Our small girl has just turned nine months old, three whole quarters of a year. At nine months, she’s now lived in the real world for as long as I carried her. We can’t remember a time before she arrived, before the pink descended and colonised, before the talks of “my sister” and the goodnight kisses for her, the mentions of having good “boys and girls” in this house. Without any guilt or challenge from the boys I can declare her “my best girl”, and she is.
Like her brothers before her, she has changed the whole rhythm of this house, refocussed and recalibrated our energy and grown all our love, with Ciarán regularly declaring how great it is to be a family of five. There are practical things too, in the past nine months we’ve learned (and taught) about “girl bums” and how to put on tights and despite my husband’s denial the reality of Laoise needing her hairclips put in is only weeks away.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I’m (almost) sure that this is my favourite age of all for babies, in or around nine months. When they’re newborns there is lots of oohing and ahhing over them, at their tininess, their sleepiness, there are lots of holds and cuddles but there’s no interaction, you can’t tell their little personalities. They eat, sleep, poo and cry, end of.
But now, this small girl is showing us all exactly who she is, what she wants and how determined she is to get it.
She beams as we come into the room in the morning, singing away to herself. She whoops with joy if one of her brothers discovers her first, and we hear giggles from them in our room., it’s the sweetest sound in the world, the conspiratorial sibling giggles.
She’s a junior foodie already, smacking her lips together when she sees food that she wants, getting louder as time passes without the food being given to her, her way of calling “no fair” in what Cathal calls “baby language” if the boys have a treat that she hasn’t been given. She begs from her brothers for their apples, and they give her a little lick, uncontent she crawls around looking for their discarded crumbs of anything, food is so much tastier when picked from the ground rather than given in her highchair.
She combines her love of food and fashion by wearing her meals, the oranger the better. She wants to feed herself and when she’s done with savoury points at the fruit bowl longingly, monitoring what the boys are eating in case she’s missing out.
She’s a proficient crawler and cruiser, and can follow us around on all fours, and head off exploring by herself. If you stand still doing anything you feel two little hands on the back of your legs as she climbs you, trying to stand up, you look down to those bright blue eyes looking up at you.
She’s not all angel though, her exploring gets her into trouble too- the dishwasher is her favourite place to play, followed by the press where all the plastic is kept, the bin and anywhere that her brothers don’t want her to be. “MAMMMAA Laoise is boddering me” sighs Cathal daily (hourly). “Mam, please take her away, she’s eating the laptop cable” calls Ciarán.
That said, they ADORE her. She brings out the best in them, they play with her, sing to her. Ciarán has made up a little song for her “Leeshy Looh La” to the tune of Frere Jacques-
Leeshy Looh La, Leeshy Looh La
I love you, I love you,
every time I see you,
I just want to hug you,
I love you, I love you.
Not to be outdone Cathal’s less conventional lullaby is
“Go to sleep Laoise
with a pancake on your head,
a pancake on your head,
a pancake on your head,
go to sleep Baby with a pancake on your head”.
We have no idea where this came from, and it wasn’t composed on Shrove Tuesday, nor, to our knowledge has Laoise ever slept “with a pancake on her head”.
She smiles at them and laughs, wanting to be part of the action, part of the craic, staring at them and whooping with delight as they race around her.
“What a smiley little thing” remark strangers behind us in the supermarket as she charms them with her still toothless grin. Those teeth, whenever they come, will be hard earned and well celebrated. She waves, high fives, claps hands, sings and coos to keep those eyes focussed on her.
She sings along to the songs on the radio, to TV theme tunes (she’s been known to leave the kitchen foraging and crawl into the sitting room to sing along to Doc McStuffins) and to her brother’s school songs. Sometimes they encourage her, others they tell her that she doesn’t know the song and it’s their turn. It wouldn’t be right to let her have ALL the attention.
She loves to join them for bedtime cartoons, standing up holding on to the couch singing along and stealing their socks as they put their pjs on. She really has a thing about socks, we’ll have to watch that.
She follows her brothers into the bathroom and they screech “MMAAAMMM Laoise has GERMS, she touched the toilet”. ARGH. I remind them for the umpteenth time to close the bathroom door.
She can smell the slightest opportunity, a door left slightly ajar, a dropped piece of biscuit, a hidden crayon. She knows what she can and can’t have, the less safe, the more desirable.
She’s constantly babbling, chattering, singing and giggling, resolutely shaking her head if she’s not in agreement and shouting “AMAMAMA if she needs me. She understands us, knows a lot of what we are asking her and can communicate with us. It’s all just lovely.
…and all of that is why this is my favourite age of all.
That and the fact that she goes to bed at the same time as her brothers and goes to sleep without a fight, often/sometimes sleeping all night long means that there’s a bit of adult time around here again.
Maybe I’ll like her next age just as much.
What’s your favourite baby age?