Cordelia is going to be nine months old next Tuesday. She is strong and big, she is charming and funny. She smiles at people; I will be walking along with her in the stroller, and someone coming the other way, someone frowning or lost in thought, will suddenly start to smile like they have seen a long-lost friend. I will start to panic: do I know this person? Should I remember their name? Then I realize they are been sucked into the vortex of joy that is Cordelia's smile; it's like they literally can't resist smiling back. I hope she always uses her powers for good, not evil.
Just a couple of days ago she gave up the commando crawling in favour of the traditional hands-and-knees method, which seems more efficient and doesn't pick up so much dust. But crawling, for Cordelia, is just a method of getting to something she can use to stand up. She loves to stand up, against the couch, against the table, even against the wall. She loves the challenge of standing up against the glider ottoman, because it moves; if you wiggle it back and forth when she's leaning on it she laughs. She likes to stand up and hold on with one hand; she will turn and catch your eye and grin: "look, mum!" This morning I was holding just one hand while she stood up, and I let go and she stayed upright, although it was the momentary uprightness of, say, a two-by-four balanced on its end. I caught her before she toppled, but while she stood there she was grinning like mad. She is fearless and a bit of a show-off.
She is eating almost everything except milk and the usual things which are verboten until one year (eggs, honey, berries). She eats soft table food, like cheese and toast with the crusts cut off and banana, and would really prefer to feed herself than be spoon-fed, which means I have to remember to prepare things which are tidy enough to be finger food. She's patient enough, though, that I can give her a pile of rice on her tray and she will pick it up, kernel by kernel, and stuff it slowly in.
Obviously, her pincer grasp is really good. She still has some trouble with losing bits of food in her fist; if she has some toast or something clutched in her hand she eats the parts that protrude from her grasp, but she doesn't know yet that she has to open her fist to get at what's inside, so she tries to put her whole hand in her mouth. Cute; not too smart though.
She's sleeping fairly well (if you consider going to bed at 6:30 and waking up at 5:00 to be well). She naps twice during the day, alone in her crib just like a TV baby. I think the early wake-up is because we put her to bed so early, but I'm not sure how to shift it later without ballsing up our whole evening; after Cordelia goes to bed we put Delphine to bed, which usually takes between half-an-hour and forty-five minutes, and then we make dinner. That puts us making dinner at seven and usually not eating until eight, which is about as late as I can stand it. If we move the girls' bedtime later, I think we would have to start having dinner with them, but that would make either our dinner too early or their bedtime too late, plus I don't relish the idea of cooking a proper dinner whilst supervising the girls. (I usually cobble together sometime fairly quick (but still healthy!) for the girls and then make something more elaborate for Blake and I.)
So, whatever, I guess we will just leave it as it is for now and try and go to bed earlier ourselves so as to deal better with the five o' clock reveille.
I'm treating Cordelia completely differently than I treated Delphine. This morning after we had breakfast I left her in the living room while I did something in the kitchen (there's a window from the kitchen to the living room, so I wasn't entirely out of sight) and she hung around doing her thing; she stood up, she sat back down, she pulled books off the shelves, she climbed in amongst the toys and sat smugly in the midst of all that plenty like a tiny rajah.
I would never have done that with Delphine; the moment I tried to put her down she would have started crying and I would have picked her up again. She was on my hip constantly until she was about fifteen months old. If she did play in the living room, I would have been hovering behind her, spotting her as she stood up and holding my breath as she sat down.
I'm not sure, and never will be, how much of Cordelia's boldness and independence is because I'm not hovering over her, and how much I am able to not hover because she's so independent. Similarly I will never know how much of Delphine's clinginess as a baby was because I never let her experience what it was to be alone. What I do know is that Delphine is independent and confident now, so whatever insecurity she experienced about being alone, she had the resources to deal with it when the time came.
I think the difference is that Delphine learned to be on her own at twenty months, and Cordelia has learned to be on her own at six months, and I expect that doesn't amount to a hell of a lot of difference in the long run.