We have achieved words! Chloë's first words appear to be "dog" and "up." We asked her Aunt Michelle to watch her for an hour or so a few days ago, and by report she walked into Michelle's house, pointed at the beagle, Maggie, and said, "Dog!" We weren't sure we believed that, since she says "Da" all day long and probably in her dreams, and maybe it just sounded like "dog." But the other day, Eric says, they heard the neighbor's dog barking, and she pointed out the window and said "Dog!" So that's that. So much for "Mama" and "Dada." I mean, she does say "Dada," but she says it for everything, so it's hard to be sure she actually means her daddy. We think she's trying to say "duck" sometimes, too (when referring to her rubber ducks and the ones in her books), but it comes out "dun" and "dut" so I guess we just need to be creative listeners.
And "up" is definitively Chloë's first word to me. I've been encouraging her to say it for a while now, and gotten attempts in the form of "uh" with outstretched arms. But she's gotten better at it, and more consistent. Yesterday she decided to climb the stairs twice after I got home. Each time she decided in the middle she'd had enough and reached out to me, saying a distinctive "up!"
The second time I told her "Oh, no. You're the one who decided to climb up. You can finish." She glared at me and said "Upupup!" So I had to carry her the rest of the way. I'm already wondering why we were so eager to teach her the power of words.