9 Months Old

As we wrapped up our last week in Florida, we were sad to leave Ma and Grandpa, and the beach, but I think we were ready to be back in our own zone. We didn't luck out with the best weather, though while there were plenty of sunny days, most days weren't warm enough to go to the beach. We still had lots of fun adventures.

The day after we got back from Orlando, I wasn't feeling well at all. I was able to go out with Dave and the babies so we drove downtown and walked Old Naples Pier and sat outside on Fifth Street for lunch. I couldn't eat anything, but luckily felt better by the next day.

We kept the activity low-key on Saturday since Dave and I were both a bit worn out from being sick, and just checked out the outlets nearby. We stopped for lunch on the way home and the boys had their first pickle, which was just so much fun to watch.

Sunday was the best day I think. Ronda and Don drove down from Sarasota and while not super-warm, we were able to sit out on the beach with everyone, including Dave's parents. We were able to BBQ, the babies were great and tried all sorts of new foods. It was a lot of fun.

Monday was pretty low-key too, playing at a local park and stopping at a fish shack for lunch. We were looking forward to getting some new professional photos of the boys, this time at the beach, but you really have to do them at sunset. With the mild weather, we weren't sure we'd be able to do the shoot as it was getting pretty cool by sunset. Luckily it worked out and Monday was really the only night this week it would've been warm enough to get it. It was so much fun, but required shifting up the babies' schedule, which can be tricky; luckily they did really well.

The rest of the week we also visited the manatee park and had another successful lunch at Cracker Barrel, met Linda and Gary at their favorite breakfast place and then we all went to a park, visited Marco Island just south of Naples and had a great lunch (I can't believe how much fish these guys have eaten!). We had one tough day that we thought was going to be a beach day but then ended up raining and were sort of lost with what to do. We ended up getting out to Jersey Mike's, Dave's favorite, got an ice cream, and drove up to Lover's Key. Dave got to play a round of golf with his dad in the afternoon while Linda and I watched the babies. They were a mess by the end of the day, but we had a really fun time.

We survived the flight home, so grateful for that. I was a bit nervous since the flight departed at 6:15pm and didn't arrive to SF until 9:45pm (or almost 1am Florida time). We were pretty successful earlier that day and our strategic plan worked to get them to take solids naps while we were driving. Once we got on the plane, they ate a bottle, had solids a little later, then a bit more bottle and 2 hours into the flight (so pretty much on their FL schedule) we 'put them to bed'. We already had their pjs on and put them in the bjorn/ergo, which worked SO much better to get them to sleep. William fell asleep pretty quickly, but even George did well. It wasn't sound sleep; each stirred at various points, but they did great and it was so much more comfortable than just trying to hold them. They woke up when we arrived and were awake on the drive home. I let them have a bit more milk and put them to bed again, which took a little while, but all in all, they fell asleep pretty quickly. They made it until 5:40am on Sunday morning -- 8:40am FL time which is later than they were making it so we were happy with that.

9 months old... what a month!

EAT: They've both been a lot more inconsistent with how much milk they're taking at each feeding, but probably because they're doing a lot better with eating solids. Though overall William is still drinking a lot (generally close to 30oz, at least up until this past week), it varies by feeding and some days are definitely less than others. Because of this, I feel like my body has finally caught up and I've had to use next to no formula this month. William has also gotten really good at holding his bottle. After our travels for Thanksgiving, he regressed a bit, but now we prop him up in the corner of couch next to me while I feed George and he's good to go (though sometimes he does get squirmy there on his own).

Solids: So much better this month! We noticed that they were more and more interested in food (mostly what we're eating), so a few weeks ago we added a lunchtime solid feeding for them. It's actually worked out really well as it allows us to stretch the time between milk feedings a bit so we can be out longer for our main activity of the day. It's also been great as we've been able to eat out more and more and they do well in high chairs eating their lunch alongside us. I trust them with most food and they chew well so we're really just avoiding choking hazards, egg whites, honey, etc. I still mostly make their food, which has been pretty easy to do even in Florida. The staples are squash, sweet potatoes, bananas and avocados which are really easy to have on hand and mash up with a fork. Then I also got frozen mango and peaches and prepared those, then froze them in cubes to pull out for their breakfast. We introduced yogurt and cheese and both have been a hit.

