You will officially be 8 months old in four days but I thought I would write to you early because we will be visiting Grandma's and Grandpa's for Thanksgiving on the big day itself. Since my last letter, you seem to have been focused on oral development. Finally, after months of effort, you have mastered the raspberry, and for days and nights you blew your raspberries almost constantly. You mastered two techniques: one with just your lips vibrating, and one involving your tongue. You seemed immensely pleased with yourself. Shortly after that you went through a phase of smacking your lips, much to the amusement of people in the bakeries and restaurants we frequented during this time. Occasionally, you grab my cheeks, ear or hair on either side of my head, and pull me in for a wet, open-mouthed kiss that seems like a cross between an affectionate dog and an obscene caller: lots of tongue and heavy breathing. I love that you reciprocate my many kisses.
Just this past weekend, you started saying dada. The first time was Saturday morning and the three of us were lying in bed, just preparing to start the day. You reached out your hand to your daddy's arm and said, "Dah Dah." Since then you have been increasing the frequency of your utterances and now it seems that dada is the only thing you say. We believe that you are referring to him. Not every time of course; many times you are just enjoying the new dexterity of your tongue and practicing. But when you are near him, you look at him when you say it and I'm quite certain you are using it as a label. Your daddy loves it. The other night his eyes were looking particularly dewy while you were in his lap, making eye contact while you said, "Dah dah; dah dah," and he said, "That just makes my heart melt." You make the cutest face when you say it too, scrunching your eyes and stretching your mouth into a wide smile.
Not coincidentally, your new obsession with the sound dada has come with a new fondness for your daddy. You've always been fond of him of course, but now your face lights up with a new intensity when he comes home. You spend most of your evenings playing with him and he makes you laugh more than I do.
You seem to have a strange sense of humour. These days you find fake sneezes hilarious, and you laugh uproariously if your daddy looks away for a minute and then back at you. I suspect this second thing has grown from your spontaneous game of peekaboo, which was especially amazing because we hadn't played much peekaboo with you in recent months.
You are still doing your GI Joe crawling, as you have been since you were five months old, and you love exploring. You've gotten much faster though and can turn on a dime. Sometimes you get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth but then you plop down on your belly to actually move. I wouldn't be surprised if you never crawl on your hands and knees but just do the GI Joe crawl until you walk.
I am still a bit obsessed with your sleep (read: my sleep). The last few nights haven't been too bad with only a few night wakings, but you've been going to sleep later for the last week or so, waiting until after we all go to bed. For a while there you were falling asleep around 8 but waking up to 8 times a night. Ever since we decided to follow our instinct in parenting you and not sleep train, I have been much less anxious about whether what you're doing, in any sphere, is normal. I just figure you're going to do what you do and we just need to go with it. Emails have been flying around my mums' group about sleep, weaning and feeding solids and I just don't share those worries. There's so much conflicting information out there that we're just using you as our guide.
Speaking of solids, you've become quite a hearty eater and I've just started you on a third meal a day (lunch). The only food you haven't liked was avocado but it wasn't a very good avocado in my opinion so I'm not surprised. It was a bit bitter. Your daddy thought you wouldn't like broccoli but I gave it to you anyways and you loved it.
Broccoli Soul Patch
You are as happy as ever, still all smiles and charming. It's such a cliche but you have brought more wonder and joy into our lives than we could even imagine before you arrived. Just yesterday, you were sleeping in the sling while I was blogging and you had your loose fist near your mouth, just like you did in our ultrasound picture of you at 19 weeks. And I found tears rolling down my cheeks, as I marvelled at you, that you are the same baby that I worried about throughout my pregnancy, that you kept breathing in and out during those early months when I had to keep checking while you slept, that you have survived and thrived.