After a long time of wriggling about on her stomach and not actually going anywhere (except occasionally a couple of inches backwards), she started crawling a few weeks ago. Once she'd got the hang of it there was no stopping her, and she was soon trundling around quite happily (and surprisingly quickly). She also very quickly learned to sit up from crawling, and from there it was a short step to being able to pull herself upright by hanging on to things. She can now stand up quite happily by hanging on to furniture, and has even made a few attempts at moving sideways around furniture while holding on (I believe this is commonly called "cruising", but that always sounds rather dodgy to me) though she tends to forget that she needs to hold on (with predictable results). She can also climb the stairs, which is impressive given how tiny she is (it's a bit of a scramble but she does it quite confidently).
She seemed to be a very stressed and frustrated baby when she was younger, so it's lovely to see how much happier she's been since she's been able to move around under her own steam; she'll now entertain herself for ages by crawling around, picking things up, pulling things off chairs, pulling herself upright and getting down again. I'm trying not to hover nervously over her -- she often proves to be quite careful and quite competent when I don't throw her off balance by flapping at her, and it's surprising how many things don't actually really matter if she picks them up, drops them, or chews them a bit.
However, unsurprisingly, she's also picked up a fair few bumps and bruises in the process of all this learning, including a bruise on the bridge of her nose which went all the colours of the rainbow (and has only just started fading). If she falls she's usually quickly comforted by a hug and a kiss. On the other hand it's surprising how often she seems totally unbothered by bumps on the head that make me wince as I hear them; mind you, given how hard her head feels when she headbutts me, I guess it may actually be made of wood!
Once she started crawling she also started crawling in her sleep. Yes, we seem to have a sleepwalker. She will start wailing in her sleep, wriggle into a crawling position (despite the sleeping bag and scratch-sleeves which make this into some kind of bizarre horizontal sack race challenge) and start crawling towards me, headbutting me quite hard, all the time with her eyes tightly closed. Sometimes if she's allowed to have her little crawl she'll then roll over and go back to sleep, but as we're still co-sleeping there isn't much room for her to crawl (to be fair there wouldn't be much more room in the cot).
Sleeping is still going badly (though she's napping much more reliably and for longer periods of time in her buggy): she goes to sleep at night quite easily and happily (if we're there with her -- which means we're having very early bedtimes...), but wakes every 2 hours or so. A quick feed usually sends her back to sleep straight away, but I can't help feeling it would be rather nice to be able to have a block of sleep that was longer than 2 hours. I've tried getting her back to sleep without feeding her, and it's usually possible, but usually involves lots of screaming (and no, this is not 'crying' or 'whining', this is all-out throat-ripping screaming, and I am very glad that the house adjoining ours is currently empty). When she's actually ready to wake up (usually around 8am) she wakes happily, usually with wide eyes & little talky noises. (She does sometimes do the little talky noises in her sleep too.) She likes crawling around in the bed and climbing over me and addedentry, and I'm going to be very sad when we no longer have time to do that in the mornings because of going to work.
The talky noises are great -- not just babbling but more complex sequences of sounds which sometimes sound as if she's said a real sentence & I've just not quite caught what she said. She definitely said "mummy, mummy" this morning (*melts*) and over the last couple of days she's started making more "ooh" and "oh" noises, usually "tooo" or an unintentionally hilarious "d'oh". When she's tired her talky noises come out more slurred, so they're usually more like "blah" or "flah" or "meh". Sometimes she yips like a dog (but hasn't yet started levitating above the bed or saying "there is only ZUUUUUUUL"), sometimes she makes a big "raaarrrrggghhhhh" noise (it usually seems to be a noise of approval, e.g. when she's holding a big piece of food), often followed by a bathetic little "meh". She also has the most adorable little giggle.
Not much progress with the baby sign language except that she definitely recognises the sign for "milk" now, and the other day while we were talking about milk (in the context of buying it from the supermarket) she suddenly started excitedly making the sign. It's also fairly clear to me from the happy grin she gives me when I make the sign that she knows what it means & what's coming next. :-D
She is really enjoying eating (and we're enjoying her enjoying it!). nou has been in Oxford this past week and we've been to lots of exciting restaurants, and Img has been surprisingly well-behaved and seemed to enjoy them all -- she loved the Slovak food at Moya, ate heaps of dim sum at Liaison (actually her second dim sum -- but the first time she'd eaten jellyfish...!), tried the interesting spicy vegetables at Trichy Dosa, and charmed the waiting staff at all the places we went. She also seemed fairly happy to spend lots of time in pubs, which bodes well.
We've got her booked in with a local childminder (very local -- about 5 minutes' walk from here) and she'll start there for two days a week when I go back to work on 26th March (addedentry will still be off work), going up to three days when he's back too (after Easter). We're both going part-time (4 days), offsetting our days so that I work Mon-Thu (but working from home on Mondays) and he works Tue-Fri, & offsetting our hours so that I work 8am-4pm and he works 10am-6pm (so he'll drop Img off at the childminder and I'll pick her up). Not sure how this is going to work, it will all be a bit exhausting (particularly with the lack of sleep) but hopefully it'll also give us a bit more time to spend with Img than we'd have had otherwise.
It seems impossible that she's nearly a year old already, and that she's basically a small person rather than a helpless little animal. I am absolutely in love with her and the only thing that's still not great is the sleep -- and even that I think I can probably cope with for a bit longer, not least because I'd be really sad not to have her sleeping next to me any more, because I am A BIG SOFTY and I want to be able to kiss her on the head all the time. ♥