Sunday, March 6, 2011

Speaking and Signing

Carrot juice from a big cup = colorful face art!

At 13 months, Caleb is learning so many new words and tricks that it is getting hard to keep track of all his new skills! He has about 20 words that he can say, if you include animal noises like 'roar' and 'quack' - two very popular sounds in our household right now. He also says apple, cracker, banana, go, up, pretty, hot, hat, mama, dada, ball, uh-oh, hi, bye and a few others. He said 'Greg' very clearly right before my parents left last weekend, which was a nice parting gift for my dad.

We've also been trying some baby sign language with him. This was a completely new concept to me until our friends Shelley and John gave me this book (below) as a shower gift. The idea is that although baby's lack the vocabulary necessary to communicate for a few years, they are able to communicate very effectively much earlier than that in other ways, such as signing. Advocates for baby signing say that this skill can help relieve a lot of the frustration that comes with not being able to speak by giving baby's another way to express their needs. It can also take some of the guess work of of a parents life by knowing exactly what the baby is trying to communicate.

At around 11 months, I decided to try teaching Cale just a few basic signs that I felt would be most helpful - more, diaper and all done. 'More' came really quickly and is one that he uses quite often. I taught him in the bath. He clearly wanted me to run more water to play with, so I would turn the water on for a second then do the 'more' sign while saying the word, and then turning it on again. After about 10 times, he got it and began doing it on his own. We then tried it with a banana, I gave him one small piece and would sign and say 'more' before giving him another piece. By the end of the banana, he was happily giving me the sign and was visibly proud of himself. I couldn't believe how easy it was. We are still working on 'diaper', which he can do but only if I do it first and he also knows 'book'. 'All done' is a new one that I'm sure will be in his repertoire before long.

Asking for 'more' cereal to rub through his hair

'Book' (open and close hands). Notice his first face scratches from a slip on the ice.

Speaking of signs, I saw my two first true signs of Spring this morning. A flock of robins on the lawn and a song sparrow singing in a tree. What a wonderful way to wake up on a sunny, Sunday morning. Winter...your days are numbered!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Hey Ash,
Cute pics, he could be in the books :)
The signs are great, especially when they are really tiny as their hand muscles are much more coordinated than their "talking" muscles. However, if he's starting to talk that much he likely won't want to bother with signs for long, as talking will become the easier form of communication. Try saying "more" quite a number of times each time you use the sign, pause just a minute after he makes the sign (once the sign is well established) and he will soon switch to using the word :) Glad to hear he has so many words! Did you know that the average 12 month old only has 8-10 words?
He just might be above average for intelligence...
I'm just saying.... :)