Nine months (and two weeks)

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago when Archie hit the nine month mark, but forgot to publish it then. Dear Archer,

You are nine months old today. That means that you have been here for as long as you were growing inside my tummy. It has gone very fast, and sometimes I feel sad thinking about how you aren't a tiny scrunched-up little smelly-necked bean anymore. But then I look at your huge blue eyes and get excited about the little boy that you are becoming. Your dad and I are have finally gotten the hang of this whole parenting gig and have found our groove. We are growing up, you and I. I can confidently tell how you are feeling and I'm learning to slooooow down when you need it.

You have learned to wave, and high five, and are getting the hang of using a spoon. Last night you were crawling around aimlessly, then I came around a corner and you broke into a huge grin and came barrelling towards me. I laughed and waved and you stopped, steadied yourself on one arm, then flapped your right arm ferociously with a huge beaming smile. My heart melted.

We have been teaching you how to clap, and you clasp your hands together and shake them around proudly. You still haven't mastered the fact that you need to separate your hands to clap, but your cute victory clasp is getting lots of smiles and cheers from your dad and I.

Your are definitely making your opinions known to everyone now, and boy, do you have opinions. You do not like your sleeping bag, waiting more than three seconds in the high chair without food, avocado, crawling on long grass (prickly!), getting stuck in corners, and sitting still. You love eating whole nectarines, peaches and pears, using a spoon, waving and high fives, being outside, your nan and having a shower with your dad. You can demolish a ripe peach in seconds, but will happily play with a handful of disposable spoons and an empty ice-cube tray for 40 minutes.

The baby books tell me that about this age you might get a bit hesitant around strangers, and I can see it a little bit now. You bury your head and smile shyly when someone new talks to you. You climb all over me as soon as we sit on the floor, and prefer to just sit in my lap and smile than to stray too far. I do kind of love it though, because the little snuggles won't last forever once you are walking. I think it will be soon, as you are already cruising around, holding onto the couch and my legs.

I can see more of your dad in you every day. You are a little mini Lee, and I can see you as a toddler wanting to help him with everything. "And me, Dad?" We watched Lee mow the lawn the other day and I had to restrain you from crawling out across the lawn and 'helping'. Your eyes light up and you start flapping and shrieking with excitement when you hear your dad's car pull up in the evenings.

I love you, little man. May you grow up with a tough mind, and a warm heart. Work hard. Then a bit harder. Travel. Be a good boyfriend. Don't be afraid of your emotions. Live large and messily. Make mistakes. Be on time. And be confident that we will always have your back.