Willow is Nine Months Old!

Time is flying. Willow has officially been out of mommy longer than inside, hurray! That's pretty crazy to think about. And validates how incredibly LONG pregnancy feels because um IT IS INCREDIBLY LONG. However, it is so much  more fun to have Willow out and about so now time is flying. I mean, look at that picture. She's so big! I mean. She's little. But big! You know what I mean.

Sidenote: Years from now, I'm going to look back at these nine month photos and think "wait, this looks like Springtime, what on earth was Willow doing in summer clothes in February!?"

What’s new at nine months? Well, not a lot really. Willow is just starting to pull up on things. She gets to her knees, delights in that, and then gets down again. She’s in no hurry and that’s fine for me. Everyone warns me that life will change completely once she starts walking. Though they said that about crawling, too. She is still army crawling. She gets up on her knees to rotate around and transition to sitting, but clearly has no desire to crawl on her knees. I won’t be surprised if she skips crawling and goes right to walking. She’s too good at army crawling now, why learn to crawl at all!?

Food is basically Willow’s favorite thing. She loves meal times. Her usual breakfast is strawberries and blueberries in little bite size pieces. She’s very good at pinching little bits and getting them into her mouth. She eats a lot of black beans. I change the seasoning on her beans from Cajun to taco to cumin to nothing just to switch it up and get her interested in as many flavors as possible. She always loves her beans. She likes Cheerios too. I mean, really, she likes anything I give her. Every Sunday we get Chipotle and I just dump some of my burrito bowl onto her high chair and she goes wild. Last night she was licking the guacamole off her fingers. That’s my girl.

Favorites-15.jpg

Sleeping is still going well. She’s been waking up a little earlier lately. Usually around 7:30. Two naps a day, one hour and two hours. She switches the order of which one will be one hour and which will be two hours, so it’s still a little hard to plan our days when sometimes she snoozes all morning and sometimes she pops up fairly quickly. But I feel like the solid two nap routine is a big breakthrough for us!

I’ve been playing with her environment a lot lately. I’m getting excited for all the things she’s going to be learning soon, and (if you know me at all) you know I’ve been researching development and learning like crazy. I did get my masters in teaching once upon a time, so I do love learning about how babies and toddlers learn. Lately, I’ve been reading all about Montessori. I’m very drawn to that philosophy of learning. I like the respectful way of treating children, fostering independence, practical life skills, and child led learning. I mean, when they’re as little as my little, I don’t think any sort of structured learning should be forced. But I love the idea of providing the environment that encourages curiosity and love for learning.

So one of the big ideas from Montessori that I’ve been slowly implementing is creating an environment that is

1.       Safe for baby (duh)
2.       Accessible
3.       Clean and NOT overwhelming
4.       Using purposeful, quality toys

Accessible means that Willow shouldn’t need me to reach the things she wants to explore. I did some rearranging in her room, my room, and our living room so that toys are where she can reach them, which for now, means just on the bottom shelves. Keeping them in the same place will hopefully show her where she should go to find something fun and eventually, where the toys go when they need to be cleaned up. It’s kind of cute to me that the bottom shelf in all our rooms just has a few toys for Willow. I think it’s a nice way of respecting that Willow is just as much a part of this household as we are.

Favorites-25.jpg

Too many toys can be overwhelming. Willow isn’t even a year old and I already feel like she has SO many toys. I put a lot of her toys away and then put out just the most developmentally appropriate toys for her age, including a few select books. Not TONS of books. But she has access to 2-3 in each room. The covers face out, not the spines, that way she can really be enticed to grab them, and when she’s older will remember which book is which.

I really love seeing Willow respond to these simple changes. She already crawls around to the shelves in her room and pulls out the toys she wants. We recently got a drum from one of our friends and she loves pulling it out and beating it with her hands. And she’s enjoying books for the first time. She likes flipping through the pages. She has no patience for the story itself yet but definitely understands that there’s more to books than just good chewing!

Another fun development lately is that Willow recognizes Erik and I in pictures. So when she keeps saying “dada” I take her to a picture of Erik and she geeks out because omg there he IS. She also responds to her name, which is sweet.

So I was wrong I guess… there had been plenty of development this month. There always is I guess, but that’s why I’m glad to write these blog posts and be able to go back and read where we were month by month.

If you enjoyed these pictures of Willow, you can follow my personal Instagram account @theidenthal. My business Instagram is @tiffanyheidenthal