The Downstairs Bathroom is Filthy- What Joy!

Hula Girl and I have been outside pretty much the entire time she’s been awake for the past several days. And when that girl goes outside, she GOES OUTSIDE. Dirt, mud, dead grass remnants, dandelion stains, scrapes, sunscreen, sweat, and bruises cover her entire body when she comes back inside. It is awesome.

There is something innately glorious about a child outside. When children are allowed to roam and explore to their hearts’ content, it makes a very satisfying mess. Call me weird, but a hot, sweaty little girl’s head resting on my shoulder while I read a calming story to her is one of the most beautiful things about summer. To let her play, to let her exercise, to let her be a child outside- well, I wouldn’t trade it for much.

When we go out, Hula Girl usually spends her time digging in the mud, walking barefoot over the rocks, following ants, lackadaisically riding her tricycle in slow purposeful circles on the driveway, and getting absolutely covered in outdoor grime of all kinds. Mostly the kind that sticks to her superthick and insanely-difficult-to-rub-in sunscreen. Small rocks, insects, and tidbits of dead grass sink into the creases in her knees, elbows, and neckline. Dust and shreds of leaves stick in her hairline. And her fingernails are ever-caked with mud and gunk from her latest dig in the garden, the sandbox, or the empty field next to the house. Her face is always sporting some kind of debris, the kind a kid can only get when her hand unconsciously swipes at the gnats buzzing in her ear. And her hair- well, her hair is always matted down to her forehead with sweat and water from the hose. She is a picture of the grandeur and joy of childhood.

And then there is the smell. The hot, sweaty, absolutely disgusting little child smell. But since that child belongs to me, it’s one of the very best smells in the entire world. Healthy, you know? I love a child who smells healthy in the summer.

We can’t manage a bath every time we come back inside, so we stop in the downstairs bathroom and use a washcloth for a full-body sponge bath. She laughs and laughs when I sit her up on the sink and stick her feet in the cool water. She giggles with glee when I splash the back of her neck and she gets a thrill of delight when I scrub her toes with the washcloth. I so cherish the time I get to spend washing her little not-so-chubby-anymore-but-rather-muscular-now arms and legs. She squeals, “I’m cold! I’m cold!” But five seconds later she insists she needs a drink of water because she’s hot from being outside. So I slip her off the sink and dry her little hands and feet and marvel at the way she is growing.

What joy.

Gelato-9 Months (+1 week) Update

Well, I took Gelato and Hula Girl to the pediatrician this morning for Gelato’s 9-month checkup. It was good overall.

Remember how I give birth to ginormous babies? Well, Hula Girl stayed pretty big. She’s still in like the 50-75th percentile for both height and weight. I expected Gelato would continue on about the same growth curves like her… I was wrong. I have a true little man! He weighs in at 18 pounds, which is exactly a half-pound heavier than he was at 6 months old, and only the 7th percentile. He’s 27.5 inches long, which is about the 9th percentile. His head circumference is 17.5 inches, which puts him just above the 25th percentile. That was a bit surprising.

I can’t really say it was completely unexpected. I have been commenting to myself and to Jonathan lately that I feel like Hula Girl was bigger than Gelato is when she was his age. I just looked back at her stats, and she was! She weighed 18 lbs, 3.5 oz; she was 28.5 inches tall/long; her head circumference was 17.75 inches! So she was barely bigger than him, but she was! I knew it. Also, I think she seemed much older than him, because she was our first child. He just seems like such a baby in comparison! 🙂

Anyway, he has met all the milestones on the 0-9 month developmental chart. So that’s good. He was all clear and healthy. She said we’re going to keep an eye on his growth- not that she’s worried, but just because he is smaller than most. Maybe he’s a true Mama’s boy after all!

Gelato is doing really well outside of the pediatrician’s office. Here’s a very detailed description!

