life seems to exist solely in three disparate blocks of times these days.  we are either at the office, working on our new house, or preventing this baby from killing himself.

this guy can SCOOT.  as if making up for all those lost months spent immobile on his belly, furiously paddling the air, baby james is rapidly becoming the most athletic member of this family.  he crawls.  he climbs.  he pulls up.  he is trying to stand unassisted, testing the lightest possible one-handed grip on a nearby object, swaying like a stubby little tree.

his social skills have now surpassed my own.  he intentionally feeds the dogs, teasing them with handfuls of scrambled eggs before allowing them to feast in his miniscule palms.  his babbling has reached fever-pitch, those nonsensical squawks taking on a conversational tone.  my dude is still wide-eyed and pointless around new faces, like he's trying to make sense of a terrible acid trip.  but around the handful of people in his daily routine- ian, me, my mother, that baby becky at daycare who's always trying to kiss him- he is engaged and excited.  

still, nearly nine months into this endeavor, it is an absolute wonder when i watch him scrabbling towards me exuberantly.  seeing those bright, dark eyes lock in on my face, those chubby little limbs coordinated confidently in rapid movement.  he crawls into my lap and grabs my face for a kiss (or at least his approximation of a kiss- placing his lips on mine and screaming directly into my mouth).  my dumb lizard brain floods with a pure and clear joy that feels like the first thirst-quenching gulp of cool, fresh water.  it lightens my chest, drives everything else out of my mind.  this is what a patronus feels like, i think stupidly.  

in my more cognitively sound and cynical moments, i fully recognize that babies are annoying and mine is no exception.  he sobs when we don't let him eat paper.  he grabs every fork within reach at a restaurant.  he is never quite sure whether he wants to drink water or splash his hands around in the cup.  he refuses to stay on his back for diaper changes and ends up with poop on his knees.  it is a testament to my immigrant upbringing that by eight months in, i am googling when can you start disciplining a baby don't report this search to cps.  and in these moments when he is being particularly whack, i am mostly relieved by the recognition that fundamentally, i am still not really a baby person.

i just like this guy, despite his consistently runny nose and his occasional refusal to put an arm through a sleeve.  

our routines are a lot easier this days, with the infrequent but tedious exceptions when james decides he wants to party for 8 hours instead of napping.  we've fallen into a rhythm quickly in this new home, and it is a surprisingly healthy, sustainable one.  mornings don't feel rushed or tag team, because james can amble around on the floor to entertain himself while we get ready.  some days, i even cook breakfast for him.   this is nothing short of a miracle to a girl who was unable to wake up for 1 pm lectures in grad school and could barely dress herself.  

ian and i have both lost our respective baby weight, which is maybe the true miracle.  like i guess childbirth is chill but the fact that i have been able to stop wallowing in self-pity and no longer eating like i'm being paid per chicken nugget is an even more incredible feat of biology and willpower and being too busy at work to fantasize about curly fries.  and from this side of the scale, the idea of trying for a second babby in a year or two no longer seems like a horrifying threat.

we are not in any rush yet, despite ian's secret hopes for a creepy quiverfull family setup (i assume this is what he means when he says 4 kids would be ideal).  i'd like to get this first goofball out of diapers and into cool hobbies like vacuuming up all this dog fur on a daily basis.