Audra hasn't said her first word unprompted yet, but will usually mimic us if we say "baba" or "dada" (she's still not too sure about "mama"). However, when I asked her where her duckies were the other day, she looked right over to where they are and then said something that suspiciously sounded like "duck". What are these duckies? Only a Warhol-esque picture of a bunch of ducks that kind of creeps me out but that she inexplicably LOVES. It's right next to her closet, and her face just lights up whenever we go in that general direction, so we usually have to make a stop at her duckies so she can pat at them and attempt to rip the picture off the wall.
We went out to another holiday party last weekend, which she did really well at. She only fussed a little bit in the car on the way there and back (despite it being about a 20 minute drive in the afternoon/evening), and was quite entertained with all the commotion and people watching that she could do at the party. And while she just about got whiplash frantically looking back and forth at everything/everyone when we first got there, she felt comfortable enough (or overwhelmed enough?) to let other people hold her too. She normally is pretty shy at first - even around family - but she was doing so well that she was able to be passed around a bit :)
Her sleep continued to be going well enough, although I think we're heading into another rough phase as she's about to cut a lower tooth and she's coming down with a cold. But until then, I've been enjoying 4-hr stretches of sleep :) Lately she's been trying to nurse while laying on her belly, which doesn't work all that well, but if it does and she's able to fall asleep on her belly, she tends to sleep a little better/longer than on her back. I've also finally admitted to myself that I do actually like sleeping with her - I like having her close by me and to be able to easily comfort her and support her at night... although I also have to say that feeling goes away kind of quickly when she has a rough night ;) But if I really wanted to change the situation, I would certainly be trying harder than I am right now - but despite any complaints I have about bed-sharing, I am still making the choice to do it, and I do still think it's the right decision for her (and me) right now. As I've been saying, we'll revisit this at 12 months (although I've started to push this off to 18 months lately... we'll see).
The nights seem to break into three main categories now: a good night (where she sleeps longer stretches and is able to get back to sleep on her own at least once), a bad night (where she wakes a million times, needs help getting back to sleep each time, and/or wants to nurse the whole night), and a "just chuggin' along" night (where she has a decently long stretch of sleep but wakes about every 2 hours besides that, and needs help getting back to sleep almost every time she wakes). I actually prefer the "just chuggin' along" nights - which happen the most frequently anyway - since good nights make me get my hopes up too much the next night that I'll get more sleep again (and it's harder to go back to a "normal" amount of night wakings after a good night), while it's probably fairly obvious why I don't prefer bad nights ;)
[Doubling the use of our trivets for the year ;)]