Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Baby Signs

When John learned to wave bye-bye we started teaching him a few bits of baby sign language. I wasn't the best at remembering to do this, and John really only "got" his first sign ("more") when he spent a few days at my parents while Michael and I were packing for the move to Copenhagen.

Now he can sign "more," "all done," "milk," and "help." He seemed to get that "more" meant more of whatever he just had, but John has changed it to mean "I need" or "I want." So he'll point at something and start beating his fists together in front of him - his version of "more" - and we'll eventually piece together what he wants. "Do you want the toothbrush?" He'll shake his head, point again and make the sign for more. "You you want Daddy's iPod?" Bingo. Sometimes we have no idea what he's trying to ask for, and at those times we figure he's saying, "I just really need more cowbell."

The other funny thing is when we figure out he is signing for something he can't have. He'll ask for the Very Sharp Knife and then will say, "No, John. You can't have the Very Sharp Knife because it will hurt you." He'll usually then point at it again, I guess thinking we don't understand what he's after. We'll tell him no again and tell him he did a good job communicating what he wants. Then he'll throw out all the stops and make every sign he knows in hopes that one of them will score him the Very Sharp Knife. MORE! ALL DONE! MILK! HELP!!!

He can also verbalize in some way juice ("oose"), bird ("burr"), hot ("hah"), book ("bouh"), up, banana, ball, balloon, bells, bunny (all "bah"), cheese and please (both "eese"). The meaning is completely based on context. If he's trying to get up on to the couch, "bah" means "up." If we can hear the church bells ringing outside (which they do at 8:00a, 12:00p and 6:00p weekdays; 10:00a and 5:00p on Sundays), then "bah" means "bells."

It's pretty amazing when you think about how in just over a year a wobbly little bit of baby that could barely see can now bring you a diaper when you ask him to and will communicate using something beside cries and grunts.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

I miss that kid...

David said...

First, your cowbell quote got me laughing at an embarrassingly loud volume in a school cafeteria. That is one of my all-time favorite SNL scenes. Very funny... and the level to which it was unexpected was directly proportional to the loudness of my response. Touché.

And second, your final comments remind me of my own parenthood mystery: last week was one year since Loren and I found out we were pregnant. What an incredibly (comparatively) large human now lives in our home with all his entourage of bags and toys and things. Absolutely mystifying...