When you have a nine month old it seems like every minute is filled with another milestone. Life is constantly changing and I never know from one minute to the next what Alex's latest trick will be. There are a few routine things (for today, anyway) that I'd like to remember in the future.

We had Alex's 9-mo. doctor appointment last week. He was 29" tall (80th percentile); 19 lbs. 13 oz. (35th percentile); with a really big head. Lots of brain stuffed in that little melon hopefully.

We moved his mattress down to the lowest notch in the crib so that he won't launch himself over the edge that day that he learns how easy it would be to pull himself up using the slats.

Speaking of pulling himself up, just last week, Alex started figuring out the he can use the coffee table to pull himself up to a standing position. It's rare that he can get his leg/knee configuration figured out properly, so usually he does a series of pull ups from the floor and then looks at me with frustration because he can't figure out how the standing happened before.

Yesterday he discovered the stairs. We have a set of four stairs that lead from the living room up to the dining room. He managed to pull himself from his belly on the floor to a standing position on the first step. He got one knee all the way up on the first step when he got tired and decided it was much easier to have Mom pick him up and carry him the rest of the way.

His absolute best friend is Bailey. He crawls over to wherever she might be innocently laying. By the way, the crawl has become a full-blown army crawl. He is so fast, I can barely beat him across the room. The interaction is usually brief depending on how much Bailey feels like humoring the little creature that drools on his hands and then gets all of her hair stuck to his little fingers while trying to pet her. This frequently ends with chunks of Bailey's fur in Alex's hands and Bailey making a beeline for places out of baby's reach. Who knew that the best part about Bailey is her shiny tags that jingle. The poor dog has been practically asphyxiated more than once when Alex gets hold of her collar.

Favorite toys: Lego dump truck. Dan, Dan the Dump Truck man is a constant companion. It is really fun to dump the legos out of the truck. Not so fun to put them back in the truck. And legos should not be used for building, Mommy. Anything that I create is immediately taken apart.

THE BATHTUB. We just moved Alex to an inflatable toddler bathtub that fits inside the big bathtub. Bathtime has become playtime. Plastic cups are great fun. You can fill them up with water and dump it out again. Squeezy hippo who spits water alway generates a laugh too.

Foods: Alex loves to feed himself certain foods. String cheese chunks, turkey slices, whole wheat crackers, Cheerios, veggie wheels and fruit stars. Alex loves to eat just about anything you put in his mouth. However, I think maybe he doesn't like to get his hands slimy. He will eat as many grape pieces, egg yolk chunks or green beans as I put into his mouth. When faced with picking them up himself, he gets very upset. I may be raising a child that is as food-neurotic as I am. But, the bottom line is that he is a good eater - just like his mom - and will hopefully learn that foods taste just as good when he feeds himself as when I put them into his mouth.

Water: I have been working on getting Alex to drink a little bit of water here and there. This is in the hope that when I wean him, he will have some drinking skills. The problem is that he can't figure out the sippy cup. Just likes to chew on it, and won't suck. The doctor suggested a water bottle. This worked amazingly well. Alex feels like a big boy and will suck down water. He still can't hold it himself, but if I hold it, he will drink and drink. Woohoo. There's hope for milk drinking in the future.

Bed: He loves his bed and is a good sleeper. He loves to curl up under his blue blanket. He usually wakes up and has a little party with the animals in his crib. I hear lots of talking and squealing. When I go into his room, his hair is messed up, his cheeks are red and the animals have moved to new places throughout the crib. These must be some parties. Alex still wakes up at night. Some nights it's only once, some nights it's a couple of times. The only thing that seems to put him back to sleep is nursing. This habit will have to be broken, but right now it's working for us.

All in all, at nine months, I couldn't ask for a happier, smilier, gigglier little boy. Given the current personality, I would guess that he's going to be curious and talented, but maybe a little tentative with very new situations. He's going to be just like his mommy -- if I can't do it well, I won't do it at all. He's frustrated with new skills that he can't master, but tenacious enough to keep trying (albeit with a little fussing and whining) until he gets that hang of things. And the slimy food thing? Well, who knows how that will turn out.

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