My son is entering the world of understandable verbal communication. The basics are down with “Mama” and “Dada” and their associated signs. Cheese was the first word and sign combo I remember, and on Monday he learned apple. The sign came out better than the word, but both were there.
As we took our adventure in the summeresque weather, he would repeatedly point at things as say, “See, see?” Sometimes that was accompanied by his version of car, at every car and truck, or “Doggie” which means any animal from ducks to squirrels to actual dogs. This is then followed by, “Bye, bye doggie,” or whatever object he is pointing out for my attention. When he strays from cars or doggies, things get even murkier. I try to follow his pointing finger which at times is just pointed at the clear sky. “See, see,” can also be followed by no descriptor or something that defies translation. Clearly he knows what he is sharing, and he even gets a bit frustrated at my clear slowness in understanding his obvious and fascinating shares.
Of course I have captured this on video. As soon as it is gone, it will probably get forgotten in the hectic race forward, but sometime I will come across a short video clip of him pointing at the sky saying, “See, see?”
My son is on the cusp of communicating effectively. He has a few signs and a few words that he is beginning to use regularly. Food is one of his most reliable ones. After screaming in frustration, he will start banging his mouth with his fist. While it does convey meaning, there will be a time when he chooses to forgo the frustration and pain and just let us know he wants food. Thirsty, milk, tired, nap, more, and a few other signs are starting to appear with some regularity.
Equally exciting are the words. Yep, OK, and down are some of the ones that we can now determine. Mama and Papa, of course, are there. Of these, I love “down” which comes out more like “dang.”
Watching this language acquisition happen is a pleasure and a privilege. Daily, his mind unfolds and becomes more available to us. I am watching my son learn to fly.
I remember back in middle school Latin class, I played the part of a head priest in a Saturnalia festival. I pulled a string of red-dyed socks from the stomach of some animal and foretold something. Perhaps I read the flight of birds, too, from left to right or right to left. Sinister. The signs, as read by a middle school boy, were probably overly dramatic and silly.
The signs of my boy, however, are miraculous. He has just started using them with determination Monday. During lunch, he started using “more” and laughing as I gave him more bread. He might be associating this sign with bread, but it will soon generalize. Then, in the evening, he asked for cheese with both sign and a word probably only his parents will recognize for some time. He did it repeatedly and with interest. It was real communication in a way I have not had with him before. He also ate his entire dinner using a fork; well I put the food on the fork, but he took it from me and ate the food off of it.
Clearly the two hour naps have been helping his brain make amazing connections and growth. In the end, I have no words to describe the wonder and joy being his parent brings me.