Autumn has always been my favourite season, even though it makes me feel a little sad and nostalgic. The falling leaves remind me of my childhood for some reason and of course, of the summer that has past. This fall has been gorgeous and although the leaves have all turned yellow, the days are as sunny and warm as they were this summer. You and I have tried to make the most of the nice weather and have been getting outside as much as we can. My Grandma firmly believed that a baby must be outside every single day and I think of her often. We go outside every day - even if it's just to sit on the front step and watch the squirrels. You love being outside and I think it's good for both of us to get fresh air.
I started working again this month. A contract writing job sort of just fell into my lap and I grabbed onto it with more voracity than I would have expected. I was happier to be working than I thought I would. It's funny how sometimes life gives you exactly what you need before you even know you need it. The job is just a few hours a week but I have loved having something else to think about besides you, and how clean the house is. I have always loved cleaning but if I have too much time on my hands, and too much time in the house, it starts to mean more to me than it should. It's not normal to see shoes left at the front door as a personal insult.
You and your Dad started swimming lessons this month and it's going, well, swimmingly. The first Saturday of lessons your Dad said to me (while heading out the door) "So this is for Dads and babies right? I won't be the only guy in the pool will I?"
"Um, nope. It's for parents and babies. So, yah, you might be the only guy in the pool. Have fun!"
Then I pushed you both out the door, locked it, got naked, threw on some Holly McNarland, made myself 6 pina coladas and enjoyed the first half hour I had had to myself in eight months (well, 17 if you want to get technical). As it turns out, I wasn't the only Mom securing herself some free time and the swimming class consisted mostly of Dads. I think it's great that you two have this thing together and Paisley, I have to say, not every girl can rock a two piece like you do.
You are sitting up now! You could sit up when you were 7 months technically but it wasn't reliable. You would usually topple over or fall forward so that you were stuck in a very uncomfortable looking position. Now you sit and you stay sitting. You can play and move and very rarely fall over. You are also getting very mobile. One day a couple of weeks ago I looked over and you had somehow managed to make your way from the living room into the dining room. I was so shocked when I looked over and you were three feet closer to me than you were a few minutes before. You are FAST! I still don't know how you did it but I was impressed. You grab more, climb more, roll more and just generally interact with the world (which apparently still consists mostly of my face and hair) more than you did when you were little. You have discovered the baby in the mirror and you love visiting with her. You smile, talk and grab at her face. It's pretty cute.
The last few weeks have been hard on me and your Dad. For some reason you started waking up in the night again - sometimes three of four times a night. That coupled with you needing more of my energy during the day has left me feeling tired and drained at times. I had read all kinds of websites and books saying I should let you cry it out or not pick you up from your crib during the night. Maybe they are right but at the end of the day it just doesn't feel right. When you cry I go in and I cuddle you and feed you and within minutes you are back asleep. If it continues there may come a point where I will change my approach but right now this feels right. Exhausting but right. I can't help but think that it won't be very long until I won't be able to make things all better and soothe you the way I can now so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
You are still gummy and toothless and teething. I had no idea that teething could last so long! You chew on everything and then, after it is dripping in drool, you inspect it like a scientist. Looking at it intently, close up, then far away, every corner, then tasting it again. You seem to have developed a real love for the handsets from our phone and will stare at them from across the room. This morning I gave you my cell phone about a minute before the alarm was set to go off. At 7:30 it started to ring and light up and vibrate whilst in your chubby little fist/mouth/fist. You looked at it, like "Wait a goddamn minute. What is going on here?" and then you smiled. It was a funny smile, a smile of recognition. "Oh, right. That vibrating, ringing thing. It's YOU."
Because you were born a month early, this birthday marks the point at which you have been in the world longer than you were in my belly. I remember the first three months of being pregnant felt like a year, and then the other five felt like another year. These past eight months with you have been the fastest eight months of my entire life. That might just be because they have also been the best.