Alden is really starting to put language together and is communicating with us more every day. He has mastered several signs, including the sign for milk (he's had that one down for awhile -- and crawls over to me every morning and thrusts his little fist in my face while squeezing it intently... and then, when milk doesn't immediate appear, he does it again while shouting. It's persuasive. We always get up and get him milk). Anyway, beyond milk, he now signs when he wants to "eat", be picked "up", or when he wants to do something "again", and he waves his hands around when he's "all done". It's all very cute.
He also knows how to shake his head yes and no -- and is very good about patiently shaking his head no as we guess at the thing he wants. Like this evening, he was pointing across the table at something and I wasn't sure what. I asked him if he wanted to eat, while signing the word. He shook his head no. I asked him if he wanted some little toy that was on the table, and he shook his head no. I asked him if he wanted Kai's food, as that was the direction he was pointing, and he shook his head no and then signed that he wanted up. I asked him if he wanted up, and he looked at me like I was a one year old myself and signed it again while nodding yes. I picked him up and then he leaned across the table pointing, obviously hoping that his new angle would help him communicate what he wanted. I said, "Alden, I don't know what you want!" And then I put him on the table and let him crawl to the desired object, which was Kai's sippy cup! Ahhh.... water!! I signed the word for water for him and said, "Alden, this is water". He looked at me, looked the sippy cup, nodded emphatically and smiled. I got him water.
Earlier in the evening, I had gotten him a bottle of milk, which he quickly downed. Once finished, he looked at me and thrust his little fist in my face and pumped it, indicating he still wanted milk. I signed the sign for "all done" while saying, "Alden, the milk is all done. It's gone. No more." He looked at me and waved and asked, in a questioning tone, "bye bye?" "Yes! bye bye! The milk is bye bye". He waved again, more resigned this time, saying "bye.... bye" and he didn't ask for more milk.
I can also tell he understands what we want him to do and, like his sister, is rather stubborn about doing things his own way and on his own time schedule. Like walking. Alden rolled over, sat up, crawled, cruised and all other variety of movement ahead of schedule. But, walking? He has no interest in walking. He'll push one of his push carts around in a half hearted way, but much prefers to just get down on his knees and crawl. Or, increasingly, he bear walks, using hands and feet. It looks so laborious. I keep saying to him, "Alden, just walk! It's way easier!" But, when we try to stand him up (which he is more than capable of doing) he does spaghetti lets and shouts at us. If I say, Alden, try walking! He shakes his head no and gets into bear crawl position, looking at me like, "THIS is how I move." Today, when he was with the nanny, Will (the little boy that does the nanny share with us) took three steps unassisted! So, this evening, I tried to get Alden to stand up, reminding him that Will tried walking. That almost seemed to interest him -- and he stood unassisted for a minute before sitting down and looking up at me as if to say, "OK?" So, who knows. I think once Will starts walking, Alden will try it too. Or, vice versa. I love that I can tell - absolutely - that he knows what we are asking him to do and just refuses. Of course, this same behavior once he is seven will drive me utterly batty (ask me how I know this to be true).... but, the defiance in a one year old amuses me.
It amazes me how they start putting concepts together. That all done and bye are similar concepts -- and he is testing out his understanding of the words. It's my favorite part of this age, watching them learn how to communicate and use concepts and words rather than whines and shouts and cries. Don't get me wrong, there is still so much whining. And shouting. And crying. But, increasingly, it's punctuated by understanding and communicating. I love the windows into his mind and all that he is thinking about.