Transmissions From Baby-Town: “Nine Months”

This week, the calendar pages come fluttering off the wall, and Baby B-Dub reaches nine months of age.

Which means he’s been out as long as he was in.

And it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re screwed.


* * *


He never stops moving.

The boy was always a squirmy one. But he is rarely content to be held. Or to remain in one place for more than, ohhh, 34 seconds. This kid wants to go go go. He wants to crawl. He wants to stand. Give him half a chance, he’ll fling himself over the edge of the bed, the high-chair, the crib wall. He learned how to use the crib bumpers as ladders and climb up over the edge of the Baby Containment Unit. Just this morning I turned my head away from the high chair for two seconds to fetch a spoon and when I turned my head back, half his body was already out, his gooey food-slick face staring at the floor.

Gone are the days of the little lump baby.

Here are the days of Little Baby Daredevil.


* * *


We hear this saying a lot:

“Oh. He’s one of those babies.”

And then we get sympathetic head nods and shoulder pats.


* * *


Sweet Jesus, this kid can eat.

He’s like a wood-chipper.

It’s as if his stomach is a molten core, and any food poured into that fiery space is burned away to meager char and ash the moment it touches the walls of his gastrointestinal furnace. You know how some adult human beings can subsist on, say, a small yogurt and a banana for breakfast? Our nine-month son can eat more than that. Just yesterday we had to feed him four meals. You get through one container of pureed food and Baby Jabba over there is suddenly all BOSHUUDA NAY WANNA WONGA BLUEBERRY YOGURT which means it’s time to go seeking a new food source before he starts eating his high-chair.

And you think I’m kidding. He gnaws on his high-chair like a starving badger.

Sometimes I’m forced to wonder, did our son accidentally eat another baby? Is he somehow feasting for two? Ye gods, man, where the hell is all this food going?


It goes into the diapers. We went from one diaper every few days to one diaper every seventeen minutes. His diapers get so heavy, I just leave them outside in the wintry cold and let them freeze over. Then, should any of my neighbors grow uppity, I shall launch these frozen turd-bombs at their house with some jury-rigged trebuchet. If only they had the icy-chunk diaper-made cannonballs in the Middle Ages. Siege warfare would’ve been a whole different animal.


* * *


Diaper changes are different, now. He is not content to just lay there dreamily. He twists and turns and writhes and squirms. Trying to escape our clutches at the worst possible time — when we’re trying to wrestle a wet-nap from the box, when we’re trying to pop the stubborn tabs on the goddamn diaper, when we’ve got poop on our hands. Now diaper-changing time is a full-contact-sport.

And it frequently requires two people.


* * *


It’s like in all the war movies, eventually one side is forced to recognize: “We are overrun.”


* * *


Sometimes he stands up.

On his own. This just started happening — he gets his legs under him, reaches out as if he’s going to grab hold of something but then forgets that step and just — voooop — stands up.

He can make it for about three seconds.

Then he falls down. Whump, on his rump.

He’s learned how to fall so that he can learn how to stand.

There’s a lesson in there for all of us, I guess.


* * *


I pretend it’s a very early, very sluggish game of proto-catch between father and son. There B-Dub sits in his high-chair or in his crib and any toys he can find end up over the edge and onto the floor. Then I go and I pick up the toys and I put them back in and, within 30 seconds, they’re all back on the floor.

But I know the truth. It’s not a game of catch.

It’s a game of fetch.

And I am most assuredly the dog.

But I don’t admit that often. The illusion of reciprocity is key.


* * *


I know now, when you have a baby, it’s a game of buying your life back in five minute increments. Small things. “Oh, I’d like to go to the bathroom now. If I strap him in his high chair and give him a copy of the latest Field & Stream magazine, will that occupy him long enough for me to go and relieve myself? Will it? Will it?”

No, it won’t.

But you have to try.


* * *


He shouldn’t be faster than us.

That shouldn’t be possible. He’s tiny.

