Yesterday was NS' nine-month birthday. If you set aside the mythical nature of the nine month pregnancy and ignore the fact that not every month has exactly 28 days, yesterday marks the point at which she was ex utero for the same amount of time that she was in.
It was only last night, on one of the random thought trains that crisscross my brain while I'm groggily slumped in the recliner with NS for one of her nocturnal feedings, that it came to me how to use my baby wrap to sling her to my hip. It's how I tend to carry her anyway--usually on the left hip, leaving my dominant right hand free to unlock the car, heft grocery bags, or retrieve the mail. Holding her in that position, I'd wrap the fabric diagonally from hip to shoulder, imitating the handy one-piece sling I tried out at a family reunion last summer.
The revelation was timely, because I'd been puzzling over how to take NS to the local library's used book sale. When she was about four months, I took her to our former library's sale. Thanks to the masses of fellow greedy book seekers who turned out on the first day, I could barely maneuver myself, much less a stroller, among the tightly packed tables. I parked the stroller and tied her to my front, face out.
Now that she's twice as heavy, new measures are required to tote her with any comfort during potentially grueling missions like book hunting. Today was the second day of the library book sale. The children's section (the reason I went) was somewhat disappointing, though we did go home with a dozen books for $3.
In the paperback aisle a woman struck up a one-sided conversation with NS, who was wearing flower-studded denim overalls and had pink and purple flowers up and down her sleeves.
"How old is he?"
At this point in such conversations, which happen rather often, a split-second judgment is required. Will the immediate awkwardness of correcting the stranger's interpretation of my child's gender prevent further awkwardness later? Or will the conversation only last a moment, rendering a correction irrelevant?
"She's a girl, nine months," I coated it with a sugary smile.
"Of course, I should've noticed the pink on her shoes." Predictably, the woman went on to compliment NS' eyes, and noted the main reason for her boyish impression: not much hair.
I've read that most babies start crawling at six to nine months of age, and most sprout teeth between two and twelve months. Although none of the books mention it, society at large tacitly agrees that girls are supposed to be bouncing long ringlets by three to nine months of age.
"Children's books," the elderly volunteer commented as I stacked my loot on the checkout table. "It's a little early for him to be reading these."
I managed a feeble courtesy smile. "It's never too early to start reading."