I think we officially have a first word for Simon: "Hi!" We sort of think he's had "mom ma" and "dad da," but it hasn't been consistent or always in the right context. However, my mom bought him a toy cell phone for Christmas, and he very frequently puts it to his ear and says, "Hi!" There's no mistaking it. I've heard him do it toward us a few times, and once to one of the cats, so I think this is absolutely intentional and contextual speech on his part. Hooray!
It seems like he's doing a lot of things lately for the first time. He's started to assemble instead of just pull things apart. For example, the classic Fisher Price "plastic donut" toy, with the five different colored rings, is something he used to just pull apart and toss around. We've seen him put the rings on the cone in the last few days. He's taking one step between say, us and the couch, without a hand to hold on to. He'll put one rubber duck in the tub up on the handle so it won't float away, so he can inspect the other one. After showing him how, he knows how his snack cup works (with the rubber "blades" that he has to penetrate to pull something out). This morning, I finally saw him actually go from being on his back to a sitting position. Granted, he had me to lean on in the process, but it sure beats him flipping out because no one will lift him up.
It's fascinating to watch him figure this stuff out. It seems like just yesterday that he got frustrated when he was lying in the crib and his binky fell out of his mouth. Now he's able to do things on his own. It's weird how you take human development for granted, until you have a small human developing in front of you. It's also scary to consider that this is mostly nature doing its thing. The harder parts of growing up are things we need to help with.