Sunday, February 22, 2015

Communicating

As with Kailey before him, we've been trying to teach Alden how to sign for months.  It's clear that Alden is increasingly understanding language.  When we talk about "Abby" or the "cat", he looks around for her making the high pitched "AHH" that he uses to identify her.  He LOVES Abby.  Somehow, despite her 19 years, she tolerates his poking and attempts at affection which, more often than not, result in her tail being pulled or her ears being pinched.  She is such a good cat.  Except, she's decided the upstairs playroom makes a good litter box.  Now that we finally got that room carpeted, we have to remember to keep the door shut so that she cannot get in there. 

Anyway, I digress.  Alden and language.  What I'm trying to say is, he understands many words.  I know he understands what I'm saying when I say "milk", "eat", "Kailey", "daddy", "Will", "outside", "ball", "cat", and "paci".  He also clearly understands "no" and, for the moment, will stop what he's doing when you say, "no!"  Usually, he also bursts into tears.  But, the point is, he stops. 

And, he also understands how to get a reaction out of us.  He knows, for example, that Eric and I are both worry-warts about him choking while he eats.  So, he delights in stuffing his mouth full of food and then coughing.  I'm doing my best to ignore him, but he knows it gets me.  I can tell by the glimmer in his eye and the sly smile he gets after each "coughing" fit. 

And, he is even attempting the occasional sign.  Really he just does the sign for milk or he uses his pointer finger to direct us to what he wants.  But, he has attempted to use his hands to indicate other words -- he's just not doing it correctly yet.

He uses the milk sign correctly many times -- as he knows that it means milk.  But, he also seems to think it means "more", too.  The other day when I was feeding him I kept asking him if he wanted more while signing the word at the same time.  He would raise his hand and sign "milk" in return.  I would correct him and put both of my hands together and say, "more".  He'd look at me expectantly and sign "milk".  I would manipulate his hands for him (which he actually lets us do occasionally), and then give him more.  Then we'd start again.  After a few rounds, I said, "Alden, both hands!"  In response, he held up his hand to sign milk and then held up his other hand and opened and closed them in unison.  The double fisted milk sign.  I laughed and gave him more. 

Last night I was trying again and, rather than signing "more", he started swiping his hand across his face.  I copied him, which he thought was the funniest thing he ever saw.  He quickly swiped his hand against his face again, and I copied.  He cracked up.  We did that for about 10 minutes.  It was hilarious. 

I hope all this means signing will be coming soon.  He clearly gets how to imitate and he understands that the hand motions mean things -- usually milk.  Sometimes more!

I know Kai didn't really take off with signing until she was about 15 months (13 adjusted) -- so, he seems to be in that same zone.  Alden uses the whine so very effectively that I doubt he really sees the need for more sophisticated communication -- but, we're hoping to replace the whine and the shout with a quieter form of communication soon.

And, just for fun, I leave you with Alden enjoying the swings at the park down the street from our house (this house, I really am starting to love it)

video

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