This counting-in-weeks thing is starting to get difficult! I might have to go the route of “Ava is 9 months old” four times until she’s 10 months old before this gets the better of me.
It’s been a while since the last update because of a really lovely sojourn on a sunny Eastern Cape beach, and there’s a lot that’s happened in the interim.
She went on an airplane for the first (and second) time, and was her usual cheerful self – she didn’t struggle with her ears or anything. She was convinced that the other people in our row were there to be made friends with, and insisted on patting and “chatting” to them, but luckily neither of them seemed to mind (the young guy sitting next to me on our return flight seemed really pleasantly surprised – I don’t think he’d ever been so close to a baby before – even though she wouldn’t stop patting his arm).
Ava is now crawling around like a machine. She started crawling properly on our first day of holiday, and in a few days, had accelerated until she became hard to keep up with. It took her a couple of tries to figure out how to go from crawling to sitting and vice versa, but she’s got it totally waxed. It seems to make her very happy, being able to go exactly where she wants, but it’s a little stressful for us. We’ve had to baby-proof all the plug-points, toilets and kitchen cupboards, and are getting a playpen made for her so that we can pop her down somewhere for short periods and not worry about where she’ll end up. She’s not quite pulling herself up yet, though she loves walking while we hold her hands, but that’s ok – I want her to crawl for as long as possible.
She’s also started imitating our actions, which blows my mind. It means she’s figured out that she has the same tools (head, eyebrows, mouth, hands) as we do, which is surely a profound developmental step. She likes shaking her head, clapping her hands, and giving high-fives, copies the noises I make (“tuh” and “ssss” and “puh” are new ones) and we have regular giggle-offs. I get such a kick out of it, and she never seems to get bored of it either.
I’m sure the sudden acceleration in her development had a lot to do with spending so much time on holiday with other adults. Ava was treated like a princess by both grandparents (Dylan’s mom was especially hands-on, and even had Ava sleeping in her room a couple of times, giving us much-needed rest) and Dylan’s sister, and all manner of cousins and friends. 99% of the time, she relished it. The other 1% of the time was when she was tired, and things like Grandpa sneezing sent her into hysterical sobbing.
She had her 9-month shots the other day and, to my surprise, was less upset than she was at her last ones – I thought that because she’s so aware of everything around her now, she’d be worse. She was very easily distracted by the worn stuffed caterpillar in the nurse’s room (though I didn’t let her touch it for fear of getting sick-kid cooties).
The one thing we learned on holiday was that babies don’t really understand about holidays. Ava was up between 4.30 and 5.30 every morning, no matter how late Dylan and I had got into bed, no matter how many glasses of wine we’d had with dinner … and she was usually up once in the night as well. So we spent most of our days napping and being a bit groggy. I must say that our nanny’s face the morning we went back to work was a sight for sore eyes.
Sleeping issues aside, this is an amazing age. Ava is so responsive and alert and so much fun to be around. I didn’t think I could love her more than I did even a month ago, but somehow I do.