Signing up a Storm

by J on January 9, 2011

It’s been, what, six months since I last wrote an update?

In some ways, there are no new major baby milestones to report. Talking, walking, the calculus: we’re still waiting. But he has certain strengths/obsessions, which we’ve been happy to indulge.

Simon is really, really interested in what things are called. And not just the words for everything, but also the signs. So I made a list of all the signs he uses. The details will probably be interesting only to people related to Simon, but it’s as much for me to remember as anything else:

  • Bottle (signed with great fervor and whining)
  • Sing (he made this one up himself, after apparently watching us bob our heads from side to side while singing to him)
  • Dance
  • Please (he now combines this with other signs, and will always respond with “please” if we ask him “Can you ask politely?”)
  • Thank you (only when prompted, but usually given with gusto)
  • Eat
  • More (when he started at his new day care, he refined this one so it looks more like the real sign)
  • Want
  • Book (“More books please!” was one of his first sign-phrases, and he will usually choose books over a snack.)
  • Cheese
  • Ham (“Want eat ham pleeeaaaase!” he signed, wailing at the deli counter in the grocery store, and I couldn’t pretend I didn’t understand.)
  • Bread
  • Raisin (his word for all dried fruit, the only kind of fruit he will eat)
  • Up
  • Help (“want help!” he signs when his toys roll under the couch)
  • Shoes
  • Hat
  • Bath
  • Water
  • Cracker (he was delighted to learn this one while visiting grandparents, and hasn’t stopped using it for one solitary moment)
  • Fork
  • Rain
  • Yogurt
  • Bye-bye
  • All done
  • Clean up
  • Blow kisses
  • Fork (unfortunately, on my end, fork gets mistaken for raisin most of the time, and he gets frustrated)
  • Medicine
  • Bubble
  • Falafel
  • Coffee (it’s a banner day for Simon when we have a coffee date and the roasting machine is in use at the coffee shop)
  • Tea
  • Light
  • Sorry (only when prompted and only when we have grave expressions)

He’s been quick to learn how to combine signs, and he surprises us with the things he evidently spends time thinking about. “Want coffee you! Over there! Please!” “Mama! Drink tea!” “Want shoes please!”

Of course there are also times when he thinks he’s signing something profound but it looks like “Cheese fork hat!” to us.

Because of the not-talking (he quit making sound entirely for several months after recovering from his palate repair), we’ve been taking him to speech therapy. Since we’ve started, he’s been babbling up a storm (using about three or four sounds) at home, which is so much fun to hear. I also took an eight-week course through the Multnomah County Early Intervention program to learn some strategies for enhancing our communication at home. The consensus of everyone in the know is that no one has any idea why Simon doesn’t really want to talk, but that his communication through signing should bridge the gap until he’s ready to start.

Also, his receptive language is good. Really, really good. “Hey, please put that back!” I said to him one day, as he sat pulling shoes off the shoe rack. And he did. If I ask him “What do you want to eat for supper?” he’ll think for a minute, then usually sign some food words.

So it’s Communication Fun Times here at our house. Want coffee please!