How in the world are you nine months old? The past nine months have been so full, so fun, so hard, and oh so sweet. You look older. I'm convinced that the doctors did a good job fixing your heart, because now you have plenty of energy to eat. You eye everything on our plates and open your mouth like a baby bird in hopes we'll share. The other day at lunch, you swiped my plate and it landed on the ground!
You have already received a fair number of Christmas gifts, and lately you've been loving your pull toy gorilla from Aunt Patti and your blocks from your godparents. You also have taken great joy in staring up at the lights on our Christmas tree. Your attention to people is wonderful, and hilarious. I think you try to get out of therapy tasks by making friends with your therapists. I've heard this is common in kids with Down syndrome, and one stereotype that holds true for you is good social/emotional intelligence. You look to Daddy or I when you want something that seems too hard to get on your own - a piece of food, a toy, a piece of paper.
|("Mommy, check out this box I found. I think it's full of gingerbread houses."|
Ellie, I have a confession to make. The other day, I had to fill out some papers for the doctor. I had to say what you are able to do and not able to do. It's part of being nine months old, but I was scared to fill out the papers. Some tasks are harder for you than for other kids. You can sit up, you can stand supported, you can easily transfer items from one hand to the other and cross midline. You use your arms to show us when you want "up." But your arms just aren't ready to push you into sitting or pull you to a stand. I thought filling that out would make me sad for you, because you work harder and things still take longer.
Then, I got to this question: "Has your child had any major medical events in the past few months?"
Just open heart surgery. Oh, and a blocked tear duct.
I am so proud of you. You had your sternum opened and your heart fixed in the past few months. (And we're working on that tear duct, but honestly, it seems so minor to me.) I don't care if crawling and walking take you longer than your friends, you are pretty dang amazing!
We just started watching "Baby Signing Times" and you love it. I have a feeling you'll be a big signer once you figure it out. You love other kids. Your friend Violette (Missy's daughter) sent you a video to say "Thank you" for a Christmas card and you nearly climbed through the computer to watch her.
|("Mommy, this gingerbread house tastes like cardboard!")|
Ellie, you are deliberate. You eye toys for a long time, then swoop in and grab them. You are getting less patient with pigtails, because you always get distracted and want to play. You can play "Peekaboo Barn" on Mommy's phone, which you did during our roadtrip. Daddy held the phone, but you hit it yourself to make the animals appear.
You are becoming more interested in real animals, too. You recently met a puppy in our neighborhood after you stared him down on the way home from the swings. His owner let you meet him, and you just wanted to stare. You didn't mind the puppy in your face, but you were angry when I tried helping you pet him. When you are at your angriest and saddest, we go to the swings, and that usually calms you down. As the weather gets colder (and your hatred of socks stays the same) I have NO idea what we'll do. Maybe you'll just wear a snowsuit and I'll stick you in a swing anyway?
Ellie, thank you for being such a fun baby, an easy baby (90 percent of the time), a funny baby, and a sweet baby. Thank you for making friends with strangers, for making us laugh, and for giving great hugs.
You light up our lives, and I am so excited to watch you in action on your first Christmas! We are blessed to have you.
PS. Still, no teeth. Maybe for Christmas?