I am lovin' me some nine-month-old right now. Elliot has become so darn fun lately! He plays actual games with us now. He will glance at us with a twinkle in his eye, then crawl away quickly and dissolve into laughter when we catch him by the ankle. We have a coffee table with an open shelf underneath it and if we peek at him over the table, then lean down and look through the shelf (with him standing on the other side), he will crouch down and "find" us through the shelf, then giggle hysterically. Today he made up a game where he put a measuring spoon next to M's mouth and she pretended to gobble it up and he was laughing so hard my eyes were watering. He gives hugs and kisses and he lights up when he sees us as if he just won the lottery. He claps his hands, shakes his head, and "dances" to music. My submission for cutest thing of all? He crosses his ankles, like, all the time. He'll crawl across the floor then flip himself into a sitting position and - boom - ankles crossed in practically the same movement. Sometimes he'll uncross them then cross them back right away with the opposite foot on top. Even when we're rocking him to sleep, he lays in our laps with his ankles crossed. It makes him look like such a little person. The older he gets, the more the balance shifts from More Work to More Fun, and I'm really loving where we're at these days.
A few days ago, he started saying "ma ma ma ma..." all the time, but I don't think he's connected it to us yet. He's definitely starting to get it, though. He makes a hard K sound whenever he sees the cats, so in that case, he's totally got the association down, but he can't say the full word "kitty" just yet.
My other favorite things he does now is turning the pages of the books we read him. He's been doing it for a couple of weeks and I'm still as amazed by it as I was the first time he did it. Sometimes he gets overly excited and tries to turn before we finish reading the page to him, but he obviously gets the concept. There's one special trick he does that completely knocks my socks off: We have one book where all of the pages turn normally, but when you get to the last 2 pages, they both open out from the center to make a panoramic spread. Elliot knows this and as soon as we turn to that page on that particular book, he doesn't grab the right edge as he has on all the other pages, but instead reaches directly for the center seam and tries to open the flaps. We, on the other hand, hurry to stop him because unlike the rest of the pages which are made of thick cardboard, the fold-out pages are just heavy paper and he's already ripped one of them. :-( Anyway, nine months old - not bad, right?*
Of course with all of this personality emerging all over the place, we're getting the flip side, too. He's started throwing what I can only assume are a preview of what his toddler tantrums will be like. Take something away from him or remove him from an area he wants to be in? Watch out. He arches his back, sticks out the lower lip, and SCREAMS. He may have had pneumonia just after birth but his lungs are operating at 100% now. I can't wait until he's walking so he can dramatically fling himself to the floor for extra effect!
*Geez, how original. A post by a mom who thinks her kid is sooo smart and sooo advanced. Maybe all the other nine months olds can do this stuff and more with one arm behind their backs, but I still think we've got a pretty awesome party trick on our hands,