Dear Owen,

You’ve been nine months for a week now, and I’m just sitting down to write this letter to you. Actually, I’ve been terrible about writing you monthly news letters. I was great at it while I was pregnant, but kiddo, you keep me on my toes and we’re a busy pair! Instead, I’ve been writing you quarterly letters, and in the end, I think I actually like it better. It’s amazing to see how much has changed in just three months.

You, little boy, are awesome. You begin every day with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Your smile is actually one of my favorite things about you. It’s like you can’t just smile with your mouth — you have to smile with your ENTIRE FACE. Your eyes crinkle up (just like mine!) and you scrunch your nose and throw back your head and oh! It is wonderful. You are sleeping so much better now, usually only waking once to nurse and then staying in your crib till about 7. And when I bring you in bed with us then, you alternate between nursing, and whipping your head around to talk to Daddy. It’s also the place where you play with the only toy you have a real attachment to; a Peter Rabbit that you make hop and give kisses to.

The kisses! Open mouthed, wet slobbery kisses, given any time I ask for one. Omigod, I love it.

One of your favorite pastimes include flying around the house in your walker. You can round corners,  back up, and go anywhere you want to in that thing. You can also torture the dog and pull things off shelves and end tables. Nothing is safe anymore. You’re not crawling yet, but you are so very close. Part of me can’t wait to see you take off, but the other part of me wants you to stay in one place because I can’t imagine how much more trouble you’re going to get yourself into! It took you a while to learn to roll over (I think because there’s just so much of you to roll!), but once you did, you only did it for about a week before becoming bored with it. When I would try to encourage you to do it again, you’d look at me like, “Mama, this is silly. What do I need to do this for?” You have always been a back-sleeper, but have started to roll over in your sleep now. Sometimes it wakes you up and you wake up scared. I try not to laugh at you when I roll you back over!

You LOVE to eat! You’ll try anything and will eat most, except for green beans. The face you give me when I put those in your mouth! You can self-feed puffs and small pieces of mushy things, but until your top teeth come in and join the two you already have on the bottom, I’m too nervous to give you things that require more chewing. Maybe you’ll like green beans when they’re not pureed! I can’t say I blame you. You are a champ at using a sippy cup, and even like to drink from our water glasses sometimes. And those top teeth? You’ve been working on them for WEEKS! The bottom ones came in without a fuss, but these have been giving you trouble. I can see them under the skin, though, so I know they’ll be here soon.

It seems like every day you have a new skill. You wave hello and goodbye to everyone, even the dog. You clap, play peek-a-boo and babble all day long. On the day you turned eight months, you said “Dada”, and a few days ago you said your first “Mama”. I was lucky enough to already be filming you at the time, so I have that memory on film! What you can’t see when watching it is how my heart swelled and burst into a thousand pieces when I heard your voice say that word.

You currently still have hazel eyes, although they seem to be turning brown, and your hair is strawberry blond and sticks up like a fuzzy duckling. At your last well visit, you weighed 24 pounds and were 28 inches long. Still a big boy, but slowing down a bit. You still have the chunkiest thighs, hands and feet I’ve ever seen and I have no idea where that came from.

Your personality is really shining through, O. I call you The Mayor when we go shopping, because you do this Miss America wave to everyone we pass as you are pushed through the store. You flirt with all my girl friends (although you are a little shy around men) and when you laugh, there’s no way anyone won’t be laughing along with you. You can be cheeky and devious and adorable all at the same time.

You love your mommy and daddy so much. When daddy comes home from work your entire body gets excited and you start grunting and screeching until he will hold you. And when he leaves, you wave goodbye and although that’s sad, it’s really sweet too. You also are very interested in Kodiak now. When you’re not trying to run over him, you’re trying to pet him and he’s such a good boy with you. He tolerates being mauled and will run to you when you’re crying and lick you until you stop. We are trying to teach him “no face”, but he doesn’t always listen. At least you won’t be scared of big dogs!

You are finally napping in the crib, which has been a big success for me. You don’t always like it, and will sometimes cry for 10-15 minutes before falling asleep, or wake up after about a half hour and cry a bit before going back down, but you’re getting there. You’re much happier when you’ve napped, kid!

You are still nursing a few times a day and I really hope you make it all the way to a year. I think you will, if not more. Most of the time they’re short nursing sessions now, because you get super distracted by anything around you and tend to whip your head off my breast to look around, so I really enjoy the first and last nurse of the day which tend to be much longer.

You are our joy, Owen. I can’t tell you how happy you have made us. This year has been flying by and I cannot believe my next letter to you will be on your first birthday.

I love you, little man.