It's not just her physical growth that is amazing; it's her abilities too. Back in June, at six months old, she was fishing around on the floor, rolling over, and sitting up with my help. Now, at eight months old, she is doing all of the above on her own, with ease and grace, and crawling thrown into the bargain. And I mean crawling at an alarming speed. I have to watch her every minute and be on my guard for the unexpected. She is in "explorer mode" which means nothing holds her attention or keeps her in one spot for more than five seconds, six at the most. The fireplace seems to be a location of particular interest. There is no raised hearth on our fireplace so she can crawl right up to it with no difficulty. There is a screen on it but that is designed to keep sparks in not babies out so unless I am ever vigilant she can get filthy black in an instant. After pulling her away from there at least a hundred times the first day and washing her hands at least fifty I decided that I needed to take preventive action and went out that night and bought an extra baby gate. It fits perfectly in front of the fireplace and after a few days of frustration she gave up her aspirations to be a chimney sweep and left it alone.
Her consciousness has also expanded. She is dramatically more aware of everything including me and the dog (Mr. Pickles), whom she desperately wants to get her hands on. That could be disastrous. Mr. Pickles is a furry, white lapdog who weighs less than she does but he is an adult canine and, therefore, more than a match for Kiley. He is not aggressive but who knows how any dog will react if suddenly seized by an eight- month-old. I am keeping them separated. She is also more aware of herself and loves to see herself in the mirror. I love to see her there too, she and I together. With her personality more apparent I can see that she appears to be naturally good natured and happy. Everything makes her smile. She does, however, love to play "lip music" and is constantly giving me the Bronx Cheer.
Between now and next June Kiley's growth, in both body and abilities, will continue unabated. Over the next nine months she will achieve many new milestones, the most notable of which will be turning one year old (the birthday girl!). In that time, as I watch, she will learn too many new things to count including standing, walking, and saying her first words. It promises to be an exciting time for both of us. The adventure continues.