Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy 9 months!

Ashlinn recently had her 9-month checkup and passed with flying colors. Our tall, skinny girl was in the 90th percentile for height, but only the 20th for weight, meaning fewer than 10% of babies are taller than her at her age, and about 80% of her peers are heavier than her regardless of their height. Here are a few accomplishments we haven't gotten around to posting until now.


Since she was about two-months-old, Ashlinn has shown an interest in mimicking sounds, especially those coming from us, her parents. We even have a video of her at 8 weeks old watching me say "Agua" (Spanish for "water") and saying it herself. She has been very keen on studying the way our lips part and jaw moves, etc., putting together sounds that form words. She isn't completely comfortable speaking a whole lot just yet, but will often mouth the movements to words as she watches us talk. It's very cute.

Although she doesn't say a lot just yet, Ashlinn did begin speaking a few words just before her 9th month. They are as follows and in chronological order:

*"Hi"/"Hey" - whenever we'd go to pick her up from Susan (the gal who watches Ashlinn), she'd do a sort of wave and exclaim "Hey!!!". We figured that counted as her first word since she did it repeatedly and seemed to know what it was she was saying.

*"Mama" & "Dada" tied for second. She technically said "Mama" first, but had been putting "Da-Da" sounds together prior to that, without actually knowing what she was saying

*"Uh-Oh" - Yes, considering that was one her first words, I'm sure she's warning us that we're in a world of trouble as she gets older. :o) The first time she said this, I was laying on the couch with her and she was playing with my cell phone. She dropped it on the floor, pointed to it, looked at me and said, "Uh-oh!!!". It was precious.

*"That" - She often points to things she wants or is curious about, squeezes her fingers together as though to grab it, and says, "that!"

She says other partial words and has said things like "Key-ee" (kitty) when pointing at the cat, but I haven't had a lot of luck getting her to repeat it so I haven't officially counted the extra words just yet.

Baby Signs:

I began teaching Ashlinn basic baby signs around 5 months old. At 6 months old, she started making the sign for "milk" (squeezing fingers together as though you're milking a cow). It scared the bejabbers out of me, mainly because I knew this was her first real attempt and comprehensible communication, and the fact that my baby was able to tell me what she wanted/needed at 6 months old was a little scary. She now knows hungry/eat, and is working on "all done" and a few others like kitty.

When naming objects, I try my best to remember their Spanish counterpart and say both. She seems to understand the following:

Gato - Cat
Leche - Milk
Cama - Bed
Toca la guitara - play the guitar
Mano - Hand
Frio/Hace Frio - cold/brrrrrrr / it's cold!
Come - eat
The rest are alluding me right now, but I've probably communicated about 150+ Spanish words and phrases with her on a regular basis. It's amazing to me how much Spanish is coming back to me from my high school days.

Gross Motor Skills (as in movements utilizing her larger muscle groups - not "icky" motor skills):

Ashlinn was born a very strong baby. I was pretty sure she would be as she was a very active baby in utero, constantly stretching out (making me almost pass out when she'd push against my diaphragm and lungs), using my ribs like a xylophone, and trying to kick her way right out of me. She started preferring to stand much of the time over sitting or being held at around 6 weeks. Here are a few things she's done since.

Ashlinn began what we call "scooting" around 6 months. She'd essentially lay flat on her belly, and use her arms and legs to push herself across the floor. She resembles soldier, making his/her way through the brush incognito style, using mainly elbows and knees on the ground to shimmy on by. She'd stealthily get from point A to point B with seemingly no obstacles. Because she started this fairly early on, Ryan and I were convinced "real" crawling would be right around the corner. At nearly 10 months old, she still mostly scoots, but does get on her knees and do a few crawling moves, before resorting to what she knows and is comfortable with.

Ashlinn is so close to walking on her own it's scary. She's been able to walk across the floor pretty quickly while holding onto our hands since she was about 5 1/2 months old. Then at about 8 months old, if we stood her up, she was easily able to use furniture as a crutch to stand and maneuver herself around the room. At about 9 months old, she began pulling herself up with no problem and needs less of a crutch than before, now able to use things like the wall, etc., to lean against rather than requiring something tangible and 3-D to hold onto. She can stand without holding onto anything, but upon realizing what she is doing after a few seconds, she gets scared and starts to panic, reaching out for anything close by or opting to fall to the safety of the ground.


There are a number of things that make our little girl stand out. Her beautiful smile and contagious laugh, her sparkling blue eyes she used to "smile" (prior to smiling, she seemed to smile with her eyes), her intellect, her precious little sounds and cooing, her expressions, but the attribute that so many comment on above all others is her personality. Oh yeah, she's got one!!! She (we all!) suffered with colic for just over the first three months of her life. After that, she seemed to be a fairly happy-go-lucky kid.

She has few fears, and lights up whenever anyone, especially strangers, pay her any attention. On the flip side, she gets a little irritated when people don't notice her, and does whatever she can to grab their attention, "turning on the charm" as Ryan and I describe it. She waves and makes noise and acts totally silly when others are around. She hasn't had many problems with separation or stranger anxiety except when she's exhausted.

Ashlinn is an utter joy to be around and I now know that it's true what "they" say - that children give their parents wrinkles. Laughter wrinkles! She cracks us up on a constant basis. Her absolutely inquisitive nature that often gets her into trouble is also one of her most endearing qualities. I remember at her one-month checkup, Dr. Fairbanks was trying to listen to her heartbeat but was having difficulty because Ashlinn kept grabbing her stethoscope and bringing it close to her face for a closer inspection. The other day, Ashlinn discovered where we keep her toy bin and was bent way over the side of the couch (I was holding onto her ankle), and picking up toys, excitedly showing each one to me yelling "That!" or "Di-Di!" each time she'd find a new one. She loves to share her findings with anyone willing to participate, holding out pacifiers, toys, and food to the person sitting next to her as though to say, "Look! Isn't this the most amazing thing you've ever seen/smelled/tasted/experienced?! I want to share it with you because I just can't contain my excitement and want you to feel it too!".

Our little girl amazes us each day and Ryan and I both agree that one of the saddest times nowadays is about 8:00pm, when everything has calmed down - baby is fed and in bed, we are fed and winding down, and while we could watch television, read a book, start a project, enjoy our alone time, etc., we miss out little monkey girl and want to play with her. Parenthood is a true adventure and indescribable to anyone who has not yet experienced one of life's truly miraculous wonders.

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