The Beaner at Eight Months
When the Beaner was only a couple months old, it was hard to imagine a day when he would be big enough or coordinated enough to ride in the front of a grocery cart.
It's weird to think that he'll be talking before long, and walking probably even sooner. (He's already standing up against the furniture and indicating that he wants to get down and walk around by diving toward the floor when someone's holding him.)
He's now eating a surprising array of foods, including a little ice cream now and then; he even had his first taste of meat this weekend when Al gave him a bit of pork from his sandwich. (He tried salmon last weekend when he shared a few bites of my entree at a new restaurant around the corner... more on that later.) His new favorite food appears to be Cheerios, which he now gets as an appetizer while I defrost cubes of pureed nectarine, plum, peach, or banana for his breakfast. He actually started flailing his arms and legs in excitement when he saw me get out the yellow box on Friday morning—and he'd only seen it twice before that.
The Beaner is now an odd mix of clingy and independent; he seems to want to be held (by me) all the time, and he cries when I leave the room or even move more than 20 feet away... and yet I know he can play quietly by himself for 15-20 minutes at a time (I've seen him do it), and he has hours of Mommy-free fun with our babysitter.
For all the I-want-my-Mommy screaming that the Beaner does these days, I think it's actually Al who soothes him better. Al does what I always said I would do but sometimes can't manage when the clinginess and the crying overwhelm me: He talks to the Beaner as if he can understand every word, patiently and quietly explaining that we love him, that it's time for bed or that Mommy needs a break, and that delayed gratification is a wonderful thing.
The Beaner is as charming around strangers as ever; he tends to be super smiley when we're out in public (as long as he's in my arms or in the Bjorn), and people often ask us, "is he always this happy?" We usually say yes or "most of the time." No one really wants to know that he can turn into a monster with snakes coming out of his ears when he's really mad or overtired. (The poor girl I sat next to on the train from NYC on Friday evening got to witness the transformation from cute and smiley to seething and screaming when we passed that invisible, mutable line known as "bedtime". She was pretty shocked.) For some reason, however, people keep mistaking him for a girl—which is totally puzzling to us. Perhaps it's his longish hair? We're not sure, but it's only started happening recently.
For a kid who started teething so early (3 months!), we've also been surprised by the lack of actual teeth in his mouth. He's got one coming in on the lower right side that looks like a canine, though canines aren't supposed to come in until the upper and lower front teeth do, so we might be wrong about that. Otherwise, he's all gums (and all drool).
In the first few days and weeks of the Beaner's life, people asked me all the time how long I was planning to breastfeed him. I always said I'd play it by ear; it might be two months, six months, twelve months, or maybe more. Those first two months were so hellishly painful that it's a wonder I kept at it, but here we are at eight and a half months, and the Beaner hasn't had an ounce of formula since the day he was born. (Al tried to give him some once, and the Beaner refused it rather vehemently.) I still don't know how long we'll keep at it; some days I'll nurse him only once in the morning and once at night and think that we must be tapering off, only to have the next day be one where he wants to nurse every two hours. On the days he bites and pulls and claws and scratches, I think that I'll be glad when it's over. On the days he snuggles into me and strokes my shirt or my face, I know I'll miss the closeness when we finally make the break.
Oh, and I think his height measurement at his recent checkup might have been off. He measured a little over 27", which means he really hasn't grown at all since his last visit and has dropped to about the 70th percentile in height. I suspect that he's actually a bit taller than the nurse gave him credit for, because he's now standing flat-footed in the exersaucer. As should be obvious from this photo, he's still in the 90th percentile for weight.