At nine months old, Clara is so much fun to be around. She plays, she cuddles, she laughs, she stands, she is spunky. Her bedtime is around 7:30 each night and she usually wakes up the next morning around 7:00. She stands up all the time by holding on to the wall or a couch or a chair, and she has been even standing without anything to hold on to for up to three seconds at a time before plopping back down on her bum. We are guessing that she will try walking independently within the next month, but for now she just loves to hold onto our fingers and sort of dive forward in a loping stroll around the house with mom or dad.
Clara's hair is so long that it is constantly in her eyes unless I pull it back from her face into a high half ponytail or something as soon as she wakes up. She has bangs right now - not because we cut them or anything but just because she has a fringe of baby hair growing in front that is a lot shorter than what she was born with. When I pull her longer hair back, it leaves her with a cute little fringe in front.
In the course of just a few weeks, Clara cut her four front teeth - two on top and two on the bottom. The bottom two came first and the top two are barely through, but all four of them are definitely visible now and super sharp when she chomps down on our fingers. Teething has made her a little fussier than usual, but nothing too bad and we have only felt like she needed baby Tylenol a couple of times when they were obviously hurting her and making it so she couldn't sleep. The doctor said that we need to be sure to brush those little pearly whites each day now and is giving us a flouride supplement since San Jose doesn't put flouride in the water.
Clara has her own language. She says "gully-gully-gully" a lot when she has her pacifier in her mouth but is trying to talk to us. Her other main word is "bah-bah-bah" which she repeats emphatically over and over like she is actually telling us a story. If we say "bah-bah-bah" back to her, we can have a decent conversation that seems to have meaning to her. Another word of hers is "gnmmmmmm! gnmmmm!!" which seems to mean "give [whatever it is she wants] to me! now!" like when she wants dinner or a particular toy or to be read to.
Speaking of reading, Clara is obsessed with a set of books that my mom recently brought for Clara. There are four board books, each one dealing with a particular word: "Who," "What," "When," or "Where," and Clara cannot get enough of them. In the past, Clara only wants to chew on books or play with them like toys instead of sitting on my lap and looking at the pictures and listening to me read, but with these books she is rapt through all four of them as I read them back to back. Clara giggles when I pull her onto my lap with the books, the wiggles her little bum and settles back against my chest in an "I'm ready mom, start reading" position. She waits for me to read the words and move the flap that is on each page (so gophers pop out of their holes or bees fly from their hive for example), and then grunts and kicks for me to move on to the next page.
Clara also thinks she is a movie star. Paul pulls up videos of her on the computer and she will gaze at the little girl on the screen and smile a big smile and laugh. We get a kick out of this and keep telling ourselves to take more videos, but we still aren't very good at remembering. With the longer days that we are getting into, I was able to talk Clara for a walk the other night after work when we still had plenty of daylight and I took a little video of us together.
Lately Clara has wanted to be held more than she used to. She wants to cuddle up at night and rock in her rocking chair before going to sleep in her crib. When we say family prayers, I am usually the one holding her on my lap and we tell her to fold her arms (which we then help her do). Three seconds into the prayer she usually slides down my legs, crawls over to Paul, and claws her way up to a standing position directly in front of him, trying to get him to pick her up for the rest of the prayer.
Clara is still a good eater and we have been making an effort to give her even more opportunities to eat real food instead of baby food. She does best with blueberries, steamed carrots, steamed asparagus tips, pear slices, orange slices, banana, tiny pieces of lunch meat (like turkey), and torn up breads like pancakes. We even let her taste vanilla ice cream when we were at Fenton's a couple of weeks ago. She made a face at first but then definitely wanted more. (Don't worry anybody, max all she had was 1/2 a teaspon of dairy, total. She's fine.) She also really seems to like blackberries, kiwi, and the potatoes and peas from vegetable beef soup, but since all of those are trickier for her little hands to grasp, we have to feed them to her.
Clara had her 9-month check-up on Friday and weighed in at 17 lbs. 4 oz., which puts her in the 20th percentile for weight. She is 28 1/2 inches tall, which puts her in the 80th percentile for height. The doctor said that Clara could weigh more given her height but that she is probably thin because she is always on the go so much that she is just burning lots of the calories she consumes. But we were given the go-ahead to start introducing dairy products like cheese and yogurt, so maybe that will help her put back on a little bit of extra padding just in time for the summer swimsuit season.