Oh, but he is. Plop him on the floor and play with him for a while, suddenly he’ll get it in his head to dart off to the farthest-flung and most dangerous corner of the room. Oh, and he’ll always go for the worst possible thing in the room, a thing that no matter how hard you baby-proofed still exists — “How did this Chinese throwing star end up under the couch?” Next thing you know you’re struggling to reach him before he wings the Chinese throwing star at the dog and you’re left dizzy with the notion that somehow this baby, this nine-month-old human who still poops his pants almost out-ran you.

And he can’t even walk yet.


* * *


He shouldn’t be stronger than us.

But if he gets hold of the spoon while feeding, I have to wrestle with him to get it back. And it’s hard. How is that possible? I’m a fully-grown man. I’ve got bulk. I’m not a weight-lifter or anything, but this kid has the muscle-tone of a bag of marshmallows. How is he beating me? How is this even a competition?

One day science will prove that babies somehow possess secret chimpanzee strength.

One day.


* * *


He’s very loud.

I’m sorry — maybe you couldn’t hear me —


It’s not that he’s upset. He’s… talking. Except very, very loudly.



* * *


Here’s one way he’s like his father:

Hates pants. Hates socks.

Gets rid of both at every opportunity.

Eat shit, pants. Go to hell, socks.



* * *


He sleeps with us in our bed. And sometimes, in the middle of the night, you feel it. A presence. Staring you down. And, sure enough, there’s our little shadow-baby, sitting between us and just… watching.

Like a hawk watching a little bunny cross the road.


* * *


He’s trying to destroy us, physically. No matter how often you cut his nails he’s got talons like an owl. He’ll grab your lower lip and pull downward as if he’s trying to close a garage door. He’ll knock my glasses to the floor and then go for the soft melon-balls that are my eyes. He’ll headbutt. He’ll yank hair. He’ll bite — well, gum — your nose. He’s trying to wear us down. He’s trying to get control.


* * *


Who the hell am I kidding? He’s already got control.

He’s got it and he’s going to keep it not because he’s the tiny pink-cheeked dictator that rules this house but in spite of that — he is, instead, the pink-cheeked dictator that rules our hearts.

(Cue the audio: “Awwwww.”)

He’s learning how to give kisses. Kisses that don’t always come replete with a headbutt.

He’s learning how to high-five us.

He’s learning when to say Mama, or Daddy, or Doggy.

He’ll try to feed us.

He’s learning how to snuggle up and — almost — give hugs.

He smiles whenever we enter the room.

He laughs like they’re about to make laughing illegal so he better get it all in right now.

His feet are ticklish. He likes to rub noses with you. He’s still got the biggest bluest eyes and now, growing in upon his Charlie Brown head is a snowy white-blonde coat of wispy hair.

Sure, yeah, we’re overrun.

But that’s okay. We like it.

Happy nine months, kiddo.

43 responses to “Transmissions From Baby-Town: “Nine Months””

  1. Happy nine-months, Baby B-Dub!!
    Damn you, Chuck, that adorable kid of yours made me break out in a teary giggle. At work. Now my colleagues will think I’m a human being after all…

  2. He’s beautiful and you take excellent photos! He does look like a very active guy in the video. I think its sweet that he sleeps in the big bed- doesn’t he wake you up? Perhaps less than he might in his own crib. Just wait until he can follow you into the bathroom.

  3. C,

    I’m not a person who coos at every baby-creature that crawls by, but DAMN, is this kid freakin’ cute. And, apparently, freakishly fast and pants-loathing. My kind of kid.

    Happy Ninth Birthday to the B-Dub. One day, I think, he will rule us all. πŸ˜‰

  4. All hail our pink-cheeked dictator. May he live long and no doubt be awesome.

    These posts always make me happy – in a different way though than the lists and recipes and whatnot.

    I look forward to the “B-Dub is outrunning Kenyan marathoners” announcement.

