Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Use Your Words!

Dear Delilah,

When you were a newborn, I used to jokingly tell you to "Use your words!" when you would get upset. It's hard for me to judge whether you're officially using words yet, but your verbal skills are certainly advancing by leaps and bounds.

The range of sounds, tones, and volumes that come out of you is impressive. First thing in the morning, you start off with a few minutes of excited whispering. It's as if you're softly saying 'Pssssst....this is gonna be a fun day, huh?' It's like you give me a few minutes to become fully awake, but gently let me know that you are up and ready to greet the day and see what it has to offer. The difference in decibels from your sweet little whisper to your excited (and looooong) shouts is startling. At times, it seems like you even surprise yourself with the crescendo of your AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

Over the past few weeks, you’ve grown fond of squeezing your eyes shut and loudly sort of humming: MMMMMMMMMMHHHHHHH!!! Every time you make this noise, it’s with your eyes tightly closed, your jaw thrust forward, and it is always followed by a proud smile.

The complexity of the syllables that you string together is such that, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were making sentences. You regularly “say” things that sound like “I did it!”, “Hi Dad!”, “Dada did it!”, “I love dada!”, and the list goes on. You sing “lalalalalala” and “nanananana”. The other day, I swear you looked at Nala and said “Cat!” There’s been no sign of “mama” yet, but I'm trying not to take that personally.

In addition to your vocal abilities, you’ve begun to absorb and use the sign for “milk”. I’ve tried to be somewhat consistent with making the ASL sign for “milk” when I nurse you. You’ve started mimicking other motions; Daddy taught you how to shake your head (though I don’t think you’ve figured out that it means ‘no’ yet!), so when I first saw you awkwardly squeezing your hand together with your palm toward you face, I assumed you were trying to figure out how to wave. I mentioned it to Daddy, and when he saw you do it, he said that he thought you were signing milk! It went right over my head! The next time you started doing it, I started nursing you, and you smiled up at me and made the sign again while nursing.

While we’ve got a long way to go before you’re speaking clearly or signing consistently, the time when your only means of communication was crying is behind us. This new adventure has been among the most fun so far. What should we start signing next?


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