There have been many exciting developments over this past fifteen months and so many things I’ve been proud of Ted for, but being able to communicate with him trumps all of those other achievements hands down.
We’ve been using basic baby signs with Ted since he was born and the day he signed “finished” after his dinner instead of flinging the bowl felt like a momentous occasion. Now he has his own versions of some of those signs, and even some strange signs of his own – I suppose in much the same way children have their own words for things sometimes.
But the best thing he does, the thing that makes me so proud, is that he tells me what he wants by showing me. If I’m sitting in my chair and he wants something from the table beside me he will take my hand, lift it toward the table and point it to what he wants. If I pick the right thing up he smiles and if I get the wrong thing he shakes his head.
If he wants something from another room he will come and take my hand and lead me to the door or gate he needs opening, and then he’ll walk me to whatever it is he’s after – usually a biscuit or his Kung Fu Panda DVD.
He also does it with his books – and how happy I am that he loves books! He takes me to his bookshelf and signals that he wants to be lifted up. I hold him while he chooses a book and then we sit together to read it. If it’s one of his (many!) That’s Not My… books he’ll also take my hand and put it on the part of the picture you’re supposed to feel.
One of the best aspects of this ability to communicate is that he can also tell me when he wants to go to bed. He takes my hand, walks me to the door at the bottom of the stairs and then, rather than climbing the stairs as he does for bath time, he puts his arms up to be carried to bed. I can also sign “bed” when he looks tired and he lets me know if he’s ready for his nap. I wish babies could do this right from birth!
I don’t think there’s another feeling like it. He’s starting to come out with words now and I love that he’s developing but I’m also a little bit sad that he won’t need to come and get me. Admittedly, sometimes I think “can’t you take Daddy to play with the fridge magnets instead?” but really I love how clever it is that he knows to ask us for things.
Ted’s always been quickly frustrated so it’s been great to see the difference in him since he’s worked out to ask for help. Where before he would start stacking his tower or hoops, get one in the wrong place and throw them all he can now come and get me to help him. It means that I don’t jump in and help him too soon and it’s also allowing him to take his time trying things on his own a bit more too.
The only real problem with this is that I’m so happy that he’s asking me for things that I find it hard to say no, and when I do say no he throws a real strop! Head back, bottom lip out, stomping forward like a two year old.
Luckily that’s still so new and rare I find it cute and it makes me laugh.
I doubt I’ll be saying that in a year’s time. Perhaps communication is a double-edged sword…