Dear Leaf Baby,

What's that around your mouth? (Besides all that kissableness, that is?) Is that floor dirt? Son, have you been sweeping the floor with your mouth again?

The answer is probably yes, and Leaf, I've told you to stop putting pine needles and little miniscule pieces of tree or dirt that the broom can't even pick up into your mouth. Great Scot, Child! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?

You are nine months old. A few days ago, in fact, you became nine months old, and I sat and looked at you. A lot has changed since the day you were born. For one thing, sometimes when I pick you up now, you struggle with all your chunky might to get into the position to nurse. It's like wrestling a beaver. All I'm saying is- hold on a sec, honey, just let me sit down first, but you will have none of it, and attempt to flip over and find the num nums you desperately crave. What an addiction. Yes, you are strong, and you are HEAVY. What happened? I actually know, too, that you're not that heavy; on the charts you are pretty average, as babies go, but to me you feel like a soft little squirmy ball of lead. With a big, beautiful smile on its face. And still the drool bombs. (Although I kind of admire you for drool-bombing friends of ours who aren't used to drool bombs. Like the other day when I was trying to get our friend Todd to hold you and he was protesting that he doesn't like holding the smaller kids, because he thinks you will break, and then he reluctantly took you and the first thing you did was drop a gigantic bomb out of your mouth and onto his pants. It was awesome.)

You are a lot like your brother. And different in more ways than I can describe. But, in likeness to him, you love sounds. You imitate the phone, the pitch of the kettle, and the other kids shrieking in the other room, just like Kid A did when he was your age. I always catch you with this look on your face; the listening look. Usually right after I see the look, I'll hear you try to mimic whatever it was that you were listening to. You also already fake laugh, to try to imitate me laughing, or make me laugh. Both work. It's pretty hilarious. I'll be sitting and holding you on the toilet, asking you to poo, and you are fake laughing in my face to crack me up. Which works. Heh heh heh. Your real laugh, though, is as squeaky and unconscious as your brother and sister's before you.

So, yes, as I mentioned, I have to be rather diligent with the sweeping around here. I try to be, oh, I try to be, and I can't help it when your x-ray vision helps you find the ONE pine needle that I missed. I've never met a baby more interested in putting things in his mouth.

Oh, yes! I almost forgot, you are scooting! Finally. Oh, Leaf, you are so laid back that we thought you'd never get to moving around at all. You are a uni-ped, now, with your belly being the part of you that gets you moving, and you've gotten to be pretty fast at it. I can't for the life of me imagine myself moving around on the floor like that, it seems like it would be a rib bruiser, but more power to ya, if that's how you like to get around.

Also, although one of those photos I posted of you a few days ago showed a deceptive little white spot, it was actually only the bright light reflecting off of your shiny and toothless gums. TOOTHLESS! LEAF, cut SOME TEETH ALREADY! But take your time, take your time, no worries, I live to puree food for you.

But it's not all about teeth, and motion, or keeping things out of your mouth. I really and truly have never met anyone as happy and funny as you are, in my life, perhaps. You are an absolute gift from God to us, a shining star, a whole galaxy. In a trying time, I walk back into our house and am lifted out of gloom by the way you welcome me. In your highchair, you strain your whole body to get a little closer, with the combination of a gigantic smile and the desperate look of a madman on your face. I am a better person, I think, in the swimming pool of love you have for me. We are a good combination, parents and babies. We love you with purpose and life saving giving, you love us without judgment.

I think you and your brother will be the perfect foils for each other, you are better together, him with his intense brilliance, and you with your sunny life. You make each other's lives better. When Kid A wakes up on in some state of incomplete REM or something, as he does approximately 62% of the time, and is grumpy and inconsolable, you are often the only one who can snap him out of it. And you follow his every move, he is already teaching you everything he knows. You will be a great friend to him. And someday I know I'll find you and your sister whispering over some toy. She'll be making up the story around a stuffed animal, and you'll be there too, making the animal sounds, cracking her up, reaching over to pat her on the back.