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Not Quite Ten Months Update
Hey so I have a toddler now!

It is amazing how many things you think of as binary aren't. Walking vs. not walking turns out to have an amazing number of shades of gray in it, but at this point I think we can definitively say that yes, this baby is walking. She can stand up without pulling up on anything, she can toddle along through empty space for up to six or eight feet (which is a whole lot of tiny little steps!), and she is no longer distressed by falling down unless she hurts herself. She hasn't quite figured out how to stop walking yet, so she likes to launch herself at furniture or a parent so she has something to grab when she gets there. She particularly likes to stagger over to the dog's beanbag, fling herself bodily into it, and roll around giggling.

Yesterday, she started using the sign for "milk"! This is very exciting. She's been responding appropriately to "more" and "all done" at dinner for some time, and making some motions that might correspond with those signs, but "milk" is unambiguous. Yay it's a word! We think she might also be trying to say "dog", but we're not sure.

She also says "mamamama" and "dadadada", but they don't mean parents. Both of those sets of syllables appear in her normal neutral babbling with a variety of inflections (an increasingly lively and varied variety of inflections), and are also used with particular inflections to indicate emotional states. She uses "mamamama" when she wants something, and "dadadada" when she is particularly happy. So when she wants a cuddle, she'll come and lean on my knees pleading "mamamama", then snuggle in against my shoulder and contentedly sigh "dada". Also, if she wants something in particular and you correctly guess what it is and give it to her, she'll often indicate that it's the right thing with one affirmative "da".

She really likes clapping, and will imitate that or cheering with arms up in the air. I have not yet gotten her to play pattycake with me, but I keep trying. She'll also imitate waving hello to a person, and occasionally waving bye-bye, but she's a lot more excited about hellos than goodbyes.

She's very fond of taking things out of other things (shelves, drawers, boxes, cabinets...) and beginning to occasionally be interested in putting things in other things. Not the same other things, mind you, but it's a start. She's often quite independent when playing on the floor, and will charge off to other rooms and play there for minutes on end without needing to come check on me or call me in.

Lately she's gotten very interested in the dog's bucket of toys. She'll pull things out and leave them on the floor, which makes the dog happy, or snuggle them herself, or hand them to the dog and giggle, or hand them to the dog and then complain when the dog wants to keep them. The other day they decided that they both had to play with the blue and yellow fluffy bone and neither one was willing to be distracted by another toy -- either Morgan's or Galen's -- so I informed them that if they were going to fight over it, neither of them could play with it and put that one away for a while. The dog really does make an excellent practice kid now and then.
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It's so interesting to hear about her development and how it's different from the Junebug's! (He talked earlier but walked later.)

Eh, I just like to hear about the babies. :) I'm glad she's getting along with the dog!

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