Things that Katie learned how to do in her eleventh month:
Cruise. For those not familiar with the lingo, this refers not to holidaying on expensive boats but to the sort of sideways shuffle babies do while holding onto furniture. She rarely actually does this, preferring crawling as her means of locomotion, but she has cruised a few steps from time to time and thus gets to count it officially as a milestone.
Stand unsupported for an approximate half-second before folding in slow motion down to the ground.
Pincer grasp. She is not yet deft at this, but can manage it well enough to supplement her diet with lots of crumbs and the odd bit of carpet fluff.
Drop things. She has reached the stage where this counts as a lovely game.
Sleep for more than forty minutes at naptime. The forty minute thing is, apparently, very common in babies, due to this being the length of one sleep cycle (the time it takes a baby to go from wakefulness down through increasingly deep levels of sleep and back up to light sleep again) – many babies wake up too far as their sleep cycles crest the surface, and can't drop back off to sleep again easily even if they really need to do so. This, of course, then means that you have an awake, overtired, irritable baby instead of a peacefully asleep followed by awake well-rested happy baby; so you can imagine that I was particularly pleased about this particular achievement. Katie is now taking two naps of an hour or more each day. (Exact duration varies hugely, but the point is that she now actually seems to be getting the sleep she needs during the day, rather than waking up from her naps far too early.) As to why it happened now, I think that's down to the recent night weaning. That, plus the extra formula supplements we gave her during the day, got her settling more easily at night and sleeping for much longer stretches, and, after a few weeks, this eventually had a knock-on effect on her daytime sleep.
Possibly saying her first word or two. Maybe. Sorry to be vague on such a particularly important milestone, but the problem is that The First Word just isn't the same kind of clear-cut event in real life as it is in all those books and films where a previously non-verbal child suddenly comes out with a clear "Mummy!" or "Dog!" or "President!" or whatever happens to suit the plot development. What actually happens in real life is that babies spend months babbling merrily away with any old random syllables which, every so often but no more than would be expected by sheer coincidence, happen to approximate to the beginning sound of whatever or whoever they happen to be looking at at the time. Then you start thinking that maybe this is happening a bit more often than coincidence would suggest… or maybe not. And it just gradually goes on from there until it eventually becomes pretty obvious that they are in fact using "Ma-ma!" to refer to their mother, or whatever, at which point you realise that they have, in fact, probably been doing it for months. This is what's happening with Katie. She says "Ma-ma!" a lot, usually with apparent randomness, but there do seem to be a lot of occasions on which it's connected with her looking at me or hearing my voice on the phone or looking around in a lost kind of way when I'm not there… enough to have Barry convinced that she's doing it deliberately, and me thinking, hmmmm, maybe, maybe not. I'm a sceptic when it comes to milestones – I like to have clearcut evidence. Similarly, she did once look at her brother and announce "Jay-jay!" but doesn't seem to have done that on any subsequent occasions, so, well, who knows. But the babbling is going beautifully. She can now chat away very happily about life in a variety of random syllables.
She now has almost seven teeth (top right incisor now through, top left incisor lurking coyly just beneath the surface). She is still breastfeeding two or three times a day. (I did also go back to breastfeeding her once at night as well for a bit during her eleventh month, but have now dropped that again. Long story which I may or may not go into at some point, time permitting.)
She has been to her second restaurant (the first being when we were at the Convention and went to a superb Birmingham restaurant called the Spicebuffet, which does a wide variety of different types of ethnic food; I collected a plateful of appropriate bits for Katie, and she munched away very happily while I ate). This latest restaurant visit was for the small party Barry's parents held to mark their ruby wedding anniversary. I approached the evening with a certain amount of trepidation (get two small children into smart clothes and keep them looking appropriately presentable at least until after the first round of photographs?), but it went rather well – everyone cooed over Katie and she managed not to spit up on her party dress. Barry took charge of Jamie during the meal and I gave Katie the toast-and-paté starter and a selection of vegetables from the serving dishes, the combination of which kept her happily occupied for long enough for me to eat a quick meal myself before rushing off to take my turn following Jamie, who had, as usual, decided to wander around the place once he finished his food. All in all, it was a pretty good evening.
So, she is now taking steps (literally and figuratively) in the general areas of upright locomotion, use of opposable thumb, and possibly expressive spoken language. That seems to be the three major evolutionary landmarks that separate humanity from other animals, right there. Pretty impressive going, I'd say.