  5. That’s a cutie pie.

    Wow, do I remember those days. It amazed me how quickly I learned to clean up all kinds of nastiness and then wash my hands and go back to eating dinner. So glad the kiddos can now wipe their own bottoms.

  6. Because this is the Internet, I think this is the part where I point out that the manner in which you are raising your child will result in him being irreparably damaged, both physically and mentally meaning that he’ll grow up to be a one-eyed, crippled, simpleton serial killer.

    But teh cute!

  7. HA!!! It’s only going to get better… and by better I mean more insane.

    I don’t think B-Dub is an anomaly – most kids are as crazy as him but parents try to hide that fact so that more people have kids and are in the same boat as them. Then those parents laugh at the new naive parents.

    My daughter, Zoe, just turned two. The craziness has only increased, but at least now, I have gained some modicum of control back because she understands my demands.

    So, you have that to look forward to. In fifteen months. Good luck.

    Happy nine-month birthday, B-Dub.

  8. Chuck –

    I didn’t grow a beard until all three of mine were past the regular facial assault stage. So I’m wondering – does the beard provide padding against infantile pummeling? Or does it provide a hand-hold with which B-Dub can immobilize his target so as to better aim his talon strikes at the eyes or the insides of nostrils?

    Ah, diapers. Now you understand why parents are so obsessed with toilet training. And I suppose you now know the true horror of Catastrophic Diaper Failure.

    Be glad, though, he’s a boy. Come changing time, with a girl, you’re never quite sure if you got it all. The nooks, the crannies — it’s like a Thomas’s English Muffin up in there.

    Bon chance, sir.


  9. You can tell from the photo that he’s ready for action, prepared to give the camera a good gnawing. He sounds and looks delightful. Enjoy! He’ll be telling random fart jokes to inappropriate strangers all too soon. Ask me how I know… : )

  10. Loved this and had to read it to my husband. Between us (and several marriages – we were both widowed when we met) we have 10 kids, 25 grandchildren and 1 great. We really understand where you are at.

    Had to laugh ourselves silly (hubby had tears) over the turd bomb trebuchet though….

    You are fast becoming my favorite morning blog, the first I read. thank you!

  11. Just wait.

    The teeth are coming.

    *maniacal laughter*

    (There’s a reason so many vampire writers are young moms… they know things with fangs actually exist.)

  12. What a cutie! Enjoy, it only gets more fun from here on out.

    The other moms at art class give me dirty looks because I let my two year old son tell me how HE wants to do his projects and I let him paint “dinosaurs” when their kids are staring blankly at their triangle nosed, rectangle mouthed scary people. Also, I let him paint himself and me.

    I love my little deviant.
    Enjoy yours as well.
    For when they rule the world, they shall remember that we let them fling food and fill in our tattoos with finger paint, thus allowing us to survive the apocalypse.

  13. Holy crap, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a long time. I have a 3 1/2 month old daughter, and I can easily see her being one of “those babies” in a few short months. I nearly laughed coffee through my nose, and got misty-eyed at the end. Spot-on song choice for the video, btw. πŸ™‚

    ~Eva and Clara’s mama

  14. 1) That is one seriously cute kid.

    2) A frozen poopy diaper trebuchet is an awesome idea. Actually a home defense system that incorporates a trebuchet is an awesome idea. You could have multiple missile types for any occasion.

  15. Hold on to those precious thoughts. They’ll be hard to recall when hes 6 and calls you stupid because you want him to clean his room. Meanwhile your second kid is 2 and poppa his pants because walking to the batthroom is just too much trouble. Good luck.

  16. And you think I’m kidding. He gnaws on his high-chair like a starving badger.
    We’ve begun referring to our 19-month-old son as the Human Termite after he decided that his crib rails made a tasty snack during naptime.

