You are, this very minute, 8 months old.
We still call you a baby - "the baby", "that baby", "will this baby ever be quiet?!?" - but at this point we're just trying to convince ourselves. You're getting bigger, more mobile, and more independent all the time. In the last few weeks, you've started playing by yourself a lot more, and babbling to yourself as you do it. I love listening to your babble, filled with more and more consonant sounds as you learn to make new shapes with your tongue. I can't wait until you can talk to us; I always wonder what you're thinking, how you're feeling. It feels like you'll start any day now. In the meantime, you yell and shriek, shout and cry, and sometimes crawl around with your lips sucked in humming 'mmmm, mmmmm'.
This month, you've decided that you don't like going to sleep. Each night I put you in the carrier and walk you around the hallway while your mother has her shower. I then slowly sneak into the bedroom and rock you for another fifteen minutes or so, then gently drop you into bed next mummy. You feed for another ten minutes, and about half the time you wake up again and Zoe has to rock you back to sleep again. Sometimes, you like to wake up at 2am and crawl around babbling and shouting to us. We call this "party time". When party time comes along, I oscillate between amusement and tired frustration. Even at 2am, your conversation is delightful!
It's starting to get cold in Canberra, and you and I are experiencing our first real winter together (your Mumma is made of tougher stuff, having grown up in chilly western Victoria). Wrapping you up warm enough is becoming more of a challenge, particularly as being dressed and undressed is one of your principal dislikes. You can be the happiest, smiliest baby in the world, but the moment we try to slip one of your limbs into or out of an item of clothing, you act like you've been pricked with a pin. Here's hoping you grow out of that one soon.
You are the light of our lives, the centre of our little family and our world. Our chief delight is watching you grow into yourself, physically and mentally, more and more as the weeks go by. When I come home from work, I'm always eager to hear about your day's exploits. I'm convinced that by the time the next one of these letters is written, you'll have taken your first steps (you're already a proficient furniture-cruiser). Then, we'll really regret moving into a home with stairs.