nine in nine out

eat your veggies, originally uploaded by kelanew.

poor, poor, neglected second children. hand-me-downs aren't the half of it -- eva's babyhood was meticulously recorded (at least in contrast!) and hazel's... well, i end up posting every two months or so, and saying everything i can think of all at once. (though, i hear third children are known to pick out their own baby books at the age of four or so, right baby sister?) hazel, as for you, find solace in the fact that i'm playing with you and enjoying you instead of obsessively recording each and every tooth.

well, so far, i'm actually on top of the teeth. two. that's it.

hazel is 9 1/2 months old. she's healthy and happy and growing like crazy. she's smiley and easy-going (but makes her opinions known when she needs to). just by being who she is -- and her hazelness is really starting to make itself known -- several times a day larry and i are required to exchange glances, smile at each other, and say "just look at that baby!" or "can you even believe this baby?" being her parents it's not too surprising, i know, but we're endlessly amazed by her very existence on a daily basis. it can't get better than that.

i should say (and should have said to start out), you can pretty much stop reading unless you're a grandparent or auntie. these "baby book" posts are just that -- intended for hazel herself when she gets older, and for doting family. everyone else can tune in another day if they like.

today i called larry at his conference to say "guess which one of your children just said 'light'?" generally i'm not so bold as to pronounce a word as being an actual word until i hear it in context a few times, but it was just so obvious i called larry. she's already been saying "mama" -- that started as sort of meaning me but sort of meaning "someone bring me comfort!", which is more or less what mama means, anyway. that would be her first official word at 8 mo (eva's was "dog", followed months later by "grandpa", at least as i remember it.) since then,she's been saying "ummuh" for "lemma" (the dog, i'm sure because i'm always shouting the poor dog's name... oops), and a few times i've thought she's said "baba" for papa, but i'm not sure of that one yet.

light, though... that couldn't have been more clear. why? well, as much as i'm a huge proponent of baby signs (i'll tell anyone who'll listen, it's the biggest payback for the least effort of anything i've ever done as a parent), we've been a bit lazy about it with haz. she signed some around christmas, and then dropped down to only signing light. we're really consistent with that one! at every meal, we sign when we turn on the light above the table. so, today i flipped on the light and was about to sign it to her, and she looked at the light, looked at me, and said "ligh" (missing the "t"). cutie.

this photo was taken 6 weeks ago when she was 8 months old, eating various veggies. she's quite the eater (and let's just say, that's in stark contrast to my previous experience). i think she's yet to turn down a food -- maybe zucchini? -- and loves to eat all different kinds of tastes and textures (and rocks too). we've still not given a few things (like dairy), but other than that, she pretty much eats what we eat. i love that, like a few nights ago, sitting at the dinner table with larry and our girls, everyone eating veggie & lentil stew over brown rice. those moments make me wonder where this little family of mine came from. crazy!

hazel's new favorite game is to use the rocking chairs my dad made for eva as climbing gyms. she stands on the seat and holds the back and rocks, or sits on the arm (threatening to tip it over on herself!), crawls off face first, etc. loves it. she gets her leg stuck under the arm, but works out how to disentangle it on her own.

but the biggest news is probably that she's thinking about walking. she took her official first steps this week (or last week,maybe? it's all a blur, honestly). she'll reach out and take three to five steps toward you, with a huge grin on her face. now she'll walk between pieces of furniture, and so i think we could be in trouble very soon. she's been on the go since she was just days old, so once she can walk for real... she'll be off exploring her world with mama trailing behind trying to keep up.

her hair is getting a bit lighter, in that zone between blonde and brown, and the more it stands away from her head, the clearer it becomes that she will have some amount of curl. eva loves that idea, that they'll both have curly hair.

speaking of that... eva loves hazel with the biggest love i've ever seen. it's overpowering, and i just enjoy watching them together. they're getting to the age where they play together -- athough sometimes eva shrieks and tries to hoard her toys when hazel starts plodding over her way, just as often she's trying her best to entice hazel to join her. eva tells us (daily!) that she loves hazel most of all, even more than mama, even more than papa. that she sometimes is sad at school since babies aren't allowed to go there, so she misses her sister. she wants to snuggle with hazel, to touch her, to talk to her, all the time (which sometimes becomes an issue when hazel is trying to sleep). and it's clear already that hazel reciprocates all of this, she seeks out eva and laughs with eva more than with anyone else. if eva is around, hazel feels safe and comforted. i know they'll have to work through their relationship as young kids learning to share space in a family togther and as teenagers/adults as they have to figure out how to relate to each other as people -- and none of that is easy -- but when i see the foundation they have, the love in their eyes... i feel so happy that i get to be a witness to their unfolding relationship. they'll always be sisters, as eva is fond of saying.

off to bed, big adventures in store for tomorrow and i've been behind on sleep this week.

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