Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Theo at Nine Months

Boy, what a difference a month can make! Theo spent the majority of the last month traveling to see family, and he can home with an entirely new set of skills. Although he's been able to spin around in circles while sitting down for a while now, he can now intentionally scoot forward. He propels himself with his legs, kind of like a frog, so that both hands are free. In addition, two weeks and two days ago he learned how to walk. He still requires two adult hands to achieve this milestone, but now instead of standing, he wants people to tour him around various places. He knows how to turn and change directions, and it took him about three seconds to figure out that if he's facing you (which is typical when he pulls up on your fingers), then he needs to switch hands so that he is facing away. Otherwise his territory for roaming is limited. So he pulls up, lets go, switches hands, and takes off.

He went about four feet the first time he put one foot in front of the other, and he hasn't stopped since. I worried about the flight back since he likes to get around so much now, but he either understood that it was sitting only, or he wore himself out over the past three weeks moving around so much. Either way, it was one of the best flights we've had.

In other new skills, Theo drinks from a straw now. He has been drinking from a cup or glass for months. But previously, when given a straw, he would chew it or play with it rather than suck on it. One Varsity Frosted Orange fixed that. He mastered it in very short order, and drank a good portion of my Frosted Orange to boot. He also practiced on peach milkshakes from Chick Fil A, so I have a feeling he'll have very positive associations with straws for a while.

Just before Theo started walking around, he added a fourth meal of solids, between lunch and dinner. So he's eating solid food about every three hours now: breakfast between 8 and 9, lunch around 12, a snack in the afternoon (usually at three unless he's sleeping), and dinner closer to 6. He nurses about five or six times a day most days, for just shy of an hour total. He still has one feeding during the night at four or five, he nurses again when he gets up around 7, then before both naps, before bed, and usually once more during the afternoon sometime.

He's still a great sleeper, especially overnight. He did well with the transition to east coast time, and even better coming back to the west coast. He goes to sleep around 7:30 most nights, wakes up between four and five to nurse, goes right back to sleep, and sleeps in anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours. He's usually worn out again by 9:30 or 10:00, and naps can range from 30 minutes to about an hour and ten minutes. He's fairly consistent about taking two naps a day, unless we're out and about during one of them and it happens outside the house in the sling or the car. Then sometimes he'll catch an extra short nap to help make up the deficit. He's still a distinct side sleeper, and for whatever reason, loves to stick his feet through the bars of the crib. That usually means that a sleep sack is required. At least three times during our trip, he got his entire leg stuck between the bars when he wasn't wearing a sack. He also generally rotates so that he sleeps parallel to the short sides of the crib. He's way too tall for this, but must like something about it. Otherwise he will scoot to a short end and prop his legs up so that his butt is against the bottom and his legs are out to the side or top. He has really taken to the flat hedgehog and grabs onto it when put drowsy into the crib, rolls over on his side, and passes out.

Theo loves attention - the more the better. He still loves going out, but has definitely hit the mama preference phase. As long as he can't see me, he's entirely okay. But as soon as I pass within his sight, he expresses a preference for me. Part of this attachment may be the result of traveling and staying in various new places where he wasn't as familiar with the environment, but it's definitely continued now that we're home as well.

Theo gets a huge kick out of banging things, although he seems to understand that hard things bang better. Most soft items he rarely tests for this feature. My parents had some silver mixing bowls and those were extremely popular. He also enjoyed canisters with plastic lids during our trip. They not only made great noise, but they rolled well. And very few things beat a ball these days. Theo will play "catch" rolling or throwing the ball "back" to you in turns. It rarely goes one hundred percent at the person playing, but it's clear he's trying. Now that he can scoot around, he likes to toss the ball and scoot after it, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat until he runs into something more interesting.

He pulls up on fingers only so far, although he will lean on the right height stuff. The light bulb for pulling up on furniture and other inanimate objects has not gone off yet. He can stand on his own leaning against his toy baskets or bookshelf or the coffee table, and play with things, but hasn't really started cruising. He does know to sit down when he finds something good walking around, to free us his hands for exploring. The mechanics are not one hundred percent, but he plops and doesn't seem to be bothered by the inelegance of it.

He really enjoys feeding himself finger foods now, too. Generally during mealtimes he requires something to keep his hands busy, either a toy or food. He has discovered graham crackers, and animal crackers, and both are very popular.

He's outgrown quite a few clothes, so we stocked up again while traveling, both from gifts and clearance items. He's moved into a size three shoe, which is a bit big and impairs walking slightly. Luckily nothing really slows Theo down once he's on his feet. If there's an obstacle, he plows through, over, or both, generally without slowing down to even acknowledge it.

He loves funny noises from people, but loud noises like the vacuum or blender send him straight to crying now. If he thinks you're doing something entertaining, he will reward you with a giggle. A few repeats and he's laughing hysterically. He's definitely still ticklish and will laugh when you make the sign for tickle, even before you actually touch him. His belly button is a particularly good tickle spot now, but under his chin, arms, around his hips, and the bottoms of his feet are also popular tickle spots.

Theo still loves all the animals, whether they are his or not. In fact, his first assisted steps were to walk over to a friend's dog. He tries hard to be gentle with animals but gets so excited when he's close to them that he starts flapping and hitting them. He's also bad about grabbing onto fur or tags and not letting go. Luckily Tetley is fairly permissive of this behavior and Rocket doesn't let it get that far.

Theo's favorite activity by far is bath time, although a kiddie pool is just as good for splashing and chasing toys around. He can spend twenty or thirty minutes in either easy, and we usually extract him after that. He's graduated to the big bathtub, although he would probably still use the bath bucket. I just feel sorry for him with his toes up past his ears squeezed in there.

Overall, Theo remains a delight to watch and interact with. We look forward to more milestones and developments in the months to come.

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