At nine months old, Oliver is very happy, sleeping pretty well, and loving lots of things like swinging, going for walks, animals, walking himself while holding our hands, and eating (everything, not just food). Number one on his list is always, always walking with the help of our hands. It gets old pretty quickly but he loves it so much that we usually give in and keep going. He likes playing with anything that isn't a baby toy (like cords, a computer mouse, cell phone, rocks, etc) and eating or drinking whatever I'm having. If I can't get him to drink water from his sippy cup, I just take the lid off and offer it to him like a cup and he's all over that. He likes tags and ties and things I'm wearing around my neck and is getting a little bit more dexterous. He can sort of pick up little things (like Cheerios) and get them to his mouth (always the destination).
He loves playing peek-a-boo or having a blanket tossed over his head (the sky is falling game). If he's walking around with me or Sam and the other person leaves the room, he'll come running after us, eager to see where we're going and make sure he's not left out. I need to nurse him in a quiet, empty room, because otherwise he is constantly breaking off to look around and see what people are laughing about or what is making that interesting noise. He loves babies and kids and stares intently whenever we see other children playing at church or at the park. We met my friend's son the other day, who is 3 months old, and Oliver immediately tries to grab his face, which is what he does to basically every adult who ever holds him. When he's happy and well-slept, he doesn't mind being held by just about anyone, and gives those cute little looks that other people call flirting - he'll glance at strangers who are cooing at him and then look away, resting his head on my shoulder or just turning his head at an angle.
He has so much energy, he wears us out in about ten minutes and then is eager to keep going. He wants to explore everything and gets frustrated when we try to make him sit down and play with a toy, or when I hold him on my hip just to get a break from leaning over and walking around and around. He lets out this loud shriek to get our attention, and it makes me look forward to the day he learns to use words, but this communication thing is hard, and he'll figure it out eventually. For now he's pretty good at getting everything he wants, even without a single word at all.
Nine months old means he's been here for as long as I was pregnant with him, but it feels so much longer. Sometimes I'll remember something we did a year or two ago, and think, but wait, where was Oliver? before I remember that oh, yeah, he wasn't born yet. Nine months of Oliver's babyhood have been infinitely better than pregnancy, but all those doctor appointments and tests and stress were more than worth it for this sweet, cheerful, perfect boy.