Now that he is almost nine months old, Sam is all personality: happy, goofy, laid-back, fun, curious, and active. Sam mastered crawling all of a sudden one day in mid-July and hasn't looked back - though he mostly uses crawling as a means to get to things he can then climb up on. We see his head and his mischievous grin peeking over the edge of the couch, our knees, the coffee table, the kitchen chairs, and the edge of his crib. And when he sees that we see him, he bounces up and down with delight.
No matter how much his sister mauls him - and she will not give him an inch of space or a moment to play on his own before she hauls him up under his shoulders and carts him around - he comes back for more. He follows her around the house, trying to do whatever she is doing.
He cut a third tooth at the end of July but is still suffering terribly for a fourth. I keep thinking that it will cut through the gum by tomorrow, but several tomorrows have come and gone and several sleep-deprived nights and no tooth yet. This evening, Sam got unusually overtired and out of sorts and couldn't manage to do anything except pull on his ear and bite me (hard) on the arms and shoulders and cry about his sore gums. Poor little pumpkin. And also poor me. I'm hard up for sleep, too.
Sam has now been on his first big trip, to Quebec for his uncle's wedding. The last forty minutes of every leg of the car trip were tough. Sam and Anna both cried miserably. Sam was saddest at the end of the first morning of driving, and when we arrived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, he was still hiccoughing in sadness and his little face was smudged and crusted with snot and tears. Lunch by the St. John River and a crawl around the Beaverbrook Art Gallery cheered him up considerably.
The second leg of the trip, to Edmundston, also ended in tears, but after he was liberated from his car seat, he and his sister loved sleeping in a tent and energetically stayed up until the sun set at 9:30 and then until all my lullaby supplies were exhausted and I was just resorting to singing age-inappropriate, mournful Leonard Cohen songs.
The next morning, he and I woke at dawn and listened to each bird and animal awake in sequence and greet the dawn. Back in the carseat, then, for a long run past Quebec City. Anna got carsick and Sam got restless, but they were really amazingly patient, and it was more than worth the trip. We arrived to playgrounds and picnic spaces and swimming pools and incoming relatives and friends. Then we shared the most lovely cottage on the lake with Emily and her family, adjoining with the other aunts and uncles.
On Friday evening, Sam got to meet his godparents, Thom and Isabelle, for the first time at a welcoming barbecue party at the cottage. He was his happy, friendly self and - we hope - made a good impression.
The wedding day was sunny and clear and full of activity and excitement. Sam wore/ate his first tie and met tons of relatives, all of whom contemplated who he looks like. (The consensus seems to be that he looks a bit like my uncle Regis and cousin Paul - with expressions like his cousin Ryan on his Dad's side.)
The wedding was beautiful, and Anna and Youders outdid themselves as flower-girl and ring-bearer. The kids were tired but mostly good during the perfectly tasteful ceremony in the glorious church. Stephen and I only missed the vows when Sam needed space and Anna needed juice. There were many small babies at the church, so also many parents loitering in back pews with restless little ones.
Back at the reception, Sam was the first party guest to take off his pants, an important precedent-setting move at any wedding. He changed into formalwear for the evening, then - a t-shirt with a tuxedo painted on it. While other guests had cocktails outside, Sam finished up his supper of beets and breastmilk and then enjoyed dancing with his mama to the jazz Thom and Isa had chosen to accompany the cocktails. We had the dancefloor to ourselves.
We didn't make it to the actual dance, though we stayed up well past bedtime, but Sam still slept in his tux. Another important precedent-setting move at any wedding.
Sunday, Sam swam in a lake for the first time and then caught up on some missed naps before we said goodbye to the cottage on the lake on Monday morning and set forth again on the highway. We put in a long day of driving with stops along the St. Lawrence before putting in for the night at a kooky little campground in NB where they played bingo in the communal campground space. We woke and packed up in the pouring rain and drove fast enough to get ahead of the low front. After a leisurely stop in Sackville to visit the swan pond and the Owens Art Gallery, we were home in time for supper. The kids were delighted to be home, though they missed the cottage and lake and all the time and attention they had gotten from their aunts and uncles.