellness check yesterday she weighed 17 pounds 2 ounces and was 27 1/4 inches. She was born in the 85th percentile but has fallen to the 35th in weight and height but our pediatrician didn’t seem concerned so we aren’t either. I suppose that having unchecked gestational diabetes means that your baby grows bigger faster but now that she’s on the outside and not being pumped full of sugary ice cream (seriously, so much ice cream last summer) she’s slowed down.
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Her head, though, is still on the large side of the scale (85th percentile)! For Father’s Day Wes dressed her and picked out a 12 month shirt that barely fit over her head, so from here on out we need to make sure all shirts have slitted necks or buttons. We credit the large head with all the things she’s learned so far: waving, clapping, high-fives (their slow and soft but we’ll take it), and kissing.

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Her hair is still crazy. Growing from the top but not much in the back. We barrette her bangs back so that she can see what’s going on. Her eyes are still blue and show no signs of changing (crossing our fingers), and her cheeks are still chubby (though not as chubby as we thought they would be considering both Wes and I were pretty chunky babies.

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At lunch on Father’s Day we sat next to a family who was in awe of how well-behaved Stella was. They were on vacation and had to leave their 8-month old at home because they knew it would be a miserable trip with her. Wes and I looked at each other and he said, “I can’t imagine leaving Stella for a week.” This kid is happy nearly all the time. We have a few moments of anger when she doesn’t get what she wants (pens, electronics, cords, basically all things dangerous) but then she finds something else and is all smiles again. Even at her worst, she’s still the best. We like to think that our parenting style is the reason for her calm demeanor (and maybe it is a little bit), but we know that we got incredibly lucky to have such an amazing baby. The further we get from her birthday, the less she is an extension of me and while that’s a little sad (for me), it’s so great getting to watch her personality develop. DSC_6620

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