Thursday, July 3, 2014

Letters to Serene: 9 months

serene joy at 9 months
My dear Serene Joy,

Happy 9 months, my sweet baby baby. My Serene JoyJoy. My Serene baby. My Serenie Weenie. You are growing so big! You weigh 17 lbs 9 oz and are 27 1/4 inches long. You still wear most of your 3-6 month clothes, some of your 3 month leggings, some 6-12 month shirts and dresses, size 2 shoes, and size 2 diapers. At least when we can get your wiggly self to stay still enough to put them on. You are incredibly aware, unabashedly curious, increasingly mobile, and practically fearless. You're a pro at crawling, grasping, pounding on things, and bashing objects together. You kneel and pull up onto furniture to stand, but you favor crawling, sitting, rolling, and pivoting, all of which you've honed to impressive agility. You have a ball playing by yourself with your growing repertoire. You bounce on your bum when you're excited. You make music by strumming your hand against your mouth as you croon. You wave your hands, sometimes to say hello or goodbye (we like to think), but most of the time in excitement. You're goofy, giggly, and giddy as you interact with your surroundings. You even flail your arms and legs while nursing. I'm the fortunate recipient of your strong kicks and deft slaps as you feed. ;)

You still love to nurse a few times a day, and you eat three meals a day. Some tasty edibles you sampled for the first time this month are corn, egg, brown rice, wheat toast, pineapple, sweet potato, nectarine, tofu, spinach, cucumber, cantaloupe, cauliflower, blueberry, green bell pepper, and whole wheat spaghetti noodles, all of which you enjoy to varying degrees. You eat oat cereal and avocado, banana, or egg for breakfast, and veggie purees mixed with brown rice cereal for lunch and dinner, with mashed bits of other foods on the side, and fruit for dessert. You drink water from a sippy cup by yourself. You much prefer to feed yourself teeny bits of food rather than to have me feed you purees. You could be a baby speed eater by the way you grab and stuff food in your mouth. Which is faster than you can chew with your still toothless gums. I tend to give you your purees first so you get your servings of iron-fortified brown rice cereal before having mashed bits of food. When you're full or don't want any more to eat, you shake your head to communicate "no." So cute!

Shaking your head is a new skill you've become adept at using this month, particularly because your separation anxiety has hit its peak. When others attempt to hold you now, you cling onto us with all your might and shake your head shyly at your admirer. You dazzle everyone with your contagious smile and cheerful disposition, as long as your daddy or I are holding you or are nearby. It takes you a while to warm up to the not-so-familiar now (people, the pool, etc), as long as you're distracted by an enticing toy or you're in our arms. You particularly love going outside as we carry you. You kick your legs merrily and utter successions of breathy, smiley "eh!"s as you gaze at the world around you. In fact, though you babble, squeal constantly, and click your tongue, your favorite word to utter is "mama" (your first real word!), followed by "dada." Your daddy and I love hearing you call for us, and you do so often. You also like when, as we snuggle, I press my cheek against yours and sing to you. You grin and warble along. The sweetest! You are such a silly, happy babe who smiles and laughs often. But when you cry, you scream and shriek with ferocity. You whine in jealousy when I hold another baby during playdates. These days, playtime doesn't last too long before you start whimpering, crawling towards me, and climbing on me to be held. I never mind! Of all the toys littered throughout the house with which you can play, you choose to eat paper, pound water bottles against surfaces, gnaw on shoes, and pull on electrical cords. Which is a reason we gently advise people not to buy you any more toys (also because our living room is beginning to resemble a tornado-torn Toys "R" Us). Your daddy and I like to joke that you're like a little puppy by your affection for gnawing on shoes, dog toys, dog blankets, and even almost licking a puppy one time! Your inclination to explore via taste is hilarious. We sternly tell you "no" when you're attempting any of the aforementioned no-nos. You understand the negative association, stop in your tracks, then giggle at us before resuming your mischief. I then break into a sweat chasing after you. Your mama appreciates her daily workout!

You're so mobile, even in your sleep. You're still on the same sleep schedule as last month, except when we took a road trip up north the middle of this month. Traveling threw your entire eating, sleeping, and play schedule off. We learned that 9-month-olds detest being confined to their car seats for extended periods of time. I think you perfected your shrill wail during the times you were in your car seat. You were such a trooper though, and pretty much fell back into your schedule within a couple days of our return home. Though you're sleeping well at night, your effortless maneuverability causes you to roll around in your sleep and startle yourself. You cry out intermittently because you get yourself in a funky position, usually with your limb(s) stuck in between the bars of your crib. Half the time, I'm too sinfully slangry (i.e. what your daddy terms sleep angry because sleep interruption kindles my fiery temper) to fully comprehend what's going on, but other times, I thoroughly savor these precious moments of comforting you. How sweet it is to hold you close and soothe you back to sleep. Those instances, along with nursing you, are some of my most cherished times with you because they remind me that you won't need me in those ways for much longer. Watching you grow and develop new skills is such an indescribable joy, but as each day goes by, I'm reminded that you are not so little anymore. I need to enjoy all of these sweet moments. Although I often fail to be patient, forgiving, loving, sacrificial, comforting, and present for your daddy and you when I ought to be, I'm reminded that our gracious God is the ultimate parent who cares for and loves us perfectly. Praying that you would find your needs ultimately satisfied in our Savior one day, sweetheart. Until then, your daddy and I serve as imperfect but constant shadows of Christ's love for you.

Love you so,

P.S. Serene Joy at 0, 1234567, and 8 months.


  1. This is so sweet! I bet these Serene will love reading these letters when she gets older.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  2. So beautiful, she will enjoy reading these beautiful and detailed letters when she grows up. Inspiring mama you are Helen! And happy nine months baby serene!

  3. Wow she is growing fast and getting big! And what a wonderful job you did with this photo!

    Allie of ALLIE NYC


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