Mary Virginia is 9 months old.
Actually, she’s 9 months, one week and four days old. If you’re wondering why this post is so late, it’s because the east coast of the United States of America celebrated daylight savings time right after she turned nine months. That means we lost an hour, which means the Krieger children have given up naps, which means we’ve lost all the hours.
I bet you thought that with all the extra sunshine and playing outside, kids would actually be more tired and take longer naps. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too, friend. That’s what I thought, too.
These days Mary Virginia spends most of her time watching her brother — alternately giggling at him and dodging his blows. She spends the rest of her time scouring the house for paper. Mary Virginia is sweet and adorable but first and foremost she is a paper hound. She digs receipts out of my purse and pulls David’s books out of his book bin. She meets the mailman at the door and eats our junk mail to save him the trouble of putting it in our mailbox.
She’s also getting much, much better at eating other things, including food. She eats pancakes, bananas, pasta, black beans, cheese, chicken, green beans, rice cakes. She’s getting really, really good at the pincer grasp, but she still has some trouble getting food to her mouth. While she only gets one out of every 10 Cheerios into her mouth, I’ve never seen her miss with a piece of cat food.
On a completely unrelated note, one serving of cat food is actually a pretty economical snack, and packs a punch of protein!
She is remarkably physical. She can crawl as well as the rest of us can walk, and cruises along furniture. She has memorized the floor plan to our house, and knows where David keeps all his toys. She is always moving, always squirming (especially when it’s time to change her diaper). She is completely mischievous and sneaky and is always looking for something else to put in her mouth and destroy — Mama’s yarn, electrical cords, and did we mention paper?
Even though she can get wherever she wants, Mary Virginia still loves to be held, but when you hold her, she twists her body around so she’s facing forward. She does this 1) for a better view 2) so it’s easier to grab things 3) to make it nearly impossible to hold her.
Mary Virginia has, in the past month or so, developed an opinion. If you take away the electric bill she’s chewing on, or if the cat is napping just out of her reach, she lets you know. And she does it with the care and forethought of an anonymous Internet commenter. My goodness can this girl dissolve into a fit of rage. But then when I pick her up, she takes a breath and it’s over. And with tears still wet on her cheeks, she gives me a smug look like, “Was that really so hard?”
For the past month, Mary Virginia has been teething. She has one tooth, and another that’s taking its dear sweet time. She’s dealing with teething pretty well. She likes teething biscuits, and gnawing on celery sticks and wet wash rags. We also told her that if she keeps complaining then she’s going to have to pay for her own braces.
Mary Virginia likes to be close, very close, to Mama. If I’m on the floor, she climbs all over me, and if I’m standing she pulls up on my legs. If I walk out of the room, she hangs her head and crawls after me, crying. She has a hard time in the nursery at church.
I’ve always wondered how moms who stay at home with their kids avoid separation anxiety. Am I supposed to hire a sitter to get her used to strangers? We’re at home together all day; it’s all she knows. And then I wonder, is this something I should even want to avoid? It’s normal for a baby to want her mama, right? Mary Virginia is just starting to venture out into this big world, and I can’t imagine how overwhelming and frightening that must be at times. In fact, that’s exactly why God gave mamas to babies.
Dear Mary Virginia,
The first year of life is, it seems, a struggle. There’s so much to learn, do and adjust to. You have to learn to breathe and move and eat all on your own. And in your case, you have to do all of that while being pummeled by a racecar. Mama’s working on that.
You had the flu at the beginning of this month. It seems like a long time ago now, but oh my goodness. When we were in the middle of it I was holding you all day and all night; you had a fever and whimpered in your sleep. I felt like it was going to swallow both of us whole.
But it didn’t.
When you were sick we developed some bad habits; you expect to be held a lot; and you’re still having trouble sleeping. It’s hard to enforce good sleep habits on a baby with a 102 fever.
One of my biggest parenting philosophies, rooted in my understanding of the Gospel, is this: I will come to you.
Separation anxiety is a bummer and waking up twice a night is hard, but it’s also just a phase. That’s why, for now, whenever you need me, I’ll hold you close. Because life is so hard. So if holding onto mama makes this world seem less scary, then thats ok.
Actually, that’s wonderful.