Let me take a brief moment to sing the virtues of baby sign language.
First of all I’d like to congratulate myself, because I kind of can’t believe that i stuck with it long enough for Olive to catch on. Given my aversion to routine, it’s nothing short of a miracle that I managed to keep this thing going. BUT I DID! Ever since she was around 4-5 months old (we were, um, enthusiastic) we have been signing to her.
For a long, long, LONG time, all this did was make us feel like morons, because we would be sitting there earnestly signing “More?” and “Eat?” and “Potty?” while she stared at our wildly gesturing hands with a blank look on her face. It was not particularly rewarding.
But THEN, friends. Then when she was around 11 months old, it started happening. Airplane was first, then milk, then more. Initially her hand movements were tentative and haphazard, but ever since those initial magic moments where we finally recognized that she was doing it! Really doing it!, her vocabulary has grown exponentially and sometimes it seems like she’s picking up new signs every day.
She has even started combining different signs to say things like “More Milk” and “Eat banana”. Now please, look away for a moment while I indulge my parental need to celebrate my child’s smallest achievements by cataloguing here for all eternity and the world to see, the list of signs known and practiced by a little fourteen month old known as Olive Grace:
Milk, eat, more, water, all done, airplane, dog, cat, bird, fish, dance, jump, sleep, bath, diaper change, banana, baby, book, gentle, papa, mama, monkey, etc. and so on!
Are you shocked and amazed? ME TOO!
Clearly listening to a new parent list the various ways their child has exceeded their wildest expectations is always riveting – mostly because everything Olive does is amazing, including but not limited to, her poops, the way she crinkles her nose when she smiles, and how she has started calling me something that sounds suspiciously like “Tits” – but also seriously guys, she’s communicating with us! And she understands things! Lots of things!
I don’t think I would have ever known just how aware and observant a child of her age is, without her possessing the language to tell me when she sees a bird, or hears an airplane – often way before I do. When we read books she points at all of the things she knows and makes the signs, and I know you’re probably falling asleep reading this but I really can’t stop marveling over it, it’s so cool!
And also, kind of hilarious. Like the time she let out a series of ridiculously loud, truly atrocious old-man-style farts in the bathtub, complete with bubbles slowly rising up to break the surface.
After they stopped she stared at me for a few seconds, open-mouthed in shock. Then she started giggling, and signed “Potty”.
Adam’s daughter, ladies and gentlemen. Did you expect anything less?
In conclusion, I sincerely apologize for this 500 word testament to ridiculously outsized parental pride. But also SORRY NOT SORRY, THIS IS AWESOME.