And what a month it's been! Cruz is growing from a baby to a little person more every day, and since I've been able to be home with him all month, I've had a front row seat to all of the action! Nine months means 3/4 of our way through his first year of life, a HUGE milestone if you ask me. I'm doing my best to enjoy every stage, every piece of him, because to say they grow up fast is the understatement of the century! Yes, I miss him when he was tiny, immobile, and so new, but every stage brings new adventure, new joy, and new happiness. Many seasoned parents have said this was one of their favorite ages, and I couldn't agree more!
Our biggest accomplishment this month would have to be crawling. Cruz has been working and working on putting the pieces together for quite some time, and although he's been able to get to a choice destination with what we refer to as 'freestyle crawling,' it hasn't looked like 'official' crawling until this week. In a matter of a day, Cruz went from slowly working his way across the room, to holy-cow-how-do-we-child-proof-the-cat-dish crawling. Cruz won't stay away from our cable box, Jade's cat food bowl, or the living room window. He's started pulling himself up to the window sill already, and it won't be long before he begins to figure out this walking thing.
The other night, Beau was out starting the grill, and Cruz and I were in the kitchen making a salad. Cruz was fixated on a wooden spoon and measuring cup, his toys of choice these days, so I quickly ran downstairs to grab the vacuum cleaner. I was gone for a total of thirty seconds, and by the time I reached the top stair, Cruz had maneuvered himself to Jade's water bowl, and was having the time of his life in his mini pool. I let him splash, let him tip, and let him pour an entire bowl of water down the front of his onesie. Water, I figured, is harmless; however, the rock and Bath n' Body Works Wallflower he decided to stick in his mouth yesterday is a different story!
With this new crawling brings new lessons in parenting. I had to discipline Cruz for the first time yesterday, as he kept crawling to the power cord attached to my computer. I'd pick him up, put him in the middle of the living room, and attempt to distract him with a toy. Seconds later, he'd roll over on his belly, push up on all fours, and move ever-so quickly to the power cord, panting in excitement at the new game he'd developed. Remember reading about Cruz's cute 'no, no, no' gesture? Well, he put it to good use yesterday. Every time I would kindly say, 'no, no, Cruz,' he would look at me, smile this devilish grin, and shake his head 'no.' He'd stop for a second, as if he knew exactly what I was requesting, then move on to the power cord. We played this game for a few minutes, until I decided to unhook my computer and put in on the kitchen counter, along with the cat bowl and wallflower. Cruz - 1; Me - 0.
In addition to crawling, Cruz started doing all sorts of things this month. He loves to imitate, copying sounds, gestures, and facial expressions. My favorites this month are 'the echo,' where Cruz and I will yell 'ah' back and forth until one of us gives up; the 'praise singer,' where Cruz will lift both his arms in the air, look up at the sky, and give a nice, on tune, 'ahhhhh' sound; the 'k' sound when I say 'kitty;' and the 'scrunch-face smile,' where he wrinkles his nose and sucks air through his front teeth. He also started saying 'mama' and 'dada' this month; however, we're not sure if he knows what they mean. Although Beau takes pride in the fact that he said 'dada' first, he definitely says 'mama' more ;). Just yesterday, Cruz and I played catch with his ball. I threw the ball to him, and he picked it up, sort-of flicked it out of his hand in my direction, and moved his arms up and down really fast in excitement. Although he has a long way to go before he can pitch for the Chicago Cubs, it was amazing to watch him figure out the repetition that goes into a game of catch.
Cruz is also developing a little mind of his own. He shakes his head when he doesn't want a bite of food, fights going down for a nap every now and then, and throws a fit if you don't let him hold his bottle of Aveeno lotion while you change his diaper. Familiarity breeds strategy, and Cruz has had lots of time to get used to his surroundings this summer!
We've developed a wonderful little routine here this summer, and I've loved focusing on being a mom as my full-time job. Cruz still sleeps well, going to bed around 8:30 and sleeping until about 6:30. He eats breakfast in his pajamas, usually cereal and a banana, then plays in his pjs while we watch The Today Show. Cruz is a rock star napper, usually taking a two hour nap in the morning, and another one in the afternoon. He's down to about three bottles a day, and three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He's still a snuggler, but sometimes lays on a pillow and drinks his bottle by himself (it's a guaranteed 15 minutes of him staying the same spot ;). He still loves his bottles; however, he is growing more and more interested in 'people food,' all the time.
Speaking of people food, I'm continuing to stock the freezer with Beaba goods every week. Cruz has evolved from 'first taste' foods like carrots, peas, apples, and squash, to combinations of flavors and ingredients. I've become a produce nazi, and won't let a banana, apple, or zucchini go untouched in the fridge very long. With the cheap produce this summer, I've taken advantage of everything fresh, and am spoiling Cruz with tastes I didn't learn to appreciate until well into my twenties. I've been able to introduce herbs and seasonings this month, a little basil in his tomatoes and carrots, and cumin in his avocado. He is partial to his fruits, but is still a big fan of cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, and carrots. He's also a big fan of ice cream, Tropical Sno, and banana pudding; however, these are saved as special treats and given in very small doses :).
Cruz has also morphed from a baby food eater to toddler food eater. He's become a pro at picking up bite-sized pieces of food, and there's not a fruit he won't eat. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches are his favorite, as well as raspberries, blueberries, and mango. Yesterday, Cruz had scrambled eggs and toast with grape jelly for breakfast, and turkey meat and brown rice for lunch. He loves munching on graham crackers and cracker sticks, drinks juice from his sippy cup all by himself, and had shredded chicken and broccoli pieces for the first time the other day. Cruz is a really good eater, and we laugh at the fact that we've never really seen him get full. He goes to the doctor tomorrow, and I have a feeling he's pushed past his normal 50th percentile!
Other milestones and memories to add to the record this month? Cruz still loves it on his dad's shoulders, likes swimming in his backyard pool, and started taking baths in the tub this month. I think he's becoming a bit of a mama's boy being here with me all summer, and loves to smother my face and give wet kisses. He also loves chasing after his kitty friend, much to poor Jade's dismay, and has developed a bad habit of taking a bite out of peoples' shoulders when they hold him (we're working on this). Cruz outgrew Size 3 diapers and outgrew his carseat, this month, but is still fitting nicely into his 6-12 month clothes. He LOVES life outside, loves being naked, and loves his Grandpa Curt.
FYI, she's de-clawed ;)
Happy Nine Months, Cruz Bennett! We love you and can't wait to see what's in store this month!