You are nine months old and the world is your oyster. Everything you see is fascinating and new and an opportunity to explore and play. Well, except for other people. You do fine with family and the moms and kids that we play with, but should a stranger happen to glance in your direction or, heaven forbid, speak to you, you dissolve into miserable sobbing and hide your beautiful blue eyes in my shoulder. We are hoping, of course, that this behavior will not last forever, but in the meantime it is rather nice to be your shield and protector.
You weigh 22 pounds 3 ounces, which marks the end, likely forever, of your reign at the top of the growth chart. For weight, at least. You are 29 and a half inches long and still nearly off the chart for height. You eat everything you can get your still-chubby hands on, so the slower weight gain must be attributed to your new mobility.
And hoo boy, are you mobile. You mastered crawling in the last month and can now cross the house with alarming speed. You have also learned to pull yourself up on nearly any somewhat stationary object larger than a speck of dirt and have started shuffling your feet along and covering ground in an upright position that must fairly be called cruising. You can even get yourself into the seat of our small kids' chairs, although thank goodness the stairs still pose you a fair challenge. You are always on the move, always chasing Mommy or Mia or after the cooler, shinier toy on the other side of the room.
You are loving your hands these days. They are excellent for cramming in your mouth, of course, to try to soothe those poor aching gums, but are also good for stretching over your head and waiting for someone to high five you so you can collapse in a fit of giggles. A couple of days ago you learned to extend your pointer fingers and have been mimicking a disco king when strapped into your high chair, and today you actually used those little fingers to point at something that interested you. It was the picture of Mickey Mouse on the wall at the pediatrician's, and you were thrilled to discover that pointing at it caused Mommy to hold you over her head so you could score a closer look.
You love balls and cars and stacking cups and anything from Mia's kitchen and her maracas and a big wooden spoon with something to bang it on. You adore anything that makes noise, the more the better. You love to take a bath and splash and splash and crawl around in the water. You still love to be tossed in the air and flipped upside down and bounced and bounced and bounced until your bouncer collapses in exhaustion. But your one true love, as ever, is Mia. Whenever she deigns to speak to you or hug you or hand you a toy you light up in pure glee. You even love her when she is smacking you in the head or banging your hands with a block. (We're working on that with her, but to be fair you do spend a lot of time messing up her stuff.)
One evening last week you were getting pretty cranky and it was not yet within your Optimal Bedtime Window, so we stripped you down to a diaper and set you loose. It was like you had suddenly gotten your first taste of freedom. You barreled down the hall to the playroom and systematically examined every single toy that was within your reach. You checked in with me once in a while, but for the most part you were happy to be on your own, making you own way in the world (such as it is) and asserting your independence. I love to see that, but I also love when you spend an afternoon buried in my shoulder wanting only Mommy to make you happy.
Owen, I hate to say that this part or that part is better than any other part, because the whole thing is the best part, but right now is one of those time when I wish I could record every aspect of a day with you and save it, carefully wrapped and stored, so that years from now when you are a man with your own family and so far from this time I could take it out and savor it and remember how truly amazing and joyful you are. You are a wonder, a gift, and I love you so much.