For breakfast they have plain whole milk yogurt mixed with some baby oatmeal (for the iron) and then fruit mixed in -- either mango and/or peaches, banana, pears, apples, etc. They love this and eat at least half a cup each. They do very well at breakfast. They've also had nibbles of my whole-grain waffle and sometimes they get scrambled egg yolks.

For lunch, they usually get leftovers of last night's dinner - I make one good-sized batch and split it in two. This is usually a grain mixed with a vegetable and if we have some, some fish or meat. If we're out to lunch, they get tastes of ours - well, whatever is appropriate/healthy. This is usually some black beans and rice, bits of fish, a bite of pasta, etc.

Dinner can sometimes be a struggle. I don't know if it's just the end of day, or the fact that we don't have high chairs, but they get pretty squirmy and definitely don't eat as much as they eat at breakfast. We've been eating a lot of fresh fish down here and they've liked it just as much as us. The black grouper is the best!

Snacks, I'm not big on snacking and don't really want to incorporate that into their schedule, but it's been a good distraction and activity while here on vacation. The mesh feeders are awesome and they've had a lot of cantaloupe and watermelon in them.

New foods this month: So many, I don't think I'll be able to remember everything!
Israeli couscous, cucumber, pickle, peas, green beans, chickpeas, hummus, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, yogurt, dumplings, fish, pancakes, waffle, biscuit, corn, kiwi, wild rice, oranges, Ma's meat chili, broccoli.

They've also gotten some of the pouch/squeezers and have liked all but the broccoli red lentil one. Those are nice to have on hand or for places where it's harder to clean them up, but mostly I just bring a small container of food I've prepped myself. This month really has been so much fun with the eating so I'm looking forward to them trying more and more new things. They don't have the pincer grip yet, so that will be the next step, them feeding themselves more.

Well, up until a few days ago, everything was still going well. They've adjusted so well to different cribs, the time change, etc., and besides some fussing here or there, they've continued to nap, and sleep at night, well. A few days ago George had a rough night, waking up just as we were going to bed at 11, but he was really crying. We brought him in our room, trying to calm him down before William woke up, but George is not a snuggler and does not do well in our bed. We eventually settled him down and he continued to wake up every few hours, but luckily only needed a quick pat or paci replaced and would go back to sleep. The next night was much better, though he did stir several times. We're really lucky that that was the worst of it -- at least at night. Unfortunately after that night, he's now protested going to bed, including all naps. He's perfect happy when we put him in the crib, sometimes even for 5 minutes, but often when we leave the room, he starts crying, and works himself up to screaming. For the most part, it's had nothing to do with standing in his crib, as he only just started doing that in his travel crib. We've learned that picking him up usually only makes him more mad when you put him down, so we've tried to limit going in there, unless he's standing and seems stuck, then we lay him down and pat him. It's been pretty bad though, screaming for as long as 20-30 minutes before eventually settling down and going to sleep. Sometimes William will have already fallen asleep and will sleep through it (but often wake up shortly after George has fallen asleep), or it keeps him up and he's not able to get a good nap either. So frustrating. I warned Dave that a lot people deal with this often, or have dealt with it a lot sooner than 9 months. We never had the infamous '4-month sleep regression' or anything similar so I think we've been pretty lucky. So much has been going on with George - he finally got his first tooth, he's been sick and he's been crawling, standing, cruising like crazy. So it could be any one of those things, or a combination. Most would say it's the teething but what's so weird is that he's perfectly fine during the day -- not fussy, not drooling, not overly chewing on stuff. We have been giving him a bit of medicine before he goes to bed to hopefully help with any pain he's having. I'm just hoping he'll be okay on the plane and that this whole regression-thing sorts itself out soon.

So much activity this month! They're both crawling like crazy, though neither has progressed to a real off-the-belly/non-army crawl, and I don't think they will before they start walking. George started pulling up to standing around Christmas and William waited until about a week ago. Now both are confident in standing (and mom and dad are not so nervous!). The first week George was standing wasn't fun as he didn't really have his balance, didn't know how to sit himself back down, and we had just gotten to our new beach house with tile floors. Though William took longer to pull himself up, within a day or two, he was really comfortable with it and had it down. They both can easily go from sitting to crawling, back to sitting. George is able to crouch down and stand back up, when holding on to something; William isn't there yet. One of the best changes is that they're both sitting so solidly now that they can take a bath in the big tub together at the same time; so much fun! Dave usually does bathtime while I get the bottles ready.

