Nell Caroline is 9 months old today. How is that possible?
These 9 months have flown by, and true to form, I love every day and every stage more. She’s personable, chatty and in love with her big brother. And her big brother? Adores that little girl. I could not have asked for a more perfect sibling relationship. It’s almost as if Tom makes it his mission in life to make Nell laugh, and Nell’s mission is to laugh at her brother. They’re a perfect team and I can’t help but think to the future – the two of them cheering each other on at their sporting events, doing homework together at the kitchen table, and driving to high school together. I thank God every single day for my healthy kids and their love for one another.
I was filling out Nell’s 9th month page in her baby book last week and was about to put down that she still doesn’t really have any words. And then, Nell decided on Friday night that she was going to start talking – went from having no real “words” other than incoherent sounds to full on talking. She sings “Dada” all day long now, says “Booboo” when Thomas commands her to (Booboo is a character in our current favorite series of books that we joke is Nell because Booboo likes to eat – even non-food items), and has a few other consonant and vowel combinations. I love this stage of language discovery where they’re combining all of their consonants and vowels and you (as the parent) hear real words that the child obviously does not know. Putting Nell to bed tonight I swear I heard, “Happy Birthday”. Obviously not, but I so love this stage of pretending like they have worldly views because they randomly combine sounds to make it sound like they’re making sense :).
Nell’s hybrid-crawling. She doesn’t prefer one leg over the other, but she crawls with both arms and one leg. She will pull herself up onto all fours and rock, so I’m expecting four limb crawling at some point, but for now, we’re all just happy she can get around in a somewhat crawling way.
(That photo on the left is quintessential happy Nell – scrunched nose and happy eyebrows – and on the right is a Nell intent on getting across the room to her Mama. B’s mom told me today “I love how you know what mood Nell’s in by her eyebrows”. And these two pictures perfectly capture those expressive eyebrows).
Nell decided in the last month to give the whole sleeping through the night thing a whirl, too. She doesn’t do it consistently, but I’d say two to three times a week we get 7pm – 7am stretches. Those few nights a week make the nights where she’s up once to eat totally manageable.
Our Miss Nell is a cuddler and a Mama’s girl – when she puts her head down on my shoulder, we all just melt. She prefers to be with me if she has the choice, but Mr. B is putting up a competitive fight for her main affection. We call our Nell Caroline the community baby – in our neighborhood, Nell’s the newest baby. From the time we moved into our house in 2007 until Nell was born in June, there was only one single 3 month stretch where not a single person on our block was pregnant. Which means we have a lot of babies between the ages of 9 months and 4 (since the oldest babies have now moved away). Now no one is pregnant (to our knowledge), and Nell is giving everyone their baby fix. She makes the rounds at church, sitting with all of our neighbors and their kids. She goes on play dates to our neighbors’ houses when people need a little baby snuggle time. She’s the community baby, and she’s good with it.
If I had to pick, I’d say my favorite moments with Nell are the mornings when she wakes up before Thomas. Thomas does most of Nell’s talking and gross motor development for her (another awesome thing to watch – “Nell wants some milk, mom. Feed Nell.”, “Nell wants her paci [picks it up from just out of her reach and shoves it in her mouth]”, etc), but when it’s just the two of us one-on-one, Nell babbles, crawls, and tells me all about her world. I love our mornings together. But I also love watching her eyes light up the second she hears Thomas’s voice on the monitor. The fun part of the day in Nell’s mind begins when her big brother puts his feet on the floor.
A year ago, Nell was still cooking and we were still guessing who this baby would be, so it’s crazy to think that just one year later we have a full-fledged little lady with a big personality in our house. I cannot begin to wrap my head around the fact that she’ll be one in June, and that she’s now been on the outside for almost as long as she was on the inside. We adore every day with out sweet Nell Caroline, and count our blessings daily for our happy, healthy family that is full of love.