The one (modified) sign Ely does is “all done”. We didn’t get much further than that. I wish she’d sign “water”, “juice” or something. Then again, I wish she’d DRINK water, juice, or something! Signing “more” would be nice, but a "point and pant" gets her point across just as efficiently.
To be honest, I don’t see the purpose of signing “please” and “thank you”. Sure, they are important words to SAY and we model them, but signing them? I’d rather her concentrate on learning something else.
There’s all sorts of “If you teach them to sign, they’ll never talk” out there, especially for babies in a bilingual environment but, I try to disregard any and all “If you…, they’ll never…” advice, anyway. ( I cross-my-heart-hope-to-die, she’s not going to go to college waking up to nurse, sleeping with us, or wanting to be carried.) Our decision to stop signing at “all done” was based on, well, honestly, nothing besides a lack of need.
So, we happily sign “all done” and pay attention to her cues. For the most part, we communicate pretty well. She’s rarely frustrated by my lack of understanding. At least I haven’t heard, “You just don’t understand, Mom!” followed by a stomp and slamming door (yet!) On her end, he seems to understand the basics: “Don’t touch.””Careful.” “Hot.” “Kiss.” “No.” “Good Morning, Guavaberry” (Oops! Did I just give away my addiction to Juan Luis Guerra?)
This first word milestone has been appearing in books since about nine months, but Ely wasn’t even close. Of course, she’s been tickilmg our funny bone by looking at us pointedly and proclaiming “Num” and other such baby words in a
bossy self-assured tone since about seven months. She also said “Mamamamamamamama” and “Daddadaddaa” aroung ten months, but neither R nor I were willing to swear she knew what she was saying.
In the last month or so she has been repeating the same strings of sounds in the same context. So, we figured we were getting close. As we neared a year, R and I were expectant. Would it be Spanish? Wouldl it be English? We’ve been waiting (im)patiently.
About a week ago, the “all done” sign was complimented with “ahhhh dahhh”. We called it coincidence, until it happened again. Then, we paid attention. Now, it sometimes replaces the sign.
Yesterday, my mom was trying to show her how to get down from the bed feet first. Ely made it quite clear that she wanted to try the “head-first” method and grandma objected. (Crazy, right?) Ely was quite upset with her grandma. I picked her up to do something and as I carried her away, she gave grandma a killer look and said, “Ahhhh dahhhh” and waved goodbye. We both burst out laughing because it was pretty apparent that Ely was
ordering inviting her grandma to skidaddle.
I’d say we have it! : a kid with her mom’s attitude and tolerance for frustration and a first word!! Not” mommy”, not “daddy” or “papi”, but “All Done!” I should have known! Anything taught in the context of food, sticks! She is my daughter, afterall.