I think your development this month has finally surpassed my ability to adequately document it. Until this month it was relatively easy for me to pick out one or two significant things to talk about. 'Slept through the night,' for example, or 'giggled for the first time.' Around six months it might have been, 'ate her first solid food' and then, 'said Dada one hundred thousand times but has not said Mama or anything even close to it.' Yeah. That's right. Still haven't.
This month the most obvious and amazing development is how physical you have become. You sit up incredibly well and keep your balance, correct yourself and move all over the place on your bottom. You've learned to do this little baby-creep that I like to affectionately call the Bella Butt Shuffle. The Butt Shuffle is a strange thing because honestly, I'm not even sure how you do it? All I know is that I can put you down in one place, turn my gaze away for a minute or two and when I look back you are somewhere else. It's amazing, but it has also made my life just a little bit more difficult. No more leaving you alone on your playmat while I jump in the shower. These days it's got to be crib-jail for you.
You've also mastered the art of pulling yourself through from sitting up onto your hands and knees. While you are not quite moving forward in a traditional crawl you are a mere days away from doing it. You like to get into the crawl position and rock back and forth, just waiting for the right moment to take off. And while part of me waits anxiously for you to take those first few forward movements, I also recognize the shocking significance.
Pretty soon you'll be deciding where you want to go, and when. It's something that I'll have to stand back and watch happen for the first time, and then forever more. And of course I want you to always move forward with confidence, but there is a little part of me wants you to stay right beside me, clutching on to my neck for support like you do when you are sleepy and relying on me for balance and guidance. Only nine months and already I have to start to let you go?
That's what being a parent is really all about. It's about creating these tiny creatures that you quickly grow to need so desperately, and then giving them all the tools they need to one day, confidently, leave you behind.
So, although for you, this month has been about getting bigger and moving forward, the developments that I cherish most this month are things that remind me that you are still a baby. You have taken to sucking your thumb at night, after the soother has long been tossed aside. I know that many people hope their kids will never do it, but it's so precious and it also allows you to sooth yourself when you wake up, instead of needing Daddy or I to run in and put you back to sleep.
You are becoming incredibly vocal and though you always clam up in the presence of strangers, when it's just you and I you will babble for hours. It's so beautiful to listen to, this baby language. And you have the sweetest little voice. Never too loud, always lilting and pretty, you're experimenting more and more each day with pitch and sounds and words. There is nothing, besides your incredible laugh, that I'd rather listen too.
Finally, your love for music continues to grow. You sing yourself to sleep at nap time and hum softly in your stroller while we walk. When we are in the car together, I can hear you quietly chirping away and it comforts me to know that you are secure and happy back there alone. When I break out in song, no matter how serious or silly, you break out in smiles. It's all the encouragement I need and so I find that because of you I am singing all day long. It's one of my greatest pleasures.
And this month, along with the singing, you have also started to dance! Oh mother of all things cute. The music starts and off you go, rocking away to the beat, either on your bum or on your hands and knees. And, Girl? You've got rhythm! I've tried to capture you on video a few times, but you always play shy. Here's the best I could do so far:
Bella, you have now been on the outside of my body for as long as you were inside of it. I have been madly in love with you for 18 months now and every day, every single day, I love you more. You are my pride, my joy, my inspiration.
I love you.