Friday, February 10, 2006

Sign of the Times?

Ada knows what she's doing. Or rather, when she's doing.

Chris and I are trying to teach Ada signs. I say "trying" because I knew when we started this that it might be a while before we saw results. I figured that I was entertaining myself, even if nothing else came of my gestures. We started with the most basic signs for things we do with her every day. So the first signs we showed her? "Change" and "more". "Change is our diaper changing sign, and we use "more" as a question about whether she wants more applesauce, banana, squash, avocado...

Ada pretty quickly understood what we meant when we signed and said "change your diaper", since the words and sign happen consistently right before we take off her diaper. Well, that and the fact that we are repeating this scenario no less than five thousand times a day. In addition to her comprehension being evidence of some actual gear-movement inside her little head, Ada learning this sign has helped calm her when she's fussy on the changing table. Sometimes I put her on the table or floor to change her and she's tired or annoyed at me or whatever (see, who KNOWS what's going on - maybe she just doesn't like the paint in in the side room.) When I make the sign, Ada stops fussing. Of course, if I am too slow to finish up the change, she picks up her bitching again, but I can only ask for so much from a 7 month old.

For the past few weeks Chris has been convinced that Ada not only understood the sign, but that she was making it. Knowing that every parent wants her (or in this case, his) child to be brilliant, I was skeptical. But now there is no denying it. She's definitely making the sign. A lot. In addition to making the sign whenever she has a bowel movement, she is also helpfully letting us know when she's peed. Which, as I said, is a lot. About ten minutes after I nurse her, Ada starts with the grabby hands and gives me a proud look like "Hey, guess what I just did?" She's proud, I'm proud.

Lest I get too excited about my clever child, I should admit that not only is she not making the sign for "more", she seems not to really know or care what I am doing when I make it. She generally responds to my question/sign with frantic open-mouthed whines that suggest Ada not only wants more but can't understand why her mom is so cruelly withholding that delicious squash when she is clearly wasting away right in front of said hand-waving mom. For a while only bananas and applesauce were worthy of this reaction, but recently she's decided that pretty much all food deserves this treatment. Well, except for that one thing of processed baby food I bought as an experiment. So she may not be getting the "more" sign, but at least she prefers home-cooked squash to that grey "mixed veggies" crap. Even organic crap is still crap.

So maybe Ada's just scatalogically inclinded. Just in case, I am going to stop reading Dooce aloud to her.

1 comment:

  1. Go Ada! I think all mamas buy the sign language book, in hopes that their little ones will learn to express themselves early on and ask for exactly what they want (I sure did). It is so nice to know that it can actually work! You have inspired me to crack the book open and attempt teaching B a couple of things! I may even look into taking a class! You should look into being a motivational speaker!