After nine months of pregnancy, I'd started to believe that I was going to be pregnant forever. Now I can hardly remember being pregnant at all... but I'm starting to believe that Austen's going to be around for a while. What's hard to believe is that he has now been on the outside roughly the same amount of time that he was on the inside. Some observations from Austen's ninth month:
We don't need no stinkin' bouncy seat. Austen's been sitting up on his own for a couple months now, but for some reason it didn't occur to me until a couple weeks ago that I could just set him down on the floor when I went to the bathroom. I think it was one of Dooce's anecdotes popping into my head one day—a story that involved Leta pulling things out of the bathoom drawers while Heather was on the toilet—that made me think, "why am I still using the bouncy seat? It rests on the floor [due to Austen's bulk] instead of bouncing as advertised anyway these days." So now whenever I have to pee, Austen sits on the bathroom rug, happily pulling the toilet paper holder to his mouth like a microphone stand, and then unraveling as much of the roll as he can before I scoop him back up.
We see teeth! That's definitely a canine coming in on the lower right, and we can now clearly see two more bottom teeth coming in. Austen's now chewing like a champ, too (mainly Cheerios, bread, rice, and pizza crust, though you can shove just about anything in there). Austen's eating so many different foods that it's hard to list them all anymore, and he's started eyeing whatever Al and I are eating, too. He actually tried some of my sweet potato-chipotle soup with mint cream when we were at Devil's Alley the other night, and the slow burn of the peppers didn't deter him one bit from begging for more. (I gave it to him.)
At some point, I'm going to need to go on a diet. It just occurred to me today that hockey isn't the (sole) reason I'm pretty much able to eat whatever I want without gaining weight these days—breastfeeding is. Suddenly, continuing to breastfeed for another few months seems much more appealing, despite the teeth marks on my nipples. And speaking of breastfeeding, Austen has a goofy new behavior on that front. When we're at home I almost always nurse him in side-lying position, mainly because he usually falls asleep, and he's more likely to *stay* asleep if I just roll away from him instead of moving him somewere else. (We've returned to the habit of letting him nap in our bed; we just barricade him in with pillows and other parephenalia and listen closely for the sound of him waking up.) Anyway, sometimes instead of going to sleep, Austen will pop off, roll away and onto his tummy, give me a big, evil grin, and start stalking the nipple. He creeps forward on his elbows like a cat, grinning like a maniac the whole time, and then dive-bombs the boob. He thinks it's hilarious, so I usually let him do it a couple times before calling a halt to the nursing session (though the face-first position is surprisingly effective for milk delivery, it's uncomfortable for me—and annoying to boot, because he keeps popping off).
Austen dives face first into my cone at the Custard Corral.
He waves! The weekend before last, I picked Austen up after changing his diaper and carried him into the bathroom with me so I could wash my hands. As soon as I flipped on the light, I saw Austen wave at us in the bathroom mirror. I stood there with my jaw hanging open for a couple seconds...and then I waved back.
I think we got our first word. Austen's been babbling ma-ma-ma-ma and da-da-da-da for a while now, but there haven't been any distinguishable words until today. I wasn't even sure he'd said what I thought he'd said when I first heard it this morning, but when he bumped his head again this afternoon, it was unmistakable: "Ow." I'm just glad it wasn't "fuck!", which is what I usually say.
We've reorganized the kitchen cabinets for Austen's benefit. When we remodeled the kitchen, we made a big deal out of planning where everything would go. We wanted maximum accessibility and usability, and we got it. Enter Austen, who now knows how to open cupboards and who will sit on the floor playing with whatever he finds in them. Baby safety is now ranked above accessibility and usability on the priority list, which mostly means that all glass items have been moved to upper cupboards. Oh, and the toaster has, too.
Val came to visit. Val, who last saw Austen 9 months ago, when he was just a lump inside my belly, got to meet him in person when she came down from Maine for a visit. We walked all over town, stopped for some playtime in Rittenhouse Square, ate at Devil's Alley and Morimoto (the funky booths turned out to be very adaptable to high chairs), and played on the floor in our living room. Fun! Val brought us some amazing homemade blueberry jam (made with wild Maine blueberries), plus some sweet L.L. Bean clothes for Austen. Look for photos of Austen in the sweater around Christmastime. :)
Austen's a hit in Chelsea. Earlier in the month Austen and I took the train up to NYC to meet up with Kristin, who was visiting for the day. We went on a major food binge, walking around to places that Shuna recommended (plus a few places we found on our own, like the Chocolate Bar, where Kristin got Austen this cute "chocolate baby" t-shirt). Austen was a big hit in Chelsea; the bakers at Billy's came out to admire his rosy cheeks, and the host at Diner 24 played with him while Kristin and I sipped cocktails. (Photos from the day with Kristin on are on Flickr.)
There's now a baggie with some of Austen's hair in it. I've been wanting to cut Austen's Gollum strands off for a while now, and I spent the past couple weeks planning how I would do it so that he wouldn't look like he'd been mowed with a Flowbee. (I often cut my own hair, so I have some experience in this area.) Of course, when I finally got out the scissors on Sunday morning I discovered that babies cannot be expected to sit still while you move a sharp object toward their temples. We tried the distraction method advocated by the Baby Owner's Manual (there's a diagram of one parent holding a teddy bear in the baby's sight line while the other parent snips), but it didn't help much. Suffice to say that Austen's cut isn't particularly stylish, but at least the Gollum strands are gone.