Vivian at eight months is about like you'd expect from her monthly giraffe photos. She's a doll. Her personality definitely shines through, and she's generally very laid back and full of smiles. She will scream almost as loud as her brother if someone takes a desirable object away from her, and if she decides she wants her mama. Other than that, nothing but sunshine.
Vivian is eating well for the most part. If she's hungry, she will eat just about anything, but her definite favorite is still o's, and she loves to feed herself. She is also very fond of carrots and winter squash and most vegetables we've tried, although banana is hard to beat, too. In the last month she's added watermelon, green beans, winter squash (we were a little overdue on this one as she could have it at six months but I just didn't get around to introducing it until recently), carrots, peas, mangoes, and cottage cheese. Some are better than others but she definitely eats them all. I'm still trying to fatten her up so I added the heavier stuff like avocado, yogurt, and cottage cheese earlier rather than later. Despite the belly, she's definitely on the smaller scale for her age. When she is hungry, she can eat an entire banana and keep right on going. Dinner is often the biggest meal of the day, and she also usually eats for long periods of time at meals - 30 to 45 minutes in the high chair eating (or me trying to sneak things in while she feeds herself or plays with other objects of interest) is not at all unusual. Of course, I'm also trying to feed myself and a toddler simultaneously, so that might affect duration of meal times as well. If she is not hungry or into whatever you are offering, she will zip up her mouth and turn her head away and make it painfully obvious. She adores her water cup, and offering water in a sippy cup cleared up her constipation from eating solids pretty much instantaneously.
She also still often talks to her food (and pretty much anything else when the mood strikes her). If she isn't hungry, she talks with her mouth closed and just kind of hums, which can be pretty entertaining in and of itself. She's making more consonant sounds, and the closest she comes to an actual word (much less applying it to the represented object) is dada. Her newest trick is to stick her tongue out, wiggle it from side to side, and make la la la sounds. It's much much cuter than I could ever make it sound in a description. I'm almost 100% certain Grandma's most recent visit is responsible for this behavior.
She can scream to rival her brother, both in joy and fits of anger. She waves hello (which is really more like flapping), and signs for milk, although I've noticed that sign less frequently (possibly because she doesn't have to wait to get it as I'm always trying to get her to nurse). She has made the sign for changing, and all done, but not reliably. The only other signs we intentionally use with her are more, eat, and tickle, so she's doing well in the vocabulary department.
Speaking of eating, we added formula to her diet to help with the overnight feedings (ie to help me get more sleep). She doesn't mind it any more than she minds any bottle, which is to say she still likes very specific conditions (dark, white noise, often bouncing and shushing) before she will accept it. At night when she feeds she takes whatever is on offer and goes right back to sleep. She spends most of the night in the crib rather than in the bed with mama these days, mostly because she's down to only two or three feedings a night. She's regularly asleep for the night by 7:50, 8 at the latest, and often wakes up between 10:30 and 11, but she's been going back to sleep without eating at that time. There is no typical night schedule yet, although she snacks at either 11 or 1, 3/4, and around 6 before getting up for the day between 7 and 7:45 most days. She still takes a morning nap around 9 or 9:30, and it's a much higher quality (read longer) if she's at home in her crib. Since I don't like staying home all day every day, she often gets a much shorter (15-30 minutes) snooze in the car or the sling while we are out and about. She's down again in the afternoon by 2 at the latest, and often feeds again when she wakes up from that nap (as Theo is usually sleeping then, too, and I can nurse her at both our leisure, which is kind of a luxury during the day) and will often drift off again. She still takes a very short late afternoon nap around 5, which is super convenient for things like preparing dinner but since she can easily skip this last nap I can't imagine it will happen much longer.
At eight months, Vivian has no teeth, which is two months longer than Theo went before his first ones popped through. But who's comparing? Vivian is sitting quite well, and falls over so infrequently I hardly bother to put soft things around her anymore. She can reach for items very successfully, and definitely understands that she can move herself around but not the exact mechanics of how to go about it. Her biggest trick is to throw her back out and see what happens from almost any position (sitting, standing, being carried, on her back, on her stomach, etc.), which keeps us on our toes. She flings herself about with abandon but usually very little actual motion or progress, and I've only seen her do a barrel roll (roll from tummy to back to tummy again, or back to tummy to back) a couple of times. She still hates her tummy despite my efforts to encourage her that she might get to more stuff in that manner. I generally take pity on her before she gets anywhere and flip her back over or sit her up, not that we have a ton of opportunities for floor (or, more accurately, flat surface) time anyway.
Vivian laughs like a hyena at her brother's antics and also at Tetley when she gets going good. Theo's favorite video to watch on the iTouch right now is a clip of Vivian laughing at him every time he pops up from the coffee table. He asks for it almost daily. Vivian still loves her bunny block, but while sitting on the floor her favorite is definitely the box of balls. That is good for at least half an hour of her sitting by herself quite happily, until she has emptied the box and they have all rolled out of reach. She also loves the block bin, but it's much heavier and more in the general path so she's sitting in reach of it much less often. She still adores anything with a tag and if she can get her grubby hands on electronics she will spend lots of time flipping devices over and over and over again trying to figure them out, before sampling them orally. She also really enjoys anything that's not actually a toy, like dishes and spoons and empty containers, and pretty much anything her brother handles and makes look interesting. If she can get her hands on paper of any sort, she's going to eat it, almost faster than she can rake in the o's these days. Crinkly paper, like granola bar wrappers and cereal bags and other similar things are also great fun. She definitely enjoys music and will "dance" by bouncing up and down while sitting. If she likes the music, she will continue to do that. If she doesn't she stops after a few seconds.
When we're out and about Vivian rarely fails to charm people, and she's certainly got everyone at home in the palm of her hand these days.