William continues to explore more, but George is on another level. He's already getting into everything; you really can't take your eye off him for a minute. He likes to pull up to standing on just about everything, particularly the TV stand and the trash can, both of which I'm constantly redirecting him away from. We'll see how it is when we get home and what areas we need to further baby (or George)-proof. We picked up a zany zoo at the consignment store and they've really loved it so I think we'll get a similar activity cube when we get home. I was telling Dave, it's so cool to see the developmental steps, and they really are steps. For example, George was able to pull up to his knees one day and then later that day, he was able to pull himself all the way up. Or with the Zany Zoo. Initially, they only 'got' certain parts of it, but now they know how to open the little doors or push the balls along the maze on the top. It must be cool for Dave to witness all of this this month as I feel like it's been the most clear time as far as being able to see the different steps they take in order to be able to do something for the first time.

They're both very vocal and have all kinds of new sounds. I wouldn't say that they chatter as much as I've heard of other twins 'talking' to each other, but they definitely interact a lot, often play in the same area or side-by-side and will make their sounds to each other, sometimes leading to laughs or smiles from both. It's really fun to see. I hear a lot of mamamamaa but still don't consider this a 'first word' as I'm not sure they know what they're saying.

As far as favorite toys, they've had such a limited number of toys to play with this month that all of them are favorites. The zany zoo is definitely a hit and they still LOVE the Pat-a-Cake Curious George book; so glad we brought it along.

To my beach bums:

Your toothy grin is the cutest thing ever. Six teeth already; I can't believe it. Your hair is out of control too, it just keeps growing. Daddy says you need a haircut but we can't do that yet. You've been a pretty good eater this month, you always try new things, and like your brother, do great at breakfast, lunch and dinner are hit or miss. What you really love is chomping away on whatever I put in the mesh feeder. Those chompers are sharp and if we're not quick, we could lose a finger. You've continued to be a champion sleeper, which I can't believe since George has been screaming a few feet away for practically every nap and bedtime for the past few days. You still need a lot of sleep but luckily you can get it even with all the noise. You just pulled up to standing a few days ago -- it's so funny when you first start doing anything; it's like you really don't want to and complain and protest but eventually do it, and even then you keep crying. But now you love pulling up, though you still tend to use a lot more upper-body strength and need to balance it out a bit. You don't pull up on everything yet, just the TV stand and the zany zoo. What's funny is that for about a week after George was pulling up, we were so nervous and sitting by him the whole time. Once you finally pulled up though, you had it and really didn't fall down.

You've done pretty well this month, but you may or may not have been spoiled by Daddy. Before we left on our trip, Daddy downloaded some Baby Einsteins. George could care less and actually is only interested in touching the screen, but it's been the new way to calm you down. Daddy will sit down with you and you'll watch an episode together. You sit there so calmly, don't try to grab the screen and can focus the whole time. Pretty amazing, though I'd rather resort to those for major freak-outs only. I'm a little nervous for Daddy to go back to work next month as he's really tended to you and we all know you do a lot better with one-on-one attention. After bathtime, I get to pick between the 'screecher' (you, in honor of your lovely sounds), or the 'squirmer'. Daddy really has the knack of finding different techniques to keep you calm, even during tough time like getting ready for bed. I'd say you're just as vocal as ever though, all kinds of sounds you're constantly adding to the mix. You still love music and do a cute head-bop when you like the tune.

What a month! Just after your 8th month birthday, you started pulling up and you haven't stopped since. I thought you were active before but now you are all over the place. Where you used to stop and really study things, you're on the move much more now. You love pulling up on the TV stand and the trash can, and I have to keep 'reminding' you to do something else instead. You still will pause to check things out; you're most interested in wheels. I can see the wheels turning in your head during these instances when you're really trying to figure things out. You even crawl all over the beach to check things out, but especially liked the water and splashing around in the ocean. This sleep thing is really killing me -- what happened to our good sleeper? Taking a nap isn't so bad.

