Personality: Where to begin? Hayden takes on different personas with different people. For instance, at home with just Garrett and me, she is wild. This kid can’t sit still. She’s playful and loud and insistent on getting our attention. She’s easy with smiles and giggles and just wants to play, preferably with someone. She is also very stubborn. She’s learned the word “no” to some degree and gets a kick out of disobeying me. I can see that being super fun in the future!
When I take her to playgroups or morning coffees with adults, she’s much more reserved. Everyone comments on how curious and perceptive she must be because she will just stare at whoever is talking, like she’s taking it all in. If it’s a smaller group of people, she’ll relax sooner and start babbling and smiling, trying to get attention per usual. She is fascinated by people, and she’s happy to let anyone hold her. I have to say, she’s on her best behavior in social settings.
She can be needy and sometimes we struggle to get her to play independently. There are days when she follows me around the apartment whining until I pick her up. But other times she is happy to roam around on her own and explore. I think that’s pretty typical.
Mobility: Hayden is on the move. She’s been crawling for over a month now but her latest trick is pulling herself to stand. She will do this anywhere. She’s not so much cruising yet, just pulling herself up and practicing standing for periods of time. She gets a huge grin on her face like she’s super proud of herself too. She’s come close to standing unassisted a few times, but then she’ll fall on her butt. Soon enough though.
It’s becoming more of a workout keeping her out of trouble. She wants to get into the litter box, the cat bowls, any wires or outlets, lamps, etc. I spend a lot of my day chasing after her and saying “Hayden, NO!” to which she turns around, smiles, and goes right back to doing what she was doing. We’re working on that…
Speaking of chasing, she is all about the cat. I feel sorry for both Hayden and Stella. Stella for obvious reasons, her quality of life has definitely gone down a few notches since the kid arrived – less attention, not enough quiet time, “why’s the baby in my spot? Why’s the baby eating my chicken?” And I feel sorry for Hayden because the cat will not cut her a break. Hayden desperately wants to play with Stella, or just give her a little pet (ha, yeah right, more like a tug!) and Stella vanishes the minute Hayden gets within a few feet. I’m sure one day they’ll be best friends.
Food: Food is going much better! We have Hayden eating 3 “meals” a day, how much she eats varies day to day. We’ve found some new favorites including oatmeal, greek yogurt, chicken and black beans. She loves to eat strawberries whole and little “fingers” of toast with hummus. Her appetite is definitely improving. Veggies are still a struggle. This week I pureed some zucchini and mixed it with apple and she loved that. Whatever works!
I love that Hayden is eating real food and we’ve started weaning, but this new stage has come with all sorts of challenges. There’s prep time involved in making baby food, and a new thought process at the grocery store. I don’t want to give her the same thing every day for every meal. I also don’t want to puree a whole bunch of stuff and have half of it go to waste because she doesn’t like it. And then I have to consider her nutritional need too!
We do a variety of finger food and purees. At 9 months, I’m trying to be mindful that she’s getting not just veggies and fruit but also protein, some grains, and healthy fats. As with most things in motherhood, some days I’m more successful than others.
Hayden continues to get a lot of her nutrition from breastmilk. I never thought I would be nursing this long, but here we are. At this point, I’ll continue until she’s a year old. I would like to be done by then, but we’ll see how it goes. Right now I think we’re at a good place, I’ve decreased her milk feeds and in place she’s getting more into food. That’s the direction we want to go, gently and gradually, so that the weaning process is pretty smooth for both of us. She never warmed up to a bottle, so it’s just been me for 9 months! She loooooves her sippy cup with water, but does not want to take milk from it. And frankly, I gave up on pumping all together. It’s really funny how much she likes water though, she must get that from her mom and dad.
Sleep: We had a break through with sleep when we got back from Italy. I know this might not sound good to you, but Hayden is only waking once a night now. I still go in and nurse her right back to sleep. We’ve tried other methods and we can’t stick with anything long enough for it to work. But, I’m willing to try again! I’m so tired at 1am or what time ever she wakes up, that I just want to get her back to sleep as fast as possible.
Recently, Hayden’s been getting up super early. Some mornings she barely makes 6am. Oof. But, her naps are better now. We do still have days where she doesn’t want to nap or takes short 40 minute naps, but usually she will take two longish naps a day.
Sleep is a funny thing because it changes a lot. Every time I think we are in a good rhythm, she changes it up again. I’ve never been able to say, “Hayden naps at 10 and 2” or whatever set times people have in mind. I desperately try to give her two solid naps a day but some days she fights them soooo hard.
Bed time is another inconsistency where we desperately try to stay consistent. My child really has a mind of her own. She does not like to be away from the action. These days, we shoot for a bed time between 7:30 and 8pm, but realistically she hasn’t fallen asleep until more like 8:30pm the last few nights. It use to be 7pm! I think summer daylight has something to do with it.
And I think that’s Miss Hayden in a nut shell. Next week she takes her first big road trip (wish us luck!) to France to meet my in-laws for a few days. Then the five of us head to Switzerland for a week. Can’t wait!