Grab on and hold tight

Phoebe turns 8 months old today.


Washing baby bottles when I come home from work is as much a chore for me now as getting her fed and dressed and off to the daycare before I go in the morning. (When our office had a breakfast catered last week and a group of us scurried to be among the first in line, my childless cohort Joe stood by and mused “Don’t any of you eat breakfast at home?” … As the door closed behind us, I retorted “We all have kids.”)

Kates and I also have been caught humming or singing to Enya songs after many, many, many nights letting her fall asleep to the Irish songstress.

And yet, I’m quickly beginning to understand the feelings parents have about wanting their children to stay small. With the milestones being reached almost daily now, Kates and I erupt with glee every time she develops a new mannerism or blabbers a new sound -- and my heart breaks a little every time we realize she’s grown out of another outfit. She’s growing out of babyhood and into a little girl more and more every day.

On Monday night, Kates and I were working in the kitchen when, almost out of nowhere, Phoebe started saying “Ma-ma. Ma-ma.” And she hasn’t stopped since. All week, almost all we’ve heard from her has been “Ma-ma. Ma-ma. Ma-ma …” It’s her new favorite word, and Kates and I have hardly been able to stop laughing when Phoebe gets going on it…

Last week, we discovered her bottom front teeth are coming in. Kates was just about to feed Phoebe her supper when she felt inside her mouth and called me over to do the same. We both burst into excited laughter after feeling the jagged little things … We had been anticipating the event for awhile, especially when she awoke out of her deep sleep at 10:30 one night a couple weeks ago -- screaming! We had never seen her cry tears so big.

Still no crawling, though. Which is sort of baffling us … She whimpers a little when we put her on her belly, and she refuses to roll over. But she’s steady as an oak tree when she’s sitting up. And she loves to stand with us holding her by the waist, adding new meaning to the phrase “bouncing baby girl.”

She loves hopping and swinging and stretching to get things -- which has us thinking that when she does finally start crawling, watch out.

She has a thing with contorting her body and twisting and turning and doing whatever it takes to reach for what she wants. She does it so well that Kates and I think: gymnast.

And when she sleeps now, we almost always find her stretched out on her back, hands behind her head like she’s napping in a hammock under a shady tree.

She also remains so curious and observant of everything. We may turn around and there she is just watching us with those pursed lips and puppy-dog eyes. Or we’ll catch her gazing at her outstretched hand as she moves her fingers. Or when we’re holding her over our shoulders, she bends and maneuvers to look beyond.

Recently, we went through a phase where we couldn’t feed her without her grabbing the spoon and holding it from her mouth. So we got around it by giving her a separate spoon she could handle while we fed her.

Her fascination with the remote remains. The moment she sees it, that black device with the colorful buttons has her undivided attention .

Her other fascination: an orange mini fly swatter we gave her to play with. If she isn’t chewing on it, she waves it in front of her like a magic wand.

Here’s a few of the “Phoebe Moments” we’ve caught during the last month …

Playing Peek-a-Boo on Thanksgiving Day ...

Playing with the remote ...

Talking to her pacifier ...

And trying to drink from a cup ...

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