For me, nine months always feels like a milestone of some sort, maybe because I carried both girls for nine plus months? In any case Aurora was nine months old this past weekend and she immediately appeared to be older, less of a baby, increasingly near that moment when we start to call our children “toddlers”. Only nine months ago she was this teeny tiny little being and now she is a big, happy child who moves around as fast as a dart and smiles more often than the Cheshire Cat. (I don’t know why he came up in the comparison but I’m just going to keep him there anyway!). Her next doctor appointment isn’t until next week, but I did weigh her myself this weekend and she clocks in at 22lbs now. So she’s not gaining as rapidly as before, but still gaining, which is totally normal seeing as she is (very) mobile nowadays.
Last month she was pulling herself up to a standing position, this month she started pulling herself around, cruising as they call it. She also seems to think that she can just stand up all by herself even though she’s not really steady on her feet without holding on to anything just yet. I really have to keep an eye out on where she is and what she is doing even when we are only a few feet away from each other because she seems to be intent on matching her sister in mobility as soon as possible. I won’t be surprised if she tries to walk well before her first birthday. We have always been a bit of a barefoot household (if I could live without shoes I would, although I am a little partial to my Docs), and Luna didn’t wear shoes until she started walking. But that was all during a NY winter, so she was usually bundled in her winter gear anyway when we were out. I want to find something for Aurora to wear that will be comfortable for her in the heat… A friend suggested little baby moccasins and I bought some from a seller on Amazon (which I’m not super excited about), but I would love some recommendations, especially any small stores if possible (while remaining affordable because I refuse to spend tons of money on baby wear). The majority of the clothes in our wardrobes come from thrift stores or are hand-me-downs, so I would also be more than happy to buy secondhand.
This month was also the first that Aurora called me “mama” while actually talking to be. Sometimes it’s a little hard to differentiate between the babbling and a real word, but this was definitely her calling me. Of course my heart melted over and over again. I can’t even begin to explain how hearing that word (even when Luna says it a million times a day) makes me feel: a mixture of pride, love, wonder and a little disbelief. Is that really me? Did I really create these amazing little humans?! I get that in the grand scheme of things being a mother is not anything hugely special, women become mothers every day all over the world, but becoming a mother has been very special for me, life changing even. I’ve never felt such as incredible pull towards life and love as I have since Luna’s birth. Nowadays I just find it easy to be ME. So anyway, I could listen to them both calling me “mama” over and over again. I don’t mind if that turns into “mummy” and then “mum” over time, although I do have a special place in my heart for “mama”. It’s so universal, simple and beautiful.
I feel like I always mention how happy Aurora is, but it’s really an ongoing theme in her life: she just loves to smile! But her easygoing nature has made teething a lot harder to deal with than it was for Luna (in my opinion). Her teeth are giving her absolute hell! She has had four bottom teeth for well over a month now, and her four top teeth have been threatening to poke through for longer than that, and just haven’t yet. Her gums are so swollen, the poor little thing. I bet they are all going to come through at exactly the same time, as well as a few more on the bottom that I can see right below the surface of her gums. I give her Tylenol when it gets really bad, although I try to avoid too much, and have also started trying a teething necklace (we have a Baltic Wonder amber one), just to see if it helps. She usually gets irritated in the evenings, at bedtime, so I also think that part of the irritation has to do with the sudden heat wave that we are experiencing (in the high 90’s, low 100’s), and the fact that the hottest time of the day is usually 5 or 6pm here! I’ve been drinking three plus liters of water a day as the girls are nursing around the clock. Poor thing, teething and heat are not great components for a good night’s sleep. (And guess what? I just finished typing that paragraph, went to nurse Aurora and saw that one of her top teeth must have broken through during the night, and the second is right behind it! Hallelujah!).
Writing about teeth automatically makes me think about food, and Aurora loves her food! She’s tried all types of things, has a preference for guacamole (who wouldn’t?!) and watermelon and has become quite adept with both pincer grasp and shoving food in by the fistful techniques. I gave her some cottage cheese and some yogurt a few weeks ago but she didn’t seem to tolerate those too well yet, so we will try again in a month or so. In the meantime she is having fun trying vegetables and fruit, rice and beans and a mix of everything altogether. As with Luna, I’m assuming Aurora will mostly be vegetarian, although I have no issues with them eating meat if they so choose. Cesar eats meat so they will have it around them, I just don’t cook it or even entertain the idea of eating it. I recently read an article that was telling women that it’s OK to nurse when you are vegetarian or vegan, and while I think the message was great, the tone of the piece basically assumed that these diets are “new” and that this information is new. I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years now, had two healthy, full-term pregnancies and have been nursing kids for over two years now and never had an issue (on the contrary I’m healthier and stronger than I have ever been). Of course it’s perfectly healthy to nurse if you don’t eat meat, fish or even eggs and dairy! The same rules apply for all diets: eat enough and eat well, drink a ton of water and try to get enough rest. Nobody NEEDS meat in their diet, it’s just a personal preference. Anyway, before I go off on a tangent, the kids can choose how or what they eat, but I don’t cook meat or fish. And Aurora has been trying everything that I make and seems to enjoy everything! Maybe I will write an article on the subject at some point…
I’ve been taking a lot of photos with my Canon, going with my plan of only using the fully manual settings, and have been getting some lovely shots of the kids. Aurora’s nine month photo album is HERE, but in the coming weeks I shall be posting a separate album with recent portraits. I love capturing the girls playing together, those precious moments when they aren’t fighting or pushing each other, and actually really interacting. I love catching glimpses of what their relationship may develop into, slowly, over time.
In three short months Aurora will be a year old and we will have two toddlers. It’s incredible if you think about it… Three years ago I was bartending and managing a restaurant in NYC, now I am the mother of two in California. Life makes sharp turns and slow curves, and the ones I have taken in mine couldn’t have turned me into a happier being. And on that note, so long until next month when Aurora moves up into double digit months… <3
Oh, and I forgot to mention… Aurora now “dances”!! She sways back and forth with a huge smile on her face and it’s absolutely the cutest thing ever!