Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eight is Great!

During our trip to Italy, we didn’t learn to speak much Italian, unfortunately. However, we did learn a few things. We soon began to recognize a question we received over and over, to which we learned to reply “Otto mesi!”

Yes, Dylan is now eight (almost nine!) months old. After several weeks of travel and other timing tumult during which he was apparently just following the status quo, it seems that this week he’s suddenly taken several developmental leaps.

First, teeth! We have a sighting of two little white buds, front and center behind his lower lip. This arrival has prompted Dylan to stick his tongue out over and over, which is pretty cute. I think he gets a bit crankier than usual some evenings, and since a frozen washcloth to the mouth soothes him, I attribute it to sore gums.

Next, motion! For several months before our trip, Dylan’s “downward facing dog” pose had progressed to “the worm.” He was getting around pretty quickly, and in the forward direction, by lifting the front of his torso up, pushing himself forward, then letting himself crash down – over and over. While he still isn’t crawling, he’s now moving forward in more fluid motion…and fast.

What’s even more remarkable to us is that in the period of a few short days, he’s learned to stand. For many months now, he’s enjoyed standing up when we got him into that position. But earlier this week, he figured out how to get himself into a kneeling position. Half a day later, he learned that if there was something a bit higher to hoist himself by, he could get his feet under himself and stand! Of course, his hoist of preference is a parents’ hands. But he’s already discovered that a chair or table leg will also do the trick, as well his crib rail. Fortunately, we were on our toes and managed to get his mattress lowered about 12 hours before he learned to perform this new (and terrifying) trick.

What’s so precious is the pride and delight Dylan seems to take in his own progress. He does something new, and then looks with a half-smile on his face to make sure we’ve noticed and approved before cracking into a open-mouthed grin complemented by sparkling eyes and often a belly laugh.

Our boy is also getting the hang of eating “real” food. It’s still mostly pureed or mushy, like his fave: bananas. But now we’ve added a few things like Cheer*os to the mix. Watching him scoot them around on his tray for minutes of fun before palming them into his mouth is amusing. My research suggests that we should be feeding him even more solid foods, so we need to start thinking about adding some additional items to his menu.

We are all enjoying bathtime. For more than a month now, Dylan’s been content to sit in his little tub in our larger tub and splash and play for quite awhile; I’ll confess to being happy to able to use that time to get dressed or brush my teeth, etc. We’ve just been handed down (thanks, Nathan!) a little bath seat that keeps him (fairly) safe in the big tub, and it appears to be quite a hit as well.

Last weekend we went to the beach. Dylan’s cousins filled a little hole in the sand with water for him, and he loved splash! splash! splashing himself and them. His dad took him out for his first dip in the foam, and although it didn’t last long because the temps are still so chilly, Dylan wasn’t scared and mostly just seemed fascinated by this whole new world of experience (which is great, since after all, he is “son of the sea.”)

A couple of final notes about Dylan’s physical development. For one thing, M. sometimes calls him Popeye, or when he’s repeatedly pounding on something, BamBam. This kid has muscles! I don’t know if they are just more obvious than on a lot of other babies his age because he doesn’t have a ton of chub, or if he’s unusual in this way. But his shoulders, forearms, and calves especially are buff and chiseled.

Since birth, Dylan’s had a lot of dark, downy hair. At about three months, he sprouted a couple of silly little curls in odd spots. Since then, the rest of his hair has kind of been growing in around them, so they don’t look so silly. Right now, he’s got a very nice set of waves arranged in a “hurricane” around the top of his head, and the color seems to be lightening a bit, with new strands of red and even blond among the lovely chestnut. Maybe this is his summer ’do?

So, a little bit of boasting: when we were in Italy, we went to a pizza party hosted by the owner of the agriturismo where we were staying. I noticed that there was a sweet little old lady who couldn’t keep her eyes off the boy, so I brought him over to her and she gladly held him for much of the night (which was such a lovely reprieve for us!). At the end of the evening, this charming Nonni, who couldn’t speak any English, told us that our son was “bellissimo E buono.” We conveyed through enthusiastic nods that we understood and agreed!

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