Monday, March 21, 2016

Communicator


When Kailey was about this age, we were worried that she wasn't saying as much as other kids her age.  We had her assessed and were assured by the speech therapist that she had great understanding of language and the ability to communicate and the words would come.  They definitely did -- and now I feel guilty when she's been chattering on in the back seat as I drive her to school and says, "right, Mama.  MAMA.  Riiiggghhht?!?!!"  And, we both realize I haven't been listening. 

Maybe it's just our genes, because Alden is following in Kai's communication footsteps.  Now when I look back at videos of Kai from this age, I realize that she had quite a few words.  But, as Kailey before, Alden has no shortage of understanding or ways in which to get his point across, even if he doesn't use a ton of words at this point.

He has invented some signs -- including touching his finger to his tongue when he wants a pacifier, using one finger in a hook fashion when he wants you to follow him, clapping the heels of his hands together for pancakes, and doing a solo high-five (repeatedly) when he wants to go outside.

He listens to music and follows along, clapping when told to clap, repeating the sounds and rhythms, stomping his feet when he is supposed to stomp.  This weekend, I taught him "open and shut them" which is a song with a bunch of hand signals, and he LOVED it.  He asked for more about 50 fifty times. 

For things that he cannot use signs or motions, he has picked up a good number of words.  Kailey is "la la".  He says a bunch of colors, although, tends to just work his way through the ones he knows when asked what color something is, almost always starting with blue, then white, then red -- and if it's none of those, he tends to go back to blue. 

He says "yes" in the most emphatic way nodding his whole body, while doing a little hop, and saying "yuuusss!!"  His "no" is just as firm -- shouting it from somewhere deep in his belly while scrunching up his face and looking at us out of the top of his eyes with a very menacing scowl. 

He now says "bike", having discovered Kailey's old trikes in the garage this weekend.  He loved sitting on the trike while I pushed him around the neighborhood and screamed when it was time to get off, but - really - my screaming back was happy to put up with a screaming toddler in order to get a break.  He is going to be so excited about the new trike we bought him for his birthday! 

He's not doing many two-word sentences at this point, but, I think he realizes he doesn't need to.  He knows how to tell us what he wants and he is very effective at making eye contact, getting your attention, and patiently repeating the word or sign until we get it right. 

I know that all those words are in there and can tell how much he understands by how quickly he responds to us.  This morning, Kai said to me while we were walking down the stairs that she was still tired.  I told her she could take a nap later and she said she hated naps.  Alden patted my arm and signed the word for "sleep", letting me know that he was following along with the conversation.  I told him that he was right, we were talking about sleep.  He nodded, happy to have the reassurance that he had heard correctly.

In just a short time, I'm sure I'll be ignoring Alden as he recounts his imaginations to me from the backseat.  I can't wait.

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