Nursing: we’re still going strong. He nurses 4 times a day now. My plan is to keep those 4 nursings until the middle of July, and then phase feedings out slowly so he’s drinking out of a sippy cup instead. Our last day nursing will be on his first birthday. This is the same plan I had with Hula Girl, and I ended up nursing her until she was 14 months old. We shall see how things go.

Eating Solids: Gelato is working on this still. He can do it, but he doesn’t really have much interest. He kind of goes in spurts through his meals. He’ll sit down, play with his food, eat a while, take a break, push things around on his tray, bang his hand a bit, flirt with Hula Girl, eat some more, squeal at me, kick his feet, eat a bit, drink some water, etc. Meals are a forever long occasion for him these days. I end up cutting him off after about 30-45 minutes, because, really, what baby doesn’t want to just get down and play!?

Sippy Cup: He’s working on it. Again, he can do it, but he’s not really interested. Silly boy.

Brushing Teeth: Yeah, he finally has two teeth! They broke through in the middle of his 8th month. He wasn’t super duper fussy or anything. But we could tell that *something* was bothering him. Now we’re learning how to brush his teeth, which he hates. You know.

Sleeping: Gelato takes great naps. He consistently takes a 1.5-or-2-hour nap in the morning and then another 1.5-2-hour nap in the afternoon. He dropped his 3rd nap sometime in the middle of the 7th month, and although I kept trying for it daily until he was 8.5 months old, well, it was really gone a long time ago. His nighttime sleep has finally consolidated, with a bit of help from his mommy and daddy, and he sleeps completely through the night now. However, he has lower sleep needs than I’d like him to have, so a 10.5-11 hour night is not uncommon. In fact, if he slept 12 hours straight, I’d think I’d gone to Heaven. So. He averages about 10.75 hours of sleep per night and 3 hours of sleep per day. Kind of on the lower end of sleep needs for his age.

Talking: Gelato likes to talk a lot! He says book, ball, duck, quack, yeah!, mama, moon, dada, cat, and kitty. He attempts to say anything we tell him to say, usually coming up with something very close to what we’re saying. He also just talks and talks to himself during independent playtime, car rides, or during his exploration.

Free Play- Gelato likes to explore. He can’t really crawl all that much yet, but he scoots himself along the ground using his elbows to pull and his big toes to push. He is into everything. His latest favorite is the cat’s food and water bowls. Yummy. He also likes the music table, any kind of shaker toy, and wooden puzzle pieces that he can bang together. Oh, and I can’t forget that he likes doors. He loves to lie on his side and swing a door open and shut. He loves to figure things out. He is definitely an experimenter.

Independent Playtime- Gelato does about 20-25 minutes each day playing in his playpen. I need to get some more toys rotated in there, because he really does enjoy the time as long as he has a new toy to learn about. He has been doing IP since he was 5 days old, so he never fusses or complains when it’s time to do some playpen time!

Personality- Gelato is so laid-back it’s ridiculous. He is perfectly content to just drag himself all around the room exploring and learning about new (and old) things while the rest of us do life all around him. He is not fussy or crabby or clingy or anything. He is going through some separation anxiety now, but he gets over that really quickly. He likes to laugh and likes to get our attention at the table. He really likes to participate in physical play with Hula Girl and Jonathan. He also loves to give high-fives and he will just crack up every single time he successfully slaps our palms. He is truly a very good-natured little boy and I think we’ll really enjoy this quality as he gets older! I don’t see him as a boundary-pusher, as long as we continue to give him room to explore.

Our Schedule:
6:45 wake, nurse, eat breakfast, free play
8:45 nap
10:30/45ish wake, nurse, independent playtime, walk, sibling play, lunch, play with Mommy
1:30ish nap
3:00/3:30ish wake, nurse, afternoon whatevers with Mommy and Hula Girl (sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay home)
5:15 eat dinner, then family time
6:00/15 bath, pjs
6:15/30 nurse, bedtime story
6:30/45 bed

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