    One day science will prove that babies somehow possess secret chimpanzee strength.
    I am already convinced of this, after having to administer eye drops to the Human Termite to treat a stubborn case of pink eye last spring. That was a three-man job, which made doing it by myself loads of fun (please to note the sarcasm oozing from every word of that sentence). Any scientific proof will come as old news to any and every parent on the planet and the resounding cry of, “Well, DUH!” will surely be loud enough to be heard from Mars.

  17. This is well timed, since I am 9 days past my due date and scheduled to be induced tomorrow. We’re about to get our own pink dictator who is going to be just as stubborn, judging from his insistence that nothing should touch HIS belly and his lack of willingness to come out.

    Wow, 9 months already. I remember reading your posts when he was born. He’s incredibly adorable, presumably to disarm his captors even further. The poopy diaper thing is brilliant. I live in Georgia, and it hasn’t been very cold this season, so my bombs will be sort of squishy. πŸ˜€

    Happy Birthday B-dub!

  18. Just wait until he’s taller and runs toward you at top speed, that bowling head exactly the height of your unsuspecting balls. My husband still tears up when I remind him.

  19. LOL! Happy 9 months, Baby B-Dub. What a cutie pie and what a great tribute to your beautiful son. He’ll get a kick out of it when he’s say……oh, 40. LOL Good document to keep for his teen years.

    Enjoy, it does go rather fast, especially when he starts walking.

  20. Oh, how I am laughing! (that kind of haw haw relieved “I been there done that” kind of laugh where I know I don’t have to ever ever do this again, except for my granddaughter and then that’s just different teehee -but then all of a sudden, I think ‘dang, I can’t ever do that again . . . no more babies landing in the Land of Kat . . . damn. . . . “

  21. When do the swimming lessons start? It looks like he has the basics down now. And realistically, if the kid is capable of swimming on carpet he’s going to be a machine in the water.

    Also, I bring tidings of doom: from the looks of those legs, he’s going to be tall.

  22. Hey Chuck, we’ve got one of -those- babies as well. He had 4 teeth by 6 months though (working on #s 13-16 currently at 15 months) so the biting has been a bigger issue for us. Also, he’s obsessed with shoes. His shoes, our shoes, the cats shoes (borrowed, of course). Babies are weird.

  23. What a handsome little fellow he is!

    Oh, do I remember those days! Sometimes I used to look a my little one and think he was some kind of alien. And yes, he ate like a combine harvester. And for such a little guy, where did he put it? We used to joke that he had a tape worm, lol. But in all actuality he was red-lining it all the time. He had 2 speeds ~ full throttle and stop.

    Just wait until he can walk … and take his diaper off. Then the fun will begin.

  24. That is the single cutest kid I have ever seen. I’m sitting in the school library, being a bad partner and messing around on your site instead of helping my partner with our project. I play the video, and we both stop working. The adorable child of total strangers manages to catch and hold the attention of two ADD high school students. Well done, sir. Well done.

  25. The post was great, but I especially loved the video. Brilliant editing and camera angles! What a wonderful caputring of a fast fleeting time in your little one’s life!

  26. Chuck and Dan O’Shea,

    My three month old daughter is a champ with the diaper madness! My husband coined a new phrase for us poor parents facing Catastrophic Diaper Failure…poopocalypse. Enjoy!

  27. […] This article by the foul-mouthed Chuck Wendig isn’t so much writing advice as an example of what awesome writing looks like. Ah, who am I kidding? I’m linking to it because it’s about a baby and it’s utterly hilarious. The man has quite a gift for the original metaphor. […]

  28. Ok, so I know this is an old, old post, but I only just now saw it (relatively new blog-reader-monkey). I just wanted to say…THIS! ALL OF THIS!!! *points up*
    My son is currently 14 months, but I can still vividly remember 9 months (vividly. Like, in my nightmares sometimes…) and all of this applied. Most of it still does. But now he walks, and talks more, and figures things out and crap.

    So anyway. This resonated with me.
    And I loved your video at the end. SO adorable. ^_^

    ~Lia Wolff

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