You are the best eater though. Every so often at dinner you'll get pretty squirmy and won't eat much, but at breakfast you eat more than your share and by lunch it seems like we can't get it in fast enough. As long as it's coming from our plate, you can't seem to get enough and you're still quite the beggar whenever you see us eating. It's not just during dinner that you're squirmy, after bathtime you are all over the place. Daddy says it's like trying to get an octopus dressed. You don't really care to be on your back so you're twisting and turning in every direction. Your hair has really come in more this month and it's still hard to tell what color it will be. Most of the time it looks light brown or blondish, but in some light it's reddish. The eyes don't seem set either, still a grayish color. You finally got a tooth!! For a while there, I thought you never would. The tooth itself doesn't seem to have bothered you too much, but you have so much going on right now and definitely aren't sleeping well so I guess we'll blame it on that. You're a lot more vocal this month, rolling of the tongue, clicking and syllables like mamama. You make a lot of bird-like sounds. William is definitely louder, but this is the first month you both have been equally chatty. This is the month that you've really started surprising us every day. You can now clap your hands and you even crawled up all the steps on the play structure at the park. Phew. You really keep me on my toes but are still the sweetest boy and generally in a good mood.

We've been so lucky to spend so much time with Ma and grandpa this month so I asked Ma to write to you after getting to witness your most exciting month yet.

To my beautiful  California grandsons,   William and George...what a great month we have had.  You are growing up so fast and learning new tricks every day.  It is amazing.  I love your gentle smiles and big, beautiful eyes. I will miss you so much when you leave this Saturday.

George - you remind me so much of your name sake, Grandpa George Grote.  Your curiosity, your attention to detail, your quiet ways and your sweet smile remind me of him all the time.  We had so much fun playing with all the new toys and we especially LOVED watching you swimming in the bathtub with William. Your happy laughter and kicks in the water are the best.  It was also a treat to snuggle with you in the morning when you wake up with big eyes, ready for a brand new day.  You are learning so quickly now, and I will be keeping up with your new adventures when you return to San Francisco.  I love you George. xoxo Ma

William - you remind me of your handsome daddy.  Being with you is like the best do-over ever.  You have the most expressive eyes and those dark brows just emphasize your feelings.  You are really vocal...and I LOVE all our little conversations.  You are such a great swimmer in the pool, going under water and swimming to Ma!  We  had so much fun watching you learn to stand up and eating new foods...like Ma's Honeybell oranges.  We laughed and played in the juice as you slurped up the orange slices!  You have such tender little feelings...and it was such a treat to snuggle with you as you drank your bottle before bed.  Be safe and happy in San Francisco.  I love you William.  xoxo Ma

(our 9-month appt isn't until next Thursday so I'll update then)
weight:  18lbs 11.5oz (17lbs 5oz 3 months ago)
height: 27.5 inches (25.75 inches 3 months ago)
head: 45cm (43.5cm, 3 months ago)
teeth: 6

weight: 19lbs 15.5oz (17lbs 5 oz 3 months ago)
height: 29 inches (26.5 inches 3 months ago)
head: 45cm (43cm 3 months ago)
teeth: 1

They've been living in 9-month RL clothing down in Florida or 6-12 months in other brands and everything is fitting well. I'm hoping they'll get a bit more use out of the stuff in spring/early summer. There's so much cute stuff!

Compared to Daddy at EIGHT-months - 21 lbs 6oz, 28.5 inches

Mom update: I'm feeling good, still needing to eat a lot to make enough milk. I haven't weighed myself but oddly I've lost a lot of weight this month, all my jeans are loose (in the bum area -- already small, is now non-existent). I feel like I ate just as much in Florida but am now making an effort to eat even more. Nursing George is still going well, and I'm grateful it took him a full 9 months to get his first tooth. We'll see how breastfeeding continues and if we have any biting issues.

This month has been a bit different, both being out of our element, but also having Dave around. It's been great, but I admitted to him that at times I feel like it's been even harder than at home, but I think that's because they're so much more active right now. Especially with George pulling of on everything, it requires so much energy all day long. I am a bit nervous to see how I'll handle things when I'm back on my own with them when Dave goes back to work and they'll be about 10 months old. There are certain things that just aren't possible anymore - like pumping while they're playing. Even with Dave here that's just not possible, but I've been able to work it where I pump while they're napping or after they've gone to bed/before they wake up and possibly once when we're in the car going to our midday activity. This has still kept up my supply pretty well. One positive is that while that first week George was pulling up was so tough, I realize that they (and we) get a lot more confident pretty quickly and now everyone is more relaxed. I'm sure it will be the same when they start walking -- which I hope we still have a few months! -- but initially I was really scared about how I would possible manage.

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