Hadley turned nine months old yesterday. I cannot believe it. Part of me feels like she's been here forever, like she's always been a part of our lives, and the other part of me wonders how nine months have passed since I nuzzled newborn Hadley with her spiky dark hair and red, heart-shaped lips. Even then, she seemed to have a twinkle in her eye, a pocketful of mischief and a flair for humor. (I often imagine Hadley in utero spiking up her hair for her arrival.)
Today, she went to the pediatrician for her nine-month check-up. The nurses always make a big fuss over her, mention how adorable she is, come over and talk to her. They probably do it for every kid, but Hadley eats it up. As we walk back to the examining room, a chorus of people wave at Hadley and call out her name. I swear, she thinks she's a movie star.
After her grand entrance today, we learned that Hadley weighs 20 lbs, 14 ounces, and is 29 3/4 inches tall. That means she's in the 80th percentile for weight and the 97th for height. The doc said that her growth patterns are good and healthy; as babies move more, they burn more calories and slim down just a bit. (Note to self: squeeze those baby thighs while she still has them.)
As our time together was coming to end, the doctor sort of interrupted his train of thought and said, "You probably don't know this because you probably aren't around as many nine-month-old babies as I am, but it's pretty unusual for a baby her age to be quite this social." Hadley flashed him a smile. "I don't remember the last time such a young child engaged me quite this much." Hadley cooed at him. "It's uncommon, definitely." Hadley reached out to pull his stethoscope and grinned.
"Is that a good thing?" I asked. He said that it's like many human traits: it has pros and cons. She's obviously very interested in her world, very warm and eager to get to know people. She's curious and expressive, he said. "On the downside, she's the kid who will wander off in the store." We'll have to be more stringent and diligent when it comes to teaching her--and reminding her--about stranger danger. That, or I'll strap her to me until she's, say, 17.
Even if it means we have to watch her like hawks, I'm glad Hadley is the way she is. I agree with her: people are fascinating. I think that's why I became a journalist--people have no shortage of interesting stories to tell if you take the time to ask them. Much of the joy in my life is tied directly to the people with whom I spend my time. Just last night, I had a fabulous time with a group of strangers at a press dinner. We talked and laughed and ate good food. I hope Hadley gets the same joy from other people.
Everyone says that Hadley looks much more like Jason than she looks like me--and honestly, sometimes it makes me feel a little sad. I don't know why; obviously, I think Jason is a good-lookin' guy, and as long as Hadley is healthy, I don't really care who she resembles. But I am enjoying the knowledge that she did inherit an important part of who I am. I talk to strangers on airplanes. I love visiting new places. I'd rather do something new than rely on the security of a routine. I am prone to wander off in the store, too.
So our Little Miss Social is growing up and making friends. And I am glad. The world needs as many smiles from the Hadster as it can